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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Gilfeather Turnip

Upon hearing the name, Gilfeather Turnip one conjures up images of a dainty turnip, perhaps beautiful, with a feather-like stem being pulled from the earth. This however, is far from reality. The Gilfeather is probably the ugliest turnip I have seen. Awful color, oddly shaped, it could easily be mistaken for a rock, which is appropriate because they are difficult to cut. So where did this turnip come from? Well where all good things come from of course, Vermont.

The local turnip is apparently—its history is somewhat mysterious -- the
descendent of a sweet, white German turnip. It became part of Wardsboro
history when John Gilfeather started growing them on his hillside farm in the
early 1900s. He developed a unique product, probably through hybridization.
He planted many rows of turnips and sold them by the cartload in Brattleboro,
Northampton, and other markets, but he kept the seeds to himself. He cut off
the tops and bottoms of his turnips so that no one else could reproduce them.

Over the years Gilfeather turnips have found their way into countless stews,
sauces, and soups. They are often boiled and mashed in with the potatoes, and
according to Wales Read, some people like to cut them into thin slices and eat
them raw. Local Brit Shine noted that deer also appreciate a good turnip, and
Carol Backus, present owner of Gilfeather Farm, has found deer eating not only
the green tops but the roots of her turnips as well.

Despite praise from Greg Parks, the Gilfeather turnip’s humble origin and
lowly status may overshadow its fame as a gourmet delicacy. Beatrice Read
recalled that on the family farm they raised them by the bushel, ground them
up, and fed them to the cows. “It made the milk taste a little funny,” she said,
“but you got used to it.”

There is even an annual Gilfeather Turnip festival which I might have to attend one year just because.

If you are wondering what this turnip tastes like, I'll tell you. It's sweet. Shocking right? Create a stew with this and your house guests won't stop talking about it. It's surprisingly very good. Of course, if it weren't for my parents I wouldn't have known about this turnip. Thanks mom and dad.

Driving in NY State? Better not be caught on your cell phone.

I've seen this slip up before...but it's still funny to me. I know, my sense of humor is warped.

Can I take a moment to apologize. I have not been spending the time I used to to write these posts. It's been a hectic month but I plan on getting back into the groove. How Evan Got His Groove Back.

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