FAQs

The Kale Project_Poster 1

 

Where can I find kale in Paris?
Where can I buy kale seeds?
How do I grow kale?
What is the season for kale?
What is kale?
What is kale in French?
Where does kale come from?
What’s the history of kale?
What are the health benefits of kale?
How can I be involved?

Where can I find kale in Paris?

We have a great #KaleSpotted Google Map. Have you seen kale at a market? Contribute by sending us a #KaleSpotted tip. We update our Kale Locator page frequently. Some of these restaurants have used kale at one point. Follow the Project on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for frequent and real-time updates.
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Where can I buy kale seeds?

More info here.

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How do I grow kale?

Download this document here. (In French)

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What is the season for kale?

Ideally, it is best to plant kale seeds from April – September when there is enough warmth and sunlight for germination. As it is a Brassica plant, you can have many succession plantings and can have kale almost year-round.

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What is kale?

Kale is a leafy-green vegetable and part of the cabbage family. The Latin name is Brassica oleracea. Relatives are green and red cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts and collard greens. There are a few others, but these are the most common. Curious about all cabbages? Check out my book on all things chou!  Screen Shot 2015-02-12 at 5.40.03 PM
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What is kale in French?

This is the million-dollar question. There is not just one name for kale in French, which as you can imagine created confusion. When I started The Kale Project, I had no intention of forcing the Anglo name into French lexicon. I knew that with time, the French would take-on what name they wanted to. Now you can find it at markets and supermarkets as le chou kale.

These are just a few of the many names for kale:

Chou frisé: What kale was referred to as hundreds of years ago before it was lost and forgotten. Unfortunately, as kale is so lost, chou frisé is now what the French call Savoy Cabbage – which as mentioned above – is very different, so if you go to a marché or supermarché, you will just get that and not kale. In fact, I’ve been told that the ancient name of Savoy Cabbage was Chou de Milan.

Chou frisé non-pomme: A more technical term as non-pomme refers to the fact that it’s chou frisé but without the head. This works of course and I have a French gardening book that uses this name but the issue is that the leave of Savoy Cabbage are so different from kale leaves.

Chou plume: A poetic and gorgeous name that means feather cabbage. A few farmers are using this and I really really love it. If the French don’t want to use the Anglo name, I am all for chou plume.

Feuilles de chou: Literally, leaves of cabbage. Sometimes I find French translations of English words to be just that. For example, dizzy is literally avoir la tête qui tourne as in to have the head that turns.

Chou borécole: A name which pulls from the Dutch roots of kale as kale is referred to as boerenkool in the Netherlands.

Chou frisé vert demi-nain: A direct translation to “curly-green half dwarf cabbage”! Quite the mouthful, no? No one actually says this, but it’s still been mentioned a few times.

Chou à lapin or chou à vache: Literally, cabbage to rabbit or cabbage to cow since farmers might grow kale but just feed it to their livestock.

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Where does kale come from?

Kale is originally from the Mediterranean/Asia Minor and reading through a variety of sources, almost 4000 years old. It is considered one of the “older” cabbages and one of the original wild cabbages. It was brought to America in the 1600’s. Being a European vegetable, it is still common in most European countries like England, Ireland, Germany, The Netherlands, Italy (dinosaur kale is the Italian variety), Scotland, Ireland and Sweden. In France you may find it along the road for decorative purposes. Until now! Screen Shot 2015-02-12 at 5.40.11 PM
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What’s the history of kale?

Aside from its origins, kale has always been an important staple in people’s diets during difficult times. This is mainly because it is so easy to grow and is resistant to cold temperatures so if things are bad, you kind of know that kale will most likely be around. Plus it’s high levels of – well everything – make it a valuable vegetable as well. It has a few different traditions depending on the country.

In France, there is not clear answer as to when or how the French ate it but it was definitely at one time something that was grown and eaten. To the French, kale is part of the légume oublié category (lost & forgotten vegetables). And in fact kale is so lost and so forgotten (compared to parsnips or turnips or sunchokes) that many farmers did not know what it was! That’s not to say that in more rural parts of the country that people do not grow it in their gardens, but generally speaking, it was a very very forgotten vegetable.

