Most of us don’t consider how so many varieties of pears or eggplants ended up in the produce aisle, do we? Well, while we go about out lives, visiting markets and trying new recipes, there are curious folks all around the world, experimenting, planting and grafting away in labs, orchards and greenhouses. They’re working on bringing us exciting new tastes: fruits and veggies that are hardier and more fruitful, and that have better flavour or a longer shelf life. Then there are the plants that have been around for eons that are being rediscovered.
We’ve gathered six of the newest and coolest to buy or introduce into your garden—if you can find a grower willing to share!
1. Mountain Rose Apple
This gorgeous fruit looks like a typical apple on the outside. It’s when you bite into it that you’ll truly appreciate its rare beauty. It’s a crisp, tart apple offering hints of strawberry and lemonade. Grown exclusively on a small family farm—Hood River Organics—in Oregon’s Hood River Valley, it’s also known as Airlie Red flesh or Pink Lady. The origins of this resurrected heirloom variety have yet to be agreed upon. Some say it hails from Japan, others, England. Any way you slice it, the flavour makes for a real change from the usual supermarket varieties. In Canada, the Mountain Rose Apple is only available through Mikuni Wild Harvest, and because supplies are so limited, they always sell out—quickly!
2. Red walnuts
Rex Lawrence of Sanguinetti Family Farms in California tells us how these stunners came to be: “They are not genetically modified. They were created using natural methods of grafting Persian, red-skinned walnuts onto the larger and creamier English walnuts.” Born on slower-growing trees, red walnuts are larger and the shells are a little harder than other walnut varieties. Reds are late producing, so they are available at the end of fall and into the winter, but because they are so new and still quite rare, supplies are limited.