Post by Joseph Lofthouse on Apr 21, 2012 17:56:00 GMT -5
My CSA people get whatever I grow. They are adventuresome and to like trying new foods. They are easy to grow for, and undemanding. Every landrace I grow and harvest today is more tasty than anything they can get from the grocery store that was harvested weeks ago. The underlying theme, is that my CSA people have visited my web site, or gossiped with the neighbors about how fantastic tasting my landrace crops are, so they have self-selected to value the diversity.
The acceptability of things I take to the farmer's market depends on the crop....
Nobody in my community has ever cooked with okra, or bok choy, or eaten sunroots, or turnips, so it really doesn't matter what color or shape they are, they are unusual foods that are going to be viewed with suspicion... But if I'm going to do the sustenance/landrace farming thing successfully, I figure that I need to grow a diversity of genera and species as well as maintaining diversity within species.
I generally can't get people at the farmer's market to taste a yellow or orange cherry tomato. Purple would be out of the question... If it's not "ethylene red", then it's not marketable at the farmer's market. I even have a hard time moving vine-ripened tomatoes that are perfectly ripe, and picked minutes ago, and sweeter/tastier than anything available commercially: because they lack the chemically induced coloration.
Any melon I can grow is eagerly accepted regardless of shape, or color.
People are finicky about corn... Some people will only eat white corn, or only yellow corn, or only bi-color corn etc...
Colorful landrace lettuce, and Swiss chard sell better than plain old green.
Landrace onions sell better both as greens and as bulbs.
Nobody can tell by looking at spinach whether or not it is a landrace.
I haven't grown enough landrace dry beans to sell, but I figure that they'd sell better because they are commonly packaged as "Bean soup mix" in the store.
Radish and carrot sell fine as landraces.
Landrace potatoes sell better and at higher prices than plain old red or white potatoes. I really like the potatoes that produce "baby" tubers even when mature...
I just got back from market a little while ago. The forecast was for a cool windy day with periods of rain, so I figured a slow day and harvested less. I had my first planting of pac choi (bok choy) coming mature in house #4 so I brought 40 to see how they'd fly. They were sold out by 10:30. DOH! I probably could have sold a hundred or so.
Last Edit: Apr 21, 2012 18:30:50 GMT -5 by oxbowfarm
Last year was the first time I grew Bok Choy. I transplanted seedlings from the nursery. I was very impressed, it provided my first harvest for the year. A nice robust harvest too!!! Not wimpy greens. I didn't save seed because I was growing turnip seed last summer which is the same species.
So this summer I'm creating a [Brassica rapa chinensis] landrace which I'll call Bok Choy. I'm not planning right now to include any napa cabbage or turnip in the landrace. I started with about ten open pollinated varieties. I think it will end up being several landraces... One that produces a very early harvest, and one that can handle the summer heat. Perhaps a bolt resistant landrace? Or a bug resistant landrace? Or a winter hardy landrace? I can't predict ahead of time, because Bok Choy is a new crop for me. I planted seeds very early, and I'm expecting to do another planting in June, and one in September.
I aughta do my CSA subscribers a favor this summer, and provide recipes for Bok Choy.
I have been very happy with Shuko from Fedco. I'm planning on letting a planting go to seed this summer to have my own seed supply. I'll send you some to mix in if/when. Not to hijack this landrace thread into a bok choy thread.
Post by 12540dumont on Apr 21, 2012 22:57:17 GMT -5
I really like bok choy. I have a diverse group of customers. Some of them don't like squash. Some of them don't like beets. There's one woman who can't abide potatoes. ( Oxbow, keep me on your list too. I'll swap you for Vivid Choy.)
They all get the same thing, except for the woman who has a valid nut allergy. Her box is tagged "NO NUTS". Some of them sit down and swap at the delivery site.
My customers do love the diversity of a purple, yellow, green and white cauliflower and all the crazy veges. I do provide recipes every week when I do the farm blog.
I have sent my customers grape leaves with instructions for either drying them to put on plates or use as table directions along with photos and instructions for stuffing and baking them. At some time in the Spring I have to remove leaves to increase air circulation. Why waste them?
I have sent them fava bean leaves with instructions on how to quick fry them for a great treat. I got a note from a 12 year old asking if they could have favas every week...
Last week I spent some time creating waffles from my ground corn. Next week they're going to get the ground corn and the recipe.
Last year I sent out what everyone thought was the kookiest yet, rosemary lemonade. I got a note from a customer saying it was the best mixer with vodka that she had ever had and was grumpy that there was none this year. (No lemons...I've fixed that by planting my own instead of renting a tree).
One woman and her kids came out to see the heirloom beans and was so astounded by their diversity that her son decided to do a collection of my beans. (FFA?)
When I tell my customers the names of some of the veges, they are amazed. When I have a name and know that they are a landrace, or even something that one of you developed, they are heartened that all is not lost to Monsanto.
I say to my customers, hey I know you might never have eaten a rutabaga, but "Do the Rutabaga Bogie" mash some tonight mix them with taters, sprinkle them with cheese, stuff under the broiler and serve them up. I often get the response that well, it's not their favorite but it was still good and they'd eat it again.
Sometimes my customers send me landraces! Last year I planted Insook's Wang Kong as part of the bean trial (it was one of the end row pollen feet cleaning stations) it's a runner bean. There were just 2 cups of these and I sent them out to one of my customers. She was so excited. Her mother used to grow these. I got a request from her mother for beans to plant and sent them along. Her mother sent me some beans that she brought with her from Korea.