The assumption is that during WWI or WWII, kale fell out of fashion because it was all that people could eat and that in areas like Paris, the urban energy and lifestyle did not lend itself to eating kale. I find that reason hard to believe because you can still find savoy cabbage easily and everywhere – and the taste and texture of savoy cabbage comes nowhere close to kale. But that’s just me… the kale girl.

In America, up until recently, kale was just a vegetable that hippies and vegans ate. You could find it at a food co-op or as a garnish at a restaurant. I grew up seeing kale on top of ice at restaurant salad bars wondering why what my mom actually cooked was just on the side. It was soul-food. The majority of Americans had no idea what it was… but you could still find it.

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What are the health benefits of kale?

Kale is full of almost everything you need! A simple Google search of “kale health benefits” will lead to an array of articles about the wonders of this “superfood.”
…Iron. (Some say it’s the new beef!)
…Calcium. (Did you know, more than a glass of milk?)
…Vitamin C, K, A. (Just as much as carrots and more than any other vegetable!)
…Anti-oxidants. (Cancer fighting!)
…It is alkaline. (We all eat too much acidic food an our PH is way off balance.)
…And fiber, fiber and more fiber. (We also eat way too little fiber which just is uncomfortable!)
…An interesting article comparing the nutrients of Spinach vs. Kale (1 cup)

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How can I be involved?

Do you have a local producer that you want to grow kale for your market? Meet the TKP Kale Ambassadors and become one too!

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Où se trouve le kale en France ?
Où s’achètent les graines de kale ?
Comment faire pousser le kale ?
Quelle est la saison du kale ?
Qu’est-ce que le kale ?
Comment s’appelle le kale en français ?
D’où vient le kale ?
Quelle est l’histoire du kale ?
Quels sont les bienfaits nutritifs du kale ?
Comment est-ce que je peux aider ?

Où se trouve le kale en France ?

Nous avons un Google Map #KaleSpotted. Si vous avez vu du kale au marché, contribuez-y en envoyant un tip #KaleSpotted. Nous mettons aussi très souvent à jour notre page Kale Locator. Certains restaurants ont déjà mis le kale sur leur carte. Suivez The Kale Project sur Facebook, Instagram et Twitter pour des actualisations fréquentes et ponctuelles.
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Où s’achètent les graines de kale ?

Plus d’infos ici.

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Comment faire pousser le kale ?

Télécharger ce document.

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Quelle est la saison du kale ?

Idéalement, les graines de kale se plantent entre avril et septembre, quand il fait assez chaud et quand il y a assez de lumière pour la germination. Comme il s’agit d’une plante de la famille Brassica, vous pouvez repiquer les plantules et vous aurez ensuite du kale presque toute l’année.
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Qu’est-ce que le kale ?

Le kale est un légume à feuilles vertes. Il fait partie de la famille des choux. Le nom Latin du kale est Brassica oleracea. Les cousins du kale comprennent le chou rouge et blanc, le chou fleur, le brocoli, les choux de Bruxelles et le chou cavalier. D’autres existent aussi, mais ceux-ci sont les plus communs. Regardez mon livre sur les choux!

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Comment s’appelle le kale en français ?

Ça, c’est la question ! Le kale n’a pas qu’un seul nom en français, ce que, comme vous pouvez l’imaginer, a engendré énormément de confusion. Quand j’ai commencé le Kale Project, je n’avais aucune intention d’imposer le mot anglais dans le lexique français. Je savais qu’avec le temps, les Français décideraient du nom qu’ils préféraient. Aujourd’hui vous le trouvez sur les marchés avec le nom le chou kale.

Voici quelques uns des nombreux noms pour le kale :

Chou frisé : Il s’agit du nom d’antan qui référenciait le kale il y a quelques siècles, avant qu’il ne soit oublié et perdu. Malheureusement, le kale a été tellement oublié qu’aujourd’hui le chou frisé fait référence au chou vert frisé, autrement appelé le chou de Milan. Il s’agit de deux légumes très distincts, et si vous demandez aujourd’hui du chou frisé à votre primeur, vous n’aurez certainement pas de kale.

