A Kale Tale In New Paltz

Photo by Nate Sheidlower.
Photo by Nate Sheidlower.
Photo by Nate Sheidlower.

The purple-veined, curly, bittersweet, leafy green that is kale was inserted into the diets of many SUNY New Paltz students last Wednesday.

It was National Kale Day on Oct. 1 and from lunch through dinner, various dishes containing the nutrient-packed vegetable were enjoyed at Hasbrouck Dining Hall and the Student Union.

This was a trial to see if students would be interested in kale being incorporated in dishes more regularly in the future, according to Lisa Mitten, the campus sustainability coordinator.

“We want to get students to think seasonally,” Mitten said. “Kale is the perfect vegetable for fall.”

Along with samples of curry kale with sweet potatoes and a kale smoothie at the Farmer’s market outside the Lecture Center, the dishes served in the dining halls made kale a huge hit, according to second-year bio-chemistry major Christina Georgalas, a local food and vegetable awareness educator and the student coordinator for the event.

According to the National Kale Day website, one cup of raw kale has 33 calories and provides 134 percent of daily Vitamin C need, 684 percent of daily Vitamin K and 204 percent of daily Vitamin A.

Georgalas said that a massaged kale salad may soon be regularly served on campus and the next event promoting local agriculture will feature a wide variety of local apples in certain dishes and will be available for tasting at the farmers market.

According to Georgalas and surveys completed by students, the most popular dish was the kale and bacon pizza served in Hasbrouck, followed closely by the kale pierogies, an Italian potato dumpling.

Sean Yeackel, a fourth-year accounting major, was not a fan of pierogies until he tried one accompanied by some kale sautéed in garlic and oil. Second-year anthropology major Erika Popolla said, “Kale is a great ingredient because you can blend it so well.”

And she is not the only one who thinks that.

“Today is a good way for students to see the many ways kale can be integrated to meals and still taste good,” Max Fuller, the resident dining director said.

Ashley Galarza, a first-year education major, who enjoyed penne alfredo with sautéed kale said she finds kale to be “a cross between spinach and collard greens.”

To all the students, Georgalas said, “Thank you for all of your terrific feedback and look forward to more events like this in the future.”

The event was part of the combined effort known as Farm-to-SUNY, a group of SUNY schools working together with the American Farmland Trust and the Farm-to-Institution New York State to bring more locally grown fruits and vegetables into the dining halls of colleges, Mitten said.

They work together with Sodexo, Campus Auxiliary Services and Campus Sustainability to maximize the use of New York crops and develop a better understanding of the difference in cost between local and non-local agriculture as well as seasonal menus for the dining halls.

Founded by Dr. Drew Ramsey and Chef Jennifer Iserloh, National Kale Day is celebrated on the first Wednesday of October to promote the health benefits, culinary versatility and growing of kale, according to their website.