What's caulilini? New veggie from California coming to stores

SALINAS, Calif. -- Soon a new veggie will be appearing in produce sections with a proprietary name: caulilini.

It's being grown in the Salinas Valley by the same company that created broccolini, a hybrid of broccoli and Chinese gai lan. Gai lan is a kind of mustard green.

Before it's fully developed and allowed to mature in the sun, caulilini almost looks like cauliflower but it tastes much different, and the head is not tightly packed. Instead, it looks more like baby's breath and takes the form of a handheld bridal bouquet.

The origin of this veggie is Asia but it has never been grown successfully in the U.S.

Mann Packing of Salinas worked with seed companies to develop the right variety that will grow year-round in the cooler climate of the Salinas Valley. It took two years of trials to come up with the right seeds.

A limited amount of caulilini has been provided to chefs in the area to try out. It can also be found in the cooked food section at some Whole Foods markets. But it's just now getting ready to be released nationwide in grocery stores.

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