Chou frisé non-pommé : Terme un peu plus technique, ce nom rajoute l’adjectif « non-pommé », ce qui fait référence à la pomme de chou absente sur un chou kale. Ce nom fonctionne, bien sûr, et j’ai même un livre de jardinage qui fait référence au chou kale en l’appelant comme ceci. Selon moi, le souci c’est que les feuilles du chou frisé ou chou de Milan sont tellement différentes des feuilles du chou kale qu’il ne faudrait pas trop les rapprocher.

Chou plume : Nom poétique et très beau – quelques agriculteurs l’utilisent, et personnellement je l’adore. Si les Français ne veulent pas employer le nom anglais, moi je vote pour chou plume. Feuilles de chou : Des fois je trouve des traductions de l’anglais au français tellement littérales. Avoir la tête qui tourne, par exemple. Ce nom décrit exactement ce de quoi il s’agit – des feuilles de chou. Rien de plus basique.

Chou borécole : Ce nom est tiré des racines hollandaises du chou, appelé boerenkool au Pays Bas.

Chou frisé vert demi-nain : Un peu lourd, n’est-ce pas ? Personne ne l’appelle comme ça, et pourtant j’ai vu parfois ce nom faisant référence au chou kale.

Chou à lapin ou chou à vache : Ces deux noms font référence à l’ancienne pratique de faire pousser du kale uniquement pour nourrir les bétails.

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D’où vient le kale ?

Le kale a ses origines en Méditerranée/Asie Mineure. Après avoir fait beaucoup de recherches, j’ai découvert que le kale a presque 4.000 ans. Il est considéré comme l’un des choux les plus anciens et l’un des premiers choux sauvages. Il a été amené en Amérique au 17e siècle. Légume européen, il demeure commun dans la plupart des pays européens : l’Angleterre, l’Irlande, l’Allemagne, le Pays Bas, l’Italie (où l’on trouve la variété toscane, aussi appelée kale dinosaure ou kale noir), l’Ecosse, et la Suède. En France, vous le trouviez surtout au bord de la route en tant que plante décorative… mais ça, c’était avant !

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Quelle est l’histoire du kale ?

En dehors de ses origines, le kale a toujours été une base importante dans l’alimentation lors des périodes difficiles, car il est facile à produire et résiste au froid. Si on traverse une période dure ou rude, vous pouvez être sûr que le kale sera là. De plus, il est riche en… pratiquement tout ! Ce qui le rend très important. Certaines traditions liées au kale existent, selon les pays.

Bien qu’il soit certain que le kale a bel et bien été consommé par les Français à une certaine époque, aujourd’hui nous ne savons ni quand ni comment. Pour les Français, le kale rentre dans la catégorie des légumes oubliés – encore plus oublié que le panais ou le navet ou bien le topinambour. Tellement oublié que même les agriculteurs ne le connaissaient pas ! Il se peut que dans les régions les plus rurales les gens le faisaient pousser dans leurs jardins personnels… mais de manière générale, le kale a été très, très oublié en France.

On peut se dire que lors de l’une des deux grandes guerres, le kale a été oublié parce qu’il était associé à la pauvreté. Dans les régions comme Paris, l’ambiance et le mode de vie urbains ne se prêtaient pas à la consommation de kale. Je trouve tout cela un peu difficile à croire, car on y retrouve toujours le chou de Milan – et le goût et la texture du chou de Milan ne se rapproche pas du tout au kale. Mais ça c’est mon avis… et je suis la fille du kale.

Jusqu’à très récemment aux Etats-Unis, le kale n’a été consommé que par des hippies et des végétaliens. On pouvait le trouver dans une coopérative ou comme déco dans les assiettes des restaurants. Moi, j’ai grandi en le voyant dans des bars à salade, me demandant pourquoi l’un des aliments phares de la table de ma mère se trouvait mis de côté. Le kale faisait partie de la cuisine de soul, la cuisine du sud. Et bien que la majorité des Américains n’avaient aucune idée de ce que c’était, on pouvait le trouver.

