When you live in Washington, it is easy to get so many top quality fruits and vegetables all year long. At this time of year, we have the freshest produce arriving from farms big and small to our local grocery stores and farmers markets. In the winter, we can enjoy many of the frozen fruits and veggies that are picked at the peak of freshness and frozen at the height of nutritional quality. Our farmers grow our food well and for less than I could even in my own garden.
Yet some varieties of fruits and veggies don’t loan themselves to being grown commercially. Perhaps the bruise too easily or spoil too quickly. Or sometimes there just isn’t enough demand to grow on a commercial level. One of my favorite things to do is to grow things that you can’t buy in stores. Here are just a few that I have grown:
The most flavorful strawberries I have ever eaten are white alpine strawberries! If you can get one that is really ripe, it tastes almost too strawberry-ish. These little guys are super fragile. I once picked a few to take to a neighbor but they were mush by the time I got there – just a few miles down the road. These berries are best enjoyed right from the bush. The little beauties also produce all summer long!
An oddity for sure, having pink blueberries, but they taste fantastic. They start out somewhat whitish but change to a beautiful shade of pink when they are ripe.
These go by a lot of different names – ground cherries, pineapple tomatillos, husk cherries. These beautiful plants are related to tomatoes and tomatillos and grow with a low, spreading habit. The bushes are prolific, putting on hundreds of sweet cherry tomato sized fruits covered with a husk. They are ripe when the fruit turns yellow and the husk dries, usually dropping from the bush.
Why go for the typical store variety zucchini when you can grow tender, round zucchini? I have grown both green and yellow round zucchini. You can also impress your friends when you share your overabundance with them! Even if they have enough of their own, they may be tempted to take some just for the coolness factor.
While you can technically get these in the store, it is almost universally accepted that no tomato tastes as good as one fresh from the garden. There is a whole rainbow of tomatoes worth trying – from white to almost black. Some of my favorites have been the Green Zebra and Pineapple Tomatoes.
The possibilities are endless when it comes to growing your own food. In my limited gardening space, I prefer to grow things I can’t necessarily find in stores. As you start planting your fall garden or planning for next year, why not grow something that is not sold in stores?
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