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Kale

Posted 12/17/2011 9:15pm by Reuben DeMaster.

Kale has a special place in a CSA.  Growers love it because it grows in most conditions and it stores well after harvest.  It has a great flavor which sweetens after a frost.  It contains many vitamins (see chart below) and it tastes delicious in soups, steamed or sauteed.

For new CSA members, kale symbolizes the challenges of learning to prepare unfamiliar foods.  Many people have tried kale for the first time in this and in other CSAs.  After people figure out what it is, most people find that it becomes one of their favorite vegetables.  Other people find it frustrating, strange, and unappealing. 

This CSA gave out Kale about 6 weeks out of 22 this year.  End of the year surveys show that an equal number of people want more kale as those that want less kale.  As a kale lover, I wish everyone would want to eat more kale.  Maybe they have never eaten it sauteed in olive oil, garlic and salt.  After just 4 or 5 minutes in the pan, kale becomes a slightly wilted treat. 

Although kale has been largely lost from modern diets, a traditional Scottish diet included a lot of kale.  Up until the 20th century, a Scottish lowlander ate cabbage, turnips, and carrots in the summer and kale all winter.  Kale was so common that they referred to the vegetable garden as the 'kail-yard'.  Kale was also the word used for the evening meal - "Will you come and tak your kail wi' me?".  Broth or soup could also be called just 'kail'. 

As I plan next year's crops, I am trying to balance conflicting member feedback.  I always plan so that the majority of the vegetables are familiar and then I fill in with less requested items.  I expect that this CSA will always include some kale, because that is what makes the CSA idea unique and great. 

 

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