Crop 101: Rhubarb


Rhubarb is a vegetable that is usually used like a fruit and seldom eaten raw.  It is excellent in desserts such as pies, crisps, crumbles, breads, sauces and jams.  Rhubarb has a lemony semi-bitter flavor that is usually balanced out with the use of sugar or a sweet fruit, such as strawberries.

Rhubarb stalks look similar to celery, but they grow individually from the ground, and not in a bunch.  Rhubarb stalks can be any color from green to pink to dark red.  It is a common misnomer that the redder rhubarb stalks are “riper” or better to eat.  There are several varieties of rhubarb, each with a different color.  Although the red stalks do have a very pretty color, it is not an indication of superior flavor or ripeness.

Did you know that the leaves of the rhubarb plant are poisonous?  So you should never eat them!

We have 4 different rhubarb patches of varying ages to ensure that we have plenty of rhubarb to supply all of our farmers markets.  We begin harvest of rhubarb as soon as it grows large enough in the spring, generally by the beginning of May.  We will continue to harvest rhubarb for 5 to 6 weeks, depending on weather conditions and overall health of the plant.

The past few years, we have placed low hoop tunnels over a few rows of rhubarb.  The plastic covers allow the rhubarb to mature earlier due to the intensified heat and sunlight under the hoop tunnels.20150502_080828

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