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The Renners




kaye-renner-jpg.jpgThey don't have a fancy name
or make a big fuss about it, but Kaye and Bob Renner have been growing some very tasty produce on eight gardens in Marshfield, Missouri-- including a surprise or two.
      "Just call us the Renners," said Kaye, and so we do.
      We think you'll like the Renners and what they do as much as we. That said, enjoy.




Bob Renner

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Bob Renner retired in 1985 after 35 years as a Frisco Railroad mechanic, but sitting around wasn't his cup of tea. He and Kaye took up growing special produce for the market. One of their treats is our legendary native fruit, the Paw Paw, which Bob says "came up kind of by accident--I just threw the fruit out by the house and the seeds sprouted." But read on....





Paw Paws

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Growing wild on a tree as tall as 20 feet, Paw Paws (Asimina triloba) are North America's largest edible fruit (3-6 inches long by 1-3 inches). More to the point, the fruit is delicious and often compare to a blend of mango and banana. As it's also rated the most nutritious of all fruit, efforts are under way to develop it into a commercial crop. Note: Paw Paw leaves are the zebra swallowtail butterfly caterpillar's only food.




Purple Hull Peas

purple-hull-peas-jpg.jpgThe Purple Hull Pea (Vigna unguiculata) is really a bean. and a great Southern treat. One Renners customer swears by them, exclaiming, "They're real robust. They're blackeyed peas' big brother!" Southern cooks like to soak them an hour, add salt pork or ham hock, onions, and bacon drippings, cover the whole with water, simmer 3 hours, then eat straight up or over rice. Mm-mmm.



Radishes

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The Renners' unusually pretty rose-colored radishes grow as long as 3 inches. "Usually radishes this big are hot, but these aren't hot at all," said one woman customer. We tried them and agree. Moreover, we found them to be exceptionally crisp and delicious.










Peppers

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Asked what he could tell us about the peppers, Bob said, "Well, they're good jalapenos, bell peppers, cayennes, and habaneros." We tried some and what do you know, he was right.








French Red Shallots

french-red-shallots.jpgFrench Shallots are famed for rich, creamy flavor, tenderness, and fine texture. A main ingredient in French cookery, this member of the Lily family, closely related to onion and garlic, is used in in dishes where a much milder onion-like or garlicky flavor is desired. Shallots also caramelize well when exposed to heat, which makes them a favorite of gourmet chefs. Many use shallots in vinaigrettes, butters, jams, sauces, salads, and cooked with vegetables.  



Hard Stem Garlic

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There are two types of garlic: soft stem and hard stem (sometimes called softneck and hardneck). Hard Stem Garlic produce larger cloves that are easier to peel, which makes them a chef's favorite. Many prefer Hard Stem Garlic varieties for their wider range of robust flavors.










Kohlrabi

kohlrabi-jpg.jpgTold their spelling of "Kohlrabi" was the worst ever, the Renners laughed. Kohlrabi (Brassica oleracea) is an easily grown cabbage family plant. Kaye says to trim off the root ends and smaller stems and cut the bulb into quarter-inch cubes for boiling, steaming, baking, or frying. The flavor is turnip-like and delicious. Young Kohlrabi can also be sliced and marinated, or added to salads.    




Petit Pan Squash

petit-pan-squash-jpg.jpgEverybody loves the whimsical look of Petit Pan squash (Cucurbita pepo) and those who know love its subtle flavor. You can bake this summer squash at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes or steam it, then slice it and add salt, pepper, Parmesan, or whatever you like. "Petit Pan" is French for "little pan." Common names include Patty Pan, Scallop, and Sunburst squash. 'Flying Saucer' and 'Pattison Panache' are good varieties.




Butternut Squash

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Butternut squash are probably the most popular winter squash and justly so, for they have rich orange flesh and extra-sweet flavor. Ozarks cooks can tell you about using butternuts in everything from soups to salads to...well, just ask 'em, they'll tell you.












Zucchini and Squash

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Unusually flavorful Zucchini and Crookneck Squash fill out the menu.












Potatoes

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The Renners like growing several varieties of very special potatoes, including Kennebec, Red Pontiac, and the one they especially recommend, Yukon Gold.








Turnips

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Kaye and Bob also like bringing to market a healthy crop of sweet and delicious turnips.




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