From the time we are kids, it seems we are being nagged to eat our veggies. Unlike their mouthwatering, sweeter fruit siblings, veggies tend to lack appeal in our diets. By some accounts our overly numb tastebuds, thanks to Dr. Pepper and Doritos, find they lack flavour and unfortunately, they’re also somewhat inconvenient to prepare. Lacking both the time and knowledge on how, our diets don’t only contain enough healthy, crunchy, nutrient-packed roots and shoots, our farmers aren’t even producing enough vegetables to meet the global population’s needs.
One young farmer-meets-ambitious-entrepreneur is seeking to change this. Jordan Dolson is the owner of Legacy Greens, and she wants to make “greens sexy”. Her new store just recently opened in Kitchener downtown. She speaks poetic of the many different varieties of roots, chards, and kale.
“Swiss chard is beautiful. The reds, yellows and greens are beautiful on your plate, and it can be so easy to include in a meal.” She suggests sautéing, sprinkling with salt and pepper and serving as a side dish.
With such a glowing recommendation, I couldn’t help but give it a try when I saw Jordan the following week at the Kitchener market. Although I let my chard wilt accidentally, I was determined not to let it go to waste. Following her instructions, I was delighted to find it cooked up quite nice. Growing up in our house, greens only went into salads, so it’s exciting for me to discover a new way to enjoy these healthy vegetables in a different way. Leafy greens especially are packed with nutrients which benefit our bodies in a multitude of ways from preserving vision, lowering cholesterol and preventing colon cancer, according to Best Health.
Dolson harvested her first crop of kale and chards in 2014, selling it at local farmers’ markets. She also grows herbs and a variety of root vegetables, which she sells in the store along with produce sourced from local farmers. Additionally, she is adding some value-added products, like snacks, soups and more, also from local suppliers. Frequenting the Kitchener Market this summer was a good way for Dolson to get to know clients and have them get to know her before opening her “popup store” this fall.
Admittedly, I was a little skeptical at first. A store is a serious commitment for a new business, why not stick to the market? Dolson had a plan. With the revitalization of the Kitchener downtown, including the future LRT and many new businesses and developments moving in, Dolson felt King Street was a good spot to be. There also isn’t a fresh grocery market in downtown Kitchener. Dolson loves the community aspect of these small markets and with a personal interest in merchandising, she was excited to launch her pop-up store, a lower risk opportunity to lease her location short-term and test the retail concept.
So far, Dolson says she’s learning lots and customers are thrilled to have a fresh store downtown. For those of us that don’t live downtown, braving the construction to get to the store is a little challenging, but it’s worth it. One tip – park in the lot off Charles Street, next to Queen Street and it’s a quick walk down to the store. Many don’t realize there’s a lot there.
If you can’t get to downtown K-town, be sure to check out Legacy Green’s blog. Not only is it packed with great ideas on how to cook and prepare veggies (like this post on Kale and Chard), but it’s also the perfect amount of cheeky and reflects our community. I wish I’d seen “What You Bring to Thanksgiving Says a Lot About You” before this weekend but for anyone Oktoberfesting, these hangover cures could be a big help!