Sowing Seeds

Quebec Seed Growers’ Favourite Seeds, Part 2

Yesterday, Quebec seed growers presented us with unique, meaningful or favorites seeds. Here are some more!

Grandma Nellie’s Yellow Mushroom

Catherine Sylvain

Le potager ornemental de Catherine

My favorite bean! We’ve been growing it since 2010. We fell in love with it the very first year. It’s the plumpest yellow bean there is. Every spring, it’s on my must-seed list, because a summer without Grandma Nellie’s Yellow Mushroom in the garden makes me just a little sad… Harvesting my beans for supper isn’t a chore, it’s a moment of tasting and pleasure. Since they’re climbing plants, they’re harvested standing up. What’s more, they’re yellow, so they’re more visible than green ones, and they’re big, so they fill up the basket quickly.

It’s a bean that can be scary, with its description of ‘big fleshy’ and ‘mushroom flavor’, but I’d like to point out that mushroom flavor is very subtle and controversial. Some say it doesn’t taste like mushrooms at all (depending on your taste buds!).

Elsewhere on internet (by the way, you can only buy this bean in 3 places in the world: Saskatchewan, Florida and Saint-Apollinaire), it says that it tastes like mushrooms when cooked. I don’t agree with them. Cooking it with a little salt gives it back its “normal” bean flavor. It’s only when you eat it raw that you can detect its mushroom flavor. If you close your eyes for a moment, you can imagine yourself eating a vegetable from another universe, delicious, unique and different… It’s a non-standard bean, for the adventurous.

Tomate Oscar Gonthier

Julie Ross

Jardin de Julie

The Oscar Gonthier tomato is precious for its history and origin. This very rare tomato originated in Drummondville, Quebec, where it was developed by Mr. Oscar Gonthier. I’ve been growing this cultivar since I started, and I love it for its taste and for what it represents for our Quebec seed heritage.

Mr Gonthier

Mr. Gonthier wanted to recapture the flavor of a cherry-type tomato (the ROSS) that he described as a veritable candy, and transfer it to a large tomato (unknown by name) grown in the municipality of Pintendre.

“After 12 years of planting these two varieties in the same hole, he got what he was looking for. He stabilized his creation for 3 consecutive years and voilà! 2 tomatoes for a pound with very few seeds inside the fruit. It takes good stakes to hold it all together. For a plant about 28 to 30 inches tall, it will produce a good quantity of fruit.” Source Potager D’antan

Mr. Gonthier passed away at the age of 87, on April 3, 2016 in Drummondville, leaving a legacy of his wonderful tomato; a jewel for our Quebec seed heritage. In 2016, seeds of this tomato produced by Le Jardin de Julie were sent to the family to perpetuate their family heritage in memory of Monsieur Gonthier.

The Oscar Gonthier is a very large, fleshy tomato containing very few seeds and juice, with a texture somewhat resembling an Italian tomato, but with a cherry tomato taste. Excellent fresh, served in thin slices on a plate with salt, pepper and a drizzle of oil, or as a sandwich (just one slice is enough!). Equally good for sauces and preserves. A tomato to adopt and preserve for many good reasons.

Florence Fennel

Teprine Baldo, Seed shepherd

Le noyau

If I had to choose a favorite plant this season, it would be Florence fennel, not only because of its delicious crunchy nature, but also because it bears the same name as my grandmother.

Fennel has a long history in the folklore of many southern European cultures, but it held a special place for the Romans and Greeks. Many magical properties have been attributed to this simple plant, which is both a vegetable and an herb. Some say it cures indigestion and flatulence, others use it to freshen their breath, and even Shakespeare speculated that it helped improve eyesight. One thing’s for sure: all parts of the plant are edible, leaves, stems, seeds and bulb. This delicious vegetable can be eaten raw or cooked, as part of a meal or on its own.

The mature plant is majestic, at least 5 to 6 feet high, with beautiful pale yellowish flowers that gradually turn into pale brown seeds that can be harvested and dried for later storage and use.

Jean-Léo Collard Bean

Terre promise

Our favorite variety is the Jean-Léo Collard bean, our most productive climbing bean.

Here’s the story:

At a Seed Festival, I sat down next to a friendly-looking old man. It wasn’t long before we were chatting about seeds and commenting on our purchases and finds! And so began a beautiful friendship that would last more than ten years. Terre Promise was in its infancy, and it wasn’t long before Jean-Leo Collard threw himself into the project, tinkering with countless tools and machines for seed cleaning and bagging. He marveled at the farm’s bountiful harvests, loved to talk about gardening and, most of all, took me out to eat at his favorite restaurant, Willinsky’s. Jean reassured me in the darkest moments, when being an entrepreneur was difficult and I felt like throwing it all away… He believed in the Promised Land. Jean passed away in the autumn of 2021, at the end of a life well lived.

In his honor, we decided to name a bean variety developed on the farm over the past few years, a blend of the Velour dwarf bean and an unknown climbing bean. The Jean Léo Collard climbing bean is a beautiful deep purple color, sometimes mottled with green. It’s stringless, quite long and very thin, crunchy to the bite. We’re very proud of it! Thank you, Jean, for your unconditional support and friendship. Jardine in peace.

Principe Borghese Italian Tomato, Doe Hill Sweet Pepper and Tithiona

Catherine Wallenburg

Northern Seeds

Principe Borghese Italian Tomato

This ancestral Italian variety is our favorite for sauce and makes excellent dried tomatoes. The fruits are the size of small plums (not much bigger than a cherry tomato), the flesh is dry, but the taste is rich and fruity. We like the fact that it’s semi-determinate, and produces abundantly. Also, the heart of the tomato is so tender that we make sauce from it without even cutting it.

Doe Hill Sweet Pepper

Growing peppers isn’t easy in Quebec because our summers are short and not as hot as peppers would like. That’s why this variety is so interesting. The Doe Hill bell pepper surpasses all expectations, producing lots of cute little peppers. Sweet and fruity, they’re delectable on the barbecue, roasted or stuffed. Best of all, the compact plants are early, perfect for our short seasons.

Tithiona (Mexican sunflower)

I love this vibrant orange flower that will blow you away. It produces from early July until the first frost. Mind you, although not technically a sunflower, it can reach 6 to 7 feet in height and is very bushy! It’s very easy to grow and literally buzzes with bees once flowering begins.

Black Crimson Winter Radish, Black Amethyst Winter Radish and The Long Radish Kaleidoscope Remix

Daniel Brisebois

Ferme Coopérative Tourne-Sol

It’s the year of the radish at Tourne-Sol!

Here are 3 radishes we’ve created at Tourne-Sol Farm. We’ve been selecting them for over 10 years.

We have two sister varieties, Black Crimson Winter Radish and Black Amethyst Radish. Both have black skin, but one is bright red inside and the other is bright purple. You’ve never seen vegetables that look like this.

The Long Radish Kaleidoscope Remix is a long radish that grows in a kaleidoscope of colors.

Winter radishes should be planted between mid-July and early August. They will be ready in October. They are delicious grated into salads or sliced on a plate. They can also be cooked.

And if you’re afraid of those wild winter radishes, we’ve also got our new Tourne-Sol Radish Mix. A happy mix of small round radishes in pink, mauve, yellow, white and red!

Here is yesterday’s selection!

Mathieu manages the and websites. He is also a garden designer for a landscaping company in Montreal, Canada. Although he loves contributing to the blog, he prefers fishing.

1 comment on “Quebec Seed Growers’ Favourite Seeds, Part 2

  1. Christine Lemieux

    So many I would love to try! I enjoyed both articles.

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