Should I grow it or eat it?

Lee Poulsen
Wed, 21 Jul 2004 17:06:27 PDT
This site doesn't have recipes, but they have a further description 
about oca and they sell several different varieties of it: Oregon 
Exotics Nursery <>

--Lee Poulsen
Pasadena area, California, USDA Zone 9-10

 From their catalog:


  (oxalis tuburosa)

"The sweeter cultivars (of Oca) taste like the Star fruit..."

-- Steven R. King, Institute of Economic Botany, NY

  So stunning, but so little known, Ocas are the second most important 
rootcrop for millions of traditional highlanders, yet still remain 
virtually unknown outside of the Andes mountains.

  From Venezuela thence south by 5,000 mi. to Argentina, Ocas are a 
staple which now inhabit the width and breath of the highlands. One of 
the 21st centuries most promising new crops, researchers feel Ocas will 
be suitable for areas of the Himalaya, northern China, Africa and 
Central America. Commercially growing and marketing of the crop in New 
Zealand, Japan & Europe has been successful. Indeed, yields from our 
test plots in Northern California and Oregon have been as high as 1 lb. 
per square foot!

  We have introduced through quarantine more than a dozen varieties 
which are especially sweet and may be eaten raw or cooked. Others are 
slightly acid and retain a pleasantly mild flavor even after cooking. 
Some acid types have been referred to by researchers as " potatoes that 
don't need sour cream." High in the Altiplano some varieties double 
their sugar content when set in the sun for a few days. The flavor of 
these may be likened to dried apples, pears or other fruits. In 
appearance they resemble stubby carrots or long tapered potatoes but 
come with a shiny wax coating and variety of eye catching pinks, reds, 
stripped, white, yellow and purple.

  Ocas are cultured like potatoes, mounding the stems to encourage tuber 
development. They thrive in cool climates and the tubers regenerate new 
growth readily if late frost is a problem. Even under harsh conditions, 
yields are often double than that of potatoes planted in the same 
field. Ocas thrive at altitudes too high for most other crops and yield 
well in poor soils. A light rich soil with a ph between 5.3 an 7.8 is 
favored. Tubers begin development in late summer as daylight hours drop 
below 12 hours per day. A long fall season is important for best tuber 
production. Some researchers feel cool days are more important to tuber 
formation than are the daylight hours. In the Andes they are grown at 
7,000 to 14,000 feet and ripen bountiful crops after 6-9 months. In New 
Zealand at sea level they are grown commercially at latitudes as far 
north as 40.13 and 46.24. Commercial production in Peru and New Zealand 
average between 7-10 tons per hectare with experimental government 
plots in Peru yielding as much as 40 ton per hectare.

  Ocas may be stored for several months even without refrigeration. They 
easily over winter in the simple adobe cellars found in the Andes. Some 
portion of each harvest is often laid to freeze dry by exposing them to 
frosty nights and bright sun by day. The process is aided by stepping 
on the thawing tubers to squeeze water from them. The finished dried 
product called "chuno" lasts for years. Rich in nutrition, Ocas are a 
tasty alternative to other starchy crops like carrots, corn and 
potatoes. Nothing will stop the eventual advancement of these crops 
towards North America. Already they have set themselves, by their 
inherent good qualities, on the long path to our supermarkets. We are 
working with various varieties; white, red, blush, yellow and orange.

  OCA (BR/SS1/FW) * 2 White Oca #1001 $18, 2 Red Oca #1002 $18, 2 Blush 
Oca #1003 $18, 2 Yellow Oca #1004 $18

  mix & match or any

and MATCH any 8 for $60! (#1199)
SAVE $12!16 for $99! (#1112)
SAVE $50!Our Oca's as featured in Flower & Garden magazine; blush, 
white, yellow & red Oca.

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