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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

December


 

Farm planning for 2015 has begun!  Seed catalogs come earlier and earlier every year.  It's actually quite nice.  Even though my body is exhausted, my mind is reeling with new ideas and changes I want to make next season.  It feels good to dig right in, plus if I don't so it right away, I might forget my ideas!  I think I am almost set with the seed list.  A few new varieties have found their way to the order form (especially flowers), but mostly I am keeping to my tried and true.  Crops I have come to love due to their flavor, vibrant color and resilience.

After a 4 hour meeting with my soil consultant, soil amendments are nearly ordered as well.  I am feeling pretty good about the health of my soil.  The lovely bounty of crops in 2014 was a good indication of happy soils, but there is always something to improve upon and feeding the soils is a never ending task for a conscious farmer. 

Of course, all of these seeds and amendments cost money!  And the beauty of the CSA model is that your payment before the season starts allows me to purchase the necessary materials without accruing debt therefore passing savings along to you and keeping us in business.  A win win!

 
A $70 deposit will hold your spot for the 2015 summer season. 
After the new year, I will open sales up to new customers--don't miss out!
 
Full Share $575, Half $315
Mail me a check:
101 Gould Rd Lisbon Falls, ME 04252
 
 
The December Holiday Share is coming up this Thursday and it will be full of awesome storage veggies.  There is even some greens like chard, kale, leeks and cabbage!  So many awesome ways to eat winter vegetables, I hope you have fun experimenting with them.
 
Thank you all for loving Little Ridge Farm--we wish you a Wonderful Holiday Season!!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

November

Thanksgiving

This is the time of year I get all mushy about how thankful I am for this farm, for my family and friends who supported me to make it happen and to you, the customer, who keep me going.  It's all true.  Zach pointed out the other day that I live a "charmed life" and he is right.  Despite harvesting in cold wet soil, loading boxes of beef from the butcher in a deluge of sleet and rain, long long hours of cleaning vegetables in icy water, I would not change my profession for any other.  Because on the flip side there are many glorious days filled with sun and soil and luscious veggies and happy customers and so many many many more good things than bad and I am thankful for it all.
 

This week was the first cold snap we have had.  I geared up and harvested hundreds of pounds of chard and kale.  The cooler is STUFFED full of goodness.  So full that I actually have rented storage space at two other farms and have left some leeks and cabbage in the field...hoping they will hold out until I can find space to squeeze them inside.  The coldness has sweetened everything up down to the core and I find myself loving on the stems of chard, kale and broccoli more than the leaf itself.  
The days are short (the only downside to fall) and Simon and I finished harvesting the chard in the lights of the truck and then headed off for a walk in the woods with a headlamp.  Although Simon's the orange vest builds up some static electricity, he does not mind his fall gear.  And everyone thinks he is so cute, he gets even more attention than usual (now that is hard to imagine!)  Zach thinks he is giving Sporty Spice a run for her money : )
 
I hope this Thanksgiving finds you warm and full of whatever makes you happy.  May your plates be bountiful with good food and your fridge be full of leftovers!  Thank you for loving Little Ridge Farm and its bounty.
 

  

RECIPES:

 
 
 
Jarrahdeale Pumpkin Mashed Potatoes http://www.apple-works.com/potatoes.html

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

October 21st and 24th

The Last Hurrah

Most of you heard about our pigs adventure last Friday.  They decided to take a walk through our woods...to the farthest corners of our property.  It took us several hours to find all 10.  But one by one we did and one by one they followed us back to the pasture.  Despite the HUGE stress this caused, they were pretty cute in the woods.  It made me feel like a French farmer sheparding my pigs through the oaks so they could get their fill of acorns.  By far these guys are my favorite livestock on the farm--I just hope they stay inside their pen from now on!
 
The farm is getting very quiet. The yearly change of season always amazes me.  The cycle that knows just what to do and just keeps on going year after year.  We have a barn full of food (and still more to harvest from the field) to keep our bellies full for the winter and, before we know it, it will be time to fire up the green house again and start seeding.  I hope fall has treated you well and you are looking forward to the rich foods and restful time of winter.  Be sure to try a new veggie this winter and make a salad of root veggies (carrots, beets, cabbage, apples, celeriac...).  We thank you for your appreciation of good local food and look forward to seeing you again soon!
 
