Shagbark Hickory

This tree’s name is self-explanatory. Nuts from the shagbark hickory are tasty, but they are a rare treat since they require significant effort to open and clean. In any case, the squirrels usually get there first. The high density of the wood makes hickory an excellent firewood, though it’s usually not suitable for shiitake mushroom cultivation due to the flakiness of the bark.

Sparkle Strawberry

Sparkle is a strawberry variety that has superb flavor and sweetness, short shelf life, and small- to medium-sized berries. The short shelf life means that they are unsuitable for most marketing, but once they make it to the hands of the eater there’s little worry that any will be left around long enough to go bad.

Plants flower in April. Our first tend to ripen around the middle of May and they are usually done by early-to-mid June. We generally pick daily during the peak of production. We’ve found that protection from racoons is critical; a few low-strung lines of portable electric wire fence has worked for us.

The plants are rather difficult to manage because they runner aggressively, but produce plenty of material for expanded plantings. The biggest berries are produced on plants that are well spaced, a result that we’ve found is more easily achieved by establishing a new planting than by thinning an old one, which tends to fill itself in again quickly.

Jimmy Nardello’s Italian Pepper

Though it may look like a hot pepper, Jimmy Nardello’s Italian Pepper is actually a very sweet, flavorful pepper. The flesh is relatively thin. They’re great raw, cooked, or dried for later use. We quite often eat these straight off the plants in late summer when we’re hungry and need a snack. This is Eric’s favorite sweet pepper.

This is an open-pollinated, heirloom variety that the Slow Food organization has recognized as being exceptional by including it on the Ark of Taste list.

Organic seed source: Southern Exposure Seed Exchange.

Carrot, Danvers 126

A relatively short, pointy variety that does well in heavy soils. Very sweet in cold weather (fall/winter harvests). Spring plantings also have good flavor. Our standard carrot.

Organic seed sources: Southern Exposure Seed Exchange; High Mowing Organic Seeds.