Collection, Ark of Taste
- Hidatsa Shield bean
- Early Blood Turnip beet
- Aunt Molly's ground cherry
- Tennis Ball lettuce
- Beaver Dam pepper
- Sibley squash
We reserve the right to substitute seed varieties in all collections in case of shortages.
Slow Food USA works to identify endangered foods from across the country to add to the Ark of Taste, and to champion these foods so they stay in production and on our plates. Learn more about the Ark of Taste in the USA by visiting Slow Food USA’s website.
Hidatsa Shield Bean
From the Hidatsa tribe who raised corn, squash, beans, and sunflowers in the Missouri River Valley of North Dakota. Shield Figure beans are described in Buffalo Bird Woman’s Garden (1917). This very productive variety was boarded onto Slow Food USA’s Ark of Taste in 2005. Pole habit, dry, 90 days.
Early Blood Turnip Beet
Available as early as 1825 from seedsmen such as Sinclair & Moore of Baltimore, MD. Good all purpose variety with dark red flesh that is sweet, crisp, and tender. Excellent market and home garden variety for summer and autumn use. Now relatively rare. 48-68 days.
Aunt Molly’s Ground Cherry
(Physalis grisea) Easy to grow, prolific, and super sweet. Can be used for preserves, pies, over ice cream, or in fresh fruit salads. The ½-¾" fruits are encased in a papery husk that turns brown when the fruits ripen. Stores 3-4 weeks in the husk. Productive plants have a sprawling habit. 70 days from transplant.
Tennis Ball Lettuce
Small rosettes of light green leaves measure only 7" in diameter and form loose tender heads. Grown by Thomas Jefferson at Monticello. According to Heirloom Vegetable Gardening by SSE member William Woys Weaver, tennis ball lettuces were often pickled in salt brine during the 17th and 18th centuries. Black-seeded. Butterhead, 50 days.
Beaver Dam Pepper
Hungarian heirloom brought to Beaver Dam, WI in 1912 by the Joe Hussli family. Florence Hussli recommends adding crisp sliced rings to a cheese and bologna sandwich, or using for stuffed peppers. Fruits are mildly hot when seeded. 80 days from transplant. Medium.
(C. maxima) (aka Pike’s Peak) Introduced by Hiram Sibley & Co. of Rochester, New York in 1888. Superb banana squash with thick sweet flesh. James J. H. Gregory found it simply “magnificent.” Winner of the SSE staff taste test in 2014. Hard-rinded, inversely pear shaped, excellent keeper. 110 days.