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Quels sont les bienfaits nutritifs du kale ?

Le kale est plein de presque tout ce dont vous avez besoin ! Une simple recherche Google de « bienfaits nutritifs du kale » vous mène directement aux articles qui décrivent les merveilles de ce super-aliment.
… Fer (Certains disent que c’est le nouveau bœuf !)
… Calcium (Le saviez vous ? Le kale en contient plus qu’un verre de lait.)
… Vitamine C, K, A (Autant que les carottes et plus que n’importe quel autre légume)
… Antioxydants (Luttant contre le cancer !)
… C’est un aliment alcalin. (Nous mangeons beaucoup trop d’aliments acides de nos jours, et notre PH n’est pas du tout en équilibre.)
… Et des fibres, des fibres, et encore des fibres. (Nous ne mangeons en général pas assez de fibres, et ceci n’est pas du tout agréable.)
… Un article intéressant comparant les nutriments des Epinards vs. Du Kale (pour 1 tasse)

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Comment est-ce que je peux aider ?

Connaissez-vous un producteur local qui pourrait produire du kale pour votre marché ? Rencontrer les Ambassadeurs du Kale, et rejoignez-les !

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Comments

  1. Mechtild says

    Great, great! I know about that Kale problems in Paris. But I was told, that the portuguese (in Paris!) might have Kale in their stores. Did not have the time to check kthis, because I left for Kyoto (Japan), where I encounter the same problem! Np kale! If you want to extend your Kale project to other great cities in other countries, start with Kyoto! It’s as great and kaleless as Paris.
    Will be back in Paris by spring.Will watch out for kale. Bonne chance!!!

    • kristen says

      Hello- you’re not the first person in Japan to come to me about their lack of kale. Another woman is in Tokyo. Luckily when I was there last winter (in Tokyo), I did spot it at a farmer’s market – and of course it was beautiful & perfectly packaged. Unfortunately, I was not as lucky in Kyoto but also did not look as hard. Glad you’re coming back to Paris in the Spring… just in time for the new season (and young tender kale!). Check back with our map then for the most up to date places. And in the meantime, enjoy the rest of your time in Japan. I just adore the food there.

  2. Luiz Guilherme Rodrigues says

    Dear The Kale Project,
    What a brilliant initiative! I am originally from Brazil where is kale is a staple in traditional meals across the whole country. However did you know that the variety grown and consumed in Brazil is quite different to the one found in Europe? It grows in medium-sized trees to produced large, flat and bright green leaves. Different to the European varieties, the Brazilian kale or (couve manteiga or couve mineira) is not consumed in its salad form. It is usually sliced in varry thin sliced and stir-fried as the perfect side dish. Its the same kind of kale, which you can find in Portugal and is the basis for a typical Portuguese delicious soup called ‘caldo verde.’ Just sharing hehe..I love all of them anyways!

    • kristen says

      Hi Luiz – Sorry for the super late reply! Yes… I have a Brazilian friend that said the same thing. My question is that perhaps what it the main staple is in fact collard greens? They are grown in the same tree type way (like kale) but are flat green leaves. Perhaps not – I’m not sure. I’ve heard the dishes with kale in Brazil are so tasty! I do know of the Portuguese soup and am aiming to make my own this winter! Sometimes you can find kale at the Portuguese markets outside of Paris (so I’ve heard) but I didn’t think one should have to travel that far for just a cabbage! Thanks for your interesting insight! -Kristen

  3. Frederic Mestdjian says

    Bonjour et bravo pour votre passionnante initiative !

    Je pense que l’accès à la nature et le “bien manger” peuvent apporter des solutions et aider les gens à lutter efficacement contre les désagréments des grandes villes, tels que le stress ou l’agressivité (avez vous déjà conduit une voiture à Paris ?) :)) .

