Why does purple pointed cabbage not yet enjoy a permanent place in supermarkets and greengrocers? Coen Swager of TB&S and Tarno Schilder of Paul Leegwater do not quite understand why this is not the case. This relatively new cabbage variety adds color to the fruit and vegetable shelf and is versatile, easy to use, and quick to prepare.
Violetti. That is what the purple pointed cabbage is called. In the Netherlands, TB&S exclusively grows it both organically and conventionally. “We introduced this variety a few years ago,” begins Coen. “It’s a cross between a standard pointed cabbage and a red cabbage. It gets its color from the red cabbage and its mild flavor from the pointed cabbage. So, the best of both worlds.”
TB&S specializes in pointed cabbage. Along with the purple variety, this family business also grows and markets standard pointed, and savoy pointed cabbage. They have a total of 600 ha in the Netherlands and Portugal, from which they supply fresh pointed cabbage and other open-field vegetables daily throughout Europe. “We also offer year-round organic pointed, and organic purple pointed cabbage,” Coen says.
Purple pointed cabbage brings color to fruit and vegetable shelves, is versatile, and is quick and easy to prepare.
Ever-rising interest from processors
Scandinavia is an especially important sales market for TB&S’s (organic) pointed cabbage. “Denmark, for example, has only a third of the Netherlands’ population, but, in the winter, it buys more cabbage than the Netherlands. Scandinavians love their cabbage and, thanks to its crunchiness, like adding it to salads.” The smaller 500-800g cabbages are almost all sold apiece; the larger ones go to processors. The trendy purple pointed cabbage is also incorporated in vegetable mixes, mainly because of its color, and there is increasing interest from the processing industry. TB&S responds to that by growing slightly larger Violettis, so they can offer more kilos to processors.
In the Netherlands, pointed cabbage consumption has been stable for years. According to Coen, supermarkets are eager to expand their assortment. He, therefore, has high hopes for organic and conventional purple pointed cabbage. “It’s primarily its color that makes Violetti stand out, but its versatility and ease of preparation make this vegetable special. Pointed cabbage is great eaten raw in salads or starters but can also be stewed, boiled, stir-fried, grilled, or used in a casserole. It’s quite a chore to prepare a whole cabbage. So, organic purple pointed cabbages suit current trends perfectly. The younger generation wants sustainable, healthy food that’s preferably ready in a flash. With Violetti, you can very easily serve something tasty and unique,” Coen explains.
More and more processors are showing interest in this new cabbage variety that does not ‘bleed’ once sliced.
Versatile, revamped, and available year-round
Tarno Schilder of Paul Leegwater does not understand why retailers and greengrocers are not more interested in purple pointed cabbage either. The trading company, also based in the Netherlands, has always been big in cabbage and helps TB&S market its pointed cabbage. “Organic and conventional purple pointed cabbage should really be standard alongside regular pointed cabbage. You can’t compare this product to standard pointed cabbage or even regular red cabbage. Violetti can quickly and easily be prepared in many ways and doesn’t ‘bleed’ once sliced. That’s why purple pointed cabbage is so suitable for processing in vegetable packages and mixes. It would be nice if many more retailers pick up this new vegetable,” he says.
Tarno points to a Belgian supermarket that offered three of TB&S’s cabbage varieties last summer: pointed, purple, and savoy pointed cabbage. “All in one crate. That’s a wonderful way to introduce new fruit and vegetable products without sacrificing shelf space,” agrees Coen. “And with its versatility, Violetti meets the ever-increasingly important consumer need for healthy, local food,” Tarno adds.
“Perhaps, when there’s inflation, shoppers tend to buy unprocessed products, often more attractively priced than the processed ones. This product is also available year-round, often an advantage for supermarkets. Organic supermarkets have always offered a slightly different assortment that is somewhat more focused on new and special products than their standard counterparts. In that respect, organic purple pointed cabbage fits perfectly in between,” Tarno says.
Good new crop expected
The first Dutch purple pointed cabbage is available from mid-June, while those in storage can be delivered until late March. Purple pointed cabbage from Portugal, and Spain will follow and be available until mid-June. “And, thus, the circle is completed again. Both organic and conventional purple pointed cabbage are available year-round. Organic is still a genuine growth product, with more cultivation year after year. Expectations for the new crop are good so far, even in Portugal. There’s been quite a bit of rain there, but that doesn’t affect the product. We’re eagerly anticipating the new harvest,” Coen concludes.
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