2.28.2019

THE LOCAL FOOD REPORT // seed ordering 2019

Every year around this time on the Local Food Report I talk with a local gardener or farmer about what seed varieties they're ordering for the upcoming season. This year I caught up with Josh Leveque, gardener and horticulturalist. He and his family have a huge terraced garden overlooking Little Harbor in Woods Hole and grow a lot of the food they eat. Here are some of his top picks year after year:

Sun Gold (cherry tomato): These are a perennial favorite at our house. We had an overabundance this past summer and tried dehydrating them for the first time, and that's how Josh says he uses them too. Dried and preserved they are excellent chopped and served over salad, tossed with pasta, or ground to make a filling for ravioli. Plus, they make excellent snacking tomatoes all summer long and the yield is terrific. 


Nancy (lettuce): Josh says he's a sucker for butter lettuces, and we are too. Nancy is planted early and late in the season—it doesn't tolerate heat. It has a well packed heart with unusually thick and crisp leaves. 

Magenta (lettuce): This is a Batavian lettuce, known to be good in the heat and slow to bolt. Magenta has red-tinged leaves with a crisp, green heart. 

Nevada (lettuce): Territorial Seed Co. calls this Batavian "possibly the best in its category." It's got a tall head resistant to tip burn and bolting and stores for longer than other types in the fridge. 

Toma verde (tomatillo): This green fruit matures early. You'll need at least two plants for successful pollination. Excellent for salsa. 

Rio grande (tomatillo): Rio grandes are big and apple-green when they're ripe. This variety is also known for excellent yield. Josh and his family try to freeze two gallons of roasted tomatillos every year for salsas and other recipes. 

De Milpa (tomatillo): These green fruits blush purple when they're ripe, and the husks have dark veins and a light purple blush, too. Excellent for salsa. 

Dagan (Brussels sprout): Holds well in the field—Josh says some varieties the outer leaves have completely fallen apart by harvest time—this one stays upright and good looking. Good yield, and nice medium-larges sprouts. Good flavor too!


Ahi benito (pepper): Flavor like a cross between a tomato and a guava. On a scale from one to ten, heat registers at about a seven. Josh likes these for a fermented hot sauce. 

Red Russian (kale): Many Cape Codders' go-to for kale. I've seen it growing through February and even make it through to put out leaves again come spring after milder winters. Excellent yield and tender leaves. 

Anne (raspberry): This yellow raspberry stands out for its delicate flavor. Sally and I think it's something of a cross between a lemon and an apricot; Josh says at their house it's a family favorite. One note: planting guides say not to plant red, gold (yellow), or purple raspberries within 75 feet of black raspberries, which may be more susceptible to disease and spread these to and from nearby pants. 

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