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macheske

Broccolini

macheske
14 years ago

Does anyone here have experience growing Broccolini and know where to get seeds?

Thanks!

Comments (23)

  • dangould
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Not sure exactly what you are looking for but it might be Romanesco Broccoli see page 53 of the Fedco catalog.

    http://www.fedcoseeds.com/forms/sds30_cat.pdf

    Fedco claims it is not real easy to grow and needs high fertility. To me that says grow it in the compost pile.

    Last year I grew Thompson from Fedco and it was excellent for me. huge great tasting heads. I planted early indoors.

    Here is a link that might be useful: fedco catalog

  • macheske
    Original Author
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Broccolini is quite a bit different.... Here's some info.

    Broccolini is a green vegetable resembling broccoli. Although often mistakenly identified as young broccoli, it is actually a natural hybrid of the cabbage family Brassica oleracea, a cross between broccoli and Chinese Kale. It was developed by the Sakata Seed Company of Yokohama, Japan. It is generally agreed that broccolini has a sweeter flavor than broccoli.

    Broccolini is a registered trademark of Mann Packing Company, Inc. Its generic name is baby broccoli with product look up number 3277. It is also known by the name Asparation, Asparations, Bimi, and Tender Stem. Sanbon Incorporated originated a commercial program for asparation in Mexico in 1994 and first brought it to the U.S. market in 1996. Mann Packing Company introduced the new vegetable to the US market in 1998 under the brand: BROCCOLINI. They grow the vegetable year round in California and Arizona. Today, you can find Broccolini brand baby broccoli throughout the United States and Canada.

    {{gwi:133726}}

    I asked the wife to get some broccoli at the grocery last week and she came home with this. We all now have a favorite vegetable. Now if I could only grow it....

  • dangould
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    doing a google search I find this

    http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/nwgardens/217235_smith24.html

    Where do I find broccolini seeds?

    I don't think you'll find broccolini seeds anywhere. This cross of Chinese kale and broccoli developed by the Sakata Seed Co. is trademarked by Mann Packing in Salinas, Calif.

    but before getting too excited this is a difficult to grow veggie.

    http://www.obwrestaurant.com/features/broccolini.htm

    Broccolini
    We spend as much time thinking about what vegetables to put on a plate as about what to put in the center of the plate. It irks us when customers dont eat those vegetables that we have worked so hard to prepare. So, it probably comes as no surprise that we monitor popularity of vegetables with the garbage can test: by seeing how much comes back from the dining room to end up in the garbage can. And when we find a vegetable that doesnt end up in the trashcan, you know that we have a winner.

    Recently, a relatively new vegetable called Broccolini® has dropped in price enough for us to start using it at the restaurant. Ive eaten it at home for nearly five years. It seems that no other vegetable has generated so many questions in the dining room. "What is it?" everyone asks. Not really knowing, Ive been saying that its a new cultivar of broccoli, which it is, but what a dry answer to a vegetable with a most interesting history.

    I set out to find out about Broccolini with my vegetable broker, a guy whos been in the market for 30 years. When Ralph told me, "Ed, I dont really know," I knew I had to dig deeper.

    Our story takes us to Yokohama, Japan back in the late 1980s, to Sakata Seed Company who sell 80% of the broccoli seed on the market. Being business guys, they asked how they could expand their market. Broccoli is a cool temperature crop, which restricts its growing seasons and locations. If broccoli could be selected for more heat tolerance, more growers could grow more and Sakata could sell more seed.

    Enter gai lan, the Chinese broccoli that we serve from time to time at the restaurant for its big, sweet stalks. Gai lan is a more heat tolerant genetic cousin to standard broccoli, with much tastier and less tough stems. Perhaps a cross of broccoli and Chinese broccoli would give Sakata the heat resistance they were seeking, without losing the essential broccoli nature of the resulting vegetable.

    Using traditional hand pollination techniques, Sakata's breeders set out on a quest for a stable hybrid, crossing and recrossing to get the desired characteristics. It took them seven years to arrive at the goal, which they named Asparation, in part for the long asparagus-like stems. The new vegetable is genetically more than three-fourths standard broccoli with six- to seven-inch long stems and a small flowering broccoli-like head.

    Now to California. Asparation seeds ended up with two growers for trials, with small family grower Sanbon of El Centro, which uses the Asparation name, and with Sakatas largest broccoli seed customer, mammoth Mann Packing of Salinas, which coined and trademarked the term Broccolini. What these growers found is that Broccolini is not any less heat sensitive than standard broccoli, and it has particularly demanding water and fertilizer needs. Broccolini can turn bitter and stringy if the rain and weather do no cooperate.

