Just like you, we are all getting excited about the upcoming season here at High Mowing.  We have all spent the past few months making mental notes about the varieties that we love and want to try.  Just about everyone here gardens or farms in the summer.  Our staff is comprised of growers with their own farms, a handful that work for our Trials and Production Farms, several more that work on other nearby farms, and many others that have gardens at home or in our staff garden plot.

We talk about High Mowing varieties all day, everyday.  We clearly love seeds, vegetables, and growing, but so much of our discussion is technical at this time of year: variety characteristics, crop plans, germination, and inventories.  So, it’s really fun when we get a chance to start talking to each other about how much we love a particular variety.  Imaginations run wild as we consider the possibilities for our upcoming spring and the varieties we would never dare to overlook in our plans.

Here are some of the varieties that our staff chose as favorites this year.  We’d love to hear what yours are too! 

High Mowing Organic Seeds Staff Variety Favorites

Beans

Vermont Cranberry Bean

“I am excited to grow Gold Rush Yellow Wax beans.  They are crisper and juicier than a green bean, great for eating raw with a dip!” – Katie L., Wholesale Sales Manager

“I got really excited about filet beans this year. Tavera Haricot Vert produced well and tasted great.” – Andrea, Sales & Marketing Manager

Black Turtle dry bean because it is so easy to grow, prolific yield, and so tasty and easy to cook (no pre-soaking required)!” – Amber, Accounting Assistant

“I was so excited about my Jacob’s Cattle dry beans this year.  I planted at least 6 varieties of dry beans and was too busy to pick them on time so I just gave up.  Right before Thanksgiving, I went up to pick my Brussels sprouts, and out of curiosity, looked at my sad dry beans.  Everything was moldy and bloated—except Jacob’s Cattle!  I was so excited!  I brought them home and have been slowly shelling them ever since… and they are beautiful!” – Kathryn, Marketing Assistant & Trials Crew Leader

Vermont Cranberry dry bean because it is easy to grow, beautiful and the creamiest bean I have ever eaten. The texture is unmatched!” – Amber, Accounting Assistant

Windsor Fava because again it is easy to grow and such a tasty treat!” – Amber, Accounting Assistant

Brussels Sprouts

“I was a little lazy this spring and didn’t start my Brussels sprouts on time, so when I saw Paul at the farmers market, he gave me a six-pack of Nautic F1.  And they just killed it.  3’ stalks covered in 1-1.5” sprouts.  So delicious with some butter, white wine, and bacony-type product.” – Kathryn, Marketing Assistant & Trials Crew Leader

Beets

Touchstone Gold Beet

Touchstone Gold beet- it is such a beautiful color and I think it’s sweeter than all of the red beets.” – Beth, Wholesale Sales Assistant

Touchstone Gold beet: I fell in love with these beets in the Trials field!  Their bright color and sweet flavor makes any meal with these beets beautiful.” – Katie S., Sales Associate

Broccoli

“The Belstar F1 broccoli made me feel like a real farmer. Beautiful, perfect heads that held up well to our fall. My last planting saw 22ºF and made it through fine.” – Paul, Sales Associate

Cabbage

Caraflex F1 Cabbage

Caraflex F1 cabbage is so sweet, so tender, so pointy, and so neat!  Kids love it too!  It’s dense even when small.  My favorite thing to do with it is cut it in half and grill it with bacon and blue cheese.” – Tom, President & Founder

“How can you not fall in love with a variety called a “sweetheart cabbage”?!  Caraflex F1 cabbage is sweet, tender and juicy! I love the uniqueness of its pointy head (looks like it belongs on the dinner table in the movie Coneheads!) and it’s diminutive size makes it just right for fixing up a salad or a stir-fry and using it up in a meal or two.” – Gwenael, Trials Manager

Farao F1 cabbage is my pick for a tasty fresh market cabbage. I plant these tight enough to shade the soil and block out weeds, but the size never suffers and the taste won’t disappoint.” – Jacob, Sales Associate

Kaitlin F1 cabbage ‘cause I love to make kraut and kimchi.” – Katie T., Farm Production Manager

