The first harvest has come and gone; the flood gate has opened and harvest knives, rubber bands, washing tables and packing tubs are floating in on it’s waves. It’s finally the time in the season where harvesting will start taking front and center, that is along with distributing produce, weeding, trellising, watering as well as sewing and prepping beds for fall crops. A mile-stone, baby farm and farmer’s first harvest composed of bunches of kale and bags of loose leaf spinach.
It was in 2005 when I first ‘ate the kale,’ something analogous to ‘drinking the koolaid.’ Of corse that was the year that I moved to Arcata. Kale may be the mascot food for the coast. On those costal farms they can grow it year round. Kale is such a beautiful and hardy green. I truly find that my body craves it. I’ve sense exposed my family and friends to this frilly leaf wonder, the cult is growing! Kale is extremely versatile and packed with nutrients. You can steam kale, saute kale, bake kale, make an egg dish, rice dish, pasta dish,casserole, soup, lasagna, salad…you get the point; it’s as multifaceted as shrimp. There are many varieties of kale. Two common types, the types being grown on Homeward Bounty, are Red Russian and Lacinato, which is sometimes called Dinosaur kale.
I know that kale may be new to many, so to help you get hooked (because I know of a good source), I have compiled some of my favorite ways of preparing the one and only, extremely yummy Brassica Oleracea.
Massaged Kale Salad –
1 bunch Kale
1/2 Tbs lemon juice (optional)
This is an Arcata classic! Tear the kale leaves from the stalks and into bite size pieces. Place kale pieces into a bowl, drizzle with olive oil, add salt and lemon juice if available. Dig in with clean hands and proceed to massage your meal, this is where the Arcata bit comes into the picture! Don’t forget to give it love, thanks and positive energy. It’s probably most therapeutic for the chef, the oil even acts as a moisturizer. Massage the kale until it’s wilted and glossy, a thorough minute will do. I find that this method almost gives the kale a seaweed texture. It comes out divine! I recommend adding pumpkin seeds, grated beets and carrots, avocado and your favorite dressing.
Kale Chips –
1 bunch Kale
parchment paper (optional)
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Remove kale from the stem. A good technique of doing this is by grabbing the stem from the bottom and running your hand across the rib instantly separating the leaves. Break the kale up into chip size pieces. Toss kale in a bowl with olive oil and salt until thoroughly coated. Place kale on a cookie sheet, lined with parchment paper if you like for easy clean. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes or until crisp. *Grind kale chips into flakes and add to popcorn..oooh-la-la!
Kale can be dressed up or kept simple. I’m sure it can be found on the menus of some of the nicest city restaurants. At the same time it packs light, stays crisp and makes a lovely addition to any camping adventure. Here are some of kales most recent adventures, a snowy hike up to Beautiful Porcupine Lake – yumm!