Attack of the Killer Cabbages?*

AKStateFairAlaska is known for many things: cold weather, beautiful scenery, and, of course, giant cabbages.

Giant cabbages?!  That’s right.

If you want to find a 130-pound (59-kilogram) cabbage, visit Alaska. If you’re in the mood for (feel like eating) some cantaloupe, A LOT of cantaloupe, you can find a 65-pound (30-kilogram) one at the Alaska State Fair.

Summer and fall are common times for fairs that feature agricultural (farming) contests, from livestock (farm animals) to crops (plants grown for food or to produce useful products). At the Alaska State Fair each year, you will see some things that you will not see at any other fairs: giant fruit and vegetables.

The secret is the Alaska summer. It’s not uncommon in Alaska during the summer to have 20 hours of sunshine per day because of the state’s northern latitude (location measured by distance to the equator). These extra hours of sunlight give crops extra time for photosynthesis (the process of green plants using sunlight to get food), allowing plants to grow faster and bigger. More sunlight also produces sweeter produce. It’s not surprising, then, that some of the world records (official list of the best) for largest fruits and vegetables belong to growers in Alaska.

Some growers painstakingly (very carefully) cultivate (encourage to grow) large crops, spending years experimenting with different seeds (the part of the plant that allows new growth), soil (dirt used for growing things), fertilizers (substance put on soil to encourage growth), and amount of sunlight. Some even sleep outdoors to protect their crops from foragers (people or animals who travel across a land to find food). For others, these giants (very large things) grow on their own without special effort, surprising their growers.

The Alaska State Fair is going on now until September 1st, so it’s not too late to see these freaks of nature (something with abnormal or unusual growth) for yourself. The pumpkins are certainly worth seeing, but the main attraction (most interesting for an audience) are the cabbages.

My wife often makes a cabbage casserole (dish with a mix of ingredients cooked in the oven) for dinner. I wonder how many she can make with a 130-pound cabbage. Perhaps enough for all of the ESL Podcast listeners?

– Jeff

Photo Credit: Alaska State Fair from Wikipedia

* The title of this post is a play on (another version of) the title of a 1978 film called Attack of the Killer Tomatoes.

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22 Responses to Attack of the Killer Cabbages?*

  1. Dan says:

    Hello Jeff and thanks.

    I am in! I love cabbages (in Italian Cavolo or Verza)

    In my ignorance I never thought that they could grow anything up there. I am really surprised.

    Not only they can, but they even get gigantic vegetables. I would love to taste something fresh piked up there.

    Something I love, is a simple tomato sandwich with just salt and olive oil on the tomato. Best sandwich ever.

    Thanks and congrats for your singing on the last cafè. Bye.

  2. Rasoul says:

    Hello Dr. Jeff,

    We have also some parts in Iran which produces huge pumkins which has special shape like damble.

    Thanks for your beautiful writing

  3. Rasoul says:

    I explain more by saying “damble” I mean big pear, cabbages with this shape is very nice.

  4. Tania says:

    Hi! I have realized that I know nothing about Alaska, about the people who live there.
    I remember of the movie “Twin Peaks”, a 1992 American psychological horror film, with the action located
    in Alaska. I liked this movie very much.
    And then, English Cafe 450 on The Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and Preserve from Alaska.
    I have never read, heard or seen an Alaska State Fair August 21 – September 1.
    Reading the article mentioned by you, it’s a “freak show”, where “some things are so big,
    you can’t even recognize what they are”.
    Giant pumpkins, cabbages… Nice photos.

  5. Tania says:

    Hi! A cabbage of 59-Kg?
    Our usual cabbages have no more 1,5-Kg.
    If they are bigger, then they are treated with many, many chemicals for growing.
    And we do not like chemicals.

  6. Tania says:

    Hi! But these huge crops thanks to extra time for photosynthesis allowing plants to grow faster and bigger…
    It’s a very interesting explanation.
    We are studying the process of photosynthesis at Biology.
    We use a similar word – fotosinteza.

  7. Tania says:

    Hi! As the largest fruits and vegetables belong to growers in Alaska,
    there is a harsh contest among the growers, but in a fairly way.
    According to your mentioned article, a grower says:
    “I’d hate to lose it right away.”
    But “if Steve beats me, boy, my hat’s off to him because I know how hard it is”.

  8. Tania says:

    Hi! I do not know why I thought that “cantaloupe” was a special food.
    In fact , cantaloupe (we call it melon) is the most popular variety of melon in the U.S.

  9. Tania says:

    Hi! Regarding the worker’s compensation laws…
    We have a very strict law at the workplace called The Health and Security of the Work.
    Within three days , for each minor or major work accident ,or injury, illness, the employer must
    made a file with photos from the accident place, statements of the witnesses and of the doctor.
    The file is sent to the Health and Security of the Work Department.
    The worst case is when a worker is killed during employment, at the workplace.
    The Police must be called.
    I don’t know if we can talk , if it is possible a workers’ compensation fraud in our system.

