South Asian/Indian Vegetables

teauteau(KC5/6)April 11, 2011

Good Afternoon All,

I know there is a forum for market gardening but I don't see much there regarding South Asian/Indian vegetables. This year, I am growing tinda, gongura, lemon grass, Malabar spinach and some other vegetables that are common in the South Asian/Indian cuisine. Do any of you in this forum sell your produce at local farmers markets and if so can you give me an idea of how you go about pricing these commodities? I am trying to cater to what I see as a generous opporunity to make available locally grown and fresh produce for several of the communities here in the Kansas City area. I have been growing vegetables that are common in Hispanic, Southeast Asian, Chinese, Hmong and Italian cuisine and as a lover of much of the cuisine of India, I have started growing those vegetables but I notice a lack of these vegetables in the farmers markets. If any of you would be so kind as to give me some feedback, I would be most appreciative. I have bought seeds and a curry plant (my tree is now about 2 feet tall and made it through the winter!) from Seeds of India and I like the varieties that company has. I'm also growing long beans again. I have had a number of requests for this bean and I too enjoy its flavor. Anyway, thanks everyone, in advance. I hope to be hearing from someone soon!

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I would love to have more information on types of asian vegetbles you are growing and selling. I am Indian So I am familiar with all types. I was wondering if you have spinach. lau, tindoora, Karela and any other ones you might be growing. Please email me as to how to buy them from you. I am in the suburbs of Illinois.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 10:53PM
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sreedevi_alla(Gold River,CA)

By any chance can you share tindora roots. I can either exchange or pay you. Thanks

    Bookmark   May 3, 2011 at 1:48AM
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Asian veg are 1.50$/ lb in shops...u can charge 1$/lb in farmers market...
give some deals..people will buy.

i used to buy veg from chinese market...i always buy bulk and bargain with i get really cheap....

please share some seeds and roots....please email me

    Bookmark   May 3, 2011 at 10:48PM
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To those of you who are requesting seeds, plants, roots, etc., I don't have anything to share at this moment, maybe later and...this isn't the appropriate forum for trades,etc.

What I have growing right now is lemon grass, gongura, Malabar spinach (both white and red), Indian hybrid eggplants, Indian bitter gourd, wax melon, hot chiles and my little curry tree that started out about 6-8 inches tall is now 3 feet tall!

I've got a nice selection of Hispanic and East Asian vegetables too. We'll just see how well the season goes. I noticed that the Burmese and Laotian people like gongura too. In the Caribbean, it is called Jamaica and grown for the calyces for a cranberry-like flavor for drinks, pies, syrups and jellies. I have noticed a slight lemony flavor to the leaves. Never used the leaves before so this will be an experience for me. Looking forward to trying my hand at South Asian cooking. I have been watching some cool Indian cooking shows on Cooking Channel and last summer we had our first meal at a halaal Pakistani restaurant which I know is different from Indian but there were some similarities too. Love the different types of naan. Okay, I'm finished talking about South Asian produce and cuisine. Thanx!

    Bookmark   May 4, 2011 at 12:20PM
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is it green or white?
if white, pls share with me some seeds...
i am looking for red Malabar spinach seeds too.
pls email

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 8:53PM
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Awesome TEAUTEAU....that is great!
Which part of USA you are in?
In our parts (Georgia) we have farmers market every saturday in the county parks where all nurseries and local growers bring produce, craft, honey, meats, salsa..etc.

Where did you obtain the seeds for Malabar spinach? My curry plants keep dying :-(
How do you take care of it? What do you do? Any tips?

    Bookmark   May 14, 2011 at 6:40PM
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hello, asian vegetable plant growers!
If any of you are interested in growing tindora (tondli) and Parwal(parwar) plants made out from tissue culture and giving excellent yields, let me know. We have a dealer presently in Florida. Write me for further details at

    Bookmark   May 14, 2011 at 11:51PM
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I am in Kansas City
We have farmers markets all over the metro area. I also make jams, jellies and sauces. Made a great mango jam that people are really getting into. I think mango is the next apple or orange as most popular fruit to eat out of hand here in the U.S. Love mango! I bought my Malabar spinach seeds from Seeds of India. I like their stuff. I have both red and white. I have grown the red before as an ornamental vine and at the time didn't know it was edible. My curry tree is growing like gangbusters. I just keep him in a sunny Eastern exposed window and water him once a week. He will go out soon and I will water every other day as it gets very hot around here soon.

I enjoyed growing gongura before. In the hispanic culture it is often referred to as Jamaica and I love the drink that is made from the calyces. There is a brand of soft drinks sold in local stores called Jarritos that sells a Jamaica soda pop that is just awesome! A Hmong friend of mine grows gongura for the leaves and tells me it has a lemony taste. I also like the way the plants looks like okra or hibiscus and I know they are in the same family. All my lemongrass seedlings are now about two inches tall and doing very well. I have some purslane (red version) growing and it too is very popular in hispanic cuisine and is called verdolagas.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   May 17, 2011 at 2:03PM
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Seedssun, I have lot of red malabar spinach , email me if you want some.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2011 at 1:33AM
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teauteau : I would love to have the receipes of mango jams. I tried making raspberry jam last year ( I following instructions from pectin package) and it was wayyy to runny :-(

I have tons of raspberries growing in my yard. I will have figs in coming years. I have loads of grapes growing too but they are SOUR-SOUR...I leave them on, on the vines. Don't have any ideas on sour grapes.

Thanks for replying. I would like to see all your garden/plant pics.


    Bookmark   May 21, 2011 at 5:29PM
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Hi Trivedi_south,
I don't have any garden pix just yet. But, the mango jam is easy to make.

This is the recipe I used from CERTO?.

We have been selling this stuff like crazy at the Farmers Market. I predict that mango is the next new popular fruit in America.

