OUR VEGETABLE DICTIONARY

Can't recognize a vegetable in the order form or in your veggie share? Got questions about what it is and how to eat it? This is your go-to source for our Sparrow Garden vegetable varieties.

Amaranth

Amaranth is a genus of annual or short-lived perennial, also known as a species of flowering plant in which the seed, oil, and leaf can be used in foods! It can be enjoyed in small quantities and is also great to use when making medicines!

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Arugula

Frequently eaten raw as a salad green or used to top cooked pizzas, arugula is a leafy herb and a member of the cabbage and mustard green family. It has a peppery, spicy, and slightly tart flavour, and can be paired nicely with a vinegar or citrus acidic dressing.

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Basil

Herb

Basil is a herb in the mint family and has over 60 varieties. Known mostly to be the main ingredient in pesto and tomato-based pasta sauces, this herb has a fragrant, sweet smell, a peppery taste, and is popular in Italian, Thai, Indonesian, and Vietnamese cuisines. Our farm supplies a range of different basil types, though most have the same flavour!

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Beans

Legumes

Green beans come in multiple types, shapes, and sizes, but are all a rich source of vitamins A, C, K, and more. Most have a sweetness in their pod but all can be eaten in a variety of ways. They’re great on their own, tossed into a salad, or added to soups, stews, and casseroles. They can also be boiled, steamed, microwaved, or eaten fresh on their own. Our farm supplies a range of different bean types that can be used in any of the ways listed!

Our Varieties: Isabel pole; Blue lake bush; Pencil pod yellow wax; Delinel bush; Goldrush bush; Royal burgundy bush; Oceanis bush; Tongue of fire bush; Dragon’s tongue bean; Runner bean (scarlet temperer)

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Beets

Beets are a common root vegetable that is often used in salads and soups and can be boiled, baked, steamed, or eaten raw. Similar in shape to turnips and radishes (though not related), beets grow underground and are best described as having an earthy, sweet flavour. The greens (stems and leaves) of the beets are also able to be eaten raw or cooked, as they often have a flavour similar to Swiss chard, but sweeter. The different types our farm supplies can be used in any of the ways listed above!

Our Varieties: Cylindra (grows long); Chiogga Gardomark (grows wide); Merlin hybrid (grows wide); Kestrel hybrid (grows wide); Taunus (grows long)

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Broccoli

Broccoli is a form of cabbage of the mustard family and is a nutritious veggie that can be eaten fresh or cooked. Broccoli is high in a variety of nutrients (fibre, vitamin C, vitamin K, and iron, to name a few), most of which can be preserved by steaming the broccoli before eating.

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Cabbage

Leafy, crunchy, and nutritious raw or cooked, green cabbage is a leafy green vegetable that grows in tight, spherical heads. While it is most commonly added to stir-frys or used raw in salads, roasting this veggie brings out a significant sweet flavour.

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Carrots

Carrots are root vegetables best known for their orange colour (though they come in other hues). They are a popular and versatile vegetable with a slightly sweet flavour due to their natural sugar content, though may also be slightly earthy or bitter depending on colour, size, and where they are grown.

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Chive

Herb

Tall, dark, and green-looking strands of grass, chives are members of the allium family and are often used to garnish different dishes by adding their mild, oniony flavour (similar to the flavour of leeks).

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Choi

Asian Green

Choi is an Asian green served cooked as part of stir-fries, or blanched and served either plain or with oyster sauce. There are multiple variations of Choi, though they are typically all crunchy and sweet, with dark leaves that are soft and slightly bitter.

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Cilantro

Herb

Cilantro is a versatile herb with a unique flavour and flat leaves that look much like parsley. Fresh cilantro has a pungent, bright, lemony, and slightly peppery taste that tastes like soap to some, though the flavour diminishes once the cilantro is dried or cooked.

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Cucumber

Cucumbers are a type of edible plant grown from flowers and contain seeds. Often crunchy, refreshing, and enjoyed raw, they are usually prepared in salads, can be eaten with a dollop of hummus, and can also be used in more savoury dishes. Our farm carries both Mercury and Tasty Green Hybrid.

