March 2015

Yes, it’s a superfood, but a little-known fact is that the American Kale Association also hired a supercool PR firm to help the leafy green’s reputation grow.

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Thomas Jefferson grew it at Monticello, the Irish mixed it with potatoes (“colcannon”) and hid charms inside it to predict marriage, but really, its claim to fame is the “kale” emblazoned sweatshirt that Beyonce wore in her “7/11″ music video.  Yes, kale, the green leafy cruciferous vegetable might as well be just called cool (which is appropriately close to its Dutch translation “boerenkool”), since it has gone from a weird, fibrous and bitter garnish to the green of choice in just a few years. According to US Department of Agriculture data, farm production of kale in the US rose 60% between 2007 and 2012.  Even more recently, from 2013 to 14, a survey of restaurant menu’s showed a 47% increase in the word kale.

We all know that one major driver behind the kale-ification of America (and the world, by the way) is that it’s a nutrient powerhouse. The curly green is high in vitamins A, C, and K, has lots of iron, fiber and calcium and can easily be baked into chips, massaged with oil for a salad, or thrown into a smoothie. But there are lots of healthy veggies available for the picking (including spinach, which is equallyhealthy as kale); virtually none of them have achieved pop culture icon status, nor do most of them have a doctor-promoted “National Day” (yup, National Kale Day is October 1st, conveniently one day before National Fried Scallops Day).

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