Education doesn’t stop for vacations. You should learn something new every day, and often it can be surprising. Over the Memorial Day weekend we visited a vast farmers’ market in another city, and as we roamed the many booths and displays we were overwhelmed by the abundance of colorful items for sale: cut flowers, bedding plants, fruits and vegetables, smocked infant dresses, driftwood sculptures, honey, and baked goods.
There were huge displays of tomatoes: conventional red, slicing tomatoes, plum tomatoes, jewel-like multi-colored cherry and grape tomatoes. The bulbous and irregularly-shaped heirloom tomatoes glowed purple, yellow, orange and crimson. Grocery store stacks of trucked-in produce cannot compete with the wide array of glorious produce at a local farmers’ market. My mind raced while considering the permutations and possibilities of so many delicious choices – unlike the weekly confrontation with flavorless, hot house tomatoes and bland, boring lettuces.
One booth we visited had Kirby cucumbers, salad cucumbers, cabbages, kale, grape tomatoes, and shiny, red onions that were still attached to their leafy green headdresses. We saw a battered pickup truck whose entire bed was filled to the brim with sweet potatoes. Next to it was a display with freshly dug red potatoes, gleaming tomatoes, human head-sized cabbages, baskets and boxes of blueberries, many, many containers of strawberries, and watermelons galore.
We staggered around, awe-struck by the vast harvest spread out before us. And then we saw them: weird, alien creatures with green, pointy heads. It was our first encounter with pointed head cabbages. How had we never seen pointy cabbages before? Ignorance comes from rarely coloring outside the lines of the chain grocery store. Bring your mask and head outdoors to a farmers’ market or a farm stand this weekend, and see what you have been missing. You are sure to get an education and an appreciation for all the hard work involved in setting food down on your table.
I have since learned that pointed head cabbage (which is also called sweetheart cabbage) is softer and sweeter than the white and red cabbages I grew up on. I am planning on some innovative new coleslaws and stir fries this summer. I brought home a couple of pointed head cabbages, which should keep nicely in the fridge, while I do my research.
Classic coleslaw: https://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/coleslaw/
Pointed cabbage coleslaw: (There is a kitchen sink hidden in here, I am sure. As well as some whopping typos, still the cook’s enthusiasm is infectious.) https://myfattyassets.wordpress.com/2014/11/04/pointed-cabbage-coleslaw/
This is quick and easy and deelish – three of our favorite recipe qualities: https://schoolofwok.co.uk/tips-and-recipes/flash-fried-sweetheart-cabbage-with-dried-chillies-and-sweetened-soy
Here is a charming, and short, video on stir frying sweetheart cabbage:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pg2_ZuyS3Tw&t=1s
“I said I ‘liked’ being half-educated; you were so much more ‘surprised’ at everything when you were ignorant.”
― Gerald Durrell