Nash Bruce introduces early summer’s underdog varietal

"It’s nice to be able to expose customers to a new variety with such excellent taste."

Photo Credit: Brad M. Wolf

Nash Bruce introduces early summer’s underdog varietal

Written by: Mark Loehrke
May 14, 2018


The farming life can be a lonely one, but for Nash Bruce, time alone out in the fields is actually one of its biggest draws.

“The solitude is hard to beat,” he says.

The 32-year-old Lowell native grew up on a functioning farm with parents who loved to garden, and long hoped to start his own organic vegetable operation. That dream became a reality five years ago in the form of Five Hands Farm in Lowell, where Bruce and his crew run a thriving Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) membership program, filling weekly produce boxes with a half-bushel share of the farm’s current harvest.

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The farming life can be a lonely one, but for Nash Bruce, time alone out in the fields is actually one of its biggest draws.

“The solitude is hard to beat,” he says.

The 32-year-old Lowell native grew up on a functioning farm with parents who loved to garden, and long hoped to start his own organic vegetable operation. That dream became a reality five years ago in the form of Five Hands Farm in Lowell, where Bruce and his crew run a thriving Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) membership program, filling weekly produce boxes with a half-bushel share of the farm’s current harvest.

During the late spring and early summer, that bounty includes baby greens, garlic scapes, snap peas and one varietal that not every CSA member will immediately recognize: Hakurei turnips. Raw or cooked, Bruce says these little beauties will be an early-season surprise to anyone discovering them for the first time.

We asked Bruce to share the following facts about the Hakurei turnip.

The difference between Hakurei turnips and other varieties:

Roughly the size of a golf ball, and often mistaken for radishes, they tend to lack the heat and bitterness often associated with other kinds of turnips.

Why they’re a good crop for this time of the year:

They’re fast-growing (about 40 days) and relatively cold-hardy, and their taste develops best in cool conditions.

The joys and challenges of growing Hakurei turnips in Northwest Indiana:

It’s nice to be able to expose customers to a new variety with such excellent taste, and it’s great that they grow so quickly. The challenges tend to be mostly insect-related, with flea beetles, root maggots and aphids seeming to enjoy Hakureis almost as much as we do! We use an insect barrier to stave off these threats.

Photo Credit: Brad M. Wolf
Photo Credit: Brad M. Wolf

During the late spring and early summer, that bounty includes baby greens, garlic scapes, snap peas and one varietal that not every CSA member will immediately recognize: Hakurei turnips. Raw or cooked, Bruce says these little beauties will be an early-season surprise to anyone discovering them for the first time.

We asked Bruce to share the following facts about the Hakurei turnip.

The difference between Hakurei turnips and other varieties:

Roughly the size of a golf ball, and often mistaken for radishes, they tend to lack the heat and bitterness often associated with other kinds of turnips.

Why they’re a good crop for this time of the year:

They’re fast-growing (about 40 days) and relatively cold-hardy, and their taste develops best in cool conditions.

The joys and challenges of growing Hakurei turnips in Northwest Indiana:

It’s nice to be able to expose customers to a new variety with such excellent taste, and it’s great that they grow so quickly. The challenges tend to be mostly insect-related, with flea beetles, root maggots and aphids seeming to enjoy Hakureis almost as much as we do! We use an insect barrier to stave off these threats.

What to look for when seeking out Hakurei turnips:

Three main things: crisp greens, smaller size and no cracks.

The best ways to prepare and enjoy Hakurei turnips:

We love them quartered on the grill. They pair beautifully with carrots, golden beets and fingerling potatoes. You can also slice them raw for a great fresh salad addition, or add them to mashed potatoes.