Many people may think with the colder temperatures and occasional snow storms farms shut down over the winter months. However this is not the case at Terp Farm located in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. Although Terp Farm is not producing as large quantities as they would from spring-fall, they are keeping busy with preparations for the upcoming harvesting season, and utilizing the high tower to grow a variety of greens and turnips!
Turnips are a root vegetable part of the cabbage family. Prime winter turnip season is from October through February. You can eat both the root and greens of the turnip. Minimal prep is needed when cooking with turnips. With winter turnips all you need to do is cut the root from the leaves, peal the turnip using a potato peeler, then cut up the turnip to your liking and cook. The greens can be boiled, steamed, or eating raw in a salad.
Turnips will add a crunchy-peppery taste to a main meal or side dish and provide you with vitamin C. While the turnip greens provide a more bitter taste to you mixed greens adding calcium to your meal.
The turnips in the picture were harvested for an upcoming Taste of Maryland Legislative reception. They were not yet grown to full size, but the prematurity of the turnip will give a sweeter taste and a more tender leaf.
An example of how to cook with turnips
Turnips + Spinach + Olive oil + garlic + dash of lemon juice + pinch of salt & pepper
Written by Elizabeth Haley, University of Maryland, College Park Dietetic Intern