OSA hosted a variety tasting and discussion as part of last week’s Farmer-Fisher-Chef Connection (F2C2) in Seattle, Washington. OSA convened food growers, buyers, and eaters at the event to taste test six varieties of winter cabbage and discuss breeding and seed needs of the Pacific Northwest.
Taste test participants provided input on flavor, texture, and overall eating qualities of several overwintered cabbages varieties. Tasters reported varieties varied on a spectrum from spicy/mustard, sweet, bland, crunchy, and soft. Discussions focused on increasing education about the source of seed and promoting regionally adapted varieties to customers.
The farmer who grew the cabbage for the tastings, Sam McCullough of Nash’s Organic Produce, shared with the group why on-farm variety trials are important in their operation and what they are looking for in a high-quality cabbage. McCullough emphasized that the Pacific Northwest is one of the best places to grow cabbage on earth, but it is hard to find a good open-pollinated varieties from which growers can save seed.
The event was the first in a series of farmer-chef networking and tasting events OSA is hosting over the next three years with support from Washington State Department of Agriculture and Oregon State Department of Agriculture Specialty Crops grants.