The last week's bounty: lettuce, kale, fennel, sweet pepper, carrot, onion, yokata na, kohl rabi, turnip, potato, garlic and winter squash
 
The farmer's table:
*cauliflower  and sweet potato soup with cilantro and sugar kelp
*steak and cheese sandwiches with peppers
*roast beef with peppers and broccoli
*meatballs with peppers and fennel
*tomatillo salsa
 
...ok so we are still sort of in summer mode with all these awesome sweet peppers!

Monday, October 13, 2014

October 14th and 17th


It's the time of year to show my unending appreciation to all of you who put sweat equity into the farm!  It may just seem like nothing to you, but it is what makes this farm work.
 
*strawberry pickers
*weeders
*harvesters
*turkey wranglers
*pig wranglers
*turkey neck stuffers
*farm maintenance "staff"
*duck sitters
 
 
So in my appreciation, I am giving those who served a taste of sweet potatoes this week!  We dug glorious tubers this year, while Simon hunted the moles.  Unfortunately the moles nibbled quite a few, but they did miss plenty...and those will be enjoyed by the winter share folks.
 
 
 
This week's Bounty: lettuce, carrot, fennel, pepper, onion, leek, chard, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, Blue potato, Yokata na (an Asian green, like tat soi)
 
 
 

Monday, October 6, 2014

October 7th and 10th

Fall Fun! 

 
 Thanks to all who came out to celebrate the farm!
...the piggies were soooo happy you came!
 
 
 
This week's bounty: lettuce, red onion, chinese cabbage, cauliflower/broccoli, kohl rabi, fennel, chard, carrot, garlic, pie pumpkin and parsley
 
 
 

 
 
 

Monday, September 29, 2014

September 30th and October 3rd

TURKEY TIME!

 
I know it seems early, but it's time to order your Thanksgiving bird!  Several years ago I decided to raise the turkeys only until the grass was good for grazing and the air temps were warm enough to not freeze their water.  Turkeys like it hot, and when I tried to keep them all the way through November, they just didn't seem happy in those cold November rains.  Turns out, it was a good decision as now most butcher shops will not process birds beyond the middle of October.  That means the bird has to go in the freezer before thanksgiving.  Some folks say a fresh bird is better, but I believe, if they are raised right, fresh or frozen, either way they taste amazing.  I mean look at them...fresh grass, warm sun, a pet dog--how could a turkey's life get any better!?
 
 Don't delay--order now!
 
 
 
We have been busy harvesting storage crops in this fine dry weather.  We are almost done with the onions and this week, we will start on more potatoes.  Although the drier weather is not great for the fall crops that are still growing, it makes harvesting oh so easy and delightful.  Of course, I still have another month or so of harvesting to get through: carrots, turnip, rutabaga, leeks, cabbage...I am feeling good about our progress so far.  The stressful part?  Where do I put it all?!  I am scrounging for crates and soon I will have to squeeze thousands of pounds of food into my tiny little walk in.  It is a good dilemma to have, I am thankful for the bounty.
 
 
 
Fall Farm Potluck!
All Shareholders invited (meat and veggie)
Sunday Oct. 5th 1-3
 
 
This week's bounty: lettuce, tat soi/yokata na, kale, savoy cabbage, leeks, potatoes, tomatoes, sweet peppers, fennel, acorn squash...
 
The Farmer's Table:
*chicken soup with homemade stock and fresh veggies
*pork burritos with homemade adobo sauce
*broccoli lasagna with a crunchy lettuce salad
*beef stir fry with green beans and baby summer squash

Monday, September 22, 2014

September 23rd and 26th

Bitten by Frost

Friday and Saturday night we were hit with frost.  The earliest I have seen since we have been here.  Nothing too important was lost.  Many times there is huge "pre frost stress"...frantically running around covering and harvesting in the wind and rain (and one year I remember, lightening storm). Luckily we had already brought in the sensitive winter squash and pumpkins and we did cover the peppers.  The saddest loss was the PYO garden.  The forecast was for patchy frost with temps between 35 and 38, I guess we were on the hopeful side.
 
