Spinach Monstreux de Viroflay 16th Century, Paris - Endangered Variety*
This variety is on the Slow Food 'Ark of Taste' which means it is endangered. https://www.fondazioneslowfood.com/en/ark-of-taste-slow-food/monstruous-viroflay-spinach/
Spinach (Spinacia oleracea) is an annual or biennial vegetable from the Chenopodiaceae family.
Monstrueux de Viroflay spinach (literally “monstrous of Viroflay”) is a very old variety – already present in the 16th and 17th centuries – very hardy and resistant to the Parisian suburb cold. It is highly prized because it produces numerous, very meaty, large, smooth leaves and traditionally supplied the Halles market. It is an early variety that grows quickly, yielding one production in spring (from March to May) – it is also known for its resistance to heat – and another in autumn (from September to November), when other green vegetables are rare. It can be eaten both raw and cooked as a side dish.
The monstrous Viroflay is only sold fresh, as opposed to spinach sold frozen or tinned. France is the main European producer of spinach; an overwhelming majority of the 5,700 hectares of cultivated spinach ends up frozen or tinned. In France, the main producing regions are Brittany, Provence-Alpes-Côte dAzur, North Picardy, but also Ile-de-France.
This variety has been replaced by more resistant hybrid, earlier varieties that are above all more productive, such as “Symphony”, “Falcon”, or “Polka”. The monstrous Viroflay does not tolerate mechanisation because its bases are not the same size and the leaves are not calibrated. It is also more resistant to going to seed and difficult to master.
Only 12 to 15% of national production is consumed fresh. Among them, the monstrous Viroflay cannot exceed more than a few percent. Few market gardeners still produce it. One of them, Laurent Bérurier, a market gardener on the Oise, told us he grows about 100 kilos a year.
Large pointed leaves which mature quite early. Really vigorous and matures in under 2 months from seed to plate. Sow in Spring and Autumn.