The Organic Seed Alliance, a non-profit advocacy and educational organization with which Steve works, ran a sizable brassica field trial this year at the Ronald Welten Farm outside Gilroy, California. Fourteen cabbage, thirteen cauliflower and twelve kale varieties were planted side by side, with two replications of each. The crops were observed, measured, and tasted. This post will concentrate on the results of the green cabbage trial. The red cabbages will be covered in a separate post, and later I will also cover the other varieties.
|Signage was added to to facilitate the tour.|
|Steve and Jared have worked closely for several years, and together they make a great team! They had an attentive audience for the event.|
Green Summer Cabbage Trial Results
In no particular order, here are each of the cabbages, comparing such field characteristics as the amount of aphid damage, the number of marketable heads, size, and weight, as well as the consumer traits such as appearance, density, texture, and flavor. Seeds were planted on February third, and transplanted into the field on March 31st. Heads were harvested on the field day, July 12th (73 days after transplanting). They were stored in a refrigerator and cut open on August first.
In summation, there were several instances of open-pollinated breeding measuring up to the standard hybrid market varieties. Especially notable is the work of long-time produce farmer and seedsman Nash Huber. It is clear that OP breeding, if done with care and perseverance, can equal or surpass the best hybrids have to offer. It is also obvious that the work is just beginning. The seeds of the future are in the hands of determined farmers of today, who are called upon to steward the best of our genetic heritage into a future we can barely imagine. We are at the beginning of a seed revolution now!