Seven Top Turnip Greens (Cima di Rapa)
An Heirloom turnip grown not for roots but for its delicious and abundant greens. In Italy this would be considered an overwintering Cima di Rapa. In the American South, they are called Turnip Greens.
I find these are an important supplement to kale and collards, because they actively grow in winter instead of just sitting there surviving. The energy stored in the root provides fuel before there is enough sunlight to power growth. They are not as hardy as kale in the colder climate zones, but they seem to cope better with our heavy winter rains and waterlogged soils, as well as summer drought. Turnips grow very fast from direct-sowing, and I find it easier to scatter turnip seed in the fall than to raise transplants. They are the easiest winter green I know of, so if you like the rich flavor, as I do, you can have great meals all winter and long into spring from a single sowing.
Slow Food International selected this variety for their Ark of Taste. They say "While most turnip varieties were historically grown for animal fodder as well as human consumption, the Seven Top has been cultivated in the South since the 1830s exclusively for the human table. Seven Top has long been the standard by which turnip greens have been measured in the American South." You can read their entire description HERE. Traditionally paired with bacon or salt pork, it is also wonderful with sausage, or cheese.