Monday, August 19, 2013

The Baby Vegetable Farm

A young lady stood in front of our farmers market stand with a quizzical look on her face. Her face turned from puzzlement to a knowing look as she said, "You guys are the baby vegetable farm." She was looking at all the signs that read baby spinach, baby arugula, baby patty pan, baby zucchini, baby beet greens, baby onions, baby carrots, baby cilantro, baby potatoes, baby okra, baby squash blossoms, baby kale, etc.

So why do we harvest everything at the baby size? Because that is the way we like to eat them and we think you will too. We get asked a lot if we plant special designer varieties that are just baby. They say they have never seen vegetables so small that taste so good.

Generally the varieties are regular varieties that are just harvested small. So yes you have seen baby zucchini, you just didn't take the time to pick them small. When you harvest small you need more plants than normal. Like we plant 4 rows of zucchini 300 feet long to get 50 -75 pounds of baby patty pan or zucchini a week. (If you let them get larger, generally one week later, this amount of zucchini would fill my whole pickup.)

I love to harvest greens at the baby stage; they are just perfect for salads without additional prep, catering to the consumer who doesn't have a lot of extra time. The flavor, tenderness and presentation at this stage is truly amazing.

We also like the baby size potatoes, so much so that we crowd our potatoes to keep them small. You don't get the yield you could that way but the percentage of small potatoes is way more and the flavor is still great.

So our very astute and observant customer was on to something. We do have a lot of baby vegetables both by design and through serendipity (the serendipity stories are for another time).

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