Beet Heaven

Photos: Courtesy of Powisset Farm

Meryl LaTronica, Guest Contributor
Powisset Farm

I love beets! I think beets are one of the most beautiful vegetables around! My feeling is that you can never grow enough. Every three weeks we are either seeding them in the greenhouse or planting them in the fields. In late March we broke the seal of the seed package and began dropping their small seed clusters into the cells of our planting trays. By mid-April we were transplanting the small plugs into the soil every six inches and set in two rows, with the rows about 18 inches apart. When May came around, we began cultivating the little roots, which had grown about six inches tall at this point. To cultivate beets, we set up one of three cultivating tractors, with shanks (or shovels) around the rows of beets, and then drive over the vegetable beds. These shanks disturb the weeds and soil, incorporating air and sometimes fertilizer into the earth, stimulating plant growth and health. We might cultivate the beets three or four times, knocking back weeds with each pass, making it easier for us to find the beets come harvest time.

By June 8th we were picking our first bunches to fill up the tables in our CSA distribution area. At our farm, we harvest beets by bunching them in the field, gathering four or five together, pulling them tight with a rubber band and giving them out with their beautiful greens intact.

In that first planting we had cared for over 3,000 beets. In only two short weeks we had harvested, bunched, distributed and, of course, eaten them! Watching our farm crew harvest all those beets reminds me of multiple human bulldozers, pulling, bunching and moving through our 250 foot beds, pulling 300 bunches of beets each week, at an astonishing speed! This year we are filling our bellies with three different varieties–Red Ace, Golden and Chioggia, each one equally as beautiful and delicious!

3 thoughts on “Beet Heaven

  1. Megan

    I just bought a bunch of golden and Chioggia beets at the farmers’ market this past Saturday. I made a wonderful salad with them that I plan to post about later today or tomorrow!

  2. DragonKat

    Recipes, please! I receive beets in my CSA and rarely know what to do with them. I’m willing to love them, but I need help!

  3. anastaciamdes

    Hi, DragonKat,

    Here’s my fave: Beets Two Ways

    1 bunch beets (tops included)
    1-2 tsp olive oil
    1-2 tsp cider vinegar
    2-3 oz goat cheese, crumbled
    Salt and pepper to taste

    Separate beets from greens. Boil beets until tender. Allow to cool. When you can handle them comfortably, peel and cut into dice (1/2″ per side or so).

    Wash greens and chop fairly small (1 inch pieces), including stems. Sautée in olive oil.

    Add diced beets to greens. Sprinkle in cider vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. More carefully, fold in cheese (you don’t want it to smear all over the place).

    Everybody eats these!