Wednesday, February 10, 2010


One of my favorite things to do at farmers' markets is a little guessing game for kids. While their mother or father is perusing our stall, I'll point to the bouquet of yellow flowers hanging from the tent corner and ask the child, "Can you find the vegetable that those flowers come from?" Sometimes parents get involved in the search around our booth, and they are just as perplexed as the kid as to the source of the bright, pretty blossoms. Here's what they look like in the field:

And here's a hint from one that is "bolting" :

It's... broccoli! Amazing, huh? To "bolt" is probably my favorite verb describing the process that a plant undergoes before producing seeds or flowers. I looked up the word in the dictionary, and laughed at the appropriateness of the definition: "To start suddenly and run away." That's exactly what happens. One day, we have beautiful heads of broccoli, and a warm, sunny day or two later, each little green nodule you see on the head suddenly opens up and buds as a yellow flower! Then, it literally runs away as it shoots up long stems and produces more flowers and seeds. If we don't pick fast enough, our rows of broccoli turn into rows of bouquets, a perfect habitat for bees.

Here are some more unusual bolted plants:


Ruby lettuce

A radish (with a regular radish on the right for a size comparison - wow.)

1 comment:

  1. Kat-- "bolting" has found its way into our everyday conversations..."so the new job's tough, eh?'re not going to bolt though right?" or..."don't mind her, she's bolting now, right before her 25th birthday--we've called it her 'quarter-life crisis.'"

    Radish flowers are my favorite...and ps...I'm starting my onions this week...