Yacon is an interesting shrub, native to South America and grown by a few select communities. Yacon is healthy, completely edible, fully sustainable, and is really fun to grow. It grows to about 5' tall with small sunflower like flowers. The tubers that grow below the ground are harvested in the fall after a light frost. The tubers are harvested from the lifted plant leaving the crown, which is saved and replanted the next growing season.
The yacon tubers taste like a cross between a watermelon and apple to some, and like a sweet juicy jicama to others. They can be eaten raw or cooked. The tubers are a nice, crisp, sweet treat when eaten raw. They are also great in salads and a wonderful addition to smoothies. The leaves can be harvested, dried and used as a wonderful mild tea which tastes much like a mild green tea.
While this is a natural product whose active ingredients are not fully analyzed or exposed, it has been shown that the Yacon plant, specifically the leaves, can significantly help to alleviate diabetes. The leaves have been shown to help reduce the level of glucose in the blood, while both the tubers and the leaves help to stimulate the pancreas to help regulate the maintenance of blood sugars. The use of micro pulverized Yacon leaves in capsules for the treatment of diabetes has become more popular in modern times, especially in Japan. Yacon is used for medicinal purposes mainly because it contains a type of sugar that is largely not metabolized by the human body. In the large intestine, this sugar helps increase the micro flora found in the latter part of the intestine, especially the bifido-bacteria. Therefore the bifido-bacteria stimulated by the consumption of yacon assist with decay of wastes, have fewer toxins and consequently there is less risk of colon cancer.
Tubers can be found in white, orange and purple varieties. The most common variety is the white and is most readily available. We currently offer white tubers and crowns.
We are currently taking pre-orders for yacon starts and will likely be starting to ship in late March 2017 depending upon the weather in your area. Yacons tubers will be available in the Fall after the first frost date.
Pricing (When available)Yacon Tubers: $3.00/lb
Yacon Crowns: $10.00 (Taking orders for 2017 season)
Yacon Starts: Generous sized crown in gallon pot $12.00 each. (Taking orders for 2017).
Please email us at for additional pricing details which are dependent upon quantity.
Oca is a highly productive perennial plant with waxy, brightly colored tubers that are perfect as a season-extending crop. It is an excellent source of carbohydrates, phosphorus and iron, as well as essential amino acids that promote the health and proper function of muscles, organs, nails, hair, skin and more.
Oca as a Garden Crop
Oca is day length sensitive (even the New Zealand varieties) and will not tuberize until there are less than 12 hours of light per day. For most of the United States, this means the tubers won't begin to form until November, so keep them well covered and free of frost until Christmas, or raise them in plastic-covered tunnels with some sort of minimal heating arrangement so the tops don't freeze..
Oca is propagated from tubers, so it's cloned in a manner similar to potatoes. It prefers sandy soil, partial shade and cool, damp weather. Plant whole tubers in pots in late winter (mid-March is my method), and once they form healthy vines, transfer them to tubs or into the ground after the threat of frost has passed. Planting at this early date is important because the plants must be well established before hot weather sets in. They don't tolerate hot sun and a hard drought certainly will kill them unless they're well watered. To avoid these problems, I plant mine in tubs, which I move into a greenhouse so the plants can run their course. They die back naturally in January, which is when I harvest the tubers..
A sandy cactus potting mix seems to work best as soil, and they must be fed heavily, especially in September and October. They have no known pests, at least not in North America, which is a plus for organic growers. However, mice, barn rats and chipmunks are quite fond of oca, and I've had voles chew their way through the bottom of my tubs to steal the tubers.
Tub culture is convenient, but the plants don't produce as many tubers as they would in open ground. In open ground or in tunnels, you can triple tuberization: Layer and bury the rubbery stems (which often reach 2 feet in length) just beneath the surface so tubers will form around the buried stem sections. Tubers also will form along the underside of stems that touch the ground.
Oca contains oxalic acid, which can be harmful to the urinary tract if ingested in large amounts. According to Purdue University, however, oca actually has less oxalic acid than spinach, and one would have to eat nothing but oca to experience any harmful effects. Furthermore, most of the oxalates in oca are water-soluble, which means all you have to do is boil or steam it and pour off the water. And when left in the sun for a few days, several varieties will undergo a chemical change in which some of the acidic elements are converted to sugars.
To play it safe, anyone who has an allergic reaction to rhubarb, sorrel, beet greens or spinach, or anyone suffering from gout or kidney stones, might want to avoid oca.
Find Oca Tubers
1190 Old Salem Road NE
Albany, OR 97321
You'll get many different sizes of tubers from the same plant, some large (2 to 3 inches in length or longer, depending on the variety), and hundreds of tiny ones. For seed stock, you can store the little ones in a cool, dark place until it's time to plant.
Once you get a working system down pat, the yield from your oca plants can be huge. It always has puzzled me that commercial growers haven't turned to oca as a good winter crop because a lot of money can be made on it now that chefs are putting it on high-end menus and it's one of few crops that are harvested fresh in winter. Plus, oca stores well. Just keep the tubers in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. They don't need to be kept in a root cellar.