We are fortunate at High Mowing Organic Seeds to have access to some of the highest quality seed sources available. This week two of our friends at Bejo Seeds, Inc. visited us here in Wolcott, VT. Bejo is a Dutch company that has two offices in the US, including a world-class research and demonstration farm in Geneva, NY. Jan and Tom joined us for a day at High Mowing to learn more about our needs and to further familiarize our staff with some of the Bejo varieties we sell.
Tom Gordon works as the Organic Seed Sales and Product Development Manager, bringing with him excellent perspective from nearly thirty years in the industry. Jan van der Heide has been working with Bejo for over eight years, after spending much of his professional life working as an agent with the Cornell Cooperative Extension Office. Jan works as the Northeast Sales and Product Development Manager for Bejo and is encyclopedic in his variety knowledge. Both of these fine gentlemen eat their vegetables.
Bejo Seeds has similar criteria to our own when it comes to selecting, breeding, and producing seed. Jan and Tom outlined four of these traits during our discussion this week. First, Bejo produces varieties that are easy to grow – those which have good seed and seedling vigor, produce a hardy plant, and are tolerant to diseases. Eating quality is also of utmost importance at Bejo. Their varieties have an appealing flavor and texture and are true to the expectations of the customer. Third, Bejo emphasizes early or predictable maturity, focusing on varieties that grow quickly, are available on schedule, and can yield over time. Lastly, Bejo seeks out varieties which have unique or special traits such as color, flavor, or yield that are otherwise not represented in the current market.
Tom, Jan and I spent part of the morning discussing the carrot varieties which we currently source from Bejo. I was impressed with the great detail into which they could each delve. Between their familiarity with the varieties, our trials results, and the feedback we’ve been getting from our customers, we had much to discuss.
The Napoli F1 carrot has assumed cult status with many of our customers who rave about its sweet flavor and uniform growth. Napoli is an early fresh market Nantes-type best harvested around 7.5 inches. The root is a deep orange color, and smooth with a slight taper and a blunt tip. Napoli fills out quickly, making this a great option for baby carrots. Superior in many ways to Nelson F1, Napoli is a must-have for any commercial carrot grower.
The Yaya F1 carrot is another early fresh market Nantes-type carrot. Like Napoli F1, Yaya F1’s smooth root and blunt tip is easily compared to Nelson F1. Yaya produces very uniform roots and is easy to grow well. It is sweet and tender with excellent eating quality fresh from the ground. Yaya’s medium-length tops are disease tolerant and strong enough to hold up to bunching and transport.
Necoras F1 is our choice for a main season storage carrot to compete with Bolero F1. Best harvested at eight inches, Necoras has smooth skin and a blunt tip. Necoras has strong tops, showing excellent tolerance to Alternaria leaf blight and is a popular choice for mechanical harvesting. With a sweet taste similar to Yaya, Necoras has a tender crunch that holds very well in storage.
This carrot is worth the wait. A long-season storage type also similar to Bolero F1, Negovia F1 fills out well at eight inches. Negovia holds well in the field and is an excellent keeper in cold storage. Negovia has strong, disease tolerant foliage and handles heat and drought stress well. A stand-out in our summer carrot trials, Negovia’s sweet flavor and excellent texture was memorable to say the least.
Yellowstone – 70 days
If you want to add some color to your carrot selection, look no further. Yellowstone’s deep yellow color will not be soon forgotten. A smooth ten inch cylindrical root with long and sturdy tops, Yellowstone is a popular fresh market bunching carrot. This is a productive, widely-adapted variety with an excellent resistance to forking. Yellowstone is just as popular with commercial growers as it is with hungry kids.
With unique culinary appeal, White Satin is an excellent specialty carrot variety. This carrot grows quickly to an ideal size of eight to ten inches. Straight and firm, with a juicy crunch, White Satin’s flavor is similar to a modern Nantes-type carrot. White Satin stores surprisingly well, with its flavor only getting better with time.
We take great pride at High Mowing Organic Seeds in knowing our product well. This enables us to stand behind the suggestions we make when working with our customers. We’re lucky to have such expertise within the company as well as within our network of growers. Please feel free to ask the hard questions and find the best fit for your soil and your market. If we don’t have the answers, we know who will.