IN THE rolling Adelaide Hills, brussel sprout growers Leigh and Scott Samwell have brought to life their very own Frankenstein monster.
It’s called a kalette — half brussel sprout, half kale — and when they launched in Australia last year, they were the first completely new vegetable Australia had seen in more than a decade, since the introduction of broccolini.Developed in the UK by Tozer Seeds, kalettes were intended to combine the best flavours from both vegetables — softer than kale and with a nutty flavour, tastier than sprouts — into something versatile, easy to cook and visually appealing.
They can be sauteed, steamed, blanched, roasted or eaten raw in salads, and like kale make a healthy green smoothie.
“The response was unbelievable,” said Scott, the third-generation managing director of Samwell & Sons. “In a single day we sold the entire volume of kalettes we were hoping to sell in the first week, so this year we’ve planted six times more.”
Mr Samwell, a member of one of Australia’s three great brussel sprout clans, said for more than 50 years his family had been growing sprouts in the Adelaide Hills.
“I wanted to bring something to the business that was different and this definitely has added a new dimension to our business,” he said.
The Samwells have an exclusive supplier agreement with Coles, where kalettes retail for $2.90 per 160g pack. Coles says the odd little vegetable is just one example of its push to innovate in fresh food — a category not generally the home of new product development.
Whatever the reason, it’s working: Coles’ fresh food sales are growing at twice the rate of the rest of the store.
“Over the last 10 years, the variety in our fruit and vegetables departments has grown significantly,” said Coles general manager of fresh produce Brad Gorman.
“You used to only be able to choose from a couple types of salad leaves, apple and potatoes and now we have multiple varieties of each and are introducing new types each year.”
Coles has worked with other suppliers to bring new varieties of fresh produce to market, including purple-flesh Bliss potatoes, red-green cross Eve apples, and Symphony Lettuce, which has three different leaves on one plant.
The Purple Bliss potatoes are grown in Tasmania by Anchor Organics and are created through natural cross pollination, which can take some breeders up to 10 years to perfect.
Read in full: http://www.news.com.au/finance/business/retail/kalettes-are-coles-secret-veggie-weapon/news-story/e021c41845c2456427b2fd75aff195d9