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Collard Greens Challenge


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Hello all!

You may know me from the farmers market forum where I sometimes post updates about our season.

I want to talk here about collard greens. Every year, we at New Morning Farm grow the most AMAZING, beautiful collard greens and barely sell any of them at our markets. You may ask us why we continue to grow them, and I wouldn't be able to answer, except that we like them and can sell them to the cooperative.

I realized this situation was bringing us down. So many beautiful collards go to market and just come back again, sad and wilty. I want to change that situation!

This year, I've launched the #collards2015 challenge to encourage folks to try collards, give them another chance, and to disrupt the stronghold kale has had on the dark leafy greens market! You can see posts on our Instagram account  where we've been regramming photos of customers' collard challenge dishes.

I'd love for more of you to get involved. I know you are all food lovers, so I am confident you will find a way to love collard greens! I'm at Dupont every Sunday, please stop by and say hello and pick up your bunch of collard greens!

Also, please comment and let me know if you love, hate, or are neutral towards collards!

Thank you!

Emily

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I adore collard greens, and think that kale is fit only for goats.  In fact, I love collard greens so much, I grow them myself, after reading a book named, appropriately, Collards: A Southern Tradition from Field to Table.

But I don't like the way they are cooked above the Mason Dixon line, sort of crunchy with a lot of vinegar.  I like them Deep Southern Style, best recipe by Edna Lewis, see The Gift of Southern Cooking.  Edna Lewis' recipe here.  Buzz and Ned's, in Richmond, makes it even better than I do.  But at a Slow Food potluck, I ate some mighty fine collard greens, and the cook told me that her secret is to put in the stems, "where all the goodness is", but slice them very thinly.

Now, a sad collard greens story.  My first crop, planted too late in the spring, didn't do very well, so I pulled it all.  While I was pulling it out, I noticed a couple of blueish sprouts that immediately after I pulled them, realized that I should have nutured, but that was after I popped them in my mouth and noticed how extra tasty they were.  The seeds were Green Glaze, but the blue ones must have been a sport.  Drat.  I just planted some more seeds, but Georgia variety.

Emily, I imagine the issue is that you're selling to Yankees, who don't know from collard greens.  I'd happily buy your collards but I am in Fairfax.

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I like collards just fine but burned out on them the year we belonged to a CSA.  We were overflowing with a seemingly never-ending supply of collards.  The ones I blanched and put in the freezer seemed to last forever too.  I make them sometimes.  I like to braise them with bacon, mushrooms, and garlic, maybe some hot pepper.

I'll buy them if I see some at the Watkins Market next time I go.  Sometimes I hit there every week, and other times I miss for a while.  Depends on my other shopping.

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Last night: collards with kimchi, inspired by recipe of Edward Lee (but vegetarian).  Yum.

Often: collards long-cooked in true southern fashion as mentioned above.  Again, vegetarian.  Add liquid smoke or smoked paprika if you need the illusion of smoked hog. If you want a thicker gravy rather than pot licker, then broil/char some tomatoes and onions and peppers and garlic, then puree them, and cook the greens in that plus a bit of water/broth.  Add garbanzos if you want it to be a filling dish to put on brown rice.

Occasionally (and very good if you can get good corn tortillas): a cross between "collard enchilada" and lasagna - meaning, alternating layers of tortilla, cooked collards with sausage (fake or real) or whatever else in the world you want, enchilada-appropriate white cheese, and enchilada sauce.  Bake like a lasagna.

Collards are the best.

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I like collards as I do all greens. I tend to alternate which I buy depending on my mood, though I'll admit that Swiss chard is my personal favorite.

I fully support your collards movement though I suspect here you'll find many people who already enjoy them. And I'm useless to you since I live in MD and shop at the Greenbelt market. ;)

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Wow, thank you everyone for such great replies. We will definitely take into account all these cooking tips and tricks!! I have already seen an increase at our Dupont stand (actually sold out of our 2.5 dozen bunches ...compared to 7 dozen lacinato kale bunches...) so I'm hoping we are having an effect on the greens situation in DC!

I really love the idea of a collards enchilada...that is a great way to get them on the table in a way kids (and others who might not like them) will try them.

Again, thanks so much!

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As a northern, I don't cook collards that much, but when I do I make gumbo z'herbes (plus you get to show your love for all the leafy greens).

But really my favorite is Swiss chard.  I find chard's stems cook up the best plus you have those lovely big leaves.

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Collards and turnip tops are my favorite greens -- but I don't like the turnips themselves, so the collards are much more useful to me.  I'm glad it's getting to be the season again.  I typically do mine with some bacon and sweet potato chunks in there to help balance their slight bitter flavor

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I cut collards into thin shreds, then cook them fast in very hot olive oil until just tender and still bright green, then season with salt, pepper, and lemon juice.  I don't like them cooked more than that unless they're cooked all the way, southern-style, as others have mentioned.  The best collards I've eaten recently came from a roadside barbeque stand in southern Maryland; everything else there was so so but damn those were fine greens.

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