Friday, May 20, 2011

Winter Vegetables - Kale!

I'll start this week with a big thank you.  I have been so overwhelmed with responses to last week's musings on Values that I have not been able to respond to everyone personally. So Thank you. The response has been extremely positive, helpful and gratifying. To be honest I nearly didn't send that newsletter because I worried that it was off topic. To those who replied that they would like a job at Scotsburn please keep in mind that Values are something we strive to achieve, consistency of execution is another challenge altogether. Of course quality people who share our values are welcome to send CV's....

Anyway, It has been genuinely miserable in Melbourne. Real winter weather had set in by Mother's day and I've had a filthy cold that refuses treatment. Think of something positive!  Broad beans! I wrote about Broad beans this time last year. Kale.  Now there's a terrific vegie. We have been harvesting fresh vegies from the Magic Square Gardens that returned from The Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show. Beautiful Broccoli, lots of Chard & Silverbeet, Parsley & other herbs, Cabbages just heading but I noticed that the Kale has been worked around. We have both Cavelo Nero (Black Italian Kale) and Red Russian Kale in the gardens but no-one was picking these so I cut some young fresh Cavelo Nero leaves on Friday. Kaye's first question was "what do you do with it"? and this was repeated when I took them home. So now I know why the Kale is being avoided.

Cavelo Nero, freshly harvested.

This is a shame because these are fantastic winter vegies that love cold weather and are very easy to grow. Cavolo Nero has a "strong nutty" flavour and can be used in any way regular Cabbage is. The deep crinkles are especially good for catching salad dressings, just Google Cavelo Nero recipes, there are too many for me to start making suggestions. The great thing about Cavelo Nero is it is an open headed variety so leaves can be picked as required rather than picking and storing a large head, it's also easier to ensure slugs and ants have not made cosy homes between the tightly packed leaves.

Russian Red Kale.

If possible Russian Red Kale is even tougher and more cold tolerant than Cavelo Nero... "Oh those Russians".  It is also an open headed variety making it easy to pick the youngest freshest leaves as required.  Russian Red does have quite tough, chewy leaves making them a little more challenging than some other Cabbages but they are very tasty sauteed, or cooked in stews and soups as you might imagine. In fact both these kales are from a "Soup Box" we produced for the Flower Show. Carrots, Cavelo Nero, Red Russian Kale, Parsley and Ruby Chard.  How's that for hearty?

Yes Cavelo Nero and Russian Red Kale are both available Now and will be through winter in our Funky Fresh Kitchen 100mm pots. Cavelo Nero is also available in our My Vegie Garden punnet range. 

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