This mystery turnip seed comes to us from our friend Chris Homanics of Head, Hands, Heart Nursery and Seed in Washington. Normally, if a grower came to us and said "I have seeds for a turnip, but I don't know what turnip," we would probably say, "No thanks." But when it's Chris Homanics, we say, "OK, tell us more."
We'll let Chris pick up the story:
"A few years back, I was given some turnip seed from a friend. He believed it was a rare rutabaga-type root vegetable from Italy, but after growing it out, it became clear that this was something else. It also became clear that it was a high-quality staple turnip — so I let them go to seed and produced a seed crop. “Well, what is it?” you ask, and frankly I don’t know. I suspect that this may just be a good selection of American Purple Top White Globe turnip — the standard American turnip since at least 1885, when it appeared in James J.H. Gregory's catalogue — however, it may indeed be an Italian turnip. Or it could be something else entirely. But, what I do know is that it has been an unexpected surprise.
This is a crisp, white-fleshed turnip for people who need a high-yielding and high-quality turnip for homestead or market farm. From seed, this variety balls up quickly and can be harvested in the baby stage, but I prefer to seed them in July and let them go until fall or winter for harvest when they are the size of a large fist. If sown early in the season, they can bulk up to the size of a basketball and yet still remain tender! Overall, the flavor is mild either raw or cooked. This variety has performed very well when dry-farmed after seedlings have been established, and this seed was produced in dry-farm conditions with no supplemental irrigation."
Since the only other root turnip we sell is the 'Six Root Grex' — a diverse interbreeding mix — we figured some of you might like a more uniform, standard-issue turnip, so we're happy to add Chris's "Whatsit" to the catalogue!