I plant the tiny black seeds from last year’s best plants, pick the caterpillars off, watch the leaves uncurl their Fibonacci spiral loosely upward. Russian red, Scotch curled, lacinato, winterbor, cavolo nero, vates. All the greens to purples to whites of the tough, the tender, the summer bitter, the frost sweetened, the bug eaten. Sprawling, ornamental, compact, baby leaves pre-washed three times in plastic boxes, big rubber-banded bunches that fill half the refrigerator. Once the commonest green in Europe, it is now the purview of Whole Foods and hipsters, piles of massaged kale consumed by skinny jeans wearing vegans, side of silken tofu. Seven dollar snap top containers of Crispy Kale dropped in Paleo shopping carts. Only America could turn the cheapest, easiest to grow, oldest domesticated brassica into six ounce organic sea salt and cayenne speckled paycheck sink holes in too much plastic packaging. But I remember the first time my farm-share box had that menacing leafy flare spilling out the top, a wonderment, a curiosity to my tame taste buds for whom parsley and spinach and lettuce were the only green things eaten. And I may mock the talk show dietary kale worship, the miracle cure all claims, but I still want that dark green bitter bite in my life, in my mouth, all the chlorophyll bursting in my veins. I want it steamed with garlic and sesame oil, sautéed with white beans and rosemary, baked in a casserole with béchamel and barley. I need the knowledge that this one thing, this kale-eating, is beyond reproach, is unequivocally good, like little else any of us does. I want my kale merit badge, the stamp of approval, the echo of hundreds of generations of mothers working all year to grow their gardens, to have the green mound under January’s snow, waiting there to feed the family long after all the showy vegetables of summer have come and gone.