Harvest of the Month- Baby Kale

Posted by on Apr 13, 2018 | 0 comments

Harvest of the Month- Baby Kale

What an awesome sign of spring–eating the fresh, tender leaves of a Baby Kale plant! Yesterday marked our 7th Harvest of the Month this school year, this time highlighting Baby Kale grown by Hartland Natural Farms, a student-run farm at the Hartland Institute. Hartland Institute is a Christian missionary college in Madison County, so this Baby Kale was grown, harvested, and eaten by students!

Yesterday was a time of experiencing and learning when it came to Harvest of the Month. So far this year, the majority of the crops have been ones that are pretty universally heard of (Cucumbers, Zucchini, Sweet Potatoes, Butternut Squash are all things that we have heard of before and possibly tried), but Baby Kale was a new one for many students and teachers alike, so some people were really confused when they heard Baby Kale was being highlighted this month. Most didn’t know that you could eat Kale this way!

Things that we have learned along the way for this Harvest of the Month:

1. Baby Kale is the immature leaves of a Kale plant. The leaves are harvested early in the growing process. The plant then grows to maturity growing well-established leaves to be harvested later in the season. So: same plant, different ages.

2. Baby Kale leaves are much more tender and “lettuce-y” (a word used–and possibly created–by many Cville students yesterday) than mature Kale. With a balsamic dressing, it tastes like a delicious, light spring salad.

3. “Kale” does not always mean “Kale Chips.” Many students were excited that Kale was the harvest this month. Then, once they saw the Baby Kale, they were surprised that Kale does not always mean Kale Chips. A little background—we had Kale Chips in 2015 when we highlighted mature Kale previously for Harvest of the Month. A surprising number of students became slightly disappointed when they saw that it wasn’t chips. When they tried the “salad” though, we found that many liked it and quickly got excited over the new way they can eat Kale!

4. Baby Kale is not for everyone! As you can see in our featured image, some students loved it, and some students had alternative opinions. That image was taken at Clark Elementary School in a prekindergarten class after the students took their first bite of Baby Kale 🙂

5. The students were not the only ones learning! Having some preconceived ideas of how students would react hearing the word “Kale”, some of our volunteers were a little reluctant when they heard that it was on the menu this month. When passing out the Baby Kale, the volunteers were surprised seeing students confidently come grab a plate and start eating the Baby Kale—many saying that they knew they loved it because they tried it before. At Buford, there were kids who knew they liked it and took a plate, or two, or three!

Overall, we had a wonderful time giving students an opportunity to form an opinion on Baby Kale (even if they made the face that is in our photo)