These are loosely hearted cabbage, which are either cut just before the heart forms to give a stem with 10-15 flattish leaves, or left to form a loose conical heart (though not as tight a heart as “Sweetheart” or Hispi). These were originally sown late in the summer, and harvested in the spring, but now are available UK grown all year round. Our family has been growing these for as long as we have been farming in Lancashire.
This is not a cabbage type at all. It is related to Spinach, and beetroot. The leaves and stems are eaten either raw or gently steamed.
It comes as both standard Swiss (white stems) or Rainbow coloured with a mixture of red, yellow and pink stems.
We have grown a wide range of oriental leaf vegetables, and at the moment are growing a great Mustard called Green Wave – this has a broad crinkly leaf and hot peppery flavour, which can be eaten raw or stir fried.
Whilst not currently available for sale, we have grown a number of different Italian leaf vegetables – Spigarello (a sort of Kale/Sprouting broccoli), and various types of Chicory. Watch this space.