(May 15) SALINAS, Calif. — What began as an idea floated by Salyer American Fresh Foods Inc. at the 2006 Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit convention in San Diego has grown to fruition as the company’s first harvesting of its new baby cabbage began in early May.

“It’s brand new and we began harvesting the last week-and-a-half,” said Todd Pearson, account manager for cauliflower and cabbage at Salyer American.

Pearson said May 14 the company, which became a division of SK Foods April 23 when executive officer Scott Salyer consolidated the two companies, wants to bring several new items and baby cabbage was the first to hit retail shelves.

“We had a lot of positive feedback at the San Diego PMA last year and everybody seemed to be talking about it, so we decided to try it,” he said. “It’s a specific seed variety that is grown to be smaller and is roughly the size of a softball.”

Pearson said the individual heads weigh up to 1 ½ pounds and will be sold as a cello-wrapped 12-count under the Salyer American label. He said he believed other companies may have held trials, but Salyer was the first to take baby cabbage to commercial harvest.

He said the baby cabbages will be sold predominantly to retailers and the marketing focus will be on smaller household demographics.

“There are customers who choose to buy them because they have less weight and they’re not going to throw anything away after a week or so,” he said. “If you buy for coleslaw, you typically don’t need more than four or five cups and that’s exactly what this shreds out to be.”