Every good idea starts with a seed. At least that's the thinking behind High Mowing Organic Seeds in Wolcott. The company sells hundreds of different vegetable, herb and flower seeds, including a ton of kale.
"If Vermont works hard, kale can become the soul food of the north," said Nels Lund of High Mowing Organic Seeds.
The company sells 700 pounds of kale seeds a year; half are sold in Vermont. Kale is part of the cabbage family. Love of the leafy green vegetable that has over 200 varieties is the reason why some lawmakers have planted the idea of making kale the official state vegetable. So, why do some Vermont lawmakers say it's the best veggie to represent Vermont, given that it's not native to the state?
"It's very green, very hearty, very nutritious and good for us and willing to stand up to corporate powers," said Sen. Anthony Pollina, P-Washington County.
Those corporate powers he's talking about the national fast food restaurant Chick-fil-A. The company uses the slogan "Eat more chicken." It sued a Vermont man who sells "Eat more kale" shirts. The suit started a trademark legal battle and a movement in Vermont. Residents rallied behind that Vermont man and made kale an unofficial favorite.
"It's really good for you. It's like a super vegetable," said Janice Blair of Vermont Kale Chips.
Blair loves the green stuff so much, she started making dehydrated raw kale chips that are flying off shelves.
Janice Blair: I think it's a great state vegetable.
Reporter Gina Bullard: Why?
Janice Blair: It grows so well here, it's hearty. So are we, we're hearty people. It's loaded with goodness and Vermont is loaded with goodness.
And if chips aren't your thing...
"My favorite kale dish is the kale ham sandwich-- just kale wrapped around ham and cheese," Lund said.
Or you could try the massaged kale salad.
"Cut up a bunch of kale and get in there and massage it," Lund said.
Twelve of the 50 states currently have official state vegetables, like the onion in Washington. The closest one to kale would be South Carolina with collard greens.
Not everyone thinks it's a pressing topic under the Golden Dome.
"I think they have more important things other than a state vegetable to spend them time on," Moriah Serra Dimigni said.
But lawmakers say making kale Vermont's official vegetable won't eat up too much time.
"I spend 12 hours a day working on issues from poverty and jobs to health care, the debate on kale is not going to take a lot of time or energy," Pollina said.
And right now, no other veggie is on the table in Montpelier.
Vermont does have a state fruit, the apple. And we also have a state pie-- the apple pie.
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