Report: Kale production on the rise
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, fewer than 1,000 U.S. farms reported kale harvests in 2007. By 2012 kale producers had more than doubled.
“Greens have become increasingly popular over the past 10 years, especially kale,” said Tony Banks, a commodity marketing specialist for Virginia Farm Bureau Federation. “In fact, kale is often labeled as a super food due to its nutritional content. Today, one can find kale in everything from smoothies to pizza, or even as chips.”
According to the USDA, kale has no fat, sugar or cholesterol content. The leafy green has become famous for its health benefits related to lowering the risk of heart disease, diabetes and specific cancers.
Kale has a high tolerance for colder temperatures and can be grown anywhere with a cool fall season, Banks noted. “Kale is a cool-season crop that grows well in most of Virginia during the fall and spring. When planted in the fall, some crops can even last into the winter in our more mild climates.”
Additionally, kale is extremely disease- and pest-resistant.