Taro

(Colocasia esculenta)
Read Taro Blogs Here

Taro (Colocasia esculenta) is one of a number of similar looking plants with similar culinary uses in the Araceae family, causing some confusion with common plant names in different regions. Taro is considered the most widely cultivated and eaten of these plants, producing large central edible corms as well smaller edible eddoes. Taro also has edible leaves (when properly prepared). Taro is found and used across the tropics, with a multitude of preparations, including the Hawaiian ferment, Poi. 

 

Jump to Taro Notes | Jump to Taro Varieties

OUR WORK

  • In 2021 The Utopian Seed Project plans to do a larger variety screening trial, as well as growing a larger quantity of Korean Taro for market exploration. 
  • In 2020 we shared the Korean variety with a small number of farmers across the Southeast to establish its regional potential as well as its farm scale value (Covid-19 led to a reduced capacity of farmers to participate in trials). Michael Carter of Carter Farms (video above) grew out our taro for leaf production. We also shared with a Burmese community in NC at Transplanting Traditions.
  • In 2019, a small planting of just six plants of our Korean cultivar produced around 26lbs of eddoes, which were served at our annual Trial to Table Farm Dinner. Board member, Jamie Swofford, began establishing a chef fan base in the Charlotte region.
  • Prior to 2019, board member, Yanna Fishman has been growing taro for a number of years. We are working with the varieties that she’s found promising and building on her work.

Here's the content of our Eat It : Grow It boxes that we distributed to families in need this week (with help from Bountiful Cities and @feastasheville).

Very pleased to get them delivered ahead of Thanksgiving and hope we can be a support network for any families inspired to grow some food next year.

It all feels especially important given the Covid-19 affect on seed supply. This year we are also distributing seed packets donated by @sowtrueseed, but because of extraordinary demand for seeds across the country the available seeds to donate has shrunk to about 10% of normal donation seeds available. We've always said that seeds are the unsung heroes of the food system and now we really know, so #saveyourseeds and think about #seedsecurity when you think about food security.

This program was supported by @slowfoodusa and @slowfoodavl

#communitysupported #foodboxes #growfood #eatwell #foodsystems
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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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For the next few months we'll be catching up with the 'reporting' side of our work! We'll let you know the lessons we've learned and will be updating the website with pictures and details and resources.

For the next couple of weeks we'll be focused on Taro (Colocasia esculentua). It's a proven staple in most tropical regions with a long history and strong cultures. It's also proving to be productive in Western NC. In 2021 we are hoping to expand our taro trials to assess more varieties and run some nutritional analysis (especially looking at calcium oxalates).

Stay tuned!

Grown and photographed by Yanna Fishman.

#taro #tropicalperennials #experimentalroots
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We dropped off a taro bouquet at @benneoneagle yesterday and met with the incredible Ashleigh Shanti.

The taro was just a humble gift, the real reason for our visit is an exciting partnership with @foodordeath_ and the @heirloomcollards project.

Stay tuned!

#taro #colacasiaesculenta #eatyourgreens #cookthemfirst
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These guys nearly got mulched. I was not expecting our culinary taro to overwinter, perhaps this could be a temperate perennial after all... #tropicalperennials #maybetemperateannuals #experimentalroots #taro ...

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Introducing Taro aka Cocoyam with Michael Carter. Taro (Colocasia esculenta) aka Cocoyam is a tropical perennial that we can grow in North Carolina as a temperate annual (with some cultivars showing potential as die back perennials). Taro produces edible eddoes underground and edible leaves above ground. NOTE: all parts of taro need to be cooked to break down the calcium oxalates present in all parts of taro.

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, Michael Carter, of Carter Farms (a Virginia Century farm), gives a cultural perspective on growing and eating taro based on his time living in Ghana, where taro leaf is eaten as a primary green and called Nkontomire.

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#taro #cocoyam #nkontomire #meetheplants
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One of our trials this year is Taro. Edible leaves and roots and a staple of many sub tropical regions. We're growing test plots in Leicester, Union Mills and Shelby and plan to inspire some chefs later in the season!

#foodexperiments #taro #tastethediversity
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Taro Notes

TESTING A THEORY

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Taro Varieties