Ground Cherries!

Ground Cherries!

image (3)Autumn is upon us and with it comes a time of harvesting what the garden has abundantly produced. The kids at
State Road Elementary School have recently had the opportunity to see what has come of the seeds they planted in the spring.   To show the students the garden, Grow La Crosse took students on a taste tour.  During the taste tour, children tasted kale, arugula, lettuce, cherry tomatoes, basil and ground cherries that they picked straight from the garden.

95% of students surveyed said they tried something new during the taste tour.  Ground cherries were something that most students and teachers had not tried before.

Therefore, we made the Clammy Ground Cherry our spotlight plant and learned some facts about them.  These fruits are part of the nightshade family, which includes tomatoes, potatoes, cherry tomatoes, and eggplants. Although these plants look like little golden tomatoes, they are thought to taste like strawberries with a hint of pineapple!


Intern Cody Sromek holds a Chinese lantern variety (orange) and Clammy variety (yellow) of ground cherry.

Some more fun facts about Clammy Ground Cherries:

  • Native to eastern and central North America
  • Root system is deep and widespread
  • Stay fresh 3 months after harvest if kept in a dry place
  • Grow wild in woods, ditches, and old pastures
  • Stems can grow from 1 to 3 feet long
  • Although the berries are small, each plant can produce up to 30,000 seeds!
  • When they are unripe, green ground cherries can be toxic (causes stomach ache)
  • They are packed with nutrients like: Vitamin C, A, and B3
  • Vitamin C helps us repair body damage and tissue
  • Vitamin A aids in bone growth and eye health
  • Vitamin B3 helps convert the food we eat into energy!
  • Other varieties of ground cherries include the Chinese lantern and the Golden strawberry
Thank you Mayo Clinic Health System – Franciscan Healthcare for your corporate sponsorship which allows us to connect more children to healthy food and nature.