    Moreover, Broccolini is expensive to harvest. It doesnt have an easy-to-cut central crown like standard broccoli. Rather, it has a profusion of side shoots, not all of which mature at the same time. So, it has taken some training of the workers who harvest it to select only the ripe shoots. Add to this that the crop doesnt ripen consistently across adjacent blocks and you have a difficult to grow vegetable.

    Given these difficulties plus the small scale of production, the product is naturally expensive, yet its future looks very bright. Why?

    Broccolini has great shelf-life when compared to broccoli: I have no worries about carrying a case across the weekend in our cooler, a major concern when Im paying twice or three times the cost of broccoli. Its also completely edible. We merely slip the rubber bands from the bunch, wash the product, and use it. No labor costsno prep time! And Broccolini makes quite an elegant statement on our plate.

    But the number one reason for Broccolinis success: it passes the garbage can test!

    Sakata Seed America Inc
    www.sakata.com
    18095 Serene Dr
    Morgan Hill, CA 95037
    (408) 778-7758

    http://www.sakata.com/distributors_links.aspx

    from the distributors you should be able to find the seeds. Johnnys, Harris, Stokes, Burpee are but a few distributors of their seeds. The complete list of distributors is on the internet listed above. Pretty much all large seed companies that sell broccoli seeds will have a tie to this company.

    If you can not find it then you might ask Kitazawa Seed company to special order it for you. They might be the type company to do special orders.

    Please report back here what you find out so others can know how to find this interesting veggie.

  • yumamelon
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Hello,
    You can try Gai Lan or Yu Choy Sum. Gai Lan is more difficult to grow and needs to be trimmed to increase yields. You should go to the asian forum and get their input.
    Yuma

  • macheske
    Original Author
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Doesn't look like Johnnys, Harris, Stokes, or Burpee carry it. The Chinese Gai Lan and Yu Choy Sum are not what I'm looking for.....Any other ideas? This is definitely the best veggie that we've tasted...

  • yumamelon
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Hello,
    You can not get "brocollini" seed. It is something being used as a marketing plan to capture more value through strategic partnerships between Mann Produce and Sakata. I don't think they will be releasing any seed to garden seed distributors. The closests you are going to get is gai lan and yu choy sum. You could make you own cross if you like. They say they crossed chinese kale and brocolli in the article above.
    Yuma

  • dangould
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I think they might have crossed gai lan.

    Well I do not think you can get the seeds as Brocollini. But I suspect you might be able to purchase seed as Asparations.

    I would phone the company and ask for a salesman. If there is any way to get the seed he can probably tell you. Although he just might not know. Maybe just place and order with them and see if they ship it to you. haha.

    Sakata Seed America Inc
    www.sakata.com
    18095 Serene Dr
    Morgan Hill, CA 95037
    (408) 778-7758

    I suspect that the reason it is not selling to the home gardener is because it is difficult to grow. I would call Johnny's and Territorial and talk to the person in charge of trials and see if they ever trialed it.

    Another thing is that Johnnys and other seed companies sell seeds to farmers that they do not sell to home growers. I would not be too surprised if Johnnys sells the seeds to some farmers. with a difficult to grow product they might not want to sell it to most home gardeners. Just because it is not in the catalog does not mean they do not sell it or would not get it for you. You may be able to special order the seeds. Remember they are distributors of the manufacturer but they will only normally stock the best sellers.

  • fliptx
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    This topic came up a while back (I can't find the discussion now) and I did find seeds for Asparation being offered online. But I remember checking the website again a few months later and they no longer offered it. So instead I opted to grow a couple of different Gailan from Evergreen Seeds, and while it's not quite the same thing, it was a satisfactory substitute for me.

  • farmerdilla
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Just for information. Osborne Seeds offers Sweet Baby, a hybrid cross between broccolin and chinese kale. They list it under rapini and thier blurb says similar to Broccolini.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Osborne Seed

  • marquette
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I was thinking, with the help of rooting powder, could you root a bunch of stems, and grow them out, and get seeds? It would be an interesting experiment to see what veggie would come of the seeds.

  • magnolias4ever
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I also thought that RAAB or RAPINE is the same thing as Broccolini. I found raab at Johnny's and Parks. Are they different?

  • naturegirl_2007 5B SW Michigan
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    The Sieger Seed Co. catalog for commercial growers lists lots of broccoli, cauliflower, and oriental specialty greens varieties produced by Sakata. The Sakata produced broccolini is not listed. I'm quite sure it is exclusive to growers contracted to Mann Packing, a huge broccoli (and a few other things) distributer from California.

