Swiss Chard: The New Kale?

| 10/26/2017 9:56:00 AM

Tags: cooking with Swiss chard, Swiss chard vs. kale, Carole Coates, North Carolina,

Bright Lights Swiss Chard

Bright Lights Swiss Chard fresh from the garden

Growing up, I was never a picky eater. Many or our summer meals consisted solely of our day’s garden harvest and I willingly ate everything on my plate. When schoolmates turned up their noses at the home-cooked veggies featured in our rural school’s cafeteria, I was right there, ready to vacuum up their leftovers. But I never ate Swiss chard. I’d never even heard of chard.

One day at our local farmers' market several years ago, I overheard a fellow shopper say to a vendor, "Is that Swiss chard? That's the one I never know what to do with." I passed it by. I certainly didn't know what to do with it, and she made it sound hard. Really hard.

Then I found myself in a workshop at the Mother Earth News Fair. The incomparable Niki Jabbour was telling an overflow crowd about year-round gardening. As she listed her favorite vegetables, my ears pricked up at the mention of Swiss chard. How she praised it. She was particularly fond, she said, of Bright Lights chard with its multi-hued leaves and stems.

I decided to give it a go and ordered my own Bright Lights seeds for my spring gardening. Am I ever glad I did! In fact, chard quickly surpassed kale, my former go-to, as my favorite leafy green. I’d long been a big kale fan—it’s versatile, it’s nutritionally dense, it starts early and grows late. It can withstand frost and freezes. Harvest kale and it keeps producing. What’s not to love?

10/27/2017 12:01:16 PM

My chard always gets demolished by leaf miners. Any suggestions?

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