    La vie moderne et la pollution de nos sols contaminent chaque jour un peu plus notre corps.
    C’est pourquoi je me suis lancé il y à quelques années dans un projet visant à permettre aux citadins un accès à la terre et à la culture BIO.

    J’ai donc acquis des terrains en région parisienne.
    Il me reste, à ce jour, environ 23.000 m² en jachère, c’est à dire au repos.
    Si vous souhaitez développer encore un peu plus votre projet, je peux fournir de grands terrains agricoles ou de petits terrains de loisirs pour une culture moins intensive (pour de petits jardins potagers individuels par exemple).

    Mes terrains sont pour la plupart en bord de rivière, nous ne manquons donc jamais d’eau (naturelle et gratuite), et la terre est d’excellente qualité, sans produits chimiques.

    Votre fameux KALE éveille ma curiosité.

    Je vais donc courir dans une boutique référencée afin de goûter ce fameux miracle de la nature !

    Je vous souhaite le meilleur dans vos projets.

    Bien cordialement,

    Frédéric Mestdjian
    monpotager@yahoo.fr

    • kristen says

      Hi Frédéric! This is such exciting news. Thank you for reaching out. Your project sounds very interesting and I agree with you about all things related to being more natural and back to the earth. I am going to send you an email with more questions. I look forward to hearing more!

  4. Valerie says

    Hello Kristen!

    I am so impressed with your dedication to The Kale Project! My husband and I live in a very small village in the heart of Provence. We also have a small yet inventive restaurant that specializes in local products, preferably bio/organic. We are proudly part of Bistrot de Pays, and would love to introduce Kale to our menu and our guests. We have our own gardens that provide much of our produce and have imported many of our heirloom seeds from the US. As I read about the benifits and recall that crisp green flavor I am kicking myself for not growing any earlier! As it is a bit late in the season, perhaps you can suggest a place in my area where kale is being farmed. Or a supplier who carries the hearty winter kale seeds.
    Thank you for all of your hard work!

    Valerie
    restaurant nouer

    • kristen says

      Hi Valerie! So great to hear from you. What is the name of your restaurant? I love the idea of you introducing kale on your menus. It would be very exciting to have it on a menu outside of Paris. There is one farmer near Tarascon that grew an entire greenhouse of kale and I’m hoping he grows more. I can give you their information via email.

      I have some winter seeds that you might want to try (but plant soon before it gets too cold for germination!)

      Let’s stay in touch as I’d love to hear more about your restaurant!!
      Best
      Kristen

    • kristen says

      Hello! Sure! Plant the seeds in planters first about 2-3 cm below soil. They need good sunlight and should be watered daily. When plants are about 10 cm big, you can transfer to the garden. It’s a very easy plant to grow. Netting that you can find at garden shops will help to keep the bugs and snails away!

  5. mister_sirloin says

    if anyone knows of the proper name in Spanish or where to get it in Spain, many thanks. i read a translation that was “col rizada” (equivalent to your “chou frisé” basically), but nobody has it anywhere or knows what it is here in Madrid

  6. Anne says

    I just found your website while on holiday in France ! I live in England and I eat 200g kale every day ! (I have osteoporosis and diabetes and kale is a super food for those conditions so it is my main veggie – I sauté it and purée it, delicious). Anyway, when I’m in France I suffer from kale withdrawl – we have a house in the Languedoc so for several weeks in the year there’s no kale for me ! Quell horreur ! I’m so glad to see your website and I do wish you the very best of luck in your endeavour to bring it to the French. In the UK the big supermarkets now all stock kale so maybe the French supermarkets would follow suit ? But I do wonder how they will grow kale in the south of France ? Too hot for it I think. Maybe the north is cold enough.

    • kristen says

      Hi Anne – Thank you for this kind comment (my thank you is a bit delayed) but I’m happy to try to help!

  7. MissKale says

    Hi. Please bring Kale to Belgium too. It used to be a staple of mine. I can’t seem to find it anywhere and I miss it. Thank you.

