Farmers in California recently unveiled “caulilini,” a new cauliflower-like vegetable variety. The new vegetable was developed for two years in secret by Mann Packing Company in Salinas, CA, the same grower that introduced broccolini to the United States in 1998. “It’s an Asian variety that’s sort of loose, a little off color, but what caught my interest was the green stem, and I found that by enhancing the greenness, I enhance sweetness,” Rick Harris, Director of Growing Operations at Mann Packing, said. Harris initially grew 12 seed varieties with the goal of developing a vegetable that would grow year-round amongst lettuce and berries in the local climate. Chef Robert Dasalla has experimented with the new vegetable at San Jose, CA restaurant The Table and is impressed with caulilini’s sweet flavor—which early tasters report does not resemble cauliflower. “Anything that’s new in the culinary scene is always exciting for us as chefs because we get to work with something that’s different [and] out of the box that we’ve never had our hands on,” Dasalla said. Farmers in Salinas are harvesting a portion of the crop this week as Mann Packing works on a distribution deal with grocery stores.
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