Piracicaba Broccoli: In the steamy inlands of Brazil lies the tropical city of Piracicaba. Though not far from the urban sprawl of São Paulo, Piracicaba is surrounded by tropical farmlands. It is here that this amazing, heat-tolerant broccoli was born. While most broccolis wither in the mid-summer heat, Piracicaba thrives, sending forth shoot after shoot of sweet, large-beaded florets. Cut after cut, it just keeps on yielding. We produce this seed on our farm in New York—far from Brazil, but a happy home for this delectable crop.
Piracicaba does not win prizes for the size of its main stalk, which is on the compact size. But it certainly takes the cake for its productivity and flavor of its florets, which it yields in great abundance all season long. Its habit is looser than regular broccoli, so much so that many people mistakenly identify it as raab or broccolini. It's sweeter than both, and freshly cut florets steam more quickly than the regular varieties, so be careful not to overcook.
Dark Star Zucchini: What are Dark Stars made of? In this case, Ravens, Black Eels, and Black Beauty. Farmers Bill Reynolds and Donna Ferguson were on the search for open-habit, drought tolerance, and good flavor in their zucchinis. Their search turned into a participatory breeding project with Organic Seed Alliance. By crossing the hybrid Raven with the old-standard Black Beauty zucchinis, they created Black Eel. Years of further improvement led to Dark Star, an exceptional variety that is ready to go supernova!
Dark Star Zucchini was bred for uniformity, drought resistance, and yield. We love the open bush habit of the plants, making fruit easy to spot at the perfect harvest stage. Its slender, dark green look; subtly sweet, tender taste; and prolific nature make it irresistible in nearly every summer meal.
Danvers Carrot: This tried and true American heirloom is one of the best home garden carrots. The traceable history of the carrot spans 5000 years. Evidence has been dug up that this relative of wildflower Queen Anne's lace originated in Afghanistan. The modern carrot came into being thanks to the efforts of the French and Dutch. The Danvers carrot was developed in 1871 in Massachusetts.
These carrots are deep orange and often on the short side, about six to eight inches long, though they can get up to about 10" long in deep, loose, rock-free soil. The roots are broad at the top and tapered.
Swiss Giant Snow Pea: Tall, robust vines double as an ornamental with large bi-colored flowers in shades of pink and burgundy. 5' vines produce high yields of 3-4" pale, sweet pods.
Evergreen Scallion: A patch of this scallion is a long-time garden friend. In mid-winter, scallions are happy to get a jump start indoors; they can be transplanted anytime the ground can be worked; they multiply by division naturally if left unharvested; and they overwinter with no special care, emerging powerfully after the ground thaws, their deep green spears a reassuring sign of spring. Not actually a young bunching onion but a member of a separate, non-bulbing species, Evergreen Scallion is versatile, easy-to-grow, and delicious. Chopped and sprinkled on nearly any prepared dish, they make all flavors pop. In short: starting a scallion bed (or container garden) is a journey worth taking.
Bridge to Paris Pepper: Plants are large (up to 36' in height) and loaded with big peppers. The flavor and texture are first-rate: extremely sweet when ripe, with thick bell pepper-like skin. A handful of plants will provide plenty of pepper flesh for fresh eating and freezing.
Blue Jade Dwarf Sweet Corn: Not only does Blue Jade exemplify the diversity of open-pollinated seeds, but it's also one of the best open-pollinated sweet corns we have tasted. The kernels turn from white to steel blue when ripe, and turn a bit greener when cooked. Each dwarf plant yields about 2 ears about half the size of a standard ear of sweet corn.
Red Long of Tropea Onions: Red onions are so beloved in Tropea, Italy, that an annual summer festival is held in their honor. Hailing from the same region, this gorgeous, torpedo-shaped specialty onion will have you celebrating too. Although not a storage onion, the sweet, mild, and mouth-watering bulbs can be harvested with their tops in late summer, braided, and hung up like garlic for a few months of fresh eating. Grow it for yourself to see why multiple generations of gardeners and farmers have carefully selected for the traits in this beloved variety.