Here at the Coquitlam Farmers Market we are all about local, seasonal and sustainably grown produce. What better way to celebrate the summer months than a fresh take on some familiar foods! This week’s topic: beets.
Did you know beets are grown for both their edible roots and greens?
Did You Know?
Did you know beets are a member of the scientific family which includes among other things, spinach? Their greens are high in vitamin A and are great in salads and other fresh summer dishes!
Beets are in season in South West British Columbia from July all the way until December! They have been used as both a dye and drink packed with nutrients like vitamin C and fiber.
Recipe of the Week
Vegetarian Beet Borscht
Courtesy of Lisa Cantkier, Holistic Nutritionist
2 large beets, peeled and cubed
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
6 cups water
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
½ tsp sea salt to taste
½ tsp pepper, to taste
1 large bay leaf, dried
1 medium parsnip, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, sliced
3 tsp raw honey
4 large dill sprigs, chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil, to fry
Step 1- Put the potatoes, carrot, parsnip, beets and bay leaf in a large pot of water. Add salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and cook for about 15-20 minutes.
Step 2- Sauté the onion, garlic and dill to your liking and then add it to the pot.
Step 3- Cook your combined ingredients in your pot over low heat for another 30 minutes.
Step 4- Enjoy your borscht hot or cold, chunky or pureed!
Ingredients at the Market
Beets: Forstbauer Farms, Never Say Die Farm
Bell Peppers: Floralia Growers, Never Say Die Farm
Carrots: Wah Fung Farm, Never Say Die Farm
Onions: Wah Fung Farm
Dill: Floralia Growers, Shen’s Farm, Red Barn Plants and Produce
Greens: Amazia Farm, Beckmann Farm, Floralia Growers, Forstbauer Farms, Harvest Direct, Hill Top Farm, Langley Organic Growers, Mandair Farms, Never Say Die Farm, Ripple Creek Organic Farm, Shen’s Farm, Snowy Mountain Organics, Wah Fung Farm
Steps on How To
Beet Planting 101:
Step 1- Seeds should be sown about one half inches deep in the soil with each row about 12-18 inches apart. The seedlings will need to be thinned when they are one to two inches tall and spaced about one inch apart.
Step 2- As they continue to grow, they should be thinned again, until they are growing about three to four inches apart. Beets can be planted successively (about three weeks apart) so you can have multiple harvests throughout the growing season.
Step 3- After your beets have matured a bit, put mulch around the plants to help conserve moisture and keep weeds at bay. Weeding will need to be done periodically. Be careful not to disrupt the roots of the beets.
Step 4- Watering your beets is important. Make sure the plant receives about an inch of water per week.
Note: When growing conditions are overly wet or poor-draining, fungal diseases are common.
Step 5- Depending on the variety, beets mature between 55-70 days. Beets can be harvested at any point you desire. When beets become larger than three inches they become tough and fibrous in texture. The greens of beets taste best when they are between four and six inches in height.
Note: It is important to maintain continual growth when growing beets. If growth stops, an inferior crop will result.
Beets in B.C.
Beets are one of B.C.’s many field vegetables that thrive due to a moderate climate, fertile soils and access to good water. The majority of field vegetables are produced in the southwest corner of the province with the remainder spread largely throughout Vancouver Island and the southern interior.
Did you know beets are primarily grown for the fresh market? At the same time, they are considered a storage crop by the province. Growing as much storage crops as we do, the province has set a quota in order to balance the amount grown among farmers while not to overload the marketplace.