A newly-married couple from Los Angeles quit their jobs to work on farms and wineries across Europe. Read it from the beginning...

How well do you know your veggies?

Posted: June 13th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Growing Food, Wales | 13 Comments »

For the last month and a half Devon and I have been working on organic farms (certified and non-certified) in Europe. While here, we’ve actually learned quite a lot about the fresh produce we find on our plates for breakfast, lunch and dinner. What’s surprised us both is how little we know about the actual plants from which our produce grows.

Here are a number of pictures of produce growing from the vegetable and fruit farm we worked on in Wales. I could identify but a few without help when we first got there. Can you guess what’s what? I’ve put the answers in the comments section. How many did you get right?

In addition to learning what my veggies and fruit look like in the ground, I learned a few things about how the plants grow which surprised me. To a farmer, this is basic knowledge, but to a city girl, it was quite the revelation. The most surprising thing to me was that when we eat broccoli, we’re actually eating the immature flower. If farmers  didn’t cut the broccoli head from the plant, it would blossom with little yellow flowers.

The second thing that surprised me was the potato plant. I hadn’t really thought about what a potato plant looked like just that the potato was a “root vegetable.” The potato is really a modified leaf. It isn’t a root at all! Potatoes grow underground inside ridged mounds. The higher the dirt covers the plant, the more potatoes it grows. If a potato breaks the surface it turns green, like a leaf, and becomes poisonous.

Lastly, when I was in Devon I learned about the bay leaf. Whenever I’m making soup, it usually calls for a bay leaf or two. But where does one get a bay leaf? Usually, we go to the herbs section of the grocery store and it’s conveniently in a little container for us. But, we have no idea it comes from a tree and what we use in our soup are the dried leaves.

There is tons more I can share, but I fear I’m inching into geek territory. The point though, is that we eat broccoli, bay leaves and other fruits and veggies every day. We don’t even consider what they look like in the ground. It’s all so conveniently located in the store or the farmers market that we don’t have to worry about it. I think though, that in order to truly appreciate what’s on your plate we need to understand where it comes from. And, well, now you know what eight more veggies and fruits look like when they’re growing on the farm. Don’t forget to click in the comments section to see how many of the veggies/fruit plants you got right!

Previous: Next:

13 Comments on “How well do you know your veggies?”

  1. 1 Halbe said at 4:56 am on June 13th, 2010:

    The answers to the produce quiz are:

    #1 – Tomatoes
    #2 – Carrot
    #3 – Sweet corn
    #4 – Asparagus
    #5 – Green and red leaf lettuce
    #6 – Potatoes
    #7 – Strawberries
    #8 – Rhubarb

  2. 2 DonnaAnn said at 8:52 am on June 13th, 2010:

    Oh, no biggie. I can get broccoli to bloom any old day. Just put it in the fridge and forget about it for a few weeks. Voila! Inedible flowering broccoli.

    This is by far my favorite post. Not Geeky at all. Much more leeky. Or fenugreeky. Okay. I’ll stop now.

  3. 3 Elly said at 8:55 am on June 13th, 2010:

    I am soooooo impressed by you guys! And it sounds as if you are actually having fun. Meanwhile back in La-la land, Bethany has appeared on “All My Children” 4 times now. And she will be acting (not singing) in a new opera “Il Postino” at the Dorothy Chandler starring Placido Domingo in the Fall.
    Continue having fun on your trek kiddies and bring home some produce. Love, Elly

  4. 4 Cathy said at 11:21 am on June 13th, 2010:

    Five out of eight, not bad. Should have gotten strawberry, but thought it was parsley. No idea on potatoes, didn’t recognize the corn.

    Lavender, no problem!

  5. 5 Z said at 11:39 am on June 13th, 2010:

    Only missed strawberries and potatoes. Was thrown by the flood, but should have recognized that it was a berry at least. Tomatoes were an educated guess because there’s no close-up. I’m still pretty proud of myself, considering I don’t eat half these things.

  6. 6 Halbe said at 2:08 pm on June 13th, 2010:

    Very proud of you Zee, considering how little produce you eat. Only thing is, the strawberries weren’t in a flood. The black shiny stuff you see if plastic covering the ground to prevent the growth of weeds. I guess it looks like water…but it’s not.

  7. 7 Mom/Mindy said at 2:28 pm on June 13th, 2010:

    I got them all except potatoes! Next let us identify goats and dogs…

  8. 8 Z said at 12:25 am on June 14th, 2010:

    Ahhhhhhh. Now that I know what it is, I see what it is. My dad thought it was water, too. May not help that we’re looking on my iPhone.

    It’s more transparent than the black plastic used in the Santa Maria strawberry fields where I’ve actually picked strawberries.

    I’ve also picked corn, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, and a bunch of other stuff. My grandma had a garden, and my parents used to have tomato plants (they produce a lot). I know where my food comes from, it’s from animals who eat this stuff. 😉

  9. 9 Shawna said at 7:34 am on June 14th, 2010:

    Wow, how did I miss carrots?

    I’m growing lettuce, strawberries, tomatoes, pumpkins, popcorn (which looks a lot like your picture of corn), and carrots in my garden right now. It is funny having to learn how to grow fruits/veggies- it seems like it should be second nature, but there are a lot of things that I just don’t know. My grandmother comes over and laughs at my little “experiments”.

    It is really cool that you guys get to learn from real farmers. Now you’ll be able to have the best garden around!

  10. 10 Jeanne said at 10:00 am on June 14th, 2010:

    Oh, I hate tests and did terribly on this one. Clearly I’m not a gardener. I can’t even keep track of the flowers that have been growing in our garden for a decade. Was fascinated with the info on potatoes though. Who knew!

  11. 11 Daniel DeLapp said at 11:08 am on June 14th, 2010:

    Good to hear you two are learning a lot and having a good time. I enjoyed taking your fruit and veggie exam- 100%. My love for farming has paid off.

  12. 12 Sarah said at 4:10 pm on June 14th, 2010:

    Not geeky at all! It really is amazing how little we (many of us) know about the food we consume each day. Are you excited to grow your own garden when you get back?

  13. 13 Adrienne said at 9:15 pm on June 14th, 2010:

    Ugh, I did poorly… my grandfather would be most displeased (he grew nearly all of these when I was a little girl)

Leave a Reply

ссылка здесь справочник телефонов по комсомольску-на-амуре spy sms blackberry messages catch a wife having affair решебники онлайн shkola ua программа чтобы прочитать чужие смски cell what is cell phone spy gadgets text messages spy gps phone tracker spy camera app for android spy text reader spy app тут адрес и имя по номеру телефона мобильного android spy on you тут химия 10 класс шиманович решебник cell phone spy x tunnel vision на сайте Жираф большой ему видней Натруальный sitemap