Ahhh, rhubarb. In so many ways, rhubarb is a veggie all its own. It’s sour. It’s a stalk. It’s leaves are toxic.

But hey, it’s different! And different is awesome. We love rhubarb at Oxbow for a number of reasons: It’s a perennial (comes back every year) and, aside from some mulching now and again, is pretty self-sufficient. It’s one of spring’s earliest risers, giving us a sellable product when everything else is being seeded. It brings a heck-of-a-lot of flavor to the table, all by itself AND–seriously–it’s so fun to play with! The rhubarb patch is a normal stop on our spring farm tours, where kids can taste it (a lively experience), wear it on their heads, look for frogs living in it, and play hide-and-seek in it. What other vegetable provides so many different kinds of fun?

None we can think of!

Rhubarb produces robustly in springtime and will stay leafy through the summer and into the fall. Our rhubarb is unique–the variegated “Uncle Ralph’s” variety that we grow never turns wholely red. So the red-green stalks you find in your box are ready to eat, despite maybe looking unfamiliar.

While the stalks of rhubarb are good to eat, the leaves and roots contain high enough levels of oxalic acid to be toxic to humans.

Rhubarb is nicely crunchy, quite sour and adds a zesty kick to sweet dishes–the tang becomes much more palatable when the rhubarb is cooked down with some sugar. It is good for pies, saucessweet salads (cook it down), or refreshing cold drinks.

We love rhubarb for its versatility! Get creative with it and share what you make with us on on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Tag us with #OxbowFarm.

Storage: Keep in loose plastic bag in your fridge for up to 10 days. Or freeze for longer storage, up to 9 months. Cut into small pieces, approx. 1/2—1 inch, spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet and freeze, once frozen transfer to a plastic bag.

This article appeared in our newsletter June 22. Sign up to receive it.

Want more Ox? We’re all over the internet! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to stay tuned in to what’s going on.