TV chefs and food columnists use veges I can’t find in the shops. Shops can only sell what growers grow. And growers grow what they are sure will sell…
Growing your own gives you a choice. As well as tried and true varieties, most vege plots or home orchards have a few fruits that are strangers to the supermarket, and veges more varied than the shop stocks.
There are several benefits to growing these “unusual” crops:
Cost: when you find fresh figs they’re expensive, I envy the people with flourishing fig trees, hopefully ours will start to crop next year…
Taste: our Bramley apple tree is also small, but we got a couple of apple pies from this old cooking variety. Their taste (with plenty of sugar, as they’re “tart”) is richer and deeper than pies made with Granny Smiths.
More productive: Esme mentioned a long necked courgette that produced big crops. I wonder if she’s saved some seed?
Being trendy: Cavolo Nero, a sort of bluish Italian kale was food columns a couple of years ago, as tasting better than ordinary kale. Barbara didn’t like kale, but loves these tasty fresh leaves steamed and salted then drizzled with olive oil or butter.
Looking good: Artichokes could fit any of the categories above, expensive, delicious (if you like them, not everyone does), perennially trendy, but often grown for the impressive giant grey-green thistle leaves.
All the examples I’ve mentioned are easy to grow, and flourish round here. What strange fruits or varied veges would you add to the list? We are now planting some Radicchio (Italian chicory) seedlings that Jenny gave us, I wonder how you eat Radicchio?