Below are some varieties that I am extremely happy with. I would never consider not growing these varieties. We love them, and they were all very popular sellers when we sold our vegetables at the farmers market.
Pole Bean, Romano – Smeraldo – These beans have outstanding flavor. I’ve never liked raw beans but these are great for munching on straight out of the garden also. They provide a bumper crop. The seeds are available at Park Seeds, but also much cheaper at Seeds of Italy. Click here to see a video of this growing in my garden.
Beets – Chioggia – These are fabulous tasting beets, with less of the traditional strong beet flavor and oh so sweet. They have light red skin and beautiful rings inside, like red and white candy stripes. The stripes disappear when the beets are cooked. The seeds are widely available, including here.
Broccoli – Small Miracle I like this broccoli because the plants stay very small, but it produces full sized heads, and then numerous side shoots for a long season. It also tastes great! The seeds are available at here.
Leaf Broccoli – Spigariello Neopolitan “Friarielli” Brocoletti. It is a smooth leaved Italian leaf broccoli that has sweet broccoli flavor. I found the seeds at Seeds of Italy. Their website describes it as “One of the most renowned vegetables in Italy”, “fast growing, great flavor” and “Cool season brassica with a very long sowing window.” In my garden it still produced wonderfully flavored leaves for six months!
Carrot – Mokum – These are a bit homely in appearance, but they have outstanding sweet flavor. I have fond memories of children returning to my farmer’s market booth especially for these sweet treats. Click here to see this variety in my garden. The seeds can be found here at Johnny’s.
Cauliflower – Cheddar has great taste and the advantage of more nutrition. Click here to see this variety in my garden. The seeds are widely available.
Cucumber – Diva A crisp sweet cucumber, and they have very tender skins so don’t need to be peeled. The seeds are widely available.
Cucumber – Dragon’s Egg – These are white and mature about the size of a large egg. They produce numerous fruits early in the season, and taste great. They are available (most years) from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.
Kale – White Russian By far the best tasting kale, excellent taste, sweet, tender, hardy, tolerates wet soils. Flat, silvery-green leaves with white veins. Also known as Cavolo Palmizio. Relatively trouble free to grow. Very good flavor and resistance many insect pests. Kale is the most nutritious vegetable and is also the most cold hardy! Stir fry with olive oil and garlic. Yum! The seeds are widely available.
Lettuce – It’s really nice to have lettuce as late as possible through the summer. For bolt resistance I recommend Nevada, Cherokee, Sierra and Winter Density. These four are pictured in order above. Winter Density is, as it’s name implies, very cold hardy also. AND, Winter Density is a romaine, the healthiest type of lettuce. Sierra is available through Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. The others are pretty widely available. Click here to see these varieties and more growing in my garden.
Peas – Sugar Snap are very sweet flavored variety that will grow on a trellis six feet tall. Click here to see this variety growing in my garden. The seeds are widely available.
Peppers – Carmen is an exceptional sweet pepper: Heavy yield, wonderful taste (especially roasted), reliable even in less-than-optimal conditions. Eaten raw, they areas sweet as an apple and are a wonderful addition to salads. The seeds are available here at Johnny’s.
Peppers – Jimmy Nardello sweet pepper is a long, thin-skinned frying pepper that dries easily and has rich flavor. It ripens to a deep red and is very prolific. The peppers mature in 80 days with glossy red 10 inch long peppers. The seeds are available from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds and Seed Savers Exchange.
Potato, Red Gold – exceptional flavor, at least as good as Yukon Gold, but they mature much earlier in the season, and have a huge yield. They are available from Moose Tubers. Click here to see this variety being harvested in my garden.
Summer Squash – Zephyr, this is a yellow variety, with a green end. It has outstanding flavor.
Summer Squash – Tondo Scuro Di Piacenza and Lemon – The fist one is an “eight ball” type green zucchini, but it has much better flavor than any other eight ball variety. Lemon is a summer squash with delicious flavor and such a lovely shape. They are both available from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds . Click here to see these varieties variety growing in my hoophouse.
Tomato – Sun Sugar; In a tasting conducted by Sunset Magazine ‘Sun Sugar’ edged out ‘Sun Gold’ for first place. Vigorous, indeterminate plant bears long clusters of crack-resistant orange fruit with “rich, full-bodied flavor,” as one panelist noted. 62 days from transplanting seedling to reaching maturity. These tomatoes will convince anybody to love eating vegetables.
Tomato – Glacier, good tomato flavor in and 2 inch fruit, but these are super early, so you can start eating your own tomatoes fast.
Tomato – Pruden’s Purple, a full size heirloom tomato, full of flavor, and very early maturing. Click here to see this variety in my garden.