America loves kale and farmers produced nearly 60 percent more of the trendy green in 2012 than they did in 2007, according to latest census data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The tender young leaves from these fast-growing plants can be eaten raw, or cooked for soup or stir fries. Many colored varieties are a fine addition to ornamental plantings as well as spectacular garnishes. 

Did you know?

Kale has been cultivated for over 2,000 years. In much of Europe it was the most widely eaten green vegetable until the Middle Ages when cabbages became more popular. Historically it has been particularly important in colder regions due to its resistance to frost. In nineteenth century Scotland kail was used as a generic term for 'dinner' and all kitchens featured a kail-pot for cooking. Geographically, kale was originally found growing from Russia to the Mediterranean.

In Washington State, most kale is grown on the western side of the state. Kale is grown on limited acreage for fresh, local markets but it is increasing in popularity and production is increasing.  (WSCPR The Compendium of Washington Agriculture)

   Because kale prefers cooler weather to hot, it’s usually best to grow it in the spring and early summer. In Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades (6th edition, 2007), Steve Solomon explains that cabbage family crops like kale and Brussels sprouts “increase the amount of sugars and other substances in their cells. This sugar solution acts like anti-freeze.  It also makes many species taste much sweeter after they've been well frosted a few times.” (p. 128)


Reasons to love kale

Kale has the distinction of being one of the hardiest vegetables known to man. It is a non-headed cabbage variety noted for being exceptionally nutritious—an excellent source of vitamins A and C, it’s also loaded with calcium (90 milligrams in a 1-cup serving). It is also a very good source of vitamin B6, dietary fiber, potassium, vitamin E, vitamin B2, iron, magnesium, vitamin B1, omega-3 fatty acids phosphorus, protein, folate, and niacin. For an in-depth nutritional profile click here:

Click on recipe contributed by Laura Hofer, food consultant.

Superfood at Superbowl 2014

Kale was served at Superbowl 2014

“Kale is so trendy right now,” said Eric Borgia, executive chef for Delaware North Sportservice, which oversaw the food at the Super Bowl.

“Every book you open up, it’s all about kale and kale chips. And it’s good for you,” said Borgia. He created a chicken-sausage and Tuscan kale sandwich for sale to Superbowl fans. It was a twist on the street-fair stalwart of sausage-and-pepper subs in New York City.

White House Kale Salad

This dish was enjoyed by Thanksgiving guests in 2012.

"There are two types of people; 
those who eat kale and those who should." 
~~ Bo Muller-Moore

Kale is one of our specialties

With a rich variety of soils and local climates, resourceful Washington farmers are growing all kinds  of specialty crops ranging from Amaranth to Yucca.  Learn more here. Specialty Crops