You may have already guessed it by the shape, size, and color, but just to be clear, the parsnip is indeed a close relative of the carrot. Until the potato arrived to the New World, the parsnip (along with other root vegetables, like the turnip) were used in soups, stews, and stocks to develop flavor and act as a thickening agent.
While parsnips originated in the Mediterranean and were the size of a baby carrot, explorers and settlers found that they grew larger and more successfully the farther north they travelled. Parsnips seeds are typically planted during the fall and winter months, and it is the frost that occurs during these seasons that helps the plant develop its flavor.
In Season at the Market
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Product descriptions are generously shared and created by CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) in San Francisco. CUESA is dedicated to cultivating a sustainable food system through the operation of the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market and its educational programs. Visit CUESA at www.cuesa.org.