On the grapes, check to see if they are wine or champagne grapes as opposed to table grapes. Check with your local county extension agent. Tell me what you county and state is and I can get contact info for you.

I'm getting bitter melon plants from a friend this week! Yay!

    Bookmark   May 23, 2011 at 11:00AM
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kvenkat(5a Colo)

You have quite a selection to offer your South Asian customers. I think you have the basics covered. Maybe add some ginger root, drumsticks, taro roots, fenugreek leaves and Asian radish. I would be surprised if a city as large as KC does not have an Indian or Asian market where you could go and check out the going prices. Now, just because the local market has a certain price does not mean you should charge less than they. I am assuming you will have locally-grown, fresh stuff, not things that had to be trucked in from Chicago (a good portion of Asian produce in the Midwest is indeed trucked in from Chicago!) You can charge a higher price because your stuff is better quality and fresher. Additionally, you will need some room for price bargaining, if you are okay with that. In general, Asians tend to haggle over purchase prices. If you don't want to deal with that then post a nice sign saying "Fixed Prices" or some such thing. I'm not a market gardener, just a regular consumer but that's what I would recommend.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2011 at 12:39AM
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Hi Kvenkat,
Thank you for your valuable feedback. I had some Fenugreek seed last year. I will try it again next year. It smells good. Ginger root is pretty cheap to buy at the store but maybe people would like it grown locally. I've grown Asian radish before and got some pretty nice roots but at the time didn't have a market. Now I do. Taro needs a swampy condition doesn't it? I remember when I lived in Hawai'i years ago the pre-Cook farmers grew it in pools where they also raised fish. Kind of a cool way to grow food. I saw some taro pools on Maui last January too. Yes, we have many large Asian grocery stores and even some Middle Eastern and Indian grocery stores. I really like how diverse our metro area has become since I was in high school back in the mid-70s. I never ate Chinese except La Choy (which I hated) until I went to California in 1977. Never had Japanese until the late 70s, Indian until the mid 80s, now we try everything we can get our hands on. Just tried Ethiopian about 5 years ago! Delicious cuisines all over the world. What have we been missing? Yes, I will check out the Asian stores again and see what they're doing. You gave me some great things to think about. I think it is equally if not more important to get consumer feedback from the consumer more so than from other growers. I mean, I can get some idea of what growers are growing but to hear from a consumer, well, that's what I need to know. What are the people out there >>>>> looking for? This year I am growing purslane or in Spanish...verdolaga. I have the name of it in Hindi, but I can't read the script so I can't transliterate it in Roman script. I also started some more tinda and set out about 75 plants of a hybrid Indian eggplant called 'Raavaya' and 'Bharta'. I had really good luck with Asian and Italian eggplants last year. Last year, I didn't have a market. This year, I think I will. Thank you so much Kvenkat, for this feedback!

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 10:45AM
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Teauteau: Awesome!!! I was at the Overland Park farmers' market this morning and bought some beautiful Asian veges among others! am excited that you offer a bigger selection. See you in Rivermarket in KC next weekend...I'm a big fan of local/homegrown veges..

    Bookmark   July 23, 2011 at 9:04PM
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I'm just beginning to explore the different veggies available, and knowing what to look for, what to expect as to cooking methods, how to store it, hopefully to grow it at home, this is all buzzing around in my head.

For instance, I've grown TARO for years and never knew it was the same as the edible plant! Wow, it grows like crazy here. So now I realize that my colocasia esculenta can go on the dinner table. Asian veggies are not just another pretty face!!

    Bookmark   August 22, 2011 at 1:19PM
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mdp1517...we are at the KCK Greenmarket and at Rosedale Farmers Market...Check us out this year when we start in May. I'm trying some more South Asian stuff this year again. More chiles and eggplants used in India.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 12:55PM
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soaht(Central CA 9B)

You should take a trip down to California some time. The asian veggies you mention is only a small amount of the numerous available stuff here. Especially down here in the central valley. We are the golden state after all. (:

    Bookmark   January 3, 2013 at 10:23PM
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I used to live in California many, many years ago. Monterey. Used to drive up near San Jose in those days and hit the various roadside stands for all kinds of goodies. I'm also very familiar with the Fresno and Central Valley area. My cousin lives in the desert near Victorville and I have spent lots of time in Palm Springs and down in San Diego. I used to go to California at least once a year but have been too busy lately. I have been gardening and farming off and on for 30+ years. You don't have to be from California to grow a lot of cool things, we just can't grow it year round! ;o) My Asian friends have, over the years, introduced me to bitter melon, Asian chiles, Asian eggplants, spices, curry plant leaves (I have a 3-year old tree now...), basils, culantro, a host of things. Some of it, I have to start in the greenhouse as I have about a 180 day growing season that is reliable. I think Californians would be very surprised when they see what we are growing here in the Kansas City area. We have a large immigrant population now and some pretty nice Asian markets, Middle Eastern markets, Indian and Pakistani markets and now a new Burmese/Karen market near my neighborhood. Significant groups of people from Somalia, Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Burma, Thailand, China, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia,Mexico, Central America, Cuba, South America, Haiti and the Caribbean have made my hometown, their hometown and with them, they have brought their culture and their cuisine and they are teaching us to grow some of the things they grow and eat some of the food they eat. I lived in Hawai'i, after I lived in California and that was a WONDERFUL experience with so many different island and Asian cultures. It really changed my life. You'll find a lot of interesting produce in the Kansas City farmers markets now as well as the ethnic markets that one would not have found 20 years ago. But yes, I still would enjoy visiting some open markets in California. When we were in Maui a few years ago, I stopped at the farmers market on the way into Kahului, evey morning. It was near Kihei. Anyway, thanks for your comments.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2013 at 10:50AM
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