The local store carried my "landrace" okay it's not quite old enough yet IMHO to be a landrace sunflower mix as a benefit for the local cat shelter. They all sold out and I received several notes as to whether or not I'm going to offer local seeds of other kinds.
And if Joseph has not named his landraces, I do when I hand them out. That's why there is Joseph's Best and St. Joe's Worst Garlic.
Once it's a landrace, I think you've got naming rights. I love the name of one of lupini's I got. "Ancient Lupine". So what I'm trying to say is that if you are jazzed and the produce tastes good, and you think of clever names for your landraces, and especially point out that these are landraces developed for "here", not meant to ship across the country....they'll love it.
I generally can't get people at the farmer's market to taste a yellow or orange cherry tomato. Purple would be out of the question... If it's not "ethylene red", then it's not marketable at the farmer's market.
**Rolling eyes, laughing**
My wife has gotten used to me growing different colors, but I had a good laugh at her expense last year when I caught her cutting the tips off of my Yellow Pears because they "just didn't look right." I can't wait to see how she reacts to the corn you sent me...
The chances of finding out what's actually going on are so absurdly remote that the only thing to do is to say, "Hang the sense of it," and keep yourself busy. I'd much rather be happy than right any day. --Slartibartfast, Hitchhiker's Guide
The market I sell at is pretty open minded about vegetables but certain things are harder to get folks to try than others. A lot of the kind of landrace varieties like what Joseph creates would be perfectly acceptable to most customers. They don't care about the genetics if it looks like they expect it to look. I definitely find that unusual vegetables are easier to sell during shoulder season when there isn't a lot of produce on the market. Folks will try stuff just to get some fresh vegetables.
Sungold is a good example of an unusual vegetable that is enormously popular at my market. Almost to the point that you have to grow it to sell cherry tomatoes, but that's the exception. In my experience folks really want red tomatoes, they'll try an orange or a bicolor, or a purple/black but they won't buy them in quantity. I would agree that many of the unusual colored tomatoes are as good as many reds but if they don't sell I don't see the point of growing them. Things like Cherokee Purple, Aunt Ruby's German Green, these are awesome tasting tomatoes, but they are a waste of time for a market grower IMO. I totally disagree with Carolyn Male that I need to educate a customer about purple tomatoes when there are a million great varieties of reds that taste equally as good that I don't have to spend 10 minutes jabbering to make a sale. Tomatoes that aren't red or pink are nifty, but they are for hobbyists. I'd like to see somebody sell "Indigo Rose" by the bushel.
Post by Joseph Lofthouse on Apr 22, 2012 19:53:15 GMT -5
The only tomatoes I have ever grown that people loved the flavor of enough to ask for are sungold, which is easy enough to provide, but I can't get people to taste if it's on the table at market, and brandywine which doesn't grow well here, and in any case it's the wrong color so they won't try that either.
Silt/clay, high-altitude, super-arid, sun-drenched, irrigated-desert garden. Cold radiant-cooled nights. ~100 frost free days. Grow most of my own locally adapted landrace seed. GDD10C ~1300. Author of Mother Earth News: Landrace Gardening Blog.
I've had great success selling various colors of tomatoes (and peppers, too!) at our market. Of course, red remains the favorite color, but I have many folks come to me for variety. Most will try two or three.
Other than cherries, I primarily only grow varieties that are baseball sized and larger (i.e. beefsteak size ... 1 lb. or so)
Cherries: Yellow pear, Gleeson mystery (red that appeared in my MIL's flowerbed in 2006), Sungold/Sunsugar, Black Cherry
Beefsteaks: Jubilee, Girafe Abricot, Cherokee Purple, German Johnson Pink, Missouri Pink Love Apple, Brandywine (Sudduth's).
1/2 acre market garden, nice loam with a little too much clay. Farm has gently rolling hills at 1250' elevation, with commercial crops (rented acerage), pasture, and wood lot.
Post by 12540dumont on Apr 23, 2012 11:52:32 GMT -5
Joseph is right, they ask for Sungold by name. The black cherry tastes better to me. The Isis Candy is the yummy red.
This year I have Early Girl (very very old seeds and very few left) Sungold Black Cherry Dona Green Zebra Cherry Burning Spear (orange) Mama Leone (paste) Danko Herman's Special (my favorite and the contender to take over for EG) Cherokee Green (yes they liked this one last year) Black Krim Gianinni (torpedo) Milka's Red St. Columbe Tennessee Britches Rose De Berne Jaune Flamme Joseph's Earliest Me Tarzan (Cherries) Santa Ana Searching for the Blue Zebra (only one of these sprouted)
Although I received some great seeds, if I don't plant by early Feb, I won't have them to transplant in April. So there were many that had to go into next year.
This is our 4th year of trialing tomatoes. White tomatoes have not been popular. I have one customer who complained that there was no green zebra last year. I got a letter last year about Kosovo. Unfortunately, I have not found a heart shape tomato that packs well.
At some point I'd like to get down to 10 varieties of tried and true tomatoes for the farm. We have 3 staked out and are looking for the other 7.
The same is true for melons. 10 kinds rather than 40!
For some things like beets, greens, lettuce, I wish I had a landrace that would just spit out variety.
We are still narrowing down squashes and I have high hopes for a delicata landrace, and an ornamental edible landrace that will fill our needs for a small early pepo.