Status: We’re switching over to growing sale quantities of ullucos from our breeding program instead of the old heirlooms. As a result, we will have very little ulluco to offer this year, probably just one variety. I expect that we’ll have somewhere between 20 and 40 of our own varieties in the catalog by the end of 2018.
Four important tuber crops were developed in the Andes: potato, oca, mashua, and ulluco (oo-YOO-ko). Ulluco is probably the most widely consumed of these crops after the potato, but is almost unknown more than a day’s drive from the high altitudes in the Andes where it is grown. The tubers are particularly beautiful, mostly vivid yellow, orange, or red/purple, colors that are created by high concentrations of pigments that act as antioxidants. The flavor is starchy like a potato, but also earthy like a beet and the texture is firmer than either one. The leaves are also commonly eaten, raw or cooked. Ulluco is a tricky plant to grow, disliking heat that much exceeds 70 degrees, and requiring a frost-free growing season through at least mid-November.