Carrots

YaYa F1 Carrot

“I love Yaya F1, Napoli F1, and Scarlet Nantes carrots.  They are so sweet with no toughness and I eat at least 4 carrots per day.  I can’t believe I haven’t turned orange!” – Jennifer, Seed Rack Grand Master

Yaya F1 carrot - cause it’s called Yaya, oh, and it tastes great.”  – Katie T., Farm Production Manager

“I love, love LOVE the Yaya F1 carrots. Why? Not only do they taste amazing and have the perfect sweetness and texture for fresh eating, but I love pulling them up from the dirt and getting that extraordinary fragrance. You wouldn’t expect your garden to be perfumed by carrots, but Yayas make harvesting a delight!” – Christy, Web Order Processer

Yellowstone Carrot: This is the carrot I remember from my first season of working on a farm, and it has been a favorite ever since.  Yellowstone is very adaptable, has great flavor and a nice sunny hue.  It’s great in bunches by itself or interspersed with other colored carrots.  A must for any school garden or for those gardening with young kids—they love the colors!” – Katie S., Sales Associate

Corn

Dakota Black Popcorn – it’s just so beautiful!” – Brigitte, Marketing Associate

Cucumbers

Picolino Cucumber

Green Finger cucumber: Delicious!  I love the size of these slender cukes.  They have a thin skin and are great for snacking, sandwiches and salads.” – Katie S., Sales Associate

Picolino F1 cucumber is my absolute favorite cuke.  Nice snacking size, with thin and tender skin.  My favorite field snack.  I’ll eat these all summer and never get sick of them!” – Kathryn, Marketing Assistant & Trials Crew Leader

Picolino F1 cucumber – Smooth skin, delicious cucumbers in a nice small size. I like picking a couple of these as we leave the house as snacks on the go.” – Meredith, General Manager

“With sweet skin and juicy flesh, Poona Kheera is my favorite cucumber to eat fresh.” – Jacob, Sales Associate

“I really loved the Socrates F1 cucumber; it was most excellent! The yield was great, and the medium size was nice too. Worth going back in time for.” – Paul, Sales Associate

Eggplant

Traviata F1 Eggplant Traviata F1 Eggplant

Ping Tung Long produces tons of beautiful eggplants early in the season.  These Asian-type eggplants are my favorite—tender, not too meaty, nice texture and flavor, and great for grilling and searing.” – Kathryn, Marketing Associate & Trials Crew Leader

Traviata F1 eggplant makes me want to sing!  Each fruit is so pretty and perfect, and I love that they are half-long instead of your typical big bulbous Italian.  Another thing I love about them: their narrow shape makes them easy to peel and easy to slice evenly for slapping on the grill. I know eggplants aren’t always the most exciting vegetables to eat, but Traviata F1 made me discover all sorts of wonderful eggplant recipes last summer because they were such a pleasure to grow and pick. There are a handful of varieties that make me exclaim, ‘Everyone should be growing this!’ and Traviata F1 is definitely on that list.” - Gwenael, Trials Manager

Flowers

Dwarf Jewel Nasturtium Mix: This is one I have always loved, but appreciate even more now that I am gardening with kids. The seeds are big and easy for kids to plant, the distinct leaves means that even when they are small it is easy to weed around them, and the flowers are edible and make salads look fun.” – Meredith, General Manager

Red Scarlet Zinnia

Red Scarlet zinnas are so bright and cheerful, they provide my garden with a burst of color and flare. These flowers always make me happy. When I use them as cut flowers, I usually add basil for a little scent.” – Brigitte, Marketing Associate

Resina calendula: My favorite garden flower—its sunny bright petals bring light to the whole garden.  If harvested continually, these flowers will last all season.  Known as the herb of the skin, this variety of calendula makes a lovely salve.  It is also edible and can be added to salads and teas.” – Katie S., Sales Associate

Zohar F1 and Teddy Bear sunflowers are great for smaller gardens where you don’t want to shade anything out.  Short plants, but really pretty.  And Teddy Bear has multiple stems for cutting.” – Kathryn, Marketing Assistant & Trials Crew Leader

