In Season: Available year round Mark Twain once said that cauliflower was "nothing but cabbage with a college education." Indeed, it is a member of the cabbage family. Cauliflower is composed of unopened flower buds that grow on a central stock. The leaves of the cauliflower plant fold over the buds like a tent, preventing sunlight from stimulating cholorphyll levels and thus explaining the characteristic white color. Cauliflower probably originated in Asia Minor, but was available almost exclusively in Italy through the 1600s, when it was propagated throughout Europe and, finally, to North America. Today, most of the cauliflower in the United States is grown in the Salinas Valley of California.