Alaska Man Rolls Record Cabbage Out Of The Patch

Melissa Block speaks with Scott Robb of Palmer, Alaska, who has grown a world record-setting giant cabbage. It weighed in at 138.25 pounds at the Alaska State Fair. Robb has been nurturing a variety of world-record setting giant vegetables — including turnips and kale — for more than twenty years.

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MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

If you were wondering just how much a world record setting cabbage would weigh, you're in luck. We're about to find out. That monster cabbage was grown by Scott Robb of Palmer, Alaska. It took top prize at the Alaska State Fair. And Mr. Robb, how big was your world record setting cabbage?

SCOTT ROBB: 138.25 pounds.

BLOCK: 138.25. Well, do you want to let us in on any secrets of what it takes to grow a 138-pound cabbage?

ROBB: It's more of a geographical thing. Under our long summer days, it really doesn't get dark, there's just kind of a twilight. So the cabbages never really shut down, they just kind of continue to lumber along and grow.

BLOCK: There's got to be more to it than that, though, or everybody up there in Alaska would be growing monster cabbages.

ROBB: Well, there's been probably a half a dozen people or so that over the years have done that. I mean, it's not uncommon for people to grow 50, 60, 70-pound cabbages. It's just been recently that a handful of people have refined and found the right seed and have come up with the right cultivation techniques to, you know, push them a little bit beyond. If you're going to grow a monster cabbage, I mean something that's competitive not just in the state of Alaska, but on the world stage, you can't go fishing for the weekend, you can't take off and go hunting for a week. You have to be here, hands-on every day, looking at them, watering them, fertilizing and making sure nothing, you know, happens.

BLOCK: Mr. Robb, when you were watching this cabbage throughout the season, were you pretty sure you had a winner there?

ROBB: No, actually I wasn't. I was just as shocked as everybody else. I mean, I knew I had a heavy cabbage once I cut it off and we started to carry it out of the garden, but two weeks prior to that I had entered a cabbage - the head alone, weighed 89 pounds. So when I look at something like that and then I look at my other cabbages, it's hard to get real perspective on, you know, just how big this cabbage was. What it had that the 89-pound head lacked, was it had the rest of the leaves, it had what they call pups - those are the little baby cabbages that grow in between each leaf. The overall size of the cabbage from outside leaf to outside leaf measured seven-feet, three-inches.

BLOCK: Wow. Well, the Alaska State Fair is over now. What happens to that cabbage?

ROBB: That big 89-pound monster head that I brought in two weeks ago ended up at a wildlife refuge and that's probably what will happen to this one.

BLOCK: You're not sure yet?

ROBB: Well, sometimes the food bank comes in and they'll take all of the market size vegetables and they're really excited to get those. But the big stuff, not that it doesn't taste good, it's just that, you know, it's sometimes it's a little more than they want to deal with.

BLOCK: I bet it would be. Would it taste good, though? A 138-pound cabbage if you chopped it up, would it still taste okay?

ROBB: Absolutely. Because all's you do is you just start peeling off the outer leaves and they're fine.

BLOCK: Well, Mr. Robb, congratulations on your record setting cabbage. Best of luck.

ROBB: Thank you.

BLOCK: That's Scott Robb of Palmer, Alaska. His 138.25-pound cabbage set a new world record at the Alaska State Fair. One last note. A much tinier cabbage, a 24-pound entry named Emerald, from the Meyer Family came with a limerick. This Emerald's weight is not profuse. Not enough to feed a moose. A mountain of kraut is what she's about. A cabbage is put to good use.

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