Kale is February's Harvest of the Month
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“Kale tastes the best when the frost has kissed it.” 

Kale is in the Brassica family and its Latin name means ‘cabbage of the vegetable garden without a head’. There are many varieties. Brick Red Russian kale is the most tender, while Lacinato (or Dinosaur) kale feels almost like plastic! 

Even though it is very cold (and sometimes snowy!) in February, hardy Siberian and Winterbor kale survives and turns into the best Baked Kale Chips.

The leaves of Kale are edible and provide an excellent source of:
 

• Vitamin A

• Vitamin C

• Vitamin K

• Calcium

• Iron
 

Kale is one of the most nutrient-packed foods on the planet!  In addition to these beneficial nutrients, Kale is rich in antioxidants, which have been shown to have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory effects.

Kale can be eaten raw in a salad, sautéed in a stir-fry, or even blended into a smoothie. Adding a little olive oil and/or lemon juice to your recipe brings out nutritional properties of kale.

BAKED KALE CHIPS

• 1 bunch kale

• 1 tbs olive oil

• 1 tsp salt

Wash and thoroughly dry kale. Remove stems and tear leaves into pieces. Toss with olive oil and salt. Spread leaves in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 300° F for 10-15 minutes. Serve.



Kale is a very hardy plant that grows well all year in Virginia. Because we harvest only the leaves of the plant, the plant stays alive through many harvests and many seasons, making kale a very good plant to grow on a farm. Local farmers protect their kale through the winter by covering it with a light sheet, called row cover. And, they use the same row cover to protect it from bugs and hungry deer in the summertime!
The kale for this month’s crop was grown by Goldman Farm in Charlotte County, VA.

From top left clockwise: Venable chefs tasting the kale; Class at Jackson-Via; Class at Clark; CCS Nutrition Team baking the kale

Kale - Trivia and Facts
 
TRIVIA OF THE MONTH: "This food has more calcium per calorie than a glass of milk and more vitamin C than an orange. Even in freezing temperatures outside, it's able to keep growing. It's in the same plant family as broccoli, brussel sprouts, and collards."
  • Kale is one of the earliest known vegetables to be cultivated by humans.
  • Like many others in the Brassica family, kale is packed with antioxidants and is known as a "Superfood."
Check out this fun article on kale from the New York Times!
 
Kale - Heritage Information

Kale's origins go back into the Middle Ages. Like broccoli, cauliflower, and collards, kale is a descendent of wild cabbage. At that time kale was the most common green vegetable in all of Europe. The Romans, for example, ate Siberian kale. Siberian kale is considered to be the ancestor of modern kales but is more closely tied to rutabagas.

Thomas Jefferson grew kale in his own garden at Monticello, and experimented with several varieties such as sprout kale, he once wrote that kale was one of "the finest winter vegetable we have."

- This excerpt taken from Abigail Sandberg's blog for the Virginia Food Heritage website

 
Harvest of the Month is a program that highlights a locally available crop each month by providing a fresh, healthy snack in all six Charlottesville Elementary Schools. Students also learn about the crop in their schoolyard garden and classroom. Information on growing, nutrition, and preparation of the crop is shared with teachers and families. The goal of Harvest of the Month is to support healthy living skills that strengthen our youth and community. 

It take a community to make Harvest of the Month happen! City Schoolyard Garden is grateful to work in collaboration with Charlottesville City SchoolsLocal Food Hub, and Charlottesville Move2Health. Supported with funds through the Thomas Jefferson Health District of the Virginia Department of Health and other generous donors.

                                 

    Donate to keep Harvest of the Month growing!

City Schoolyard Garden is an independent, non-profit organization and your tax deductible donation makes a difference. Join us investing in our children's future, and providing them with a foundation for learning about health, nutrition, sustainability, and community. Click on the apple to donate or send a donation to our address below. Thank you!
P.O. Box 5285, Charlottesville, VA 22905
 
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