I’m convinced the only thing Germans love more than order and sports, are vegetables. Really. Where else will you find specific scenic routes dedicated entirely to veggies?
Come with me along the 130 km (81 mi) of the Deutsche Kohlstrasse, or what you’ll come to know as the German Cabbage Route.
Believe it or not, more than 80 million heads of cabbage (not all of it turned into sauerkraut, BTW) are harvested in the Dithmarschen District of Schleswig-Holstein every year, and is the largest cabbage growing region in the whole of Europe. So, a right fittin’ place to make this scenic route in Germany.
Maybe we should call it a culinary route?
Nevermind, doesn’t matter. ;-)
Start of the German Cabbage Route
Our route starts in the town of Brunsbüttel, along the North Sea Cycle Route. Sure, this is where the Kiel Canal meets up with the Elbe, but it’s also always a venue for the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, has romantic lighthouses, and farms that grow cabbage as far as the eye can see.
Every year during the region’s Cabbage Days (September), rides around many of the farms are offered, but you’re always welcome to at Denkers Landcafé (at Groden 14), that’ll give you one just about anytime of the year.
We’re off to a good start, aren’t we?
The next town, or should I say village, is Neufeld. This hamlet has charming thatched roof cottages (don’t you just love them?), an old windmill, and more cabbage farms, like Gemüsehof Peters (Niendieker Strot 47). Their farm shop is filled with all sorts of fresh produce.
No, you can’t eat yet—we have a way to go first. ;-)
Neufelderkoog, a village of salt marshes along the North Sea, has also got cabbage growing farms. The Bauernhof Krey (at Haus Nr. 21) is just one of ’em.
Sure this is the German Cabbage Route, but in the village of Kaiser-Wilhelm-Koog the farms are also known for growing carrots and sugar beets. The Ferienhof Brandt (at Schulstraße 4) goes a step further with adding wheat, pigs, cats, dogs, sheep, and even ponies for the true farm experience.
Bicycle riders rejoice, as the land of Kaiser-Wilhelm-Koog is totally flat—and just west of the Wadden Sea, in case you want to ride over there.
Tired yet? Good thing our next town, Friedrichskoog, has a wellness center (the Fontamar Spa at Schulstraße West 14) for some R&R. It’s also got a Port, an windmill, a playground for the kiddies, salt marshes, and more cabbage at the Hofladen Schoof on Andreßenweg 1 or Hof Bock at Koogstr. 31.
OK, you can eat now—try something known as Grünkohl and Pinkel, a dish made with cabbage (of course!), wurst, ham, and potatoes.
The next village on the German Cabbage Route is Kronprinzenkoog. Visit the Bauernhof Ufen (Friedrichsköger Str. 8) on Tuesdays from 9am to noon for a look into cabbage farming. It’s also the location for the annual Strawberry Harvest in June.
I know strawberries have nothing to do with cabbage, but it’s still good to know. ;-)
For cabbage and pony rides it’ll be the Ferienbauernhof Claußen you want. You’ll find this quaint farm at Mitteldeichsweg 3, if you’re so in inclined.
Marne is a charming town, and its Stadtfest (City Festival) coincides with the Cabbage Days (usually towards the end of September). Here you’ll find bakeries making Kohlbrot (yes, cabbage bread!) at places like the Kalle-Bäcker on the Feldstraße, and judges deciding who will be this year’s Cabbage Queen.
Oh, it’s time to do some mudflat hiking (again). You can do it in the village of Elpersbüttel, as well as windsurfing, biking around the North Sea Cycle Route, and visiting the petting zoo (Apr-Oct) at the Hof Husemann at Lütjenbüttel 4. Oh, and eat yourself silly on all the locally grown cabbage.
One of the most interesting ways to eat cabbage lies in the next town of Meldorf. There’s an “ice cafe” where some of the flavors on the menu are cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower.
Not for you? It’s alright… Take a guided bicycle route around the farms (May-Oct), visit the Agriculture Museum and Dithmarscher Bauernhaus at Jungfernstieg 4, or the cathedral instead.
In Wesselburen there’s a farmer’s market held at the Kohlosseum (ha, I wonder who came up with that name) at Bahnhofstr. 22. During the summer it’s held on Tuesdays & Thursdays; while only on Wednesdays in the winter.
Schülp, while on the German Cabbage Route, is known as a Flower Village. Not only are 10 million heads of the cabbage grown here annually from April to June, but it also chooses an annual Tulip Queen (what is this the Netherlands? ;-).
The Gärtnerei H. Diener & Sohn Nursery (Schülper Chaussee 10) gets in on the flower (early Spring) and cabbage growing (April to June) fun. Heinz and his son, Olaf, will be more than happy to show you around; you just better make it on a Friday when they offer guided tours.
Our second to last stop on the German Cabbage Route, Wesselburenerkoog, is quite small with only a bit more than 100 residents. Go see the Hofladen Wilkens and the Koog Café (Dammstr. 20) where you’ll get fresh veggies, fruit, and cheese; and walk around the dykes that keep back the storm surges that are common in the Fall.
Last, but by no means least, is Büsum. Check this out: this spa town has treatments using all sorts of cabbage remedies at the Vitamaris Büsum (its address is Südstrand 5, which translates to South Beach—like it’s in Miami or something); and the cafe at the Windpark serves up all kinds of regional cabbage specialties. This is why it deserves to be on the German Cabbage Route, right?
It’s also got a large port, a lighthouse, a Harbor Museum, and lies along the Wadden Sea National Park. Yeah, time to go mudflat hiking again—or at least I can once the tide goes out. In the meantime, I guess I’ll have to just eat more cabbage. Good thing I’m in the right place. ;-)
German Cabbage Route Web Site
Want more info? Visit the Web site dedicated to the German Cabbage Route.