6 Reasons Why Market Farmers Should Grow Radishes

Are you looking for another good crop to display on your market table? Look no further than radishes. Here are six reasons why they're good for business.

by Jesse Frost
PHOTO: Jesse Frost

People won’t always grow what they don’t like to eat, but even if you’re not a radish fan there are plenty of good reasons to give them a little space (and I mean that literally, as you will see) in your garden and on your market table. So let’s dive into some reasons to grow radishes, and I’ll even give you some recipe suggestions for when customers ask you what to do with them.

1. Radishes Are Fast

Depending on the time of year and variety of radish, you can have marketable radihes within a few weeks of planting. That is fast. Whereas most crops take from 55 to 120 days, radishes can take 30 to 40, sometimes less.

2. They Take Up Very Little Room

Radishes are my favorite intercrop—which is to say, I like to put a row of radishes between bigger crops such as broccoli or green onions almost as an afterthought. I then harvest the radishes as the other crop matures, giving me an added weed block with the radish greens and a second crop from the same bed. You can also space them tightly into beds and plant them in successions. In fact, I highly recommend successions, as it is extremely easy to plant too many radishes.

3. They Can Grow All Summer

Because radishes are such a fast crop, and because they germinate at fairly high temperatures, you can grow them in summer rather quickly as long as they are properly irrigated. I recommend drip irrigation for germination and growth, but in really hot times consider misting the greens a little to keep them happy, cool and tender. The fact that they can be grown in summer is also nice for restaurants, which might want to consistently offer radishes all year long—and radishes are a relatively easy crop to grow in all four seasons.

4. They Are Pretty

Nothing quite brightens a market table like a large pile of radish bunches. To me, they are the flowers of the vegetable world. We like to bunch them up in bundles of five or 10 and pile them high on our table. Of all the veggies we grow, this one seems to be among the most alluring to customers who, if nothing else, will come over just to compliment them. And even if the customers are not radish fans, these brightly colored veggies can help start a conversation, giving you an opportunity to sell them something else.

5. They Are Nutritious

One can say that most fresh vegetables are “good for you,” but it is definitely true of the radish, which is high in vitamin C, fiber and several cancer fighting compounds. When customers wonder whether they should get some, I tell them that they are an essential part of my diet.

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6. You Can Offer Suggested Uses

Although radishes can be cooked, they are best raw in salads, dipped in melted butter and salt (this is very Provençal), or used in slaw or kraut. I like to explain to customers who find radishes too spicy that there are two compounds found in radishes that, only when combined, make the radish spicy. If you want the health benefits of radishes, but not the spice, consider dicing them up or finely grating them, which spreads those two compounds throughout a dish so those two compounds can’t so easily combine. This will lessen the spicy sensation and give you a nice radish flavor.

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