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Dill

Herb

Dill is a herb with feathery green leaves and can be used fresh or dried. With a grassy, anise-like licorice flavour, dill can also taste less aromatic and more bitter depending on the colour of the leaves. A small amount of dill can go a long way and is usually used to garnish salads, dressings, and other savoury dishes.

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Eggplant

Eggplants are vegetables from the nightshade family that grow in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colours. Some recipes involve peeling off the fibrous outer skin, but several varieties have a thin enough skin that is edible. Typically sliced or chopped, eggplants are great when grilled, in casseroles, used in stews, or broiled. Eggplants can also be marinated, pickled, grilled, braised, deep-fried, sauteed, stir-fried, and baked.

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Fun Jen

Asian Green

Fun Jen is a loosely clustered set of frilly leaves with long, slender stems, and a firm, crunchy consistency. Edible raw or cooked, this Asian green can be used in stir-frys with other vegetables, served with other meats, or pickled for a tangy, salty flavour. They can also be used in soups, tossed into salads, or enjoyed in sandwiches and wraps.

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Garlic

Garlic is a member of the lily family, along with onions, shallots, and leeks. While debated as being an herb, spice, or vegetable, its intense and unique flavour and aroma make it a mainstay ingredient in all the culinary arts. Garlic is covered in inedible papery skin with a bulb comprised of individual sections called cloves. The cloves themselves are also enclosed in a paper-like skin, and the pale yellow flesh within the garlic is what is used for cooking.

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Garlic Chive

Herb

Garlic chives are herbs with pretty white flowers and a strong garlic flavour, making them a popular seasoning. If chopped fresh, they are popular in stir-fry recipes, as well as in other Chinese and Japanese cuisines.

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Garlic Scapes

Garlic scapes are the tender stem and flower bud of a hard neck garlic plant that first grows straight out of the garlic bulb, then coil. With a taste like a unique blend of onion, scallion, and garlic, scapes are usually less fiery and have a fresher, “greener” taste than the actual garlic bulbs. Their texture is also quite similar to that of asparagus.

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Green Onion

Herb

Green onions are closely related to chives, leeks, shallots, and garlic, and have a mild flavour. Nearly the entire onion, including the hollow tubular tops, stems, and bulbs, are used raw in salads and sauces, as garnishes and seasonings for prepared dishes, and can also be pickled.

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Kale

Kale is a green, leafy vegetable full of antioxidants helpful for the body. Able to be eaten raw or cooked, Kale comes from the cabbage family and can be used in salads, thrown into smoothies, baked into chips, or sauteed. Depending on the age of the Kale, it can be sweet, bland, or bitter, though it generally has a strong earthy taste emphasized by its crunchy, tough leaves.

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Komatsuna

Asian Green

Komatsuna is an Asian green with a spicy mustard green-like flavour. Known also as Japanese mustard spinach, its leaves are often added to salads for a flavourful kick.

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Lamb's Quarters

Lamb’s Quarters are often red, blue or lightly striped with green, and can be eaten raw or cooked like spinach. They are also rich in iron, protein, vitamin B2 and vitamin C.

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Leeks

Leeks are a member of the onion family and look like green onions, though they are much larger and milder in flavour. They are a favourite addition to soups, casseroles, and white meat entrees. It is also worth mentioning that they are great as a simple side dish when gently sauteed.

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Lettuce-head

Our farm carries spring, summer, and fall lettuce. Spring lettuce is a general mix of red and green romaine lettuce, perfect as a base for salads or used in sandwiches. Summer lettuce, also known as French crisp or Batavia lettuce, is a crisp leaf, just like romaine, though instead of being bitter, it is instead sweet and juicy. Fall lettuce is loose-leaf lettuce that is quick and easy to grow. It’s great for salads and sandwiches as well and thrives when grown in cool fall temperatures.

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Mibuna

Asian Green

As a close relative of mizuna, mibuna is also an Asian green with a mild, mustardy flavour and a long, slender, spear shape. It can be lightly cooked or added to salads, as well as is great in soups and stir-fries.

