CERTIFIED ORGANIC (open pollinated)
BREEDER: I. GOLDMAN
All the vegetal sweetness of the beet, without the polarizing earthiness—the brilliant Badger Flame is here to redeem the beet's dirty reputation. 80 days to maturity; 55 days for small beets.
Each Badger Flame seed sold supports public plant breeding research at University of Wisconsin-Madison.
This striking, flame-colored beet is the brainchild of breeder Irwin Goldman. Irwin is brilliant. In many ways, he thinks like a chef, and he’s passionate about focusing people’s attention on the characteristics in vegetables that typically go unnoticed. In this case, he wanted to create a visually striking beet, one with a vibrant orange-yellow interior and cylindrical shape. But he also wanted to take on the beet’s dirty reputation—the earthy flavor that many blame for their beet aversion.
It turns out, this signature earthiness is caused by geosmin, an organic compound produced primarily by microbes in the soil, but also by certain plants. Irwin's lab has spent years searching for the genes that produce this earthiness, and, in doing so, they discovered how to change the beet's flavor. Led by Irwin and technician Nick Breitbach, their team selected the Badger Flame over several years, combining laboratory analysis with old-school techniques (read: eating beets raw in the field). The result? A beet that is mild and sweet, and delicious raw.
Our Badger Flames’ story continued in the fields of Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, where Farm Director Jack Algiere trialled the beets for several years. His participatory breeding work—studiously selecting the best roots from each crop in tandem with seedsman Matthew Goldfarb— helped to improve our stock seed, year after year.
The Badger Flame Beet is a Plant Variety Protected Variety (PVP #201400381). Anyone interested in commercial seed production or sales of this variety should pursue a license from the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (web: www.warf.org, email: email@example.com). These licenses support future breeding efforts and respect the community investment in the beet's creation. Our Badger Flame seeds were produced in NY and WA.
Days to Maturity
— 6-7" cylindrical orange-yellow beets. The flame-like colors deepen as the season progresses.
— Soil Requirements: Light, workable, well-drained soils with an optimal pH of over 6.0.
— Boron deficiency can cause internal browning; confirm adequate boron levels with a soil test.
Spacing After Thinning/Transplanting
— Plant spacing: 3-4”
— Row spacing: 12-18”
— Sow seeds 1/2" deep well-worked soils, at least 55˚F. Can be seeded throughout the season until 8 weeks prior to hard frost.
— Sow seeds every 1”; thin seedlings to 3-4’’ apart depending on desired size.
— 5-8 days to emergence, slower in cold soil.
— Start seeds indoors 5-7 weeks before last frost. Sow seeds 1/2” deep. Optimal soil temperature for germination: 85˚F.
— Start seeds every 2-3 weeks for continuous harvest until 8 weeks before hard frost.
— Move transplants outdoors to harden off gradually for 3-5 days, protecting seedlings from wind, strong sun, hard rain and cold.
— Transplant outdoors when soil temperatures reach at least 45˚F.
Pest + Disease Info
Diseases: Cercospora leaf spot: rotate crops. Scab: irrigate well.
Harvest when roots reach desired size, before hard freeze. Full size is 6-7" long.
Wash and dry before storage. Cut tops at 1" above the crown. Store at 38-42˚F and 95% humidity for best results. Will store up to 6 months. Monitor quality.
Average 2,000 seeds/ounce, 30,000 seeds/pound.
Delicious raw or roasted: slice thinly and serve raw with salt, pepper, lemon juice and a drop of olive oil; or wrap in foil and roast at 400° until tender.