Every seed tells a story! In this blog series, we explore the in depth story from seed to pack to art for our new art pack varieties. Read about All Stars Kale’s meandering journey across the world and into our seed catalog:
What Makes All Stars Kale a Star: All Stars Kale seeds are a mix of Russian and Siberian kales, with sharp flavor reminiscent of Asian greens. They are an excellent variety for the budding seed saver. Their diverse looks, with leaf color ranging from rich purple to high shine green, and shapes from the ultra-frilly to to virtually frill-free and ovular, provide endless opportunities to select for favorite characteristics, save the seeds, and grow your favorite kales anew.
The History of All Stars Kale: A delight to all who see it, we first obtained seeds from this diverse variety from the Seed Ambassadors Project under the name Gulag Stars Kale. It sounded like a seed saver's dream, a wide array of Russian kale varieties that plant breeder Tim Peters collected through years of work and allowed to cross pollinate with each other. Our grow out produced more than we expected: Rich purples and greens, shape ranging from ultra-frilly to virtually frill-free and ovular, loads of high shine leaves, perhaps lending credibility to the theory that Brassica rapa is one of the original parents of the Brassica napus crops.
How to Grow, Harvest, and Eat: The flavor of this kale is in the range of the Russian kale varieties: sharper than Dino Kale or Vates Blue Curled. Plant this variety if you enjoy the flavor of Asian greens, but long for something more substantial and longer lasting in the garden. All Stars Kale makes a great baby leaf for salads. Kale is a biennial plant: grow it in year one, overwinter the ones you like, and save the seeds in the second year. Start indoors anytime spring through late summer. Transplant when plants have 2 sets of true leaves. Avoid planting at edge of garden, as slugs love kale and will creep in for nightly dining. Harvest a handful of individual outer leaves from each plant; mature plants will be ready for another harvest in a few days.
About the Art and Artist: Marcie Long designed the All Stars Kale pack. “The words of Black Elk "man is a relative of all that is," resonate throughout my work,” Marcie writes. She tries to find the essence or power in each subject: vegetables, flowers, birds, or cultural portraits and landscapes. In 2001, Marcie’s 25 years in graphic design transformed into a professional career as artist and photographer. She started a serious study of plein air painting and, in 2007, joined the San Francisco Artists Guild, showing her work in the best outdoor venues in California. Bright colors and biologically correct details are one hallmark of her paintings but, Marcie thinks that more surprising is the energy or lethargy you might find in paintings of tomatoes or peppers. Her last three vegetable paintings have taken the not quite still life paintings, of popping peppers or falling stacks of tomatoes, and increased the energy in the depiction to correlate with the energy in the veggie itself.