An Interview with Terry Mitchell – Cabbage Farmer Extraordinaire

Here at Fine Choice Foods, we believe that the best ingredients make the best food. Because of this, we try to source our fresh vegetables locally whenever possible. All of our produce is delivered daily and processed right away. One of our most commonly used ingredients is cabbage so it was important to us to be able to source some of it locally.

We chatted with one of our local farmers, Terry Mitchell to talk about his farm and how our cabbage is grown before it gets to our doors.

Terry Mitchell Cabbage

FCF: When and how did you become a farmer?

TM: The farm has been in the family for several generations. I grew up farming.

FCF: What is the most surprising thing about farming?

TM: Nothing surprises me about farming anymore as I have been doing it for so long!

FCF: Does your farm follow organic practices? Why or why not?

TM: We do not farm organically as you cannot do it in a small way and we do not have the sales in the Lower Mainland and on Vancouver Island to support our entire farm producing organically.

FCF: What is your process to growing cabbage? When do you plant it? What do you do to make sure it keeps growing?

TM: First step is the correct choice of field. You require a field that has not had a cole crop (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage etc.) in it in the previous 3 years and that will be able to be harvested in 3-6 months after the cabbage is ready.

Next step is proper field preparation so that your field is clean and soil ready. This includes ploughing, disking, cultivating and then fertilizing the field.

After the field is prepared you can plant seed direct into soil or plant transplants which have been grown in a greenhouse prior to field preparation. We prefer to plant transplants which helps us to grow faster than the weeds!!!

Final steps include fertilizing again and monitoring and controlling pests and disease.

FCF: How do you fertilize? How do you manage pests and disease?

TM: Fertilization is done mechanically with a spreader and later with a side dresser. We monitor for pests and disease and treat them as necessary.

FCF: How long does it take to grow a head of cabbage?

TM: The entire process takes approximately 80 days of growing. Certain varieties of cabbage remain in the field even in the winter until they are required to fill orders. This really helps to alleviate the cost of storage and provides the customer with the freshest and sweetest cabbage we can offer.

FCF: What else do you grow besides cabbage?

TM: We have close to 40 crops we grow including carrots, lettuce, onions, berries and parsnips.

Thanks for answering our questions for us Terry!

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