    There is a "Hybrid Gai Lan" called "Green Lance" that looks similar. Sieger's smallest quantity is 1/4 lb. for $33.33 (which is 3 to 5 times more than the price for similar amounts of their other specialty greens seed, must be a special product). I found it for sale in home gardener amounts through Kitazawa. They indicate it is a good choice for home gardeners. Sieger's web site photo looks more like the broccolini photo above than Kitazwa's does, but I can't seem to link to it. Just click on the camera icon at this page and it will get you there. http://www.siegers.com/shop/kind.asp?kind_id=PPP#540023

    I'm going to look for broccolini and other Mann Products next time I am at the grocery store. I don't usually look at the prepackaged produce and haven't noticed broccolini yet.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Green lance - Hybrid Gai Lan

  • macheske
    Original Author
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Farmer,
    I checked out Osborne seed. It looks like they might have what I'm looking for. I also was skimming my Johnny's catalog and found Green Lance and Happy Rich. They are both brocoli / chinese kale hybrids. Both of them look like Broccolini though Happy Rich seems to have more of the flower head. I think I'm going to try it. Any suggestions on how to grow it?

    Thanks everyone for the help!
    Rick

  • fliptx
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    :I also thought that RAAB or RAPINE is the same thing as Broccolini. I found raab at Johnny's and Parks. Are they different?"

    They look similar, but I find raab/rapini to have a stronger flavor. I'm not crazy about it, but I love Broccolini/Asparation.

    Farmerfilla, thanks for the Sweet Baby link. That looks like an interesting one to try.

  • dangould
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Raab and Rapine are different than Broccolini for sure.

    First it will always be impossible to obtain seeds under the name Broccolini. However, seeds might be obtained under the name aparations. Next it is obvious that sort of anyone can make the hybrid but all hybrids will be different. There is good reason to expect that a similar hybrid to Asparations might be better than asparations or broccolini. After all why should the first hybrid always be the best. with more work a better one can be found.

    Sakata Seed has put a lot of work into Asparations and Broccolini. I would expect them to continue their work and come out with a better hybrid. Since some of these hybrids are from Sakata that looks like an excellent place to start looking.

    I am shocked that no one has telephoned Sakata Seed in california and talked to a salesman. Get the story from the boss. Call Sakata and find out some facts and stop speculating.

    Lastly I like the research done by Johnny's for northern growers. I would be comfortable growing out either the seeds from Osborne or from Johnnys. I like Osborne. they are a good company. Only $5 for seeds and I am pretty sure their shipping costs are very low.

  • denninmi
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Territorial Seeds has a kale/broccoli cross called Purple Peacock which might be similar to what you're looking for.

  • dangould
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Territorial has gone ballistic this year with a minimum $7 shipping charge on one pack of seeds. Outrageous. The seeds are not low cost there either. Territorial would appear to only want big $100 orders. FEDCO charges $1 for most of the same seeds that Territorial wants $2 to $3 for. Plus FEDCO has free shipping on $30 order and only $3 on small orders. Territorial is outrageous to my bank account.

    Osborne is much better on shipping charges. Check it out. I ordered from Osborne and Territorial and FEDCO last year along with others. I am very sad to say that I will not order again from Territorial unless I have no other choice. I protest $7 shipping charges on one pack of seeds that can be mailed for less than 50 cents postage.

  • dangould
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I seem to remember that Osborne last year only charged me actual shipping charges. The postage on the envelop. I went to the web site to try to get the shipping charges and it says.

    "Freight costs will be added at the time of shipment."

    I feel even more sure now that they only charge actual shipping costs. I will bet that the Osborne will charge less than a dollar to ship the seeds. Territorial will charge $7. on the one pack of seeds.

    To get the final say on shipping charges at Osborne one needs to phone them and ask them. Osborne sells to farmers. They have to deliver. Farmers what only what is going to work and work well and top notch. I believe Osborne delivers what works in their area. Practical varieties with good yields that grow well. I would have confidence in all the items in Osborne catalog.

    They want $5 for 500 seeds and $7.50 for 1000 seeds. Not so bad for such a rare hybrid so difficult to find.

  • kristenmarie
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I'm wondering why not just grow a really good broccoli raab? Or maybe just the Calabrese broccoli, or one of the other side-shoot sprouting broccolis?

  • macheske
    Original Author
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I definitely like the taste of broccolini. BTW...here's the "Happy Rich" that I got from Johnnys growing.

    {{gwi:41656}}

  • billinpa
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I found some on Ebay. Store name of seedmart. first year trying it but we will see how it goes. I did have very good germ rate about 90%.
    Going in the garden this week. Just started hardening them off.

  • carolync1
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    This variety might be an alternative for summer in many climates.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Piracibaba broccoli

  • macheske
    Original Author
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I thought I'd give you a follow up on the Happy Rich from Johnnys. The plants have grown very well. I harvested some today. The taste is very good, much like a mild tasting broccoli. I'd have to say that there is definitely a taste difference between broccolini and Happy Rich, but the Happy Rich is very good.

    Here is a picture:

    {{gwi:59924}}

    Oh, here's a picture of some pac choi as well... it is extremely good!

    {{gwi:12169}}