Several folks have emailed me over the years to ask if I knew where to buy collard greens locally. Until today, I have always answered that I had never seen collard greens in local markets. At one point or another, I was thrilled to find swiss chard or chard, even kale, but never collard greens. So when I zipped through the Salcedo market this morning, and ran into Gil Carandang and JT Gonzalez of Herbana Farms (a double treat), I was pleasantly surprised when Gil thrust a small bunch of collard greens my way. I asked if he had more and I bought the three bunches of collard greens he had for sale.
Gil runs an organic farm, possibly one of my favorite farmers/purveyors over the last dozen or so years. I trust that his stuff is indeed organic. And every once in a while, I have little wiggly friends to reinforce the point. How about this little critter crawling among the collard greens, happily munching on the unusual (at least in these parts) leafy green. Collard greens are described by Elizabeth Schneider as having the taste of something “between cabbage and kale” and they possess incredibly dark green leaves. Unlike a cabbage that forms a “head” of leaves, collards never form “heads”… I guess you could call them headless crucifers (the family of veggies, that is). Often part of a classic hearty Southern U.S. diet of ham, grits and boiled collards… they were apparently introduced to the country with the arrival of the African slaves. My interest in them, besides being interested in any novel produce now locally grown, is that they are incredibly healthy and possess almost no calories to speak of… hence potentially good for my diet regimen (which I eschewed for a couple of days last week with the introduction of roasted liempo et al).
The live worms or caterpillars didn’t really bother me so much, and reminded me of an interesting tidbit in a book that the Teen gave me last Christmas entitled “Why Fish Fart and Other Useless or Gross Information About the World” by Francesca Gould. The question posed was “How many insect parts do we unintentionally eat?” and the rather shocking answer (though I wasn’t really surprised) is that people (Americans I believe in this answer) consume an estimated 1 kilogram PER person worth of insect parts every year. :) Somehow, I would wager that pinoys eat more than that. Some tidbits you maybe didn’t want to know… “chocolate may contain up to sixty insect fragments per 100 grams, and on average, just slightly less than one rodent hair…Macaroni and spaghetti are allowed up to 225 insect fragments per 225 grams and no more than 4.5 rodent hairs…canned tomatoes may contain up to 10 fly eggs per 500 grams and no more than 2 maggots…etc.” Something to think about, no? And yes, one type of fish does indeed fart. But you’ll have to get or borrow a copy of the book to find out which one it is. :)