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Johnny Autry

They’re specifically designed to taste better.

Arielle Weg
March 02, 2018

Last October we started noticing these itty bitty honeynut squash popping up at our local Trader Joe's and in Blue Apron boxes. The super sweet, handheld butternut squash was the brainchild of Chef Dan Barber of Blue Hill and Professor Michael Mazourek of Cornell University.

After some bumps, rewrites, and testing, plus a collaboration with seedsman Matthew Goldfarb, the seed company Row 7 was born.

The company was created by both chefs and vegetable breeders collaborating to create organic and non GMO seeds that produce better tasting veggies.

Instead of just making produce that is pretty looking or transportable, or that will keep for a while (what grocery stores need) They are working to make vegetables that are more flavorful, sustainable, and healthy.

Think potatoes so creamy you can skip the butter and squash so sweet you’ll never need sugar, plus the health benefit of double the beta-carotene.

"Good flavor and changing the food system go hand in hand," Barber told Food & Wine. "When you select for flavor from the very beginning, you’re also selecting for qualities like nutrition. And you’re selecting for soil health, too, because you’re seeking out varieties that thrive under organic conditions — the systems that produce the most delicious food. It turns out being greedy for good food is a pretty good way to improve our diets and our landscapes."

The seed collection includes seven new varieties of upgraded veggie favorites. All of the seeds can be ordered directly on the website and ship to the United States and Canada, excluding the potatoes which won't ship until April 1 within the United States.

Johnny Autry

Three varieties of squash are available, all somewhat inspired by the original honeynut. Robin’s Koginut Squash ($4.95) is the largest of three, ripening on the vine from green to bronze like a tomato would. The squash becomes sweet, smooth, and can easily be stored.

The 898 Squash ($4.95) is the most similar to the original honeynut, boasting similar concentrated flavors and high amounts of beta-carotene. These seeds produce an upgraded version that lasts longer, and is even tinier.

The last of the three, Butternut 661, is temporarily sold out online, but you can look forward to this more average-sized butternut with the same velvety sweet flavors of the honeynut. We’re excited to try these tree squash breeds in some of our winter squash recipes like Spiralized Butternut Squash Toast with Goat Cheese and Pomegranate Seeds.

Johnny Autry

The other veggie varieties include the Habanada Pepper ($3.50) a habanero lookalike with all the flowery flavor, without any of the heat. We expect them to be delicious in our Habanero-Apricot Chicken Sandwich.

Row 7 also released seeds for the Upstate Abundance Potato ($9.95), which is advertised as a potato so creamy, nutty, and buttery, you won’t even need the butter and The Badger Flame Beet ($3.50), all the flavor and color of a beet without the earthiness. The last seed available is the 7028 Cucumber ($3.50) which is more disease resistant than the average ‘cuce and holds a much stronger flavor.

Our in-house gardening expert, Community Manager for the Cooking Light Diet Matthew Moore, says, “If you're someone who uses these specific veggies regularly in your kitchen, it's a good deal. If you're an experienced gardener and know what you're doing, your money will be well-spent.” Moore adds that squash and potatoes should come back yearly, and you can use the technique of overwintering to ensure your peppers will last you year after year.

We’re excited for spring to roll around, so we can get gardening. If you’re interested in trying your hand at growing these veggies and more, make sure you know these 5 Things You’ll Need to Start Your Home Garden and prepare yourself with Everything You Need to Know When You Grow Your Own Herbs.