Greens

Astro arugula because it's easy to grow and there's nothing that says summer like fresh baby arugula out of the garden.  Astro is mild and peppery and delicious!” – Bradley, Business Process & Project Manager

Ruby Streaks: My favorite mustard!  An excellent spicy addition to salad or braising mixes.  The leaves become spicier as they grow so harvest young for a mild spice.  The green to purple color plus the delicate-looking leaves brings nice contrast to a mix.” – Katie S., Sales Associate

Herbs

Sacred basil, also known as Tulasi, this fragrant herb is known for many beneficial medicinal qualities.  I grow it for use as a tea, but just walking by these bushy prolific plants lifts my spirits!” – Katie S., Sales Associate

Lettuce

Roxy Lettuce Roxy Lettuce

Lovelock lettuce is my new favorite… I really like the crunch side of the lettuce world. The extra ruffling of the leaves gives the heads a lot of loft, and they are really dense as well. Holds up great in the heat.” – Paul, Sales Associate

“I absolutely love Roxy lettuce!!! I am not a huge lettuce fan, and usually go for baby greens, but not when it comes to Roxy.  Our 2012 spring production yielded a dense, full, and absolutely picture perfect head every time that our family and customers kept coming back for.” – Megen, Sales Associate

Roxy lettuce makes my market stand look like a treasure chest.” – Jacob, Sales Associate

Sylvesta lettuce is one of my favorite, favorite lettuces.  Super tender, nice flavor, good disease resistance; I was getting lots of saleable heads with very little bottom rot.” – Paul, Sales Associate

Melons

Sivan F1 Melon Sivan F1 Melon

“I am so EXCITED about growing the Natal F1 because it is my favorite type of melon: a canary! They are beautiful in color, so bright and the most tasty melon – crispy and sweet! The canary was one of our top favorites, well worth the time learning to distinguish ripe from unripe.” – Jess, Sales Associate

Sivan F1 Melon: So delicious and sweet, and the perfect size for personal ice-cream bowls!  Just cut the melon in half, scoop out the seeds, and add ice cream for a cool summer treat. – Katie S., Sales Associate

Sivan F1 melon is delicious to eat straight out of the field—juicy and a nice size for one or two people.  Easy to tell when it’s ready.” – Kathryn Donovan, Marketing Assistant & Trials Crew Leader

Onions

“I love Cortland F1 onions. I have a bushel of them in my basement from last summer’s garden and they are hard as can be and beautiful.” – Andrea, Sales & Marketing Manager

Cortland F1 onion is a great workhorse. It has a thinner neck, so it dries nicely, has pretty good disease resistance, nice size, and it stores well.” – Paul, Sales Associate

Peppers

Iko Iko Pepper Iko Iko Pepper

“I love growing peppers, so I am really excited to try Iko Iko peppers this year; I love the magnificent color range.” – Megen, Sales Associate

“I love Stocky Red Roaster sweet pepper because it tastes like candy.” – Kathy, Fulfillment

“If I had to choose just one variety to take with me to a desert island it would be Stocky Red Roaster.  This amazing pepper has awesome sweetness and flavor and gorgeous fruit: long, straight, thick-walled and bright red.” - Gwenael, Trials Manager

Potatoes

“I love the All Red potato, purely for aesthetics.  It tastes great, but mostly I just love how beautiful the red and pink flesh is when you cut it open.” – Beth, Wholesale Sales Assistant

Pumpkins

Kakai Hulless pumpkin because it is easy to grow, beautifully mottled/striped and the seeds taste amazing!” - Amber, Accounting Assistant

Summer Squash

Cocozelle Zuchinni Cocozelle Zuchinni

Cocozelle zucchini – This pretty squash tastes great grilled. I grill round slices of it on a Panini maker and add it to sandwiches.” – Meredith, General Manager

“The Costata Romanesco zucchini is a favorite previously grown- I love the taste, nutty with great texture, really good for grilling. I like it as well because it is not a very prolific summer squash, so we don’t drown in it in the middle of summer. The ribs and skin on it are very pretty and though it has a unique look, it sells well at market.” – Jess, Sales Associate

