For those looking to eat in season year-round, the cold winter months may seem to present some challenges. Are there local options available for fresh, unprocessed produce? Is there enough variety to keep things from getting boring? Do these options provide a wide spectrum of nutritional value and contribute to a balanced diet?  Luckily, the answer to all of these questions is YES!

One of the definitive characteristics of many winter cuisines is the incorporation of root vegetables of all sorts. Weather mashed, roasted, sauteed or boiled, root crops can provide the basis for a variety of winter meals. 

Here at Deep Root we pride ourselves in our delicious selection of root crops.  From the old standbys like potatoes, carrots and beets (of all colors), to the lesser known but just as fun options such as rutabagas, parsnips, turnips, celeriac and the incredible, edible Jerusalem Artichoke (just to name a few), there’s sure to be something for everybody!

In this article we’ll take a look at turnips – specifically the popular variety know as “purple top”.

Turnips are a member of the brassica family.  While there is some ambiguity as to the origins of the cultivated varieties, wild turnips can be found through out Asia and Europe.  The common Purple Top variety dates back at least to the late 1800’s and most of the Purple Tops grown today are open-pollinated varieties.  Turnip roots are a good source of vitamin C and dietary fiber, and can be cooked in a number of ways.

Here are some photos from this year’s turnip harvest at Foote Brook Farm

Turnips come in from the field in a V wagon after being hand-picked

Turnips are sprayed as they come out of the wagon, then move up a conveyor where they are sprayed a second time before being sorted into bins

Turnips in a bin

Final product