Cool-Season Crops Yield At-Home Gourmet Dishes
Many of the “gourmet chefs” in restaurants and on the widely-watched television shows are seeking out foods with a tremendous array of colors, shapes, sizes, flavors and textures as they artfully prepare and plate their special dishes. For those of you who wish to grow, harvest and treat your family to similar cuisine right at home, we have some suggestions for some early simple cool-season crops that really stand out on the dinner table, especially in salads.
What better place to start than with our ‘German Giant’ Radish, an import that grows that matures in 28 days to the size of a baseball, yet stays sweet and crisp, never pithy? Begin harvesting when only the size of a marble, but even if allowed to grow extra-large, they remain sweet without cracking. Scarlet skin with white flesh is crisp and mild at any size, and plantings should be thinned to 1 inch or more to grow real “giants”! One ounce contains 2,500 to 3,000 seeds, and 500 seeds are needed to sow a 20-foot row.
Next, toss in some of our ‘Rainbow Gourmet’ Series Carrots which come in 4 individual colors—Atomic Red, Cosmic Purple, Lunar White and Solar Yellow—or choose the Formula Mix with an equal blend of all four colors, featuring a remarkably crisp and flavorful series of carrots that mature in 70-75 days. These delightful beauties will brighten any gourmet kitchen or dipping tray, and their colors become even more intense when cooked. All colors are uniform in size, about 7-9 inches long, with a tapered shape.
Add some ‘Chiogga Heirloom’ Beets, which in just 55 days from seeding, become our most strikingly beautiful beets—a breathtaking Italian heirloom featuring alternating bright pink and white rings. Its round, candy-red, sweet, 2-inch roots are unbeatable for slicing, while its small tops with pink stems offer a mild, delicious spinach substitute. Good for storage, and heavy yields make it ideal for home gardeners. One ounce contains about 1,400 seeds, and 300 seeds are needed to sow a 20-25-foot row.
For an unusual shape and unique flavor, choose Kohlrabi that was once a garden staple, dating back to the 1880s. Sadly it had fallen into obscurity, but is making a comeback in recent years. Our ‘Early White Vienna’ Kohlrabi variety is turnip-like with multiple stems that grow just above the ground, boasting a flavor that’s a cross between cabbage and turnips. Early White Vienna Kohlrabi is sown and grown like turnips.
Top off our colorful salad with Swiss Chard which is a close relative of the beet, but it’s the leaves and stems of Swiss chard that are consumed rather than the roots. What magnificent, multi-colored leaves our ‘Bright Lights’ Chard variety possesses, in addition to being packed with vitamins, antioxidants and dietary fiber.