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A New Palette for Your Palate

April 01, 1999|ROBERT SMAUS

Imagine being served steaming sweet corn colored bright red, asparagus that is distinctly purple, yellow carrots and little balls of orange watermelon. Are you on Mars? Have you been sitting too close to the TV? Did you forget to take off those yellow sunglasses when you arrived? Perhaps you're simply having dinner with someone who grows their own vegetables from seed, because all of these are available this year from W. Atlee Burpee & Co. ([800] 888-1447).

For those who don't follow the seed catalogs, there's a color revolution going on in the world of vegetables. The red corn is appropriately named "Ruby Queen," and it's an extra-sweet sugary variety. Not sorta red, it's really red. The pure yellow carrots are called "Sweet Sunshine" and have no trace of orange in them. "Orange Sunshine" is the name of the luminous watermelon. They are big, weighing from 16 to 20 pounds each, and seedless to boot. The asparagus is named "Purple Passion" and is as close to being a blue vegetable as you get.

There are other multicolored or oddly colored vegetables that aren't new this year, such as the "Sweet Rainbow Mix" of bell peppers (orange, red, green or purple), a lilac bell pepper, or the 1998 All-America Selections-winning chard named "Bright Lights" (yellow, orange, pink, red or white stems). These are available from Geo. W. Park Seed Co. ([800] 845-3369).

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