Friday, June 18, 2010

Last of the Tree Collards

While enjoying the nice weather up in Sonoma County last weekend, I ran into the Sunday Sebastopol farmers' market and picked up these beautiful tree collards from First Light Farm, though my geriatric memory is croaking out something about these being from farmers under another name who use First Light's land. It's hard to take notes when your arms are full of strawberries and greens...

I think most of us imagine collard greens as a deep, dark green color, so these surprised me with their delicate purple veins and shading, almost like Red Russian kale.

They're called tree collards because, unlike regular collards and other brassicas like kale, these grow high up from the ground, reaching five to six feet. As the season gets hotter, brassicas, which prefer colder weather, start getting thicker and harder to chew, so these were the last they would be offering this season I was told. An interesting thing about tree collards that I learned here is that they are difficult to propagate because they have to come from cuttings rather than seeds, which they either don't produce or if they do, then don't "breed true," which means you're not guaranteed to get the same kind of parent tree collard from the seedy offspring.

I prepared these as I do kale: chopped into ribbons and sauteed with garlic. This time I also added diced spring onions and carrots. The taste and texture were more robust than similarly colored kale (Red Russian), a kind of hearty quality suggestive of German hikers marching through the Alps in jaunty lederhosen.

I served the tree collards for lunch alongside black quinoa with yellow raisins and beet salad with sheep feta. The little creature that was laundering its whites and grays at my house couldn't wait to get its hungry hands on them.


bee said...

ahoy! i just discovered your site and am hooked! as a veg fanatic i didn't expect to see so many truly weird and unfamiliar veggies, but boy i was wrong. love the tone of your writing. informative, fun, and actually evokes cravings for kale - that combo could ostensibly save the world.

kale daikon said...

Thanks bee! My thoughts exactly on kale addictions as beneficial for all involved.