Why is kale so expensive?

Author: Hugh Wennerbom

As kale's popularity has soared, more and more growers have been planting it. Hence this winter, it'll be more reasonably priced. Sure, there'll still be bunches for $6 in upmarket stores, but I've already seen it at $2 a bunch in some supermarkets and greengrocers.

The mania for kale over the last 18 months has been remarkable nonetheless. It reminds me of the fad for kale's sibling, cavolo nero, a decade or so ago, and the craze for wild rocket a decade before that. It's more intense, though, because kale's moment has been driven by a zeal for its supposed health benefits.

For those of us who take our super-foods with a grain of salt and pepper, I can highly recommend it as a worthwhile addition to the veggie patch. Kale, like cavolo nero, is a kind of cabbage that doesn't form a head. It's easy to propagate and enjoys frosty mornings. The leaves are very firm; so much so that you can deep-fry them or drizzle them with oil and crisp them up in a hot oven. I like to shred mine finely and sauté it quickly - long enough just to wilt - and finish with a smidge of garlic. I serve it as a bitter foil to rich food, such as duck confit.

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