Nero di Toscana Kale

Thanks to my daughter Emma, I now have the majority of the Nero di Toscana or Tuscan kale (Brassica oleracea) (also known as lacinato kale, dinosaur kale and palm tree kale) transplanted into trays where they can spread out and breathe while we are building their raised bed. When it comes time to plant them, I will bury the stem up to the bottom leaves to give them stability. Last summer the biggest challenge I faced growing this beloved variety of Kale, was dealing with aphids. To be fair they didn’t impact the plant very much, other than causing some of the leaves to curl. Blasting them with water helped a lot, and if it they had noticeably deteriorated, I might have used an organic insecticidal soap or neem oil as a desperate-times-desperate-measures approach. Having said that, in my experience this variety of Kale is hearty and bounces back pretty easily. When planting them in a raised bed, small-space oriented garden give them a little bit more than a foot of growing space. (I like to plant them in a checkerboard pattern.) They can handle some shade and should go strong through the summer, though intense heat can slow them down or cause them to bolt. In terms of nutrition, a cup provides more than 100 percent of the daily value (DV) of vitamins K and A, and 88 percent of the DV for vitamin C. Like other members of the brassica family that have been linked to cancer prevention, kale is a fantastic source of organosulfur compounds . What I love most is that you can harvest the leaves as you need them.

My Sister Laurien’s Killer Kale Salad


  • A head of Kale with the stems torn out and the leaves torn up

  • One small red onion cut in slivers as finely as possible

  • A log of your favorite goat cheese

  • Toasted sunflower seeds (or toasted almonds) about 3-4 tbl (or more)

  • S&P, Balsamic vinegar and Olive oil


  1. Toss the kale, onion and nuts together.

  2. Cut in chunks of goat cheese, grind in salt and pepper to taste and drizzle with an aged balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

  3. Toss vigorously - smearing the goat cheese throughout.

Christina Manning Lebek