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No, you won’t get a hit of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos when you take a bite out of a Badger Flame beet. These beets are named for the beautiful yellow and orange striations that you see after cutting into one, not their temperature or flavor. Badger Flame beets won’t burn your mouth, but they are hot on the market because of their bold color and unique flavor. You see, the Badger Flame is a different breed of beet. Horticulturalists Irwin Goldman PhD’91 and Nick Breitbach made it so. Over nearly 20 growing seasons, the team crossed different varieties of beets to dilute the earthy flavor that often makes people turn up their noses. “I felt some guilt, honestly,” admits Goldman, “because we were de-beeting the beet.” This new and de-beeted beetroot is sweet, crunchy, and good enough to eat raw. Beet that, traditional table beet! Seeded by the UW and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, the fruits of Goldman’s labor can now be found in personal gardens, high-end restaurants, and farmers’ markets. And with the magic of horticulture, maybe one day those same places will offer flamin’ hot beetos.

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