Along with third-graders from all over the country last spring, Jenna Wiltjer, 9, planted a 6-inch cabbage sprout she received from her teacher at Rogus Elementary School, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Jenna's family harvested the cabbage, which weighed more than 20 pounds, and made coleslaw out of it.
Unfortunately, the slaw was "yucky," Jenna recalled.
"It was very, very bitter," she said. "I think it got too big."
However, earlier this month, Jenna learned her efforts had won her a $1,000 savings bond from vegetable producer Bonnie Plants, which selected her the Illinois winner of a national cabbage-growing contest.
Jenna's cabbage was chosen as having the best combination of size and appearance among nearly 20,000 entries from third-graders statewide, contest organizers said.
Jenna said she plans to retire from competitive cabbage growing, and would like to plant watermelons this spring.
"She's not much of a cabbage-eater," her dad said.