by Joni Astrup
A 16-pound cabbage grown by Brian and Andrea Eggert, of Elk River, has taken top honors at the Minnesota State Fair.
It won a blue ribbon in the largest cabbage contest.
And the irony of it all is it was supposed to be a Brussels sprout.
Brian had gone to several different greenhouses this spring looking for cabbage plants, but they were all sold out. So, he ended up settling for a six pack of Brussels sprouts.
But as the growing season went on, it became apparent the Brussels sprouts were actually cabbage plants.
“I think someone just switched the tags,” Andrea said.
Over time, several of the cabbages began developing into giants.
Both Andrea, a product manager for an insurance company, and Brian, a tool maker, have been gardening for years, but they’ve never grown cabbages like this year’s crop.
Andrea credits favorable weather and a blend of cow and chicken manure they call “garden gold” for producing the colossal cabbages.
Plus, she gave them some extra attention.
“This year I got a telecommuter position, so I work from home and I’m able to baby-sit them,” she said.
When cabbages get that big, they tend to crack if exposed to too much water or heat, she said. So, she would let them have a little morning sun, and then put a canopy over them around 11 a.m. The canopy came off in the evening, when they were watered.
About a month ago, Brian suggested they bring one of the big cabbages to the State Fair. Andrea looked it up online and, sure enough, there was a largest vegetable contest and “cabbage” was a category.
They picked out the prettiest of their large cabbages and entered it. Besides weighing in at 16 pounds, it measured 48 inches around.
The cabbage topped a field of 10 entries.
Andrea said they won a blue ribbon, $10 and, of course, bragging rights.
“It’s just been a really unique, fun experience,” she said.