- Author: Brenda Dawson
Romanesco, rainbow carrots, party cauliflower and watermelon radishes — the vegetables of the Great Veggie Adventure — are just four of the many vegetables that farm advisors with the UC Small Farm Program have worked with recently.
Richard Molinar, farm advisor with UC Cooperative Extension and the Small Farm Program, frequently finds himself on his own "vegetable adventures" when visiting Hmong and Lao farmers in Fresno county with Michael Yang, agricultural assistant.
On a recent visit to Tchieng Farms, Molinar and Yang showed me many Asian vegetables I had never tried, including moqua, sinqua, long beans, lo bok, opo and winter melon. (Watch the video above for more)
We walked between the trellised crops and up and down the plant rows, while Yang and Molinar picked samples and talked about how to eat these new-to-me vegetables. Since Tchieng Farms sells at farmers markets, they maintain a wide variety of vegetables throughout the year, planting different vegetable varieties every few weeks.
Yang pointed out that sometimes Asian vegetables include familiar varieties that are grown and eaten in less familiar ways. For example, many Hmong and Chinese farmers grow sugar snap pea plants for the tender shoots, tendrils and leaves instead of the pea pod.