Steve and Lisa are the proud owners of Cooper’s CSA Farm & Maze in Zephyr. Known for their weekly market basket, the Coopers produce quality vegetables in addition to running a maze, a pick-your-own, and frequently hosting groups and parties.
GreenbeltFresh: Why did you start growing Brussels sprouts?
Steve: A fellow CSA farmer friend in Nova Scotia said to me “Steve, what the hell is wrong with you, grow Brussels sprouts, they’re easy.” I said okay.
GreenbeltFresh: What varieties do you use and why?
Steve: Capitola mostly. Seems to do the best on our sandy soil.
GreenbeltFresh: What is the growing process like?
Steve: Similar to cauliflower and broccoli but need more time. Longer time to mature.
GreenbeltFresh: What is your take on the industry?
Steve: A handful (less than 5) growers control the commercial/wholesale market. I only do direct retail and for my CSA boxes. No point trying to compete with farms that have mega economies of scale.
GreenbeltFresh: How do you suggest cooking them?
Steve: Our website, www.coopersfarm.ca, has recipes. I like them steamed with butter. There is a really great recipe on our site for bacon wrapped sprouts, its FANTASTIC!
GreenbeltFresh: Do you have any suggestions for people who want to grow them at home?
Steve: Start them inside in early April in plug trays and transplant to garden in May. Lots of good compost, water when needed but don’t over water. Remove tops (growing point) in mid Sept to allow upper sprouts on trunk to fill. Harvest early October or when they have adequate size.