Seven Top Turnip

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Seven Top Turnip Photo Like all turnips, the Seven Top is a biennial plant, but differs from the majority of varieties in its lack of bulbous subterranean stem ?this version is cultivated exclusively for its greens ("turnip salad" in pre 1920 American nomenclature). While most turnip varieties were historically grown for animal fodder as well as human consumption, the Seven Top has been cultivated in the South since the 1830s exclusively for the human table. Planted in the fall for winter harvest, the foliage of the Seven Top is ready for harvest 45 days after sowing. If ingested raw, the foliage is cut when it attains six to nine inches of height. When cooked, the greens are allowed to grow up to two feet in height.

Sumptuous both raw and cooked, the Seven Top has long been the standard by which turnip greens have been measured in the American South. The greens are singularly rich in micronutrients.The young greens (from 35 to 45 days growth) are favored in salads, providing a piquancy to the greens ? not so sharp as mustard, but more peppery that cos lettuce, cress, and pepper grass. In southern cookery it was particularly favored in wilted salads, in which hot bacon grease and salt are poured over the fresh, washed greens.

First noted in Virginia, the Seven Top Turnip became a garden fixture throughout Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama and Mississippi during the 19th century. Though the seed was carried by national garden seed companies during the first half of the 20th century, and it developed a strong following in Kentucky, southern Ohio, and Missouri, all seed production of the seven top turnip took place in the South, with Georgia being the leading producer.

Since most turnips in the 18th and 19th centuries were cultivated as winter fodder for animals (particularly sheep and cattle), the idea of growing turnips that lacked the bulbous stem?that part consumed by animals?was considered somewhat perverse. Due to its lack of bulb, this heirloom green vegetable is considered to be missing half its potential to attract money by revenue-conscious farmers. It is not currently in commercial production. It has survived thus far almost exclusively as a garden vegetable by that shrinking segment of home gardeners who cherish "turnip salad."

Photos of Seven Top Turnip




Showing page 1 of 7 for 40 listings

Wilson Family Farm

  Powell, TN

***** NOTE: NO CSA IN 2021 ***** ********************************************************************************************* SORRY, OUR FARM WILL NOT HAVE A CSA IN 2021 At Wilson Family Farm we are committed to integrity and strive to produce high quality, great tasting vegetables through naturally grown practices. (more...)


White Oak Valley Farm

  McDonald, TN

We are a traditional small family farm providing farm fresh vegetables to customers in the spring, summer and fall. Our produce is available at area farmers markets as well as through our Summer CSA program. We also offer pesticide free heirloom vegetable plants seasonally at local farmers markets. (more...)


Victory Seed Company / Dunton Family Farm

  Liberal, OR

Since 1909, our family has farmed here in Liberal, Oregon. We are a multi-generational family farm working to preserve rare seed varieties from becoming extinct. At this time, we do not have the resources to allow farm visitation. (www.duntonfarms.com) (more...)


Scharko Farms

  Fairburn, GA    LocalHarvest Sponsor!

Farming and Helping Others Farm. We are small family farm,where we grow vegetables, flowers and herbs for our use and for sale. Our plants are grown in a natural way, avoiding pesticides, as we strive to make our farm more sustainable. We have produce available at the Peachtree City Farmers market, Saturdays ,9am to 1pm. . (more...)


Salamander Springs Farm: Permaculture Organics

  Berea, KY

Built entirely from scratch, Salamander Springs Farm has modeled permaculture practice to produce food for the Berea, KY community and region since 2001. For more information, use the website link at the right . (more...)


Road's End Farm

  Dundee, NY    LocalHarvest Sponsor!

Road's End Farm has been growing high-quality certified organic produce, in this beautiful location overlooking Seneca Lake, since 1988. Some of the farm acreage is leased out (also in organic use); some is brush and woodlot, providing wildlife habitat as well as fuel. (more...)