Sweet, tender: It’s almost enough to make you fall in love. Once regarded as an acquired taste, fresh beets are making a colorful and flavorful comeback as nutrition takes greater priority. Hoyland Farm specializes in them.
Hoyland Farm is North of Lawrence, Kansas
At Hoyland Farm north of Lawrence, Pines stockholders, Joy and Bob Lominska, not only grow beets but they savor them.
“They are wonderful young,” Joy said. “They’re tender and sweet—kind of like baby carrots.”
“Golfball-size is pretty close to perfect,” Bob added.
How Hoyland Farm Prepares Their Beets
The Lominskas also cook the greens from the top of the beet. They prepare them the same way as spinach. Like spinach, the greens contain vitamins A and C but beet tops contain more iron and minerals.
The beets themselves are rich in potassium and contain iron, calcium, phosphorus, niacin and vitamins A and C, as well as protein and fiber.
Hoyland Farm Started Rolling Prairie Subscription Service
The Lominskas are including their beets in the vegetable bags distributed by the Rolling Prairie Alliance’s subscription vegetable service and selling them at the Lawrence Farmer’s Market.
In past years, the Lominskas have sold their organic beets to Pines International, the local nutrition supplement manufacturer, which makes beet powder.
How to Prepare Beets
Although beet lovers commonly pickle or use them for soups like borscht, the Lominskas at Hoyland Farm (Facebook Page) prefer theirs steamed or boiled and served with butter. Joy notes that beets are best when cooked whole, which retains the flavor and nutrients, but this method takes time. Allow at least 30 minutes for steaming beets.
“If you slice them, they cook faster, but you lose the color and juice,” Joy said.
When preparing beets for cooking, leave the root intact but twist off the leaves, leaving a stub about an inch long. This keeps the beet from bleeding.
Hoyland Tips for Growing Beets
Beets are easy to grow but require frequent weeding. The Lominskas direct-seed their beets in early April. Beets tolerate frost and thrived in this year’s cool, dry spring.
“I wish I’d planted more this year,” Bob said. “You want it just dry enough that you’re worried about whether you’re in for a drought, but then it rains.”
Detroit Dark Red remains the Lominskas’ favorite beet variety. It produces dark green leaves with red ribs as a colorful addition to the vegetable garden. Growers also prefer Detroit Dark Red for long-term storage.
Not all beets have a bright red color. Recently, yellow-fleshed beets attract attention, as does Chioggia, a beet with pink and white stripes.