Partenon F1 zucchini is early, great for greenhouse or field, prolific for a long season, worth the money as it really has great yields.” – Sara S., Sales Associate

Tomatoes

Gilbertie paste tomato – I have always loved and always will.  Best for processing or whatever.  Dear to my heart because it’s dear to Tom’s heart.” – Katie T., Farm Production Manager

Gilbertie paste tomato:  This one is huge and with good, dry flesh, which makes it fast and easy to pick and process for sauce.” – Kathryn, Marketing Assistant & Trials Crew Leader

Jaune Flamme tomato - I remember first tasting this at our Field Day in the rain as I was walking toward the tomato taste test, and being blown away.  Above and beyond everything else in the tomato taste test!” – Jennifer, Seed Rack Grand Master

Sunkist F1Tomato Sunkist F1Tomato

Moskvich tomato because I love the flavor and texture.  But I really love the plant habit—easy to trellis.  They ripened evenly, too.” – Brigitte, Marketing Associate

Rose de Berne: I am smitten with the sweet, balanced flavor of this heirloom tomato and its smoky rose-colored skin.” – Jacob, Sales Associate

Sunkist F1 tomato: They just glow!  I love this bright color!  They slice so nicely and the texture is just right—juicy but firm.  Also, the flavor. I wouldn’t bother with a tomato unless it was really tasty.  Truth.” – Tom, President & Founder

Sunkist F1 tomato - I know what it takes to produce this for seed and have much love for it’s deliciousness.  Great for tomato sandwiches.” – Katie T., Farm Production Manager

Watermelon

“My favorite variety this year was the Ali Baba watermelon.  I love its size and shape, as well as the Ali Baba’s skin patterning.  I liked that it was later than other watermelons.  It was a sweet treat on cool mornings of late summer.” – Nels, Sales Associate & Production Field Crew Leader

Winter Squash

Baby Blue Hubbard winter squash has been a wonderful staple for our family.  They have great texture and flavor, and outlast all other varieties in storage.  We ate them well into the spring!” – Megen, Sales Associate

Red Kuri Red Kuri

Delicata is a time tested favorite of ours and this year’s plants were especially productive in spite of benign neglect. And they were delicious as always, our 18 month old even ate them!” – Andrea, Sales & Marketing Manager

Honey Nut butternut - not the best storage butternut but it is the sweetest. I heart the Honey Nut!” – Katie T., Farm Production Manager

“I love Red Kuri winter squash because the vibrant color is so welcome in my kitchen in the dark early evenings of winter.” – Kathy, Fulfillment

Seed

Kyle, our Seed Packing Production Supervisor, took a slightly different view for his favorite varieties told us about his favorite seeds:

Strawberry Blonde calendula – Calendula seed looks like little, curled up sea crustaceans. Maybe if placed in water little sea creatures will hatch. Otherwise they grow beautiful pink tinged flowers into the fall.

 

Kakai Pumpkin Kakai Pumpkin

Kakai Hulless pumpkin – Green pumpkin seeds? Yeah baby! Plus they’re great for eating and of Japanese lineage. By far the most eccentric of our pumpkin seeds.

Vermont Cranberry dry bean – Beans have a huge variety of different colors and sizes, but these ones are my favorite. Gorgeous red-hued beans with darker stripes that really pop out at you, especially when staring into a 50# bag. Of course I’m biased. How could I not pick a bean named after our state?

Bright Lights Mix cosmos – Okay, truth be told, I hate this seed! Why? It’s impossible to pack! Our bulk bags of these long, slender seeds stay meshed together so well that our scoops can’t move through the seeds in order to actually scoop them out.  Instead we must pick them up in clumps by hand to weigh out. These are some real hand-packed seeds for ‘ya.

Speckled Swan gourd – We pack variety after variety of squash seed that all looks relatively the same, maybe differing in only size and shade. But this gourd sticks out like a sore thumb. Of course, it’s an entirely different species, but there’s no mistaking these small, slender seeds that resemble their namesake.