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White Violet Wednesday: The story behind our cucumbers

"Picklers" and "slicers" shown here for sale at the Farm Store, are both good for eating fresh.
“Picklers” and “slicers” for sale at the Farm Store

Not to brag but our cucumbers are special

The cucumbers we’ve been harvesting at White Violet Center for Eco-Justice are not your average cuke. They are specialty varieties, selected for their thin skins, small seed cavities, and crispy texture. They also have the added bonus of being “burpless,” for those of you who may have trouble with the not-so-friendly grocery-store cucumber. Cucumbers fall into broad categories like “picklers” and “slicers,” but all of them are good for eating fresh, regardless of the name. The pickling varieties we grow at White Violet Center don’t even need to be peeled! My favorite way to enjoy them is eating them whole, dipping them in hummus, muhammara, or your favorite dip of choice.

They’re so special they’re being studied

Another thing that makes these cucumbers special is that they’re part of a Purdue University three-year study researching the performance of grafted cucumbers grown on a variety of small farms across the state. What is grafted cucumber? It’s a cucumber plant that has been essentially glued to the rootstock of a winter squash plant. This grafting process brings the cold tolerance and vigor of a winter squash to the cucumber plant. We’ve also seen better resistance to certain pests as well. We’ve enjoyed being a part of this study and hope to do our own cucumber grafting next year. 

A cucumber plant that has been grafted to the rootstock of a winter squash plant.
A cucumber plant that has been grafted to the rootstock of a winter squash plant.

Unfortunately, this year has been pretty hard on the varieties selected for trial. The cucumber beetles came out early and they have been passing bacterial wilt to the plants pretty rapidly. Once the plant develops wilt, it dies in a day or two. This means we won’t get to enjoy as long a harvest as we have in years’ past.

Stop by the Farm Store at White Violet for cucumbers as well as a variety of other certified organic vegetables and herbs. The store is open Monday through Friday from 11-6 and Saturdays and Sundays from 10-3. You can also find us Saturdays from 8-12 at the Terre Haute Farmers Market at the Meadows Shopping Center.

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Candace Minster

Candace Minster is the garden manager and fiber projects coordinator for White Violet Center for Eco-Justice. When she's not wrangling weeds or yarn, she enjoys trying to bake while her daugher upends mixing bowls and her son chases animals around the house.

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