Enjoy an Abundant Fall Bounty With These Top Picks!
With a little late summer planning and strategic variety choices, growers can add greens of all kinds to the fall bounty.
by Heather Kibble
Fall is a magical time at the farmers’ market, the steady rhythm of the seasons is played out as summer crops dwindle and days get shorter. As the weather cools we collectively begin to gather indoors and take cooking more seriously. Though it is sad to see the melons, giant tomatoes and colorful bell peppers go, we greet pumpkins and winter squash with open arms and await sweeter root veggies and Brussels sprouts.
With a little late summer planning and strategic variety choices, growers can add greens of all kinds to the fall bounty:
- Beet Greens: With 25-35 day maturity (to baby leaf size), Fresh Start is a quick and colorful green for fall. It is grown only for the leaves, it does not form a usable root but puts all its energy into tasty leaves. Fresh Start has dark red petioles with well-defined veins and dark green leaves that appeal to shoppers. In addition, Fresh Start has Downey Mildew resistance.
- Collards: Top Bunch is an early maturing, high yield hybrid. It resembles Georgia with wavy, lightly savoyed leaves that regrow quickly after harvest. Collards are a key vegetable for many traditional fall recipes. Consumers look for fresh and bold leaves with medium to slender but firm stalks for easy preparation. This variety is not only suitable for fresh-market bunching, but also for machine harvest for processing. Top Bunch has bolt resistance for warm fall regions and matures in about 71 days.
- Kale: Widely adapted and bolt tolerant Blue Ridge matures in just 60 days. Consumer demand for kale continues to increase as they find new and exciting ways to include this leafy green in their diets. Blue Ridge has frilly leaves and a deep color that make bunches of it as beautiful as they are healthy. The sturdy stems make Blue Ridge easy to bunch and later prepare.
- Pak Choi (baby): Mei Qing Choi is known for excellent flavor and tender leaves and stems. It makes a crunchy fall salad green, stir-fry or quick grilling vegetable. Mei Qing Choi is a Shanghai type with pale green stems and bright green leaves. Met Qing Choi has good heat and cold tolerance and bolting resistance. This variety is harvested as baby pak choi, about 35-40 days after planting, when it weighs about a quarter of a pound.
- Pak Choi (mature): Joy Choi hybrid revolutionized the production of pak choi in North America by making it a reliable, easy crop to grow. Heads sit upright, have bright white stems and vivid green leaves. Flavor and texture are superb. Joi Choi matures in about 55 days, is slow bolting with excellent uniformity and wide adaptability. This variety has been accepted nationwide and is the standard variety in the industry.
- Spinach (bunch): Lakeside Baby spinach is a quick crop for the fall, maturing in about 25-30 days. Lakeside has uniform thick dark green smooth leaves. It has a round to oval leaf shape with an upright plant habit that makes it easy to harvest and clean. It is a very versatile variety it can be harvested for baby leaf or allowed to mature to bunch or clip leaf size. Lakeside is resistant to Downey Mildew strains 1-11 & 15, & UA4410.
- Spinach (bunch): Olympia is a moderate growing variety with large, smooth, elongated oval, medium green leaves. It is bolt tolerant and performs well in the early spring or late summer. Olympia offers high yields and multi cuts due to its bolt tolerance and large leaves. In addition, Olympia has resistance to races 11-12 & UA4410 of Downy Mildew.
No matter the size or location of your farm, fall greens will make a healthy addition to your product mix. Sakata is here with 100+ years of vegetable breeding experience and know-how to make you and your operation a success. For further information and a complete product listing click here.