The Beet Stops Here

OK. For those following the Ann Arbor Sugar Beet Project, I have some bad news to report. But before I give my report, lets recap some of the successes.

1. Successful found non-gmo seeds
2. Planted the seeds and yielded about 50LBs of non-gmo sugar beets
3. Got a bunch of people to grow sugar beets too
4. Joined up with Amish farmer Danny Miller who also grew sugar beets
5. Was written up in Edible Wow
6. Had a successful fundraiser for equipment
7. Did a successful sugar beet molasses test with about 15LBS

OK. so where am I now with the project?

I looked in my bins where I was storing my beets to discover that they were all molding. I think the warm then cold weather did the beets in, which I kept outside in the cold winter.

Ann Arbor Food

The result is about 350LBs of moldy beets, which are now food for the compost pile.

With that said, I have two pounds of seed and all of the equipment to give it another go.

What basically happened is that the places/kitchens that I had arranged to use to process the beets fell through and I was not able to find a kitchen. I stored them outside in the cool fall temperatures, for what I figure would be a week or so, but it was longer. Too long it turned out.

As for the people who still have beets in the ground, I really cannot say if they have retained enough sugar to make it worth while to make sugar from them or if the had gone to starch, but we can do a small batch test. If it works, we might be able to savage the project some.

So what is the lesson and the plan for next year?

For starters, I am thinking smaller this year. If people want to grow beets I will provide them with some of my seed and if they need to borrow my juicer and seltzer bottle and containers for a small at home production I am willing to help..

But I am not planning a large scale sugar beet party that would require the use of a kitchen larger than my own.

The idea was to start a project that promoted people in the Ann Arbor area (and where ever they can grow sugar beets) who were interested in local food to bring back the tradition of at home beet sugar making.

If you would like to grow sugar beets this year and you want some seed, I would be happy to mail you some.

$1.oo gets you 2TBS of non-gmo sugar beet seeds (shipping by regular mail included), enough to plant about 5 x 10 foot plot or more (50-75 beets),
$2.00 gets 4TBS, $3.00 gets 6TBS….etc.

Click the donate button to purchase seed using Paypal.

Provide a mailing address when filling out your order

7 responses to “The Beet Stops Here

  1. Bummer about the mold!

    FWIW – I’m still happy to host group sugar making in the Great Oak kitchen from this year’s crop, we just need to coordinate dates a while in advance, because it’s a busy space and we’re all busy people!

  2. Tammy,

    Thanks. I will run a test in a few weeks and see if the beets in the ground work.


  3. Hi,

    Sorry to hear about the mold! What a bummer.

    The paypal link didn’t work for me and I’d love to try some seeds. Can you email me the link, or repost it and let me know – thanks. Rachel

  4. Hum,

    I updated the paypal button. It should work now.


  5. Dang mold! I Googled molded beets in storage and found your blog. I have beets in freezer bags in the crisper drawer and wanted to roast them for a salad with wilted greens. I was hoping I could scrub them, boil them then peel and roast and be ok?

    Any ideas, you beet guru, you?

    • Sarah,

      I have never been called a beet guru. If your beets are moldy, the best thing might be to compost them. Even if cooked them to make them safe to eat, you will probable get a mold taste.


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