Monday, October 28, 2013

Sweeter with Frost - Kale

Kale is one of the most frost hardy of the greens and highly nutritious. It protects it's cells from deep cold by increasing the solids content in the cells. One of the solids being sugar. Mature kale has a heavy leaf that holds up well under repeat freeze and thaw cycles. It wilts after a heavy frost and then recovers during the thaw the next day.

Kale has gained popularity over the past several years as a gourmet green as well as a highly nutritious health promoting and cancer preventing food. I was not aware at the time, but I have been looking for a seed source for baby kale. I finally found a source this year and was taking baby kale to market this spring way ahead of when the full sized kale would be available.

In parallel the cooking magazines were promoting kale as the next hot food item for raw and cooked dishes. Largely due to these promotions kale was highly prized as a farmers market purchase. Some weeks we sold more baby kale than spring mix.

I was wondering if this baby kale would hold up under frost like the full sized plants and so far it has been hanging in there.

Kale also has few pests. The little green worms that love cabbage and broccoli pretty much leave kale alone.

We will see how it goes next season. If kale is a flash in the pan designer green or if it has the staying power of some of the other common greens.

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