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Mint

Herb

Mint has long added its bright flavour and scent to both drinks and dishes, as it is an aromatic herb produced by various species of the mint plant. Great as fresh or dried leaves, it tastes sweet and produces a lingering cool effect on the tongue. Different varieties of mints have stronger peppermint flavours with more menthol tastes, while others have a reduced flavour and scent. This makes it the perfect garnish for waters, stewing, salads, side dishes, teas, sauces, or as a complement to lamb and poultry dishes.

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Mizuna

Asian Green

Mizuna is a leafy green vegetable that falls under the Asian green category. With relations to broccoli, kale, and brussels sprouts, Mizuna has dark green, serrated leaves with thin stems and a peppery, slightly bitter flavour. This makes it great for soups, stir-fries, or salads.

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Onion

Spring onions have a similar look to scallions, though they have a small onion bulb at their base. They are sweeter and mellower than regular onions, however, the greens are more intense in flavour than scallions. Their bulbs can be red or white, depending on the variety, though they can be used in the same way as regular onion bulbs. Spring onions are great grilled, roasted whole, or used like pearl onions.

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Oregano

Herb

Oregano is a herb mostly known for its use on pizzas and within pasta sauces. It is composed of fresh or dried leaves and lends a pungent aroma and strong flavour to a plethora of savoury foods.

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Parsley

Herb

Parsley is a herb used as a subtle addition to a wide range of cuisines. It’s best known as a versatile, fresh addition to sauces, salads, or other dishes that could use a touch of herbal flavour.

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Peas (Sugar Snap)

Legumes

Sugar Snap Peas (also known as snap peas) are pod fruits, with both the peas and the pods being edible. Edible uncooked or cooked, the peas can be boiled so they don’t lose their crisp crunch or can be enjoyed in salads or stir-fries.

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Peppers (Ace f1)

Ace peppers are most commonly known as the classic bell peppers, which can be used in a plethora of dishes, sides, sandwiches, and more.

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Peppers (Bright Star)

These peppers are bell in shape and are bright orange. They carry a pleasant, sweet, crisp flavour, which makes them great in salsas, fajitas, and fresh in salads.

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Peppers (Buena Mulata)

These peppers are beautiful ornamental hot peppers that ripen from a vivid violet to zesty orange to a deep red. It’s an old heirloom variety that provides a comparable amount of heat, though it also carries a sweetness that makes it great to use in a variety of savoury dishes.

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Peppers (Chocolate Beauty)

Chocolate beauty peppers are medium-large, lobed bell peppers that turn from green to chocolate brown. They have somewhat of an average flavour when green, however, as they turn a deep brown, they increase in sweetness and become positively more delicious.

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Peppers (Hot)

Hot peppers are mostly known as chili peppers and come as a relatively small, bright green, spicy type of pepper. It is great for adding flavour to all kinds of dishes with a little heat, and is great in sauces, salsas, and other savoury dishes.

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Peppers (Sante fe hot)

This type of pepper matures from yellow to orange-red and has a mild heat with a slight sweetness. They work well either cooked or used fresh in salads, salsas, or other dishes based on Chile peppers.

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Peppers (Shepherd)

Shepherd peppers are also known as Italian sweet peppers which mature from green to red and grow about 7 inches. They have a sweet and palatable flavour with thick flesh, making them perfect for stuffing.

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Peppers (Sweet)

Sweet peppers refers to the mild heat and fruity or sweet flavour that certain types of peppers have, including bell peppers, banana peppers, and pimentos. They are great when mixed in scrambled eggs for breakfast, tucked into fajitas, roasted alongside Italian sausage, or stuffed into other meals such as sandwiches.

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Peppers (Violet Sparkle)

Violet Sparkle is an elongated sweet pepper with a purplish red colour before turning more solidly red once fully ripened. It is not bell-shaped, but still can be used in the same instances as bell-peppers; mixed in scrambled eggs for breakfast, tucked into fajitas, roasted alongside Italian sausage, and more.

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Potatoes (White)

White potatoes, whether long or round, are easily identified by their smooth, thin, light tan skin, and white flesh. Just as any potato, white potatoes can be boiled, baked, mashed, fried, steamed, roasted, and so much more. They have a medium level of starch and can also be microwaved.

