The Vermont State Vegetable: Gilfeather Turnip

I’d never heard of the gilfeather turnip until last year when I saw it listed for a farmers’ market. I certainly didn’t know it was the Vermont State Vegetable! And I didn’t know ICF was growing some for our winter shares. Now it’s my new favorite snack item!

Cut in half and ready to peel and eat raw.

I suppose I’ll end up cooking some soon, but for now I like snacking on raw slices, with or without hummus. It’s been a great snack, similar (to me) to a kohlrabi but maybe with a bit more peppery taste. We’ve had kohlrabi in the past but it doesn’t seem to store well. The gilfeather, a cross between a rutabaga and a turnip, should store better.

Daikon is long and skinny (top), gilfeather is more round and stubby (bottom.)

You’ll find them in the same box as the daikon. If you plan to eat raw, I think the daikon and gilfeather have similar tastes and textures. I haven’t cooked the gilfeather yet but there is an apparently well-known soup recipe that is highlighted at an annual gilfeather festival!

Yes, an annual festival here in Vermont to celebrate this hybrid vegetable created here! If you want to try some soups or cooked dishes, see many recipes here. In keeping with modern use of social media, the festival has its own Facebook page so you won’t miss the 2019 event.

Tell us how you’re liking this little gem and how you have been preparing it! Don’t be afraid to try something new in a salad, as a snack, or roasted with other roots.