What Is New Zealand Spinach?
I first was exposed to New Zealand spinach (Tetragonia tetragonioides) having a Memorial Day gin & tonic in downtown Lexington Kentucky a few years back. My New York friend had just got in to town and joined me for a drink and not a minute later I looked up and saw a man walking down the street with a bag of greens in his hands and walking purposefully. I jumped up and started walking with him and low and behold it was the New Zealand spinach and this gentleman was a farmer who was making a delivery to a nice dinner place in downtown Lexington. I didn’t get back to my drink for an hour as I followed him around downtown Lexington making his deliveries.
Turned out he was Erik Walles from Erik’s Organics, LLC.
This is a photo I took that very day on the street with Erik and this is the bag of spinach he was carrying!
That weekend my friends and I went out to Erik’s farm in the horse country. Erik was kind enough to host us for a brief tour of his organic certified farm and described his growing experience with New Zealand spinach and showed us his grow operation.
This is where he grows most of the spinach in a shade cloth covered hoop house.
Since then I have learned a lot about growing new Zealand spinach. Basically it is indigenous to New Zealand, tolerates high temperatures and the leaves and shoots are harvested and boiled or used fresh in salads.
Sometimes it is also called Cook’s cabbage or tetragon. Here is the Wikipedia citation on New Zealand spinach: