Asparagus is a perennial vegetable that is one of the first vegetables at the market in the spring. Many people love it and wait all winter to get it fresh. Fresh is best from locally grown farmers. At Arnold Acres, we grow Mary Washington, Jersey Knight and Sweet Purple varieties.
Green beans are one of those vegetables that people are anxious to get fresh in the season just like Sweet Corn and Tomatoes. Store bought just doesn’t do justice to fresh local green beans picked that day or the day before. Varieties that we grow are Contender, Annihalator, Jade II, Provider, and Rodcor varieties. Rodcor is a yellow wax bean we are trying. We will settle on just a couple of varieties in the future.
Talk about a vegetable with many healthy attributes. Broccoli is one of the first vegetables of the spring. Fresh broccoli in the season is packed with vitamins and minerals like no other. At Arnold Acres, we plant seeds indoors in February to be set out on the beds as soon as we can in the spring. The varieties that we are growing this season are Belstar and Packman. Broccoli is in the same family as cabbage.
Another early season vegetable packed with vitamins and minerals. Cabbage is popular in Nebraska because it is an ingredient in Runza’s, a favorite of ours that other states don’t enjoy. Coleslaw, cabbage cooked with corn beef, etc. We grow a small green variety called Katarina, and a variety of personal size cabbages that include green, red, and savoy types.
I feel sorry for those people who do not like Cantaloupe, but there are a bunch of us who truly love it. A treat cooled from out of the refrigerator for those hot humid days of summer. Can’t duplicate the flavor from fresh local melons versus ones that have been picked before they are ripe and then shipped. The cantaloupes at Arnold Acres are picked when they are ripe and taken to market immediately. The varieties that we are growing this year are Athena, and a small personal size melon called Lilliput.
What would summer be like without cucumber for slicing or pickling? Slicing cucumbers are one of the highlights for summer salads. The slicing variety that we are growing this year is Sweet Success and we also will be growing a mini pickling cucumber called Mini Munch. I am excited about this one as it is a healthy snack you can enjoy in one bite.
Lettuce is one of the earliest vegetables of the year. Fresh local lettuce out of a local garden sure beats what you get out of the grocery store. You can count on the lettuce being picked fresh early in the morning, washed and refrigerated right away on the day of the market. We grow a new red looseleaf variety called New Red Fire. It is a gourmet quality variety known for being crisp and sweet, that never gets bitter.
One of the first vegetables of the spring if you eat them green before the bulb forms into a slicing onion. That is the way we grow them and market them. Along with radishes and lettuce, they are an early spring treat. We grow yellow onion sets.
Peas (Snow and Snap)
When I was a kid we only ate shelled peas and it was a lot of work to do the shelling. Thank goodness snow and snap peas have become available. At Arnold Acres, we grow both Snow and Snap varieties. Snow peas are eaten pod and all with the peas inside the pod small and immature. Sugar snap peas are eaten pod and all with the peas inside more mature like shell peas. People have their preferences but both are a sweet delight in late spring/early summer. This year we are growing Avalanche Snow peas and Sugar Ann snap peas.
Peppers (Hot and Mild)
What is a summer salad without a sweet bell pepper or a Hungarian type for grilling? What about a spicy pepper for salsa or to add some spice to your dish. We grow all these types at Arnold Acres. The varieties available this year will be the following. A Hungarian type called Margaret’s, a sweet bell called Excursion II, a yellow Corno di Toro Type called Escamillo, and a Jalapeno type called La Bomba.
One of my all time memories of growing up was in the spring when the “new” potatoes were ready. We would pick them before they became large and fry them. Another dish is new potatoes with new peas in a white sauce. Just writing this makes my mouth water. We will only be selling “new” potatoes this year and not larger mature potatoes as in the past. The varieties that we will grow will be a red one called Red Norland and a yellow called Yukon.
Ornamental Pumpkins are becoming increasingly popular. We have grown pumpkin/squashes in the past just for friends and our grandkids. This year we decided to grow some ornamental pumpkins for the market that are around the 25-30 lb range that have unique pastel colors with mottling and striping. We are excited about these and hope you will be when you see them. We will let you know where you can buy them at the appropriate time.
Radishes are an early season vegetable that many people look forward to. The spiciness of a radish is like none other. With green onions and some Ranch dressing, it is hard to beat. We will be growing 3 different varieties this year. They are Champion, French Breakfast, and White Icicle.
Besides broccoli, you can’t pack as many vitamins and minerals into a vegetable as you can with spinach. Popeye had it right, except his energy seemed to come immediately. I guess it was a cartoon and not meant to be literal. Ha! At Arnold Acres, we will be growing a variety of Spinach called Space and will have lots of it.
Summer Squash (Zucchini type and Yellow)
Another one of those vegetables that are great in salads, but probably the biggest use is for grilling. When I think of grilling vegetables, summer squash is what I think of. Varieties that we will have available at Arnold Acres are Baby Bush (Zucchini type) and Golden Glory (straight neck yellow).
I am not sure which vegetable, tomatoes (actually a fruit) or sweet corn, is king of the vegetables and which most people look forward to. To me, it is a toss-up. How can you beat a freshly picked tomato that is just oozing with juiciness and flavor? Greenhouse tomatoes can never match the flavor of an outdoor grown tomato. We at Arnold Acres do not grow our tomatoes under glass or hydroponically, only out in the unfiltered sun with natural, healthy soil. Or is there a better ingredient other than lettuce to put into a summer salad? What about a pulpy tomato for making sauces and salsas. We here at Arnold Acres will be growing all these different types of tomatoes. First of all, for the slicing tomato, we will be growing the always reliable Celebrity and the mouthwatering Big Beef and another heavyweight in Mountain Merit. For a salad type tomato, we will be growing a compari type call Mountain Magic. This is an outstanding salad type larger than a cherry tomato. For making sauces and salsa’s we will be growing an outstanding large Roma type called Mariana.
Is there anything that can quench your thirst better than an ice cold watermelon? We at Arnold Acres will be growing 3 different varieties this year. Melons will be available from August through September. There will be a large round variety, a large oblong variety, and a smaller oblong that matures earlier than the bigger varieties. Respectfully these varieties are Crimson Sweet, Sweet Favorite, and Sweet Beauty.