The animals have surely bundled up.  There is a pig pile every morning and the turkeys huddle under their circus tent.  Despite the fact that it feels like October already and summer is coming to an end (wait, did we even have a summer?), I can't complain.  I think I can count on one hand how many days over 75 we had and even though it felt like it rained every day for a chunk of time, the working conditions this year have been pretty ideal and the crops look amazing.  I still have lots to harvest, and many things could still go wrong, so I hope I am not jinxing myself, but I almost feel like I can take a sigh of relief, another growing year under my belt. 
 
 
This weekend was full of stocking up for the winter...freezing corn, making salsa, roasting peppers, snapping beans, plucking edemame and whipping up my new winter favorite treat: chimichurri.  I hope you have found some space on your storage shelf or freezer for a little taste of summer in winter too.
 
 
This week's bounty: lettuce, chard, tat soi (I am going to keep giving it to you until you eat it all!), carrot, sweet pepper, onion, tomato, spaghetti squash
 
 
The Farmer's Table:
*French toast with Paul's walnut raisin bread and plum sauce from Zach's plums
*Bangalore Spicy Eggplant and Rice Casserole
*Beef burritos with chinese cabbage and cucumber/corn/cilantro salsa
*Stir Fry with beef, broccoli, radish, edemame, tat soi and plum sauce
*Italian Casserole with potato, tomato, edemame, hard cheese and sopressatta
 
 
The Shareholder's Table:
"Thank you for the ingredients for the perfect harvest soup.
Purple cabbage and carrots cooked in homemade chicken broth.  Pasta added to make it more hearty, then garlic, hot peppers and parsley at the end.  And your bread to sop up the broth- what more can I say!"

"Hi Keena. Just thought I would share this with you. I made Succotash that was off the charts with this weeks bounty. Replaced the traditional Lima beans with edamame. It has white wine, basil, parsley, rice vinegar.

All of your food is soooo good."
 

 


Monday, September 15, 2014

Sept. 16th and 19th

A BOUNTIFUL HARVEST




 
This week's bounty: lettuce, radish?, tat soi, carrots, new potatoes, corn, broccoli, onion, peppers, edemame, tomatoes, sage, dill, cilantro
 
 
Family Friendly Tat Soi Recipes:
 
stir fry with pork/tofu
 
brown butter pasta
 
 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

September 9th and 12th

The Little Kicks

The humidity has dropped and life if feeling good right now.  We had a relaxing weekend this weekend -- moving the pigs and turkeys, canning tomato sauce and elderberry syrup, harvesting melons, broccoli and squashes and washing the pooch to free him of his fall itch.  (I think he takes after his mother in being sensitive to all that crawls in the fall). 
 
I am feeling so blessed with a full harvest this summer.  Crops are robust and ready earlier than usual.  Even though the onslaught of early season rain seemed like too much at the time, most crops enjoyed the long drink.  (A note to self to try and irrigate more steadily when we have a lack of water.)  There are so many variables that go into producing a good crop of anything that I find myself scratching my head trying to figure out the nuances of it all.  However, giving Zach and myself a few props, we have worked hard over the last 8 years studying and asking questions to better understand our soil and climate and have used that knowledge to build the soil.  We still have some weak spots, but all in all, the farm is shaping up to be a place we feel proud of.  We hope you feel proud to be a part of that too, because each of you have helped make this farm whole. 


I am an Ohioan after all.  Born and raised, lived in the same house until I headed off to college and even that was done in Ohio.  You would think I would know a thing or two about growing corn.  I certainly saw many many, many, many rows of it as I drove our country roads.  Most places, I could have touched it as I drove by, it was so close to the road's edge.  And I definitely knew how to shuck it and eat it...many ears at a time...but I never experienced growing or harvesting it.

My learning curve has been great, and still growing.  This year we actually transplanted 1000 plants instead of direct seeding them.  It took a lot more time (maybe 4 hours in comparison to 30 minutes), but the results are amazing.  There is a plant every foot and on every plant there are 2 beautiful ears of corn.  That's 2000 ears of corn that will be ready pretty much all at the same time.  Yowza!  You see, every year I have to plant in excess to ensure a good crop no matter the circumstances...and when things all goes planned (like ample rainfall) we get the bumper crop.  How many shucks could shareholder shuck if a.... 
 
