Every year we attempt to identify the top 10 varieties that were grown on the farm during the year. Criteria include production, quality of fruit, taste and plant health. Additional factors that may increase the rating for a variety might be performance as compared other varieties of the same type or one that surprised us by doing far better than anticipated. You might also note that we will give a tie break to a variety that has not been awarded a top 10 slot over one that has.
The following are shown in no particular order. Each did well for us this season and we were pleased with the quality, production levels and taste. Apparently, we had a pretty good year with diverse success since it was harder than it has been some years trying to pare down the list! In addition to these, French Breakfast Radish gets an honorable mention.
|Red Xpress Cabbage|
|Black Krim Tomato (#4 2012)|
|Grandpa Admires Lettuce|
|German Pink Tomato (#10 2012)|
|Green Finger Cucumber|
|Beaver Dam Pepper|
|Feher Ozon Paprika Pepper|
|Sweet Genovese Basil (#4 2007)|
|Koboko & Minuet Chinese Cabbage|
10 (tie). Dwarf Blue Scotch Kale
|Dwarf Blue Scotch Kale (#3 2008, HM 2012)|
10 (tie). Oregon Sugar Pod II Snow Peas
We had some trouble trying to figure out which varieties fit in slots 7-10. Arguments could have been made for most of our honorable mentions to go in here versus those that were eventually selected. As a result, we caved a little bit and awarded a tie. We must admit that part of the criteria involved our working to not include too many of one kind of vegetable in the list. And, an early crop, such as snow peas, has a disadvantage since it has been a while since we have had them on our dinner plate. But, the reality is that we had good production from our peas this season and Oregon Sugar Pod II stood above the others. According to Johnny's, 25 pounds of production for a 100 foot row should be expected. We pulled in 57 pounds in 200 feet. So, they performed on the upper end of expectations.
The key for peas on our farm is getting them fenced in time. We managed it this season and were rewarded with vines that we could pick. We've long appreciated the Oregon Sugar Pod types for their taste and we were pleased to be able to share more of them with our shareholders this year.
|Oregon Sugar Pod II|
9. Jade Green Beans
|Jade (#2 2012 and HM 2009)|
8. Jimmy Nardello's Frying Pepper
They may look like a hot pepper, but they are a wonderful sweet pepper that can be used in many diverse ways. We love the taste of this pepper fresh or cooked. They are easy to dry or freeze and it only takes a few plants to get a decent crop of them. Sure, they don't have the bulk other sweet peppers and bells do, but bulk doesn't always provide taste.
|Jimmy Nardello's Frying Pepper (HM 2009, #1 2007)|
7. Joi Choi
6. Bronze Arrowhead Lettuce
This one seems to appear every year in our top ten (#4 2011, #1 2010), though I was a bit surprised to see it missing from the 2012 list. We've discussed the possibility of giving it an honorary top ten mention but disqualifying it from the 'competition' and may have actually done that last year. But, that doesn't seem right either. Essentially, what we've done is increased our expectations for this lettuce. If it doesn't meet them some season, it will fall off the list (probably to honorable mention).
5. Italian Heirloom Tomato
4. German White/Northern White Garlic
|2013 Garlic Harvest|
3. St Valery's Carrot
Carrots have not been a consistent crop on our farm. This is why Jeff Sage is our carrot guru. But, we insist on planting carrots every year. Of all things, we had a great year with carrots this season. And, just like the last time we had a great carrot year, St Valery's was a part of it (#2 2008). We like their size, their texture and their holding capacity in the ground. Often, a variety that is part of a crop that excels beyond prior year expectations gets royal treatment in our variety top ten. This is not an exception. But, we're not surprised by these results - it's just a matter of getting the timing right at GFF for carrots. When we do, St Valery's will perform admirably.
|The farmer holding carrots|
|Boothby's Blonde (#1 2012)|
These have a mild taste that gets people who might not otherwise enjoy a cucumber to eat them. They are a nice snack size with a tender skin that makes it easy to consume them whenever and wherever a person might like to have one. We love seeing the kids gnawing on these after their family picks them up at a farm share distribution.
1. Wapsipinicon Peach Tomatoes (and friends)
Juicy. Sweet. Slightly Fuzzy. 150 fruit per plant in the high tunnel in a short season.
|Wapsipinicon Peach Tomato|
|Wapsi Peach with Red Zebra and Green Zebra|