Andean Crops

Ají (Capsicum pubescens)

Capsicum pubescens is commonly known as rocoto, tree chile, or ají (a less specific name that is used to refer to many kinds of chili peppers). It is cultivated mainly in the high Andes, but is also grown in some parts of Gutatemala and in Southern Mexico, where it is called manzano.  Rocoto produces beautiful red

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Arracacha (Arracacia xanthorrhiza)

Arracacha (Arracacia xanthorrhiza) is an Apiaceae family plant, also commonly known as Peruvian parsnip, apio criollo, zanahoria blanca, or white carrot. It produces fat whiteish roots that looks similar to a parsnip, with white, yellow, or purple flesh. The dark green, sometimes purplish, leaves look somewhat like parsley.  Arracacha is native to the Andean highlands

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Naranjilla (Solanum quitoense)

One of our favorite Andean fruits to grow is naranjilla (Solanum quitoense). Also known as lulo, naranjilla is a Solanaceae (nightshade) family plant that produces an edible fruit popular in Ecuador and Columbia. Fruits have orange, fuzzy skin and tart, green flesh. The fruits are best when fully ripe — which is when they are

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Achiote (Bixa orellana)

Achiote, also commonly known as annatto, bija, or urucum, is a lovely evergreen shrub in the Bixaceae family that is native to parts of South and Central America. Today, it is grown in most tropical countries. About 60% of annatto seed is produced in Latin America. Peru is the largest producer and exports the seeds

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Yacón (Smallanthus sonchifolia)

Traditional Andean food crops are hardy to the local climate and quite often thrive without much maintenance in our mountainside gardens. One of our favorites is yacón (Smallanthus sonchifolia), a sunflower relative that is native to Ecuador, Peru & Columbia. Yacón is in the Compositae family and is commonly known as jicama, despite having no

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