The Gilfeather Turnip: Vermont’s Newly Crowned State Vegetable

By Melissa Pasanen
Vermont Life Magazine

“The Gilfeather Turnip Cookbook” makes no excuses for its lead character: “It is not a beautiful vegetable,” the first line plainly states.

But what this heirloom Brassica lacks in beauty, it makes up for in fame and sweetness—at least in comparison with most other turnips. The humble root earned a berth in Slow Food USA’s Ark of Taste for outstanding taste and historical merit and was recently crowned Vermont state vegetable, thanks to enthusiastic lobbying by elementary school students from its town of origin.


Photo by Melissa Pasanen, Vermont Life

Some suggest that the unusually sweet turnip is actually a rutabaga or that John Gilfeather, who started farming in Wardsboro in the late 1800s, possibly crossed a turnip with its milder cousin, the rutabaga, to create his long-storing, biteless turnip.

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The above excerpt from Vermont Life magazine was republished with permission.


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