Posted on Fri, March 13, 2009 by Jerusha Klemperer
4 Comments | Categories: Biodiversity, Events, Farms and Farming,
This growing season, rare heirloom vegetables are getting special attention in the Northeast. Thanks to efforts spearheaded by Chefs Collaborative (as part of the RAFT Alliance, of which Slow Food USA is also a part), 3 cities in New EnglandPortsmouth, Boston, and Providencewill be experimenting with what is called a grow-out of rare seeds.
Using seeds donated by Seed Savers Exchange, Fedco, High Mowing, and Old Sturbridge Village, farmers will plant the seeds, grow them, and then sell them to local chefs, with the farmers and chefs working together to increase eaters awareness of delicious foods that have long and interesting histories in their region. For instance, did you know that in 1870, the Trophy Tomato was developed by Colonel George Waring of Newport, Rhode Island? At the time, the Trophy Tomato was grown by individuals hoping to win a prize at their local fair, and when they were introduced, a seed pack cost the equivalent of seventy dollars in todays currency.
The past two weekends the three projects were launched in each respective city, with buy-in and excitement from the local Slow Food chapters—not to mention other chapters throughout New England who have picked up the buzz and will do grow-outs of their own. As the season progresses well be checking back in with the growers and chefs to see how their peppers, squash, tomatoes etc. are faring, and ultimately to hear reports from eaters as well!
This is a complete list of all the seeds that will be “grown out” this 2009 season, with indications of those that are on the Slow Food USA Ark of Taste (a catalog of over 200 delicious foods in danger of extinction):
Early blood rooted turnip beet - from the Ark of Taste
Jimmy Nardellos sweet pepper - from the Ark of Taste
Boston Marrow squash - from the Ark of Taste
Sibleys Pikes Peak squash
Long Pie pumpkin
True Red Cranberry bean - from the Ark of Taste
Gilfeather turnip - from the Ark of Taste
Boothbys blonde cucumber
Siberian Sweet watermelon
Stowells Evergreen sweet corn