Big Cabbage

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If the business of Big Cabbage were horses, it would be the pluperfect Platonic ideal of the one-horse town. As it is, this settlement on the Sto Plains, located in between Überwald and Ankh-Morpork, is nothing like as exciting as its sole reason for being is the brassica trade. And it likes to advertise.

Billing itself as the green heart of the plains, Big Cabbage boasts The Biggest Cabbage in the World, which turns out to be a building erected in stressed concrete to look like a hundred-foot high cabbage, in which a multitude of cabbage-related ideas may be wondered at, bought, and taken home as souvenirs of an exciting holiday. Cabbage Beer may be bought, as can cabbage cigars, rolled on the inner thighs of alluring young local maidens.

The town plays host to the Disc's most uniquely brassica-oriented theme park, Brassica World. Captain Cabbage and his friends Cauliflower the Clown and Billy Broccoli are sure to welcome you on your visit.

And there is always the Cabbage Research Institute, over which a green pall usually hangs, and downwind of which plants tend to be strange and sometimes turn to watch you as you pass. Cabbage Down is a logical and somewhat sinister extention of this theme, and strange rumours persist as to what the top-security agro-military complex gets up to.

It is clear the inhabitants are not terrifically imaginative. To break the monotony, however, there is a Museum of Caterpillars, testimony to the sworn mortal enemy of cabbage growers everywhere. It is possible this is kept as a Chamber of Horrors.

Big Cabbage is now the terminus of The Sto Plains Line, an innovation in mass transport that enables cabbage produce to reach the Big City in the freshest possible condition.


Well, where do we start? The name is an obvious reference to "The Big Apple".

There are also many American towns that seek to emphasise their unique quirkiness with giant ferroconcrete tributes to whatever the local source of wealth is.

Cabbage Beer has been brewed. (The hop, a relative of the cabbage, is integral to all beer-making, so this is not a large step sideways.)

In Great Britain, the John Innes Institute, founded to give scientific backing to British agriculture and to breed new plant strains to maximise crop yield, was an early advocate for irradiating foodstuffs so that they would last longer, and for the genetic modification of staple crops. The first is still illegal in Britain and the second is being developed by the JII under seemingly tough sanctions. However, farmers close to its research base in Norfolk have regularly complained and are not happy with the potential for cross-contamination. (The JII also backs onto and has close links with the University of East Anglia. In Discworld, does the CRI have links to, say, the Department of Extreme Horticulture at Unseen University?)

The plants at the CRI also bring to mind Granny Weatherwax's Herbs.