  10. Tania says:

    Hi! A new term to me “The Roaring Twenties”, or “Crazy Years” , or “The Jazz Age”
    emphasizing the era’s social, artistic , and cultural dynamism after WWI.
    Thank you.

  11. Hilario says:

    Hey, Rasoul, interesting your pear shaped cabbage, but, doesn´t it look like a chinese cabbage? That delicate type is my favorite one. There must be some exotic and wonderful cabbages out there. The cabbages have a perfect marriage alongside carrots as crudite, finely sliced and seasoned with a real vinaigrette sauce, mainly made of fresh onion sprouts well knifed out and bathed in dry white sherry wine mixed with a premium olive-oil. Never forgetting salt and just in time milled white-pepper, and maybe little bits mustard seed.
    Size and appearance are obviously good enough but savors and organic textures make a real attribute, flesh veggie with some leptic smell, those are what matter more than anything else. By the way, in Spain we have a twice-chicken cabbage as someone would translate from Spanish into English the word repollo, which is the old Spanish word for cabbage, even though the latin root is Verza. Whether you prefer them red or green is much more than of a political option and perhaps, the begining on a nice friendship. I´ve been told, that grizzly bears in Alaska are pretty foody guys, indeed. They´re very fond of pumpkins and cabbages indistinctly and have habit to visit without notice to cultivars at nights.

  12. Tania says:

    Hi! According to Wikipedia, on October 29, 1929, also known as Black Tuesday, stock prices
    on Wall Street collapsed. The events in the U.S. added to a worldwide depression,
    later called the Great Depression, that put millions of people out of work
    across the world throughout the 1930s.
    You told us about the Great Depression for many times.

  13. Zahra says:

    This article reminds me of the animation “The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit”!!! Have you watched it?!

  14. Tania says:

    Hi! Good joke on grizzly bears with their habit to visit without notice to cultivators at night.

  15. emiliano says:

    Thirty one thousand persons killied by gunfire.

    Seventy thousand persons wounded by gunfire.

    Two thousand and five hundred children killed by gunfire.

    One house by three, with children, has guns inside home.

    Children with seven, eight or nive years old are instructed how to shoot a firearm.

    All these events happens in EE.UU., that´s the reason I wouldn´t like to live in a country
    where each person can carry a weapon as a constitutional right

    Why don´t you do something about this subject?

    We are astonished, here in Europe, to see these subjects, even a children being trained how to shoot a machine gun
    and her parents recording her, but also how the instructor lost his life shooted by the children in an accident?, a
    logical accident after all having in mind who shoots the gun.

    Just incredible for me, for every one here in Spain or Europe.

    Really I don´t like a country where these laws are rights to the citizens.

    So sorry about that, yes I am.

    My best dears.


  16. emiliano says:

    Only to say that these sad records are by year in EE.UU.

    The second amendment, the home of the legislation on weapons in the U.S.
    EU laws, since 1791.
    The date in which approved the right of the people to keep and bear arms.

    Here it is:

    Congress ratified the second amendment of the Constitution, which States
    that “a well regulated militia necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people
    to keep and bear arms to be not be violated”.

    Are you not going to do anything?


  17. Tania says:

    Hi! Again Bob Seger or Pete Seeger?
    We shall Overcome , by Pete Seeger, is the anthem of the American Civil Rights Movement (1950 – 1960).
    “We shall overcome
    We shall overcome
    We shall overcome some day.” (according to the Warren’s post , February, 2013)
    If I Had a Hammer, a song by Pete Seeger and Lee Hays, was written in 1949 with same goal
    for the American Civil Rights Movement.
    For many, many years, “the hammer and the sickle” were the symbol of the Communist Party in my country.
    We were proud of having a hammer , being a country of workers, and a sickle for our crops from our fields.
    Is it a shame to have your own hammer or your own sickle?
    Who remember of “the hammer and the sickle”? Nobody.

  18. Tania says:

    “Well, I’ve got a hammer
    and I’ve got a bell
    and I’ve got a song to sing
    all over this land.
    It’s the hammer of justice
    It’s the bell of freedom
    It’s a song about love between my
    brothers and my sisters
    all over this land.”

    Thank you for these songs (new to me) dedicated to the American Civil Rights Movement.
    Dear Jeff, I think that it’s one of your best actings. You are in a good shape again.
    We are glad to hear you joking and singing to us again.

  19. Tania says:

    Hi, Jeff! Did you change your signature ?
    – Jeff insead of ~ Jeff ?

  20. Tania says:

    Hi! An error: instead of

  21. Tania says:

    Hi! A very interesting phrase to me : to cross the great divide – to cross the boundary
    between life and death.
    One of our greatest philosopher and poet, Lucian Blaga (1895 – 1961), called this idea “the great passing”.

    “Stop the passing. I know that where there isn’t death, there is nor love, and still please:
    stop, God, the clock with which you measure our disintegration.” (my translation)

  22. Dan says:

    Great impression of Clint by Jeff on podcasts 1029.

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