Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner
Joe Morrissey 518-457-0752
Dave Bullard 315-487-7711 x 1377

May 05, 2015

Agriculture Commissioner Highlights the Cabbage Industry as One of the Unsung Heroes of New York Agriculture

New York has Ranked in the Top Three in National Production for the Last Decade

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball today highlighted the importance of cabbage production to New York State’s agriculture economy.  In 2014, New York harvested 8,300 acres of cabbage, amounting to on-farm sales of more than $72 million more than one-fifth of farm gate sales of the state’s entire vegetable industry.  New York’s cooler climate, especially in the Finger Lakes region and Western NY, makes it an ideal location for cabbage production, while cold storage facilities make this vegetable available year-round.

“New York is well known for its maple syrup, its dairy products, its apples and its farm-based beverages, but the cabbage industry here is huge and it sometimes doesn’t get nearly the recognition it deserves,” said Commissioner Ball.  “As a grower, cabbage is one of my favorite vegetables to grow.  The value-added products that are produced by New York cabbages can be seen on tables across the globe throughout the year.” 

Eric Hansen, Co-owner of Hansen Farms in Stanley, NY, which produces 700 acres of cabbage, said, “The climate here around the Finger Lakes makes for near ideal growing conditions for our cabbage crop.  We have a year-round supply of cabbages thanks to cold storage.  Our region tends to stay cooler in the summertime with a fair amount of natural rainfall, which cabbage tends to soak up pretty well.  We start harvesting in July and we don’t stop until the end of the fall.  Cabbage is a long season and New York is by far the best area in the country to grow it.”

Cabbage is grown everywhere in the state but the most is produced in Western New York and the Finger Lakes region.  Traditionally planted in April, it can be harvested from mid-June through mid-November.  More than 30 varieties of cabbage are grown in the state, ranging from small ones weighing a couple of pounds to behemoths close to 20.  Cabbage comes in green, red and even purple colors.

Much of the cabbage grown in New York goes into making coleslaw, but New York cabbage is also used in egg rolls, bagged salad mixes, and sauerkraut.  Two sauerkraut producers call New York home, taking advantage of the state’s abundant cabbage crop: Seneca Foods Corporation in Geneva and Great Lakes Kraut Company in Shortsville.  Fresh market cabbage can be found in grocery stores and farmers’ markets throughout the state and beyond.  New York cabbage can be stored for many months and it’s likely that cabbage families had with corned beef in March was grown right here.

“Cabbage is full of nutrients that support everything from better eye health to the prevention of cancer,” said acting New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker. “Our farmers have done a wonderful job of producing some of our nation’s best cabbage.  I encourage everyone to reap the benefits of this leafy green and incorporate some New York cabbage into your next meal.”

Christine Smart, Professor of Plant Pathology and Plant Microbe Biology at Cornell University, said, “New York has fabulous cabbage producers who appreciate research and ask really great questions on how to make the most out of their crops here in this state.  Over the years, our growers have improved their cold storage facilities, and have improved on their Good Agricultural Practices certification.  They share knowledge with each other so they can all benefit from best practices.  It really is a wonderful home-grown industry here in New York.”

The Department of Agriculture and Markets administers the Cabbage Research and Development Program.  About $30,000 annually funds projects designated by cabbage growers for agricultural research projects. One recent project focused on nitrogen dynamics in cabbage and another helped growers manage black rot, alternaria and downey mildew.

National production rankings of New York cabbage:

         2010 to 2014 2
         2009 3
         2008 1
         2004 to 2007 2

2015 Press Releases