18 Oct 2018
Salad cabbages make a good point
A new cabbage variety will make a point of transforming the Australian fresh cabbage market by offering more opportunities for growers and a sweeter product for consumers.
Rijk Zwaan’s pointed cabbage, variety Teama RZ, is unique. It is much smaller than a traditional cabbage and has a visually appealing look. The sweet taste is its biggest appeal, according to Technical Sales Representative, Stephanie Knight.
“The large cabbages we have in Australia can often be quite peppery when eaten raw, but the pointed cabbage is a different product entirely,” she said.
“It’s crunchy, slices up nicely and is sweeter raw. It’s a cabbage specifically for salads and fresh homemade coleslaw which is making a comeback."
While the pointed cabbage is dense, meaning it can sit in the fridge unpackaged without dehydrating, its smaller weight makes it a great single use option. This is a game changer for the Australian market where 3 – 4kg round cabbages are sold generally halved, quartered or cut into eighths.
Teama RZ is also easy to harvest – and there are more benefits for growers.
“The pointed cabbage is efficient to grow because you prepare the bed in the same way as traditional cabbage, but you can plant at higher densities in the field,” Stephanie said.
“It’s fast to grow too. In summer, harvesting will be around 50 days from transplant (compared to 90 – 100) and in a Victorian winter it’s around 70 days – nearly half the time of traditional cabbage. Our varieties are also strong against tipburn.”
Rijk Zwaan’s pointed cabbages have trialled in Australia over the past year with positive results. Displayed at field days, anecdotally, everyone has been “blown away” by how great the cabbage is and especially how good it tastes.
The trend towards smaller offerings is being seen all over the world such as snack cucumbers and tomatoes. Similarly in lettuce, while iceberg lettuce sales are steady, the demand for baby cos hearts is growing exponentially.
“Marketers overseas are creating more convenient concepts such as one pointed cabbage with a baby cauliflower and baby broccoli in a pack. They’re also doing twin packs of pointed cabbages with one facing up and one facing down, which looks neat and presents really well,” Stephanie said.
“Consumer behaviour is changing and we are shopping more frequently. The Rijk Zwaan breeders are up for this challenge and are creating smaller varieties that are more convenient and appeal to shoppers.”
Rijk Zwaan’s new sweet pointed cabbage variety is called Teama RZ. It is suitable for year-round production in most areas and trials have indicated it is performing well in the winter and shoulder segment in Victoria and Tasmania, as well as the cooler areas of Queensland.
“The pointed cabbage is a solid offering: it’s good for the grower, it’s easy to grow and the taste and shape is an exciting addition to the cabbage market.”