 
This week's bounty: lettuce, Chinese cabbage, red cabbage, kale, peppers, summer squash, melon, beans, broccoli, corn, edemame?, tomato, parsley, dill (maybe some zukes/cukes/eggplant)....

Monday, September 1, 2014

September 2nd and 5th

My Favorite View

Walking over the little ridge into the back field always fills me with joy.  I know everyone knows it's there now, but to me, it is still a hidden little secret.  A secret full of delight.

Even though today was MIERABLY hot and humid, the plants tell me fall is here.  The cukes, zukes and summer squash are getting tired, the garlic finally dried it's outer wrapper, and the onion tops have fallen.  All summer the green leaves of an onion grow and grow, each representing a layer of the onion itself.  When the "neck" of the onion softens and bends over, it's the sign telling me that the onion is done growing and is ready to cure for storage.  At this point, we harvest all the bulbs in shallow crates and set them to dry in the upstairs part of the community barn.  Drying out the outer skin, giving it a protective coating so that it will last well into June.  Not all onions are storage onions, some skins will never fully dry and therefore need to be eaten sooner rather than later.  The sweet onions that you have been enjoying the last coupe weeks are one of those types.
 
Fall is so full of harvest and this year the crops are looking robust.  It's a farmer's goal to have something to harvest, but if you ask one, they will probably tell you that harvesting is one their least favorite parts of the job.  Kind of strange, I know, but I think it is because harvesting takes so much time.  When one is in their 4th hour of picking the same crop, it's hard not to think about all of the other farm tasks that need to be attended to as well.  However, if you ask a volunteer what farm task they would most want to do, it would probably be to harvest!  ....keep your ears open, I may ask for a volunteer or two in the coming couple of months : )
  

Anniversary Get Away 


Thanks to a lot of help from my employee, Jean, her husband and several work shares, Zach, Simon and I were able to escape the farm for the weekend and celebrate our 12th wedding anniversary.  It felt great to paddle around a couple of ponds, the Penobscot Bay and read in the waning light of day. Simon loved it too...although I think every day is a vacation for him : ) 
 
 
This week's Bounty: lettuce, Chinese cabbage, corn, peppers (hot and sweet, I believe), zukes, cukes, ss, broccoli, beans, onions, melons, tomatoes, cilantro...I think that is it, but I may have forgotten something
 
Next week...red cabbage! kale? more corn? ....last of the melons...

Sunday, August 24, 2014

August 26th and 29th

ITALIAN STYLE

This winter I bought a potato digger! (a Spedo, made in Italy) I am sooooo excited about it because 1) it will save time 2) it will save our backs and 3) I will be able to have volunteers help harvest...saving more time and more back pain : )

I still need a little practice, but when I had the hang of it, it worked like a charm.  A shovel goes under the potatoes and lifts them from the ground.  Then the material gets pushed onto a grate.  All the while the machine is vibrating back and forth (so fiercely it nearly rattles every nut and bolt loose on the tractor AND my brain), shaking the dirt from the potato and leaving the tubers laying on top of the ground for us to pick up.  Generally when I dig potatoes the upper leaves are dead...I think it will be much easier as some of the plants were clogging the operation.  All in all though it worked awesome, even in wet soil.  And now you get to enjoy the fruits of our labor--little nuggets of Red Gold.

Flower of the week--Dyer's Coreopsis
The flowers make a beautiful dye that the Native Americans used for ceremonial purposes and tea.
Check out this site for more info.
 
 
This Week's Bounty: lettuce, chard, beets, sweet onions, green beans, wax beans, new potatoes, cukes, zukes, summer squash, melons, tomatoes, eggplant, parsley and cilantro
(enjoy the zukes and ss--they won't be around much longer...)
 
Coming soon...corn, edemame, hot peppers, tomatillos (PYO)...
 
 
Farmer's Table:
*lobster with coleslaw
*burritos with lots of tomatoes and peppers
*many, many, many, raw green beans while picking (I mean it takes four hours, we need a snack!) 
 
Recipes for summer squash and tomatoes
 
 

Monday, August 18, 2014

August 19th and 22nd

MUDDER

Def: A horse that runs well and wins often on muddy tracks.  (it can also be used for athletes or sports teams...maybe we should add farmers too!)
 

