Lancaster farming. (Lancaster, Pa., etc.) 1955-current, February 19, 2000, Image 45

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    Consumers May Begin To Dig Root Crops On the Dinner Plate
Co.)-The special tastes of
turnips, rutabagas, parsnips and
beets-called “root crops” by
farmers-may be making a come
back on the nation’s dinner
menu, says a vegetable special
ist in Penn State’s College of
Agricultural Sciences.
“Baby boomers’ parents and
grandparents ate a lot of root
crops, but after World War II
these vegetables fell by the way
side because they were seen as
‘poor man’s’ food,” says Pete
Ferretti, professor of vegetable
crops. “During the Great
Depression, people ate these
items because they could grow
them cheaply, and they could be
stored for long periods in root
cellars or outside. They often
took more work to prepare.”
Ferretti says restaurant chefs
and gourmet cooks are starting
to use root vegetables in recipes
again. “They can be used in
soups, stews and casseroles,” he
says. “Cooks need only a small
amount of these crops to give
recipes a distinctive flavor.”
Ferretti says home gardeners
can easily grow root crops
which include carrots and
radishes-although Pennsylvania
soil conditions can hamper some
“Many root crops suffer in our
typically clay soil, particularly
carrots and parsnips,” he says.
“They have to struggle to grow
in heavy soil, and that produces
a smaller root that often is
rough and distorted.”
All root crops are grown from
seed, so gardeners need not
worry about transplanting young
•Carrots. Ferretti recom
mends growing two types. Nan
tes or Danvers, starting April 1.
“Nantes carrot varieties are
thick, shaped like a torpedo and
have a blunt end, which pushes
through clay-laden soils,” Fer
retti says. “Danvers varieties are
wedge-shaped. Other types and
varieties can split or produce a
misshapen carrot.”
•Radishes. Gardeners should
plant radishes in the same row
as carrots, according to Ferretti.
The faster-growing radishes will
loosen and break through the
crust of the soil to allow better
growth for the slower-growing
carrots. They can be planted by
April 1 and then again during
the last two weeks of August. He
recommends placing seeds about
an inch apart when planting.
Radishes come in many vari
eties, including white, black and
various shades of red. Ferretti
recommends the Champion, Spark
ler and Improved Red Prince
varieties for best results in
•Beets. This sturdy veg
etable probably is affected least
by Pennsylvania’s heavy soils
and can be planted in early
April. “Almost all the varieties
are round or torpedo-shaped,”
Ferretti says. “They should be
planted about 1 to 3 inches
apart to give them room to
Beets require high levels of
boron, so gardeners should mix 4
teaspoons of laundry borax pow
der into a gallon of water. “Don’t
use more than that,” Ferretti
warns. “Boron can be toxic to
beets as well as most other
plants when present in exces
sive levels.”
Two top red varieties are
Ruby Queen and Red Ace. Red
Ace has darker, more even color
and is very sweet and tender.
Ferretti also recommends Bur
pee Golden Beet, a yellow vari
ety, which some cooks prefer
because it lacks the red juice
that stains hands, utensils and
other food items.
•Parsnips. A cool-season veg
etable, parsnips can be planted
in late April and left in the
ground until late fall or even
over the winter. Like carrots,
they are slow to germinate, so
make sure the soil is 'deeply
spaded and does not form a
crust. “Ethylene gas gives car
rots and parsnips a bitter taste,”
Ferretti says. “Never store them
with apples, pears, tomatoes or
other ethylene-producing fruits.”
Parsnips should be planted
and then “thinned so plants are
about 4 inches apart. To prepare
parsnips, cooks must peel the
outer layer and remove the core.
Ferretti recommends quartering
the parsnip and then lifting the
core out. The All-America vari
ety is recommended.
•Turnips. Turnips attain
their best quality when grown
under cool temperatures. They
usually reach edible size in
about 60 days. Most turnip vari
eties are mature when they
reach about 2 inches in diame
ter. Suitable varieties include
Just Right and Purple Top
White Globe.
“You can plant these in early
April and again in late July,”
Ferretti says.
•Rutabagas. Rutabagas need
about 90 days to mature and
should be planted, around July 1.
These vegetables have a quar
ter-inch-thick outer skin. The
outer skin can be chopped off
with a heavy knife, and the
Certified Angus Beef Program Signs
Certified Angus Beef (CAB) Pro
gram is joining the team of
Olympic Suppliers as the Of
ficial Branded Beef Supplier for
the 2002 Olympic and Paralym
pic Winter Games. The company
also becomes the Official Sup
plier of Packaged and Processed
Beef of the U.S. Olympic Teams.
In its agreement with the
Olympic Properties of the Unit
ed States (OPUS), a joint mar
keting effort between SLOG and
the U.S. Olympic Committee
(USOC), the CAB Program will
BEEF™ Frankfurters, Barbecue
Beef and Quick-N-Easy™ Pot
Roast and a variety of CERTI
ducts for the 2002 Olympic and
Paralympic Winter Games. The
products will be served at all
venues, the Olympic Village and
sponsor hospitality areas.
The CAB Program will also
be an Official Supplier to the
U.S. Olympic Team through Dec.
31. 2004, supporting the team in
remainder is peeled until the
tender yellow flesh begins to
appear. Varieties include Mac
omber and American Purple
Carrots, beets and parsnips
all can be affected by leafspot
diseases. Turnips are affected by
clubroot, which causes the root
to distort or swell. Carrots and
parsnips are susceptible to root
knot nematodes, which cause
small swellings in the crop and
plant roots.
Insect Pests
Flea beetles, leafhoppers and
green peach aphids all target
plant leaves or plant parts.
On As Olympic Supplier
the 2000 Olympic Games in Syd
ney, Australia, the 2002 Olympic
Winter Games in Salt Lake City,
and the 2004 Olympic Games in
Athens, Greece.
BEEF™ brand symbolizes a
quality product, and the Salt
Lake Organizing Committee is
committed to staging quality
Games at every level,” said Mitt
Romney, SLOG President and
CEO. “We assure the best possi
ble products are being served to
athletes, officials, spectators and
the media by joining forces with
the CAB Program.”
“The United States Olympic
Committee is proud to recognize
the CAB Program for its contri
butions to the athletes of Ameri
ca’s Team,” added Dick Schultz,
USOC Executive Director and
OPUS President and CEO “As
an Official Supplier to the U.S.
Olympic Team, the CAB Pro
gram will play an important role
in maintaining the competitive
excellence of the athletes who
The maggot stage of some
insects can severely damage the
edible root portion. Leafminers
attack the leaves, causing
blotches and interior trails. The
carrot rust fly, which also affects
parsnips, is not problem every
year, so control measures may or
may not be needed.
The cabbage maggot affects
radishes, turnips and rutabagas.
There can be four to five broods
of the maggot, the first of which
usually hatches in April. “Cover
ing the crop with a lightweight
polypropylene row cover imme
diately after seedling emergence
can protect against almost all
insect pests,” Ferretti says.
hope to one day represent our
country in Olympic competi
“We are proud to be joining
the Olympic and Paralympic
Teams. What has made the CAB
Program the leading branded
beef program is our commitment
to providing an enjoyable beef
eating experience,” said Jim
Riemann, executive director for
the CAB Program. “Consumers
know they can rely on CERTI
ucts’ consistent quality. That
has made us 65 percent of the
branded beef market.”
products are identified by the
distinctive red, black and white
shield. They are available through
licensed retail stores and restau
rants throughout the United
States and in 51 international
markets from Japan to the Ba
hamas. Only licensed packers,
fabricators, distributors, restau
rants and retail stores may use
trademarks to promote the brand
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