(Sechium edule)
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Chayote (Sechium edule) – almost everything you need to know about Chayote (aka Mirliton in Louisiana) can be gleaned from one of my favorite quotes from Unsual Vegetables (Rodale Press 1978):

What has leaves like spinach, tender shoots like asparagus, fruits reminscient of summer squash and eggplant, nut-like seeds, and tubers that can double as potatoes? The answers is a superplant that rhymes with coyote!

If that doesn’t make you want to grow them then you’re on the wrong website! Chayote is in the cucurbitacea family and grows on vigorous vines. It’s main challenge for the North American grower is it’s photoperiod, which leads to a sometimes worringly late season harvest for this frost sensitive perennial. In general we see flowering on our main variety towards the end of August.


The Utopian Seed Project has been growing a single variety of chayote that Yanna Fishman received from a member of the Hmong community in Marrion County. The variety is a proven producer in Western NC.

We have begun working with a couple of additional varieties with the intention of building up the number of varieties available in this region. Chayote is a prolific producer and a great storage vegetable that thrives in the heat, plus the leaves and shoots are edible.

We are also working with Dr. Lance Hill and a small group of heirloom mirliton preservationists. The first project has been restoring and distributing an heirloom vine of Ishreal Thibodeaux, which is a white skinned variety.  The website, has an incredible amount of

Here`s a selection of edible summer greens growing at the #experimentalfarm right now. Even though you may never have tried (or maybe heard) of some of these, they are not new. We did not discover them. They belong to cultures older and wiser, ancestral work done to create many of the food crops that exist today, both known and forgotten.

We support eating and exploring these crops, and there is resilience in a diversified food system that will be much needed as climate change continues. But climate justice and climate work goes hand in hand with social justice and social work, so respecting those who came before (the work, the culture, the traditons, the people) is critical to our journey.

This picture shows a world of possibilities, but it also shows the world.

Top Row, Left to Right
1. Permelon (Cucurbita maxima)
2. Butternut (Cucurbita moschata)
3-4. Sweet Potato (Ipomoea batatas)
5 (top). Southern Pea (Vigna unguiculata)
5 (bottom). African Basil (Ocimum gratissimum)
6. Moringa (Moringa oleifera)

Bottom Row, Left to Right
1. Chaya (Cnidoscolus aconitifolius)
2. Sunset Hibiscus (Abelmoschus manihot)
3-4. Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus)
5. Abelmoschus tetraphyllus
6 (top). Taro (Colocasia esculenta)
6 (bottom). Chayote (Sechium edule)

#summergreens #diversefood #chayote #chaya #taro #moringa #hibiscus #okra #southernpeas #basil #squash #sweetpotato #eatyourgreens #leafygreens #greens #notallgreensarered

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Chayote rooted from stem cuttings and almost ready for sharing and planting.
#chayote #strengthindiversity #growyourownfood

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If you`ve not grown chayote before then, 1. Why not? It`s awesome. and, 2. This is usually around the time that you get a little worried that you`ve wasted your time! Chayote flowers and fruits really late, but once it gets going it really wants to make up for lost time!

Never tried chayote? Grab a ticket for our Trial to Table dinner (link in our bio). #chayote #experimentaltrials #trialtotable

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Showing off some stuff at @georgiaorganics
#experimentalroots #tropicalperennials #croptrials #eatmoreroots

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We`ve promised a farm feast to remember and that`s what we`re planning to do!
Here`s the first batch of chayote, heading to @brinedandcured of @auxbaravl to transform into some delicious vegetarian taco filling. @thechefsfarmer will be making the homemade tacos with trial corn!
#tacos #chayote #TrialToTable

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We`ve grown Chayote for a few years and are excited to continue the trials, but at the Lee Family Farm they are experts, combining culture and heritage from their mnong community to grow all sorts of exciting things. Here are two of the four Chayote varieties we`ll be using at our #TrialToTable Farm Feast tomorrow evening at @frannysfarm
#chayote #croptrials #leefamilyfarm #strengthindiversity

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A white chayote kindly gifted from @thechefsfarmer
#chayote #mirliton

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Chayote (Sechium edule) is a tropical perennial that we can grow in North Carolina as a temperate annual. Chayote is vining member of the Cucurbitaceae family, producing edible squash-like fruit, tender shoots, edible leaves, and an edible potato-like root if allowed to overwinter.

Note: chayote is popular in Louisiana where it is known as Mirliton.

This video is part of a The Utopian Seed Project series called, Meet-the-Plant, where plant experts introduce you to less known plants (in North Carolina) that have food production potential.

In this video, Brandon Ruiz, founder of CLT Herbal Accessibility Project and Utopian Seed Project board member, gives a historical, botanical and culinary overview of Chayote.

If you liked this video please consider become a Patreon Supporter via the link in our bio.

#chayote #mirliton #tropicalperennials #meettheplants

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#Repost @riverparishcajunreview (@get_repost)
The Ishreal Thibodeaux White Mirliton Preservation Project Announcement

By David Hubbell
On August 28, 2013, we announced the sad passing of Mr. Ishreal Thibodeaux, who for more than forty years preserved the rare ivory-white mirliton that we named in his honor. At that time, through the generosity of the late Mr. Thibodeaux, Mirliton.Org shared several of this variety to ensure it would survive. Despite the best efforts of many dedicated growers, the unfortunate weather events in south Louisiana in August 2016 and November 2019 seemed to all but wipe out this cherished heirloom.
Fortunately, we learned through our ever growing mirliton network, that there are two separate growers who have vines that are currently producing a small spring crop. Through their kindness and commitment to the preservation of the Ishreal Thibodeaux White Mirliton, these gentlemen, Paul D’Anna and Chef John Folse, have partnered with us to form a team of committed and experienced growers to further propagate this variety under tightly monitored conditions.
Along with these current growers, Mirliton.Org selected two more individuals who had the capability and resources to follow the guidelines we had set forth. These individuals are Keith Mearns with the group Historic Columbia in Columbia, South Carolina and Chris Smith with The Utopian Seed Project in Asheville, North Carolina. Our project is set up to help the four growers communicate with us and each other so as to report progress monthly, help troubleshoot as needed, replicate previously recognized “best practices”, and collect valuable growing data that will be made available to future Ishreal Thibodeaux White Mirliton growers.
As with the past Adopt-a Mirliton Program, these growers have agreed to share up to half of their first year’s production to planters in their community. The success rate of this first round will determine the individuals who will be added to the future Ishreal Thibodeaux White Mirliton Registry. Ideally, we would like half of this second group to be experienced and dedicated mirliton growers that are spread throughout the Gulf south.

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