Fruit and Veg

Day 3: British Food Fortnight - In Praise of Kale!

Written by NCGM
September 21, 2020

The vegetable super-powering our nation, thanks to farmers like Chris Molyneux and New Covent Garden Market’s wholesalers.

At New Covent Garden Market, you'll find British kale sold by a range of wholesalers including Gilgrove, London Fresh, P & I and Thorogood & Son Also, our catering suppliers Allison Risebro and Oui Chefor browse here for further businesses.

Chris Molyneux has established himself as one of the key suppliers of this superfood ingredient.

Ncgm British Food Fortnight Chris Molyneux

Image: Chris Molyneaux in his fields.

Molyneux Kale Company is growing vast volumes of green curly kale, plus an array of other varieties including purple, variegated white, variegated purple, Purple Queen, White Queen and Japanese White.

Kales are a beautiful family of plants, offering a dazzling spectrum of colours. What's more, they are hardy and able to stand extremes of weather - cold weather, in fact, brings on the colour in the crop. Below are some variegated varieties.

Ncgm British Food Fortnight Variegated Kales

Image: Variegated kales.

Kale is famous for its myriad health benefits. It contains isothiocyanates, which may help protect against cancer, plus luteins and zeaxanthin, which help prevent the degeneration of the eye in old age. It is also very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C and and is reasonably rich in calcium.

It is these qualities that have caused a surge in demand for this “superfood” ingredient – sparked at first by rave reviews from high profile stars such as Victoria Beckham. Kale, it's fair to say, has gone from zero to hero in a heartbeat.

As singer and comedian Bette Midler tweeted: "Kale is burning up the veggisphere ... Never saw a veg go from wretched to wonderful so fast." In fact, a picture of Gwyneth Paltrow enjoyed pride of place on Chris Molyneux's desk. "She's my kale pin-up" he admits.

Ncgm British Food Fortnight Molyneux Pickers

Image: The Molyneux Kale Company team harvesting.

Previously, kale was a crop in the doldrums. During the 1980's and 90's the Molyneux family mostly sold their modest crop to fishmongers for sprucing up their displays. (It lasts longer than parsley therefore is more economical).

Now, it is exactly where it belongs. A well-deserved front and centre stage on the UK’s menus, from cold press on-the-go juices, to fine dining dishes.

Ncgm British Food Fortnight Purple Kale

Image: Purple kale.

The Molyneux family has been farming in Lancashire for 150 years. Generations of experience has helped to make Chris and expert in growing kale year-round.

This has been achieved, not by cutting edge science, but by committed hands and minds that intuitively know how to identify attractive characteristics in naturally growing plants from one year to the next and cross breeding them with plants with other appealing characteristics. It is possible over a few years to produce a new and exciting strain of the plant, keeping chefs all over the UK excited and inspired.

Chriss Great Uncle Tom Hurst Circa 1952

Chris Molyneux's Great Uncle, Tom Hurst, circa 1952.

Author and photographer: Tom Moggach and Meg Morrison

Seek permission to use images/regram.

If you have any questions, email or call 02077202211 and ask for Meg or Cassie. We are here to help.


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