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There are three major types of cabbage, Brassica oleracea, green, red, and savoy. It belongs in the same plant family as many other vegetables, including Chinese cabbage, broccoli, mustard, collards, kale, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, kohlrabi, turnip and bok choy. The per person annual consumption of fresh cabbage in 2016 averaged 5.8 pounds per person and 1.3 pounds of canned (kraut) (USDA ERS, 2020)
The majority of cabbage is used in processing for coleslaw (45%), followed by fresh head cabbage (35%), sauerkraut (12%) and other fresh-cut products (5-10%). Fresh cabbage markets and sauerkraut markets are distinct, with the majority of sauerkraut grown under contract between grower and buyer.
Cabbage is considered a cool-weather crop. Most production of cabbage occurs in the fall, winter and spring months in the southern states and extending into the summer in the northern states. Although cabbage is grown throughout the United States, 78 percent of the nation’s total cabbage (fresh market and processing) is produced in five states, California, Wisconsin, New York, Florida, and Texas. The national average yield in 2016 was estimated at 39,600 pounds per acre.
In 2020, the total amount of cabbages harvested was 58,600 acres. The national average yield in 2020 was estimated at 404 cwt per acre. (USDA ERS, 2021). Cabbage imports were a record of 278.5 million pounds in 2020.
Wholesale prices for fresh market cabbage have been variable. The 2020 season average U.S. price was $20.80 per cwt for fresh market cabbage (USDA NASS, 2020).
Based on most recent production and wholesale price averages, the estimated gross value per acre of fresh market is $8,630 per acre. The costs of production of cabbage vary depending the production location. Cabbage is labor intensive because it is hand-harvested and field packed.