Roche Bros. has made daily trips to the New England Produce Center in Chelsea every day since we opened in 1952. Our buyers hand-select the freshest produce and deliver it directly to each store, alongside local offerings and fresh cut fruit.
All sorts of greens are bountiful during the summer months but did you know there are many varieties that grow better in cold weather? They all taste a little different, and they all pack a strong nutritional punch.
Here are some fun facts about the greens you’ll find in our stores and different ways you can enjoy them:
The facts: The name collard comes from the word “colewort,” which means wild cabbage. So, it’s no surprise that these greens are part of the cabbage family. They have been a part of people’s diets for thousands of years and were cultivated way back Ancient Greece. These greens are full of fiber, vitamins B9, C, A, K and all sorts of minerals, including iron and calcium.
Serve it up: Keep collard greens raw and mix with spinach and mustard greens for a unique, mixed green salad. Remove the rib in the center of the leaves and then slice collards thinly. Try them sautéed with pine nuts. Add red pepper flakes, fresh garlic and lemon juice to the pan. And stir it all together with pasta for a hearty dinner.
The facts: The thick stalks of Swiss chard range between red, white, yellow and green. They have an earthy, mildly bitter taste. The name “chard” is derived from the Latin word cardus, which means thistle. It has a few other ways it is known, including silverbeet, Roman kale, and strawberry spinach. Swiss chard is full of nutrients, including magnesium, potassium, iron, and dietary fiber, and vitamins A, C and K.
Serve it up: Sauté Swiss chard in olive oil, lemon juice and garlic. Mix it into a frittata with mushrooms for breakfast or a lunch. Use shredded chard as a basis of a rainbow slaw, with carrots and cabbage.
The facts: This bumpy, leafy green is also known as Dinosaur or Tuscan Kale. Its leaves are dark blue green and it’s earthy but bit sweeter in flavor than its curly cousin. Like curly kale, it’s full of antioxidants, reduces inflammation and boasts high marks for vitamins and minerals. One serving of kale has more calcium that your body can absorb than a small carton of milk.
Serve it up: Sauté lacinato kale in coconut oil for a bright side dish. Start by adding minced shallots to the pan. Cook for a couple of minutes and then add minced garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for one minute, stirring often. Add kale to wilt it for just a minute and season with salt and pepper. Or massage and shred it and boost your potato salad with nutrients and flavor by mixing it in.
The facts: Grown in the Mediterranean region as far back as 2,000 B.C., beets are typically used for their purple root but the dark, leafy greens are also packed with nutrients. They’re high in vitamins A and B6, magnesium, potassium, copper, and manganese. This cool waether crop grows quickly and can survive almost freezing temperatures.
Serve it up: Create a delicious side dish or base for your protein by cutting the greens off beets; discard stems and chop leaves. Cook bacon and pour off all but 1 teaspoon of fat from the skillet. Add scallions and cook until softened. Add beet leaves and cook 5 minutes until tender. Season with salt and pepper and stir in bacon. Freeze any leftover greens to use in soup stock.
Winter greens are hearty as a result of adapting to colder temperatures. Soften them up by sautéing and add flavor with different combinations of bold spices, a sprinkle of salt, nuts, and fat such as bacon or prosciutto. Enjoy!