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Pumpkin

Pumpkins are fruits often mistaken for being vegetables, just like avocados and tomatoes. This variety of squash is commonly associated with Thanksgiving and Halloween, and while it has many decorative purposes, Pumpkins are highly nutritious and rich in vitamins and minerals. They can be used in desserts, soups, salads, and even as a substitute for butter.

Our Varieties: Bianco; Jack Sprat; Howden; Small Sugar

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Radish

Radishes are a group of root vegetables with light-coloured, crunchy flesh, and an almost spicy, peppery taste. They vary in shape and colour, which separates them into different varieties. Since they are packed with vitamins and minerals, radishes can be eaten raw to maintain their zesty, spicy taste, or can be used in salads, as burger toppings, or pickled with white vinegar and spices.

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Spinach

Spinach is a leafy green vegetable with a multitude of health benefits for your body. While a plethora of ways to prepare it, spinach can be eaten cooked or raw, on its own or in other dishes. Raw spinach has a mild, slightly sweet taste that is refreshing in salads, though its flavour becomes more acidic and robust when it’s cooked. However, if added to fruit smoothies for the nutritional benefits, the spinach seems to have no taste.

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Squash (summer)

Summer squashes (which are often but not always zucchinis) come in a variety of colours, sizes, and textures, and are thin, crisp, tender, and are mildly sweet and nutty in flesh. Both the skin/rind and the interior of this fruit can be eaten!

Summer Varieties: Lemon; Sunburst; Early golden crookneck

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Squash (winter)

Winter squash is an annual fruit that differs from the summer squash in that it is harvested and eaten in a more mature stage when the seeds within have fully matured and the skin has hardened into a tough rind. This type of squash is generally cooked before being eaten, and the skin is not usually eaten.

Winter Varieties: Uchiki kuri (has an edible flesh); Delicata; Butternut; Acorn; Hubbard

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Swiss Chard

Swiss chard is a leafy green often overlooked when next to spinach or kale, though is just as versatile with its mild taste and easy prep. It offers two different textures, one with its leaves and the other with its colourful stalks, and the entirety can be used to brighten up any dish. Used in salads or sauteed, this veggie comes into different varieties that can be interchanged through most recipes and can be cooked much like kale or spinach.

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Tatsoi

Asian Green

Falling under the Asian Green umbrella, tatsoi is a leafy green closely related to bok choy and has a unique flavour and nutrition content. With its spoon-shaped leaves and sweet but nutty flavour when eaten raw, tatsoi also has a similar taste a texture to spinach and swiss chard, allowing it to be added raw to salads, or lightly cooked and added to soups and stir-fries.

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Thyme

Herb

Summer thyme is a must-have herb that not only tastes great but can also help alleviate cold symptoms as well. They can be used in teas or to add flavour to meats, stews, soups, tomatoes, cheeses, eggs, rice, stuffings, kinds of vinegar, and oils. It is important to note that thyme is added to dishes, but is not edible itself.

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Tomato (Cherry)

Cherry tomatoes are a popular snack as well as a part of everyday cuisine. They often resemble the shapes of cherries, hence their name, and can be eaten raw and cooked. They can be mashed and used in sauces and salsas, tossed into salads or atop veggie platters, or cooked in oil with zucchini and spinach as a great side to pasta. They have thin skin, much like crisp green grapes, and have a sweet juiciness to them.

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Turnip

Turnips are a root vegetable commonly associated with potatoes or beets, as they are bulbous white and purple with edible leafy greens. Larger, older turnips have tougher skins, which can leave a bitter aftertaste and require peeling, though they tend to be sweet when they are smaller. Mature turnips have a stronger flavour than younger ones, though either is always great for mashing, adding to soups, and adding to stews. A popular type that our farm supplies are Hakari, which can be used in all of the ways listed.

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Zucchini

Zucchini are versatile veggies sometimes mistaken for a cucumber due to their shape and usually green colour. However, zucchinis can come in multiple colours, each providing flavour that isn’t overwhelming. This makes it perfect to add to baked goods, as a pasta substitute, sauteed, grilled, roasted, and tossed into salads. They are high in fibre and are perfect to serve alongside any kind of protein (meats).

Our Varieties: Crookneck; Golden delight; Spineless beauty; Yellowfin; Tromboncino; Romanesco; Bushbaby

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