6 Foods You Can Save From Extinction

What is an Ark of Taste kit?

Every year, Slow Food Wisconsin Southeast selects half a dozen plants from a catalog of endangered foods—called Ark of Taste—to sell to home gardeners. For $30 ($25 for members), you can purchase the entire 6-pack and help restore the longtime tradition of growing and sharing delicious food.

Learn more about the cultural significance and flavor profiles of this year’s Ark of Taste picks, and consider making room in your garden for these treasured varieties. Or hey, maybe Mom’s garden bed or pots would make a loving home: You can pre-order a 6-pack and pick up your Ark of Taste kit at the Bay View Plant Sale in South Shore Park on May 30th from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. … because what mother wouldn’t love sharing a 6-pack with the family.

Here’s what’s included:

ground cherry

Aunt Molly’s Ground Cherry
This heirloom is not actually a cherry, but rather a small ground tomato that grows in a tiny husk, much like tomatillo. The fruits were recorded in horticultural literature as early as 1837 in Pennsylvania and are still common today at roadside stands in late summer. This particular Polish variety is famed for its pineapple and vanilla bursts of tropical flavor, which just so happen to work magic in preserves, pies and fresh fruit salads.

Cherokee Purple
Rediscovered by tomato grower Craig LeHoullier, who claimed that it was more than 100 years old and originated with the Cherokee people, the Cherokee Purple tomato has a unique dusty rose color and an intense sweet and smoky flavor.

Aunt Ruby’s Green Tomato
The Aunt’s Ruby’s German Green is a large beefsteak type with a hint of yellow striping and a sweet, juicy bite. One tomato often weighs one pound or more, and while they’re excellent in salads, there’s nothing quite like Aunt Ruby’s fried green tomatoes.

Jimmy Nardello’s Sweet Italian Frying Pepper
This variety of pepper was originally from Basilicata, a southern region of Italy. It takes its name from seed saver Jimmy Nardello, who brought the seeds from Italy while immigrating to Connecticut in 1887. This sweet pepper matures in 80-90 days from transplant, and its fruits are 10-12 inches long while the plants can reach 2 feet. In the pepper world, it’s considered one of the very best for frying—the fruity raw flavor becomes perfectly creamy and soft when fried.

Amish Paste Tomato
This heirloom tomato was discovered in Wisconsin, although its origins are in Lancaster, Pennsylvania—the heart of the Amish Country. The tomatoes are teardrop or heart-shaped with a vibrant red-orange color. When it’s sliced fresh, the sweet, juicy flesh sparkles but has a solid texture. The Amish Paste is commonly eaten fresh or in sauces, but the options are endless, and entirely up to you.

ark-prod-beaver_dam_pepper

Beaver Dam Pepper
Meet a Hungarian heirloom pepper that was brought to Beaver Dam, Wisconsin in 1912 by the Joe Hussli family. The pepper’s first fruits mature 80 days after transplanting, at which point they ripen from lime-green to red. Rated as 3 on a heat scale of 1-5, the Beaver Dam is perfect for stuffing or making a traditional goulash.

Ready to taste for yourself? Order your six-pack by clicking here, and keep us posted as you grow, taste, cook and share these extraordinary varieties. Need a few more details? Click here.

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