Everything Is Turning Up Turnips

One Song Farm. Daniel Lane photos

One Song Farm uses organic, bio-intensive methods to grow their produce. No fuel is used to dig, plant, cultivate, weed, water or harvest. One Song saves seeds, creating plants that are suited to Kaua’i’s climate. Sun also offers handson garden workshops at the farm.

What’s Growing Now: arugula, beets, beet greens, cabbage, canasta lettuce, cilantro, daikon, fresheating turnip, green leaf lettuce, kale, radish, romaine lettuce, perpetual spinach.

FRESH-EATING TURNIPS

Fresh-eating turnips are to be eaten within a couple days of harvest. Unlike drier mainstream turnips, these don’t store for long periods. One Song grows a Japanese variety called Hakurei. They are delicate, sweet, super-juicy and cleantasting, without the traditional turnip funk. “When the chefs from Salt (an Oahu restaurant) were here, I had them tasting everything,” Fuller says. “When we got to these, they both looked at each other and said, ‘I have never tasted a turnip anywhere near this good,’ and that’s why they ended up in the dessert.”

Recently, there was a scuffle over these turnips at the Kapa’a farmers market. A regular customer had been waiting 15 minutes, and once the market opened, she reached for the turnips, but they disappeared. “This lady made a beeline, pushed the other lady who was waiting and grabbed all the turnips!” Lisa says, shaking her head. The waiting woman did get a bunch, but only because she fought for it.

Lisa Fuller and Sun farm hand-powered and fuel-free

Season: One Song grows fresh-eating turnips yearround. They take 35 days from seed to table, and the greens prefer the cooler seasons.

What to look for: Fresheating turnips should be milky white and firm with a light sheen.

Storage: Sun and Fuller eat these turnips straight, like apples, so they are kept on the counter. In the refrigerator, they will last a few days before they begin to soften and discolor.

Tip: Tender greens are very similar to mustard greens and can go in salads, stir-fries, soup and sautés.

Preparation: These turnips are best eaten raw or lightly cooked, no peeling necessary. They are good diced and added to sautés during the last minutes of cooking. They also make a fine, crunchy addition to Thai soups or noodle bowls. Sun and Lisa add them to homemade kim chee and Asian pickles.

Health benefits: Raw turnips are high in vitamin C. Uncooked greens are a rich source of vitamin A, folate, vitamin C, vitamin K, calcium and manganese.

Turnips take 35 days from seed to table

One Song’s produce can be found at: Grocery: Hoku Natural Foods. Restaurants: Coconut Cup, Java Kai in Kapa’a. Farmers Market: Kapa’a Wednesdays at 3 p.m. Call 635-3020.

RAW TURNIP CHIPS

Turnips take 35 days from seed to table

Fresh-eating turnips are best sprinkled with a little sea salt, and eaten raw. This way their delicate flesh, and sweet flavor remain intact. Serve right away, as salt draws water from the turnips, and can leave you with a wet plate.

* 1 bunch fresh-eating turnips
* Hawaiian sea salt
* fresh ground pepper

Turnip chips with Hawaiian sea salt. Daniel Lane photos

Remove greens and store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for later use. Slice turnips into thin rounds. Arrange on a platter and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Enjoy alone or scoop into your favorite dip.

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