This page is devoted to photos and descriptions of the varieties of rhubarb we offer fresh each Spring/Summer. Current photos and descriptions are of three types: Victoria; Colorado Red; and Turkish. Our other varieties include Canada Red, Crimson Red, and two unnamed varieties. Photos of those others will be added as soon as available.
First a note about the identification and naming of rhubarb varieties. It is at best problematic and almost always unreliable. Most rhubarb growers name their plants either from the general characteristics they demonstrate or for the market appeal of the name. Few, if any, growers know the actual variety they grow...can trace the origin of the genetic material with any reliability. This is for several good reasons. Firstly, there are 60-100 different varieties of rhubarb and there are no existing keys to help identify varieties. This is complicated by the fact that some sellers offer plants and roots germinated from seed, often without telling their customers. Such plants normally represent a new, hybrid variety and may not have much resemblance to their parent plants. Making it even worse is the fact that individual varieties change characteristics both during phases of annual growth and as they age over the years. It is very difficult to identify any variety with any confidence. We all do our best. However, you're best advised to rely on the description of the varieties characteristics than on the name associated with it.
Victoria an heirloom variety of green rhubarb
Green on the inside, grading from red to green on the outside from the stalk to the leaf. Stalks are relatively long (2+ feet) and normally about 1 inch in diameter but can be as thick as 2 inches in diameter. An early harvest variety normally peaking 2 to 3 weeks before red varieties. This variety is one of the best suited to our own growing conditions. The plants become enormous with an annual yield of up to 90 pounds of quality rhubarb apiece on 50 gallons of supplemental water in a semi-arid climate. The variety is medium tart with an excellent rhubarb flavor. Most of our own dishes are made from this variety.
The stalks are smooth on the outside and the skin is thin. They can be frozen and cooked without peeling.
A rare, pure red variety. Stalks are the length of typical celery stalks, about 12 inches, and about 3/4 inch in diameter. Deep red outside and inside. This variety peaks 2-3 weeks later than the Victoria plants. It is also more tart than Victoria. The stalks contribute an outstanding red color to any dish or juice. We sometimes include one or two of these for each 10 Victoria stalks. That is sufficient to impart a medium red color to the final mix.
This is a favorite among jam and preserve makers because of the deep red color. The stalks are smooth and the skin is medium. The stalks can be cooked and frozen without peeling.
Green on the inside and out with a small area of red at the base. This is the mildest form of rhubarb. It peaks about the same time as the Victoria but remains viable a month or two longer, weather permitting. The stalks vary greatly in length from 8 to 18 inches but most are very thin, about 1/2 inch in diameter. Stalks quickly become hollow if not harvested at their peak.
The outer surface is routh, like a soft sand paper. They are best peeled before cooking or freezing.