By: Betsy Peirce, Produce Manager
Erik Sessions of Patchwork Green Farm has mastered the art of succession planning. For that reason Erik is our season-long grower on many crops. Two of the more underappreciated summer crops are kohlrabi (May-November) and cabbage (July-January). I caught him in the aisles to ask him how he so consistently keeps us rich in these two Brassica crops.
Betsy: Tell me about kohlrabi.
Erik: I plant the variety “Winner” every two weeks. It is a good variety for summer because it is quick growing. All it takes is a lot of water and it doesn’t get woody. It is sweet and crisp all summer long. I recommend that your customers make sure that all the peel is removed to experience kohlrabi’s optimal sweetness.
Betsy: What’s your favorite way to eat kohlrabi?
Erik: We mostly eat it raw, although it is delicious steamed as well. It makes a great “slaw.”
Betsy: Do you have any tips for picking out the best kohlrabi?
Erik: Yes. Choose ones that have little or no browning. Kohlrabi keeps for a long time in the fridge, but the flavor gets stronger the longer it is stored.
Betsy: Now let’s talk about cabbage. I am really starting to appreciate the versatility of coleslaw. I am particularly impressed by the salting method (see the Wedge article above about cabbage in this publication). It really works to leech the water out. The dressing actually sticks better. How do you plan your cabbage plantings to keep us so well supplied?
Erik: We plan to have cabbage on the shelves at Oneota from July until January. I am really excited about our new root cellar we built on the farm. It will extend our ability to store cabbage significantly. We grow many different varieties from tender summer ones to our fall storage varieties which are dense and firm. Cabbage will keep all winter long in a refrigerator. If the outer leaves get brown, just peel them off and they are as good as new.
Betsy: What is your favorite slaw from cabbage?
Erik: I love Asian Slaw made with Napa Cabbage which Patchwork Green also grows for a fall crop.