So we’re at the farmer’s market a few weeks ago and it is Krauting Season. This means that we usually draw a big crowd at the farmer’s market. People saw us filling up pillowcase after pillowcase of cabbages and couldn’t help but ask..what does one do with 200 pounds of cabbage? A couple of people guessed stuffed cabbages, but they were way off, unless we were making stuffed cabbage to feed an entire church fair. Well, we were making Sauerkraut, and to those who like that sort of thing have said it’s the best Sauerkraut they’ve ever had. Sour with still a little crunch to it. I even gave a jar to a chef I knew who was featured in Bon Apetit magazine and he said the same thing. It’s great stuff and nothing like what you get in the stores in those plastic baggies.
Anyway, if you read my post from last year, you’ll learn that Babci is very particular about her ingredients. It has to be a special variety of winter cabbage of a certain size, picked after the first frost and made with spring water…and not that stuff from the store either..real spring water from a spring, untouched by human hands or processing equipment.
On years when there is a lot of rain, sometimes the cabbages get a line of rot through the middle of them (during a wet patch of the growing season). This will absolutely ruin a batch of kraut, even if you try to use the rest of the cabbage.Half of the cabbages she bought had rot in them, so back to the farmer we went. This is not the first time, but the second time my mom made me return cabbages. The first time was about 3 years ago. This time, I knew it was a wet summer, so I told her to cut them open before taking them, but she couldn’t be bothered. Anyway, I threatened not to take them back and to just live with losing the $12 that the cabbages cost. No WAY! She nagged me daily until I took her back there. I actually snuck in and gave the farmer $12 and told him to pretend it was his money. She ended up buying some local honey instead. She still got a barrel of kraut out of her buy. She purchased cabbages from 2 different farms and one was fine and the other was not.
Other People Do it Too
At any rate, there is a moral to this story. The farmer was actually glad we came and told him his cabbages were rotten inside. He told us that there was this one farm he was using that had a bad batch of cabbages they discovered. They supposedly abandoned that one variety but told him the other 3 varieties were supposedly fine. Like many other products, sometimes you don’t know there is an issue until you get customer feedback and he was visibly concerned that he sold rotten cabbage to his other customers too. With cabbage, there is no way of telling the condition until you cut them open. He even said that this other farm that he sourced the cabbages from had other customers that returned the cabbages right to the farm itself. So not only did Babci return these cabbages but other people did too. I suppose this is another side benefit of buying locally from farmers. They care. I doubt my local grocery store would take back rotten produce. Heck, some of it is already rotting in the store to begin with.
Have you ever returned produce? Did you know you could do that?