Ed’s Farm Blog – Racing round the PSB


One of the nice things about purple sprouting broccoli is the way that varietal names all tend to reflect the red/purple nature of the crop. We have been slowly munching through Rudolf and Red spear since mid-November and although they are now over, Red Head is in full swing, Mendocino started last week and we picked the first of the Cardinal crop on Sunday. Next up will be Claret followed by some Late Purple in April. Peak production is approaching fast and by early April we could be picking four tonnes a week at our farm in Devon alone.


Each crop will be picked over several times. The first time through is usually quite light, where we take out the primaries (the main head at the top of the plant). This encourages growth in the secondary shoots that grow up the sides of the stalk: these are the more familiar spears that look (and cook) much like asparagus. I personally love PSB – it is one of my seasonal benchmarks – but it’s back breaking work to pick and by late April most pickers have purple spots dancing before their eyes and are praying for the final pick to come.

organic purple sprouting broccoli


Every field comes with its own challenges and our main PSB field is no exception. Called ‘Racecourse’, it is slap bang in the middle of a former horse racing track. Races have been held here since 1883 but the course closed in 1960 and is just used for occasional point-to-pointing nowadays; and the next race is on Sunday. The upshot of this is that we won’t be able to pick anything from that field for a couple of days prior to the race as it is readied for action: fences going up, facilities set up for bookies and punters, and so on. So the field gets a couple of days rest and we will have a look at it on Monday to see how much of our crop has been trashed by stampeding horses…


3 responses to “Ed’s Farm Blog – Racing round the PSB

  1. Thanks! I have grown some PSB myself this year, and have been so amazed by the colour (plus the fact that it has actually sprouted!) that it didn’t really occur to me to find out the best way to harvest it.. Well, now I know! Thanks Ed!

  2. This is just rubbing salt in the wounds. We STILL havent had any PSB this year despite buying a “Seasons” box and despite it being on the list of contents. Who’s taking it, I wonder?

  3. Adrian, I had to face the same disappointment! Did all the PSBs get trashed by horses in the end? I’m looking forward to next week’s delivery – I hope they’re there.

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