      • kristen says

        Hi! I’ve seen it around a few markets but yes again, not easy to find. If you love in Paris, I know that I’ve seen it at the Batignolles market.

    • kristen says

      I just saw that you don’t live in Paris :) A shop in Lille sourced kale from Belgium… I’m trying to find out more spots where it might be sold.. stay tuned!

  8. Vincent says

    Hello
    Many thanks for this brillant initiative. I have ordered on an organic web site to bring kale seeds to my farmers (we are part of an AMAP). Kale is coming soon in Toulouse!
    Regards.
    Vincent

  9. says

    Hi kristen,

    I am crazy about the Kale Project ! I also work for a luxury fashion photography and events production company and know that my clients would love your kale products. Especially your kale chips, I would like to have them on set as my clients are very aware of their bodies, what they put into them, and appreciate eating healthy. But unfortunately I went to Cafe Loustic yesterday and was informed that they no longer sell your kale chips. Is this product no longer available ?

    In any case, I buy my kale from the Babe Bio stand at the market in the 19th. Thank you for sharing kale with France.

    Best,
    Kaitlyn

  10. says

    I’m from Seattle and am married to a French farmer. We live in Hyeres, near Toulon. I’m sure with a little coaching I could talk my husband into planting a crop and I can try to get it into the local farmers markets. What can I show him to prove that there is some demand? Is there a market for it to be sent up north a little bit, like Aix en Provence? I’ve been told that Kale can be found at a store called Grand Frais, but I have yet to see it there, and it would be transported from the far north of France. I’d prefer to keep it more local in the farmers markets, or sold at the local green grocer in the old town. No one here has ever heard of it, but it’s a touristy town, maybe sold in bundles with a recipe stapled to the string…maybe samples…I have got to get my hands on some KALE! I tried growing it a few years ago on our terrace but only got 2 inch leaves. Is there any support nearby so I can convince my husband to plant some?!

    Best,
    Dominique

  11. says

    i’m in! je cherchais du kale partout sur mes petits marchés du sud de la france. introuvable!!! j’ai donc acheté des graines chez vous ce soir, et je vais tenter de les faire pousser chez moi:-) à très vite

    • kristen says

      Hi Camille, Yes I know the south of France is still difficult and even more so now because it is not the best season for kale. While it could grow and be sold in the late-spring/summer, because it is traditionally a winter vegetable, the majority of farmers do not want to grow it for a harvest this time of year. But if you plant some seeds, they should do fine! Please keep me posted!

  12. says

    Hello, can anyone shed light where I may find kale in April/May/June in Tours, Loire Valley, France? Also any stores for bio organic foods, or what we would call a health food store back home? So hard to believe that leafy greens are so unavailable here!! thanks in advance, Deborah

    • kristen says

      Hi Deborah,
      Right now kale is actually out of season. The season in France is from Sept-March and at this point most bio shops should know it as chou kale. If you want, I can email you some press so that you can easily share with the shops that yes, it is grown in France now for sale/consumption. As for health food stores, Bio C’Bon, Bio-coop are a few that seem to have a presence throughout the country. And if you have a local producer that you like, I’m happy to send you some seeds for the next season :)

  13. says

    Bravo for your project! As an Americain who has lived in France for quite awhile in the Loire Valley, I’ve puzzeled over what to call Kale and where to get it. Glad you cleared up my question about Chou Frisé not being similar enough. I often grow what I can’t find here (New Mexico chili and tomatillos being some of my favorites) but I haven’t had success yet growing kale. I’m sure it’s gardner error – I’m a novice gardner. I’m going to try again! I also grow mustards as it’s not easy to get mustard greens either although I’m starting to sometimes find it in markets where Bio growers sell. Hmmm. I think I’m really going to give growing it a try again. I’m going to look into getting some of your t-shirts, etc. Also, I find it really odd how on another blog I ran across hostile comments about the project. Not all, hostile mind you, but it’s odd what people will choose to get riled about. Who can get riled at wanting to introduce a healthy vegetable! Keep it up. Biz.

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