The cabbage patch

cabbage in groundAs the debate over whether onions or corn should become the official state vegetable plows ahead, the New York Farm Bureau interjects with this important fact: the state's biggest vegetable crop is actually... cabbage, at $110 million per year.

The Empire State's annual cabbage harvest ranks second in the nation, according to the Farm Bureau. The primary cabbage producing counties are in western New York.

The state's number one crop? Apples, at $185 million per year.

By the way: While we're on the topic of an official state vegetable, why can't we pick something cool like Romanesco broccoli (you know the fractal one). Or, give a nod to the growing small organic farm movement here with something like heirloom radishes or pea shoots. Even cabbage shows a certain desire to be different. Anything but corn.

[via @nickconfessore]

photo: Flickr user Nick Saltmarsh


Clearly the correct answer is CORN, not onions...I've never stopped my car and purchased onions from a roadside stand in NY, yet I do that with corn literally every summer!

Cabbage makes sense, as the Irish tradition of eating corned beef and cabbage did not actually originate in Ireland, but was a common staple for the poor Irish immigrants in NYC in the nineteenth century. So YAY for cabbage and our, er, history and stuff.

Cabbage is AWESOME!

Although I'm also a big fan of onions. But cabbage represents such great things for the State of New York. It's an amazing international vegetable. And without it some of New York's greatest foods would fall flat.

Hot dogs with sauerkraut. Cole slaw at the Jewish deli. Boiled with corned beef for St. Patrick's Day. Stuffed for a taste of Polish Galumpkis. Pickled for Korean kimchi. Stir fried in Chinese dishes. And incorporated into countless international soups, braises, salads, and more.

It should totally be cabbage.

What percentage of that cabbage crop is immediately turned into sauerkraut? Don't get me wrong; I loves me some good kraut.

BTW, the picture above shows Savoy cabbage, which I'll buy by preference over regular green cabbage no matter the price differential. I NEVER buy red cabbage, which gives me nothing but gas.

@chezjake: According to a USDA report from 1995 (so take with a grain of salt, or two), about 18 percent of New York's annual cabbage harvest was turned directly into sauerkraut.

NYT had a story in 2008 about kraut processing moving from western New York to the Midwest because of the cost of doing business here.

Phelps, New York -- a village about halfway between Syracuse and Rochester -- apparently once regarded itself as the sauerkraut capital of the world. It still has an annual kraut festival (August 4-6 this year, in case you're planning to go).

@Daniel, Summer: We totally have to start the cabbage bandwagon.

Daniel: You fussy little cabbage! I had been pushing for corn, but you convinced me!

@mel - We are freaking NEW YORK, we can't be corn. We should be Leaders. If some other state is known for corn, and we say that we are also the corn state, how's that going to look?

I'll tell you. It will look like something that came out of the New York legislature. [ouch]

@Greg - If I'm going to write an angry letter about this, to whom do I need to address it.

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