Jean and I aren't quite the mudders yet, but we are working on it.  Wonder if there are work horses that are mudders, or just race horses.  My tractor is a mudder.  Although I am not sure who is eating who up...the mud or the John Deere!


 
It's not all slop out here.  And even though we have been using some pretty stinky soil amendments this year (crushed, picked crabs that smell horrible), there are still some sweet aromas as well.  In the mornings, when I walk by the winter squash blossoms, a soft sweet smell floats through the air.  It took me a bit to figure out where it was coming from, but now I make sure to take time to smell the "squash blossoms" every morning.


Hope your dinner aromas are just as heavenly!


This week's loot: lettuce, Ailsa Craig onions (large and sweet!), green beans, kale, carrots, cukes, zukes, summer squash, fennel, sweet peppers, eggplant, melons, tomatoes and basil... I think that's it, but I could be missing something...

Next week's hopefuls: new potatoes, beets, chard, cilantro

The Farmer's Table:
*hamburgers stacked high with tomato, pickle, cheese and peach mostarda---YUM!
*cucumber slices
*blueberries
*cole slaw

Sunday, August 10, 2014

August 12th and 15th

JUST GORGEOUS

The cabbage is rocking!  I didn't mean to have 2 plantings ready back to back, but sometimes, that's just how it goes.  Time for summer picnics!!  This is Faro.  It, like the Tendersweet, is a summer cabbage with thin, sweet leaves meant to be eaten in cole slaw or stir fry (not made into kraut).   
 
from the left: fall broccoli, summer cabbage, fall cabbage, leeks, sweet potatoes, asparagus
 
The melons are rocking!  Soon cantaloupes will be ready, but for now we will continue to enjoy the juicy yellow and red watermelons!  The rinds are super yummy too in stir fry or you can pickle them.  It takes a little work to take the skin off, but worth the effort.


The turkeys are rocking...and squawking!  They are happy to be outside in the grass chasing bugs and eating leaves.  They are a noisy bunch this year though and have made one of us run to check on them more than once...only to find them standing there with one loud mouth right in the center yelling "yerp! yerp! yerp!" for no apparent reason at all. Hmmpf.  They are lucky they're still cute : )
 
The flowers are rocking!  This is Zach's new favorite flower, a cutting phlox.  The flowers may be tiny, but they have long stems and hold in the vase for a long time.  Their bright little faces will keep flowering all season. 

My Dinners are rocking!  I am still being well fed by my sweet husband Zach. (he reads this, so I am going for brownie points right now).  We have continued to enjoy eating small plate/tapas style....chicken with sour cherries, sliced peppers, sautéed summer squash, sliced tomatoes and basil, Spring Day cheese and Paul's bread. 
 
So I think yesterday was the first day in a long time I did not get rained on while harvesting cukes and zukes (or should I say, it was the first day I was not nearly struck by lightening).  I am looking forward to some rain free days and NOT looking forward to the heavy rain predicted on Wednesday.  So it goes.  Most crops are hiking up their roots and producing heavily through the mud.  We are hoping for a long summer, well into early October, so the late planted winter squash have time to catch up.  Funny how each crops grows different from year to year.  Eating seasonally is certainly not boring!  I hope you are fully enjoying what this season's growth has brought us.
 
This week's bounty: cabbage, Chinese cabbage, onions, baby leeks, green beans, broccoli, zukes, cukes, summer squash, eggplant, tomatoes, peppers(?), watermelon (half shares) and parsley

Monday, August 4, 2014

August 5th and 8th

Living High on the Hog

 
The pigs are excited about their new home, nestled right in the middle of a luscious patch of oats.  Those critters have it pretty good during their time here at Little Ridge.  Fresh grass, lots of sun, cool puddles of water, whey, organic grain and love pats.  Although their season is short, they love every minute if it.  

  
Yellow Cukes and Golden Zukes!
 
Have no fear, the yellow cucumbers, called Poona Kheerna, are not overripe green cukes, they are an Indian heirloom variety.  They ripen from pale yellow to russet brown and can be eaten fresh, pickled and even cooked.  The skin is a little thicker and stays super crunchy no matter what you do with it. 
The yellow zucchini taste the same as the green...just a little variety for your plate!


