A few quick things this week:
- Want to receive this list via email each week? Sign up here.
- Talking Breads returns on Thursday!
- Blueberries! Raspberries continue as well, and ugly peaches (split pits, and/or otherwise damaged) make their first appearance. (Regular peaches should be right around the corner.)
- Tomatoes have arrived, albeit in limited quantities. Sungolds (swoon), mixed grape, and even some red slicers!
- Also of note: the good deal on fennel continues (you all snapped this up so quick last week I didn’t get any!), shell peas and green beans are sticking around, and if you didn’t try those Row 7 7082 Cucumbers last week, you’ve got another chance (and I assume if you did try them, you’ll be wanting more!).
- Last but not least, we’ve got pickling cucumbers available by pre-order only.
Scroll down for the full list of what we’ll have this week!
I’m a little short on time (and, I’ll be real, energy) this evening, so I’m going to let others do much of the talking for me this week. The subject is Row 7 seed company’s “7082 Cucumber” — an “experimental” cuke developed by the same folks who brought us the habanada not-hot pepper. The idea behind Row 7 and their experimental seeds is simple: grow for taste, not for shelf-life, using the traditional method of cross-pollination (these seeds are organic, and all non-GMO). The Row 7 team writes on their website:
We are a seed company grounded in the notion that deliciousness might just change the world. A seed company built by chefs and breeders striving to make ingredients taste better before they ever hit a plate.
It’s a collaboration—a cross-pollination—based on a simple premise: we believe flavor can succeed where commodification has failed. That it can change how we eat and, in turn, how we grow.
The driving chef behind the project is Dan Barber of the restaurant Blue Hill at Stone Barns (and the original Blue Hill, in NYC), who you may remember from Chef’s Table (season one). The Washington Post wrote in February:
In the conventional food chain, breeding is “built around three things: yield, uniformity and shelf life. Those are the determining factors,” Barber said. “There’s breeding going on, but the question is, who’s at the table and what are they asking for? What’s the intention? Without chefs at the table you’re not asking for flavor, which is ironic because chefs curate for flavor every day.”
About these particular cukes, Row 7 writes:
Named for its trial plot, the 7082 cucumber is a stubbled green slicer of modest stature but memorable flavor—which, when it comes to cucumbers, is no small feat.
Ask farmer Zaid Kurdieh of New York’s Norwich Meadows Farm to describe the cucumbers of his youth, and he’ll recount stories of long-forgotten varieties that filled a room with their fragrance. Inspired by the promise of these lost cukes, breeder Michael Mazourek took up the challenge of rediscovering them, marrying heirloom flavors with modern disease resistance in the field.
For Zaid and Michael, the search for a truly delicious cucumber begins with exploring the bitter compounds that have been selected against for decades. It turns out a little bitterness goes a long way in adding complexity and depth of flavor—a kind of vegetable diplomacy. And it goes a long way in the field, too, helping to deter pests for organic growers.
When Dusty heard about Row 7 and the 7082, he was so excited he bought a packet of seeds and asked Deb at Village Acres Farm if she would grow them for us. Of course she agreed, and we got the first trickle of the results last week. They really are delicious — more cucumber-y, perfectly crisp, and somehow both more substantial and more perfectly delicate than the cukes we’ve become accustomed to. (Except for the 1/2 inch closest to the stem; it’s really bitter!)
There are some other cool things about Row 7 as well — not only are all their seeds non-GMO and certified organic, they’re also unpatented — meaning farmers can save their seeds and even use them as the foundation for experiments in future seasons.* All in the name of developing the most delicious cucumber (or squash, or pepper), even if it won’t travel across the country well. I’m pretty tickled that there are folks out there working on this kind of thing — and doubly so that we have someone here to bring them to us!
*Because the 7082’s are an F1 hybrid, seed saving in this case would be primarily experimental, as the future generations would not be a true expression of the original. Among the Row 7 lineup are some non-hybrid squash and the famous habanada, which do allow for seed saving for the sake of replanting.
- Green Beans
- Shell Peas
- Rainbow Chard
- Green Curly Kale
- Black & Red Raspberries
- Ugly peaches (IPM)
- Italian Parsley
- Lions Mane
Onions & Garlic
- Fresh Garlic
- Fresh Red Onions
- Fresh Sweet Onions
- Fresh White Onions
- Cabbage (Green & Red)
- Regular old cucumbers
- Row 7 7082 Cucumbers
- Red New Potatoes
Salad Greens Squash Tomatoes (all limited quantity)
Tomatoes (all limited quantity)