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Varieties grown: Finale, Perfection, Zefa Fino

Fennel is used as a vegetable, herb, and spice; it is a common star in many cuisines. There are many traditional recipes that do it justice. We grow a few open-pollinated varieties for their bulbs and fronds. It was well into my farming career before I truly appreciated the anise-like flavor of this vegetable, but once I opened my palate to it, I came to love it. Fennel contains a compound called anethole which soothes the stomach, aids digestions, and creates feelings of satiety.

How to use it:

  • In soups and stews

  • Braised with seafood and other vegetables like onions, carrots, celery and tomatoes: a classic Mediterranean technique

  • Sauted with onions and apples, then used to top pork chops—a favorite autumnal dish of ours

  • Lactofermented with carrots, radishes, and cauliflower (or your favorite mix of pickling veggies)

  • Cooked with garbanzo or navy beans, garlic, and olive oil; can be served as a side, over pasta, or blended into a delicious white bean dip