 
While eating dinner last night, Zach and I were reveling in the abundance of food on our counter tops and fridge.  THIS IS THE TIME TO EAT.  We wait and wait all year for a diverse array of fresh veggies in Maine and here we are, at the height of the bounty.  It's hard to decide what to eat for dinner, it's all so good.   Hope you are loving it too!!!
 
 
This week's bounty: lettuce, cabbage, purplette onions, beets, beet greens, baby carrots with tops, green beans, kohl rabi, broccoli (?, or maybe next week), eggplant, cukes, zukes, summer squash, tomatoes (half shares), watermelon and peppers (full shares), basil and dill
 
 
The Farmer's Table:  are you ready to drool?  we had an amzing week of eating!
*watermelon cocktail....mmmm
*pizza with wild black trumpet mushrooms (generously gifted to us) with cream cheese
*chicken stuffed with black trumpet mushrooms with roasted fennel and kohl rabi 
*hamburger layered with tomato, lettuce, Evangeline cheese, and peach mostarda.  With sliced cukes and dill.
 
 

Recipes: 
 
 
 
Beet Hummus: My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz.

12 ounces cooked beets (I only had 8oz and it was fine)
1 cup chick peas drained with skins rubbed off
2 cloves garlic
6 Tblsp tahini
2 tsp sea salt or kosher salt
1/4 cup lemon juice
Pinch of cayenne or smoked chile powder
1 1/2 Tblsp pomegranate molasses

Blend all in food processor until smooth, drizzle with more pomegranate molasses, hide in back if refrigerator until serving time, devour


Fennel String-Bean Salad

Hopefully you can read this one--it is from "Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen", a book written by one of our share holders, Kendall Scott


 

Monday, July 28, 2014

July 28th and Aug 1st: Rain

Rain...Rain...

Crops are taking a big gulp of rain this week.  There were some POUNDING drops yesterday!
peppers, cukes, summer squash, zuchinni, tomatoes and corn
 

Despite the rain, we are still working away!  The onion crop is looking AMAZING this year!  See that fence on the left?  It is to keep Simon out of the onions because he tends to run right through then and knock over their tops....see where Simon is?  At least he is laying calmly...for the moment : )
 

Many of my crops are looking the best they ever have.  The rainfall has been nicely timed this summer and we haven't had to irrigate much at all.  So instead of irrigating, we have been weeding.  More grass in my fields than ever before.  I am a little fickle, a neatnick, organized... Not only do clean fields make me feel better, it also makes harvesting much more efficient, allows the plants (not the weeds) to soak up the rain and nutrients and provides better air circulation for less disease pressure.  See?  I am weeding with a purpose : )
 
 
Hope you are enjoying this summer's harvest!
 
 
$175 raised for our local food bank during our Ice Cream Social. 
That will buy them 175lbs of fresh food!!! 
Thank you to all who participated.
 
 
This week's bounty: lettuce, purplette onions, baby carrots with tops, fennel bulb, kale (I think), chard, broccoli, kohl rabi, hakurei turnip, dill, summer squash, zucchini, tomatoes (full shares), and cukes!   ...greenbeans coming soon!
 
The Farmer's Table:
Since it is the first harvest of many crops and any one item is not super plentiful, we have been eating Tapas Style (small plates of different things)
--cilantro/basil pesto dip
--caramelized purplette onions
--sautéed eggplant and summer squash
--wilted lettuce leaves stuffed with quinoa and turmeric glazed pork loin
--fresh sliced tomato with basil
--yummy cheese from Spring Day Creamery!
--salad with sliced kohl rabi, blue cheese and blueberries
 
Recipes:
 
 
 

Monday, July 21, 2014

July 22nd and 25th: Ready. Set.

Grow!





The veggies have taken off this last week and things are looking yummy!  Lots of new treats in the share this week, and more to come in the next couple of weeks. 
 
 
ICE CREAM!
It's our annual ice cream event during pick up this week.  Bring a friend--all proceeds go to LACO, our local food bank.
 
 
 
This week's bounty: lettuce, tendersweet cabbage, broccoli, beets with greens, kohl rabi, purplette onions, chard, basil, cilantro and dill
first pickings of summer squash, zucchini, tomatoes and eggplant...not sure how I will divvy them up yet--please note the signs at pick up!!!
 
Tendersweet cabbage is super sweet, crisp and thin leaved.  Great for coleslaw and stir frys