Recommended Fruit and Vegetable Varieties: Plant for Flavor and Nutrition

Learn about several recommended crop varieties and some planting tips for growing a garden full of delicious, nutrient-packed food.

| January/February 1971

Not many of the dollars spent by colleges of agriculture and the USDA are used to develop vegetables and fruits with maximum nutrition and flavor. Today's consumer—either from indoctrination or lack of choice—generally buys produce almost entirely on the basis of size and color.

Most developmental work, therefore, is concentrated on improving only the shipping quality, size, and appearance of fruits and vegetables. It becomes a vicious circle. The grower pushes the big and bright and the customer, conditioned to accept such as "good," demands ever bigger and brighter. The few who complain about lack of flavor and nutrition are told that only the big and bright will sell.

Recommended Tomato Varieties

The picture is dark, but not entirely black. There are a few examples of limited search for taste and nutrition and they've produced some varieties of garden fare that you should know about before you start dreaming over those seed catalogs this year.

The University of New Hampshire, for instance, appears to be in the nutritional vanguard with its 'Double Rich' tomato. This tomato—which has twice the vitamin C content of ordinary tomato varieties—was bred at the university several years ago. 'Double Rich' still doesn't have the charisma of hybrids such as 'Big Boy,' however, and you may have to start yours from seed.

The University of New Hampshire is also responsible for an 'Eat-All' squash with high protein, edible seeds and is credited—I believe—with 'Sweetheart' beets, which are far more flavorful than the old standards.

Another notable nutritional advancement is Purdue University's 'Caro-Red' tomato, which has 10 times the vitamin A content of older varieties. It is a prolific bearer, staked or not, but the name 'Caro-Red' may prove confusing; the ripe fruit is medium to large and 'Caro-Red' both adds nutrition and takes salads beyond the usual dimension of red and green.

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