What We Grow
At Oxford Gardens, we produce high quality vegetables for the Boulder County community. Most of our seeds come from Johnny’s Selected Seeds in Winslow, Maine.
We will have the following vegetables available for our customers during the 2010 season:
Lettuce & Greens – we have the “magic touch” with lettuce, arugula and other leafy greens.
Our 3,200 square feet of hoop houses (unheated greenhouses) help us stretch the growing season in the spring and fall, so we can offer our delectable greens from March to November.
- We grow baby and head lettuce throughout the season. Although lettuce is a cooler weather crop, we offer a European variety of crisp summer lettuce (the family is called Batavia) during the hottest summer months.
Our primary baby lettuce mix is Johnny’s Allstar Gourmet Lettuce Mix. We planted our first crop this season in our hoop houses on February 5th, and in the field on March 9th. The average length of time for growing baby lettuce is about 30 days, depending upon weather. We offer this superb mix from mid-March to early June, and from mid-September to mid-November.
In the summer months we grow several green and red varieties of “Summer Crisp” or Batavian lettuce, usually as baby leaf, rather than heads.
We offer a wide variety of head lettuces in the spring, early summer, and fall seasons.
- Also called “Roquette” or “Rocket.” We love everything about arugula. It grows quickly and well in the hoop houses and in the field, and is easy to harvest. Try it with goat cheese, lemon, and a few chopped nuts. Arugula does not like the mid-summer heat, so we can’t generally grow it in July and August.
- A hardy, tasty, and lovely vegetable. We have it available at the Farmers Market in April and May, and then again in late September and through October.
- Swiss Chard
- An all-purpose green – good in salads when small and tender, then great for steaming, sautéing, soups, stews, you name it. We don’t let our chard get too big and monster-like. We sometimes offer mixed bunches – green, red and yellow – which are showy at market.
In 2009, we will bring a new variety of chard to market – Bionda di Lyon, with pale green leaves (with less fiber than other kinds of chard), white stems and a mild, sweet flavor.
- A versatile green, kale can survive cold, snow and all manner of harsh weather. We grow the blue-green Winterbror variety, long-leafed Toscano and the elegant Red Russian.
Everything you can do with chard you can do with kale. Look for the smaller, more tender leaves. Particularly delicious as a baby green. Great in soups, steamed with butter or olive oil, salt and pepper.
- An old Southern delicacy. Use like the other greens above. An under appreciated leafy green.
- Pac Choi
- A Chinese specialty green. Best in stir fry, it is not generally eaten raw. In addition to the standard varieties, we grow Red Choi, as well as Bonsai, baby-sized heads. Available in spring and fall.
- Braising Mix
- We like to offer different braising mixes. Look for some combination of baby chard (four varieties), Bull’s Blood baby beet greens (very dark red in color), mizuna, mustard (green and red), and kale (several different types).
- For the first time, we will grow snap and snow peas this season. Look for them in late April.
Brassicas – For some reason, the brassicas love Oxford Gardens. They are good to us, and we are good to them. We never grow enough of them, they are so popular! For the 2009 season, we plan to keep the shelves well stocked!
- Our broccoli melts in your mouth. We offer it from the end of May through late summer, and then we will have another fall crop in September and October.
- We will have red and green heads this year, starting in early June. However, these will mainly be our for CSA members.
- Brussels Sprouts
- By the stalk or by the pound, our Brussels Sprouts are not to be missed. This is a slow growing vegetable, taking longer than almost anything else in the field (100-110 days). We will have a few recipes for Sprouts for our customers this year.
Root Crops – because of our sandy, loamy soil, root crops do well in our field. They are wildly popular at market and with our restaurants.
- Last summer I cooked our three varieties of beets (Reds, Goldens, & Chioggias) and then sliced them and tossed them in a summer salad. Gorgeous! We have three varieties again this year: Reds: Early Wonder and Red Ace, Touchstone Gold, and Chioggia (“candy-striped” or “bull’s-eye”).
- One of the great joys of being a human being is a fresh carrot. They are like candy. Parents, be careful offering too many to the kids. We grow Early Nantes, Nelson, and Vitana varieties. Sometimes we do baby carrots, but our full-grown ones are so sweet, why bother?
- Hakurei Turnips
- Sometimes called a “salad turnip,” or “sweet turnip,” these babies are remarkably juicy and sweet. They are excellent raw and in salads. An Italian friend of ours cuts them in half, pours a bit of olive oil on them, adds salt and pepper and eats them like a ripe peach, dripping turnip juice! We have developed a small cult-like following at the farmers market for our Hakureis. The greens are good, too.
- We offer a few varieties from early spring to early summer and again in the fall. Favorites are the “Easter Egg” with several pastel shades, and the “D’Avignon” variety that are long and slender with a white tip, tapered to a point.
- This year we will offer Yukon Gold, Red Norland, Russet-types, and various fingerlings and maybe some purple varieties.
- Sweet potato
- NEW! We will try the “Beauregard” sweet potato for the first time this season. It is a variety that is suitable for this area’s conditions. They have dark red-orange skin with moist, sweet, orange flesh. Ready in late August or early September.
- Green onions/scallions
- Look for them in mid-April into June.
- Red, yellow and white. Maybe even some Cipollinis.
- Due to popular demand, we will produce several varieties of pickling cukes this season. Of course, we will also have plenty of the standard varieties, and an English and Asian type as well.
- We will again grow the Fairy Tale eggplants that were so much appreciated last season. These are smallish (2-4 inches) with purple and white stripes. They have great flavor and no bitterness, with very few seeds. We will have small white and purple varieties, and Beatrice, a full-sized Italian variety.
- Summer squash
- Incredibly, we were a bit short on zucchini a few times last year. In 2009 we will grow the usuals, plus green, round “Eight Ball” zucchini, several Patty Pans, and the “Flying Saucer” scallop type.
- Winter squash
- What a delight to grow the many wondrous varieties of winter squash. Last year we have more than 20, including some unusual and lovely heirlooms. Look for them in late August, and through October.
- Honestly, this is one crop that we just don’t quite understand yet. One of the best pieces of growing advice I ever got was to try to “think like the vegetable.” I can’t think like a tomato yet.
We will have a good range of standard reds, sauce, cherries and yellow/golden varieties. Even though we can’t quite figure them out, what we do grow tastes great, of course.
- We are trying this one out in 2009. Ready in late July.
- Hot, mild, green, red, purple – we will have them all this year.
- Of course, plenty of basil.
- The seed is coriander, the foliage is cilantro. It is an increasingly popular herb in the U.S., used mainly in Mexican and Asian cuisines.
- Fresh, anise-flavored bulbs and foliage. Good in salads, grilling and soups.