exotic:// unusual and exciting because of coming (or seeming to come) from far away, especially a tropical country
So says the Cambridge Dictionary—and, when it comes to our exotic kale, we agree that it’s both unusual and exciting. It may seem like it’s coming from far away in the tropics but, instead, we’re growing it in Ohio’s rich, loamy soil where the temperatures are anything but tropical.
As Farmer Lee Jones points out, our exotic kale is actually better suited to the cold than we are. And, when our farm team lovingly harvests this wonderful crop after the first frost, the starch levels have gone down—and the natural sugar levels have gone up. Delicious.
Here, you can watch Farmer Lee carve the heart of the kale so that you can see the oh-so-tender center leaves.
This is quite a different experience from when Lee was a child and the standard bluish-green leaves of kale were picked at full maturity. Leaves were already tough and leathery—and young Lee disliked picking those leaves as well as eating them. As chefs began educating the Jones family about the possibilities of kale, life changed.
It became unusual! It became exciting!! It became exotic!!!
These leaves could be picked when ripe (but not necessarily at full growth and maturity). Small tender kale leaves simply burst with flavor and look stunning on the plate.
So, thanks to our friends in the chef world, we now hand harvest the center leaves of kale in six gorgeous varieties in a rainbow of hues: deep purple, emerald green, milky lavender, and baby red. Leaves range from round with contoured edges to elongated and spiky.
Farmer Lee’s Favorite Applications
Q: Do you prefer exotic kale raw or cooked?
Q: What’s one way that you like it when raw?
A: In a flavorful salad dressed with a drizzle of vinaigrette
Q: How about when it’s cooked?
A: Sautéed for a minute and then tossed with pasta and a handful of fresh parmesan
Q: What’s another good way to use exotic kale?
A: Well, it pairs really well with tender game. And, oh. With pomegranates, wild mushrooms, and ingredients high in acidity.
Q: What’s your go-to snack with exotic kale?
A: Sautéed in olive oil with just a sprinkle of crunchy sea salt
Q: How should we use exotic kale in our restaurants?
A: Our talented chefs know far more than I do. Use your imagination. Let it soar!
Q: How can chefs get exotic kale for their dishes and menus?
A: Reach out to your product specialist today, and ask for the incredible exotic kale.