Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Tops and Tails in the Garden

It’s easy to stereotype common veggies and fruits growing in the garden to fit a specific culinary repertoire. Potatoes are mashers, lettuce makes a beautiful salad and corn is best eaten from the cobb. These norms hardly use some of our most common produce to the best of their abilities. This especially goes for those that grow beautiful tops above the ground, while their eaten counterpart digs deep within the earth.

Carrots, radishes and other root vegetables are those mysterious garden anomalies that rarely are eaten for anything more than their beautiful root. Carrots come in such a beautiful array of colors, sizes and sweetness that are sought after through the long winter months as a root cellar staple. Part of their prowess in the kitchen can be found in the lacy and delicate foliage that identifies their locations in the garden.

Carrots, along with radishes, beets and turnips, have a beautiful secret hidden in their tops. The roots make a tasty side dish, but the tops will wow you as a pesto, sauteed, used as a parsley substitute and cooked into stock. In addition, sneaking the greens into a smoothie, on pizza or an additive in a salad offers an earthy substitute to any dish.

Carrots are an excellent option for sustainable meal planning. Did you know the production of carrots in Washington is ranked fourth in the nation, while our state is number one in processing them according to the Washington State Department of Agriculture. The industry stands at $170 million in value in 2021 production and with over 7000 acres of carrots grown annually. (2022. USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service).

Join the pesto trend and give a new spin on eating the tops as well as the tails when harvesting the garden. Here’s a zesty pesto offering a perfect blend of fresh carrot or radish greens, lemon juice, parmesan and toasted pine nuts to expand your tip top palette.

Carrot-Radish Top Pesto

2 ½ cup carrot and/or radish tops

1 cup basil

2 garlic cloves

2 lemons zested and juiced

½ cup pine nuts, toasted

1 cup fresh shredded parmigiano cheese

1 ½ cup olive oil

1 tsp. salt

Place all ingredients except oil and cheese into a food processor or blender. Blend while slowly adding the olive oil. Add the cheese and pulse until it is mixed in. Makes four cups.


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