The Paper Beet
"It's not my favorite meal, but it gets us through the winter, and they do keep those folks at the library quite happy. "The paper beet, also known as winter root, is a hardy root vegetable that serves two purposes, food throughout the winter and a source of pulp for paper. This beet grows naturally along the soggy banks of rivers and lakes in Kelunbar and its starchy root is easy to store through the colder seasons. It makes for a nutritious, though not particularly delicious food source. The skees of Tokensaturn City use the leafy vegetation can be used to create paper. Because of this, Tokensaturn skees farm this beet along the shores of Lake Paho.-Skee Paper Beet Farmer
AppearancePaper beats have dense foliage with colorful stems and deep green leaves. The roots are a bright red color and can grow even larger than a skee. If the root is cut into immediately after harvest, it bleeds a pink sap. A few skee are currently experimenting with this sap to see if it can be used for ink or dye.
GrowthPaper beet farmers spend their time clearing space for beets, weeding, and seed selection. Paper beets prefer to stay moist and grow close to the waters edge, though not submerged. After the last frost of the year seeds are planted, as well as any leftover roots from the previous year's harvest. Some years there are plenty of roots leftover, and some there are not, depending on how hard the winter was. To prevent erosion and the washing away of beet farms, paper beet farmers also plant a cover crop of spitweed, which is a very low-growing plant with fine but densely networked roots.
HarvestPaper beets are harvested right before the plant goes to seed in the fall. The leaves are sent to the paper milll to be ground into pulp and create paper, and the roots are traded for various winter supplies. Some plants are left to seed and the seeds of the best performing beets are saved by the farmers for the next year, while the rest are cleared.
Winter RootThe beets were discovered by skee early in history, the date unclear. During a particularly harsh winter a small skee village began searching for supplies buried by squirrels and stumbled upon some of these roots under the soil. These roots were old, shriveled, and not tasty at all, but by harvesting them the skees were able to survive the rest of the winter. These skees began foraging for the paper beet, then called Winter Root. It wasn't until later, when skee settlements became larger, that the skee began cultivating the beet.
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