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.
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).
It turns out, however, that the kale craze was ignited not just by a newfound interest in health and green juice, but in the same way many other trends have become “the new black”: a great PR team. Yes, the kale industry group—the American Kale Association (which is basically like the National Confectioners Association, but healthier)—hired hip New York PR maven Oberon Sinclair, who founded the public relations firm My Young Auntie, to “grow” the brand of the brassica. Conveniently, My Young Auntie also counts as a client the uber-cool and locally sourced New York City restaurant The Fat Radish, which was an eager early kale adopter when it opened in 2010 and likely helped make the now-ubiquitous kale Caesar salad the staple starter it has become.
Which of course means that food trend watchers are now suggesting that kale is out and its cruciferous cousin cauliflower is in. Compelling as it is that cauliflower can be sliced and marinated like a steak, shredded into a veggie “rice” and made into Paleo pizza crust, we can’t count kale out just yet. As long as there is a steady demand for green juice, nutrient-packed salads and potato-less chips, our love of kale is surely here to stay.
Original Article Published on SELF.com