Golden Harvest Kale Salad

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Greetings from upstate, all. It’s a quiet, gray September day—perfect for sitting on the porch with a cup of tea—and I’m enjoying my last few hours here before my return home. The reason for my visit was, sadly, a memorial service for Chloe’s grandparents, who passed away earlier this summer. Work obligations kept me in the city for most of Saturday, so I missed the memorial itself, but I was here for a family dinner last night, and had a chance to offer my condolences in person. Chloe’s grandparents might well have been my own, and I’ll miss them very much, but I also feel grateful that they lived very long, very rich lives, were at Chloe’s wedding in June, and passed away peacefully.

Today, Chloe and Knud and Alexandra (Chloe’s sister) and I had a little time to enjoy the change of seasons upstate. We made it to Golden Harvest Farms in the sweet town of Valatie, NY, for some apples, donuts, and other goodies. Check out the pumpkin harvest! If I weren’t weighed down with books and manuscripts, I’d most certainly have toted one of these home with me for yet another orange smoothie!

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The entire farmstand was suffused with the scent of apple cider donuts frying, and being gobbled up!

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On the way in, I drooled over fall bounty:

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Honeycrisps! Elizabeth, I remembered my favorite apple post and thought of you:

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There were also plenty of jams and baked goods – non-vegan, alas:

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After Chloe and Knud and Alexandra stocked up on some fresh donuts, we took a little detour to visit the farm’s own distillery:

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It was very cool!

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They make pear brandy, apple brandy, and applejack with the spare apples and pears that aren’t sold. I thought this was quite resourceful!

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I gave the applejack at little taste, and thought it was great. The pear brandy was a bit much for me!

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Distillery humor:

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That’s “wing of beetle and eye of goat”—irony, I hope!

And the caskets of liquor:

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What a fun excursion! When we got home, I donned one of the aprons that Barbara, Chloe’s mom, made as a child. We ladies happened upon a stash of these this weekend, and we all enjoyed doing our best Donna Reed impersonation:

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OK, I’m pretty sure Donna Reed never made awkward faces like that. Nevermind.

For lunch today, I wanted to put some off our fresh apples and cider to use. So I whipped up a traditional massaged kale salad, but adorned it with an apple cider dressing and some fresh empire slices. The recipe? Simple as (apple) pie:

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Golden Harvest Salad (serves 1)

For the salad:

2-3 cups washed, dried, and chopped kale (I’d say about 100 g)
1 small carrot, grated
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 tbsp golden raisins
2 tbsp chopped walnuts
1/2 apple, sliced thin.

For the dressing:

2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp apple cider (fresh, local, and unpasteurized, if you can get your hands on it!)
1 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp agave
Salt and pepper to taste

Whisk the dressing ingredients together, and set aside. In a big mixing bowl, pour about 2 or so tablespoons of the dressing onto your chopped kale, and begin “massaging” it with your hands, until it starts to get soft and well coated. It should develop even a slightly wilted texture–this really shouldn’t take long. Use more of the dressing (you’ll have extra) if necessary.

Add the remaining salad ingredients, and toss the whole salad again.

Plate the salad, and top it with your sliced apple. Enjoy!

This is a near perfect showcase of the best of fall produce, and I savored every bite:

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Can’t wait to make it again.

Hope you all had equally lovely weekends: what was on your activity list? And your menus?


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Categories: Salads, Vegan Basics
Ingredients: Kale
Dietary Preferences: Raw

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  1. Oh my god! I’m sorry that it took me more than week to finally read this post, but Gena–you were in my hometown! Until I left for college, I grew up right down the street from Golden Harvest Orchards! I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it. I still love going back there whenever I visit my parents and stocking up on some lovely local produce.

    (Sorry for my excitement, but when you grow up in a town of only 2000 people, it’s a big deal when someone else knows about it–especially when that someone is a blogger that I enjoy so much!)

  2. dang gena- you’re so freaking inspiring- all the freaking time!!!
    particularly loved this post- just bc i’m so excited about the crispy fall. the pumpkin patch made me happy.
    not to mention, you’re so dang cute!

  3. Mmmm the salad looks like perfection! The sweets look so wonderful, did they taste as good as they looked?

  4. Long time reader and I think first time commenter. I have to say, your original kale salad is the way I found your site when I was googling for a massaged kale salad recipe. I’ve been stuck on it (both the salad and your blog) ever since. I can’t wait to try this new apple version with my Honeycrisp apples.

  5. I see the word applejack and think of breakfast cereal…am I nuts or isn’t there a cereal by the same name? Obviously I did not grow up eating that one…if it wasn’t some permutation of Cheerios, it probably wasn’t allowed in the house.

    Anyhoo, this post is certainly a wonderful celebration of apple season! I’ve been mourning the loss of peach season, but thanks to you I have something to live for once again. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. What a fun weekend!! You know I can’t get enough of kale salads! Mmm! Best comfort food ever! ๐Ÿ™‚

    I just used apple cider vinegar as toner last night. I love the stuff, so many ways to use it!

  7. I passed a “pumpkin patch” the other day here in San Diego- a grove of palm trees with a pile of pumpkins in the middle. That made me pretty sad, and made me miss the east coast. We do have some apple picking and real pumpkin patches a bit inland, however. I think the weather here in a few weeks will be more appropriate to the fall mood. I have been enjoying McIntosh apples this week which are a decidedly fall flavor for me.
    I tried chai vega for the first time and definitely liked it! Debating whether to buy a big container or not.

  8. I am a new lover of all things kale. This past weekend, I dehydrated dinosaur kale and made kale chips with it. Sensational! Thank you for yet another simple yet yummy looking kale recipe, gluten free and vegan to boot!

  9. Your post reminds me that I’m missing apple season this year. How sad. I do love honey crisps. Not sure I love them enough to pay $7 a pound for them, but I happily pay a premium over other varieties.

  10. Though I love NYC dearly, the one thing I do miss about living upstate is the abundance of apple farms (and if you go north enough, vineyards are great too). I think something similar to this salad may be appearing on my table today.
    I tried out the butternut squash smoothie yesterday with a few tweaks based on the contents of my refrigerator – I used a cup of steamed bnut, a pear (picked from my backyard – I DO have that here in Queens), a scoop of sunwarrior neutral protein powder, some chai spice, and some vanilla. Holy. Cow. I was on the phone with my mom and I kept sipping and moaning, “Ohhhhhh my goshh this is so good!” She finally stopped talking and told me it sounded like I was having sex with my breakfast.

  11. apple butter happens to be the shiznat down here but i gotta say it’s a bit too sweet for me. i’m totally fine with eating a plain crisp fall orchard apple! mmmm the salad is def a keeper and on my to do list!

  12. Oh, those photos make me want to hop in my car and drive upstate RIGHT NOW! Those pumpkins! The squash! The apples! I know your trip was bittersweet and it looks like you were able to come together, celebrate two important lives and enjoy your time together. Doesn’t get better than that!

    The flavors in your kale salad sound perfect. That’s a salad I’ll most certainly make in the next few weeks!

  13. What?! This is upstate NY? I guess I’ve only been staying by the highways, because the upstate NY I know is all trucks and no souls and…well, drabby.

    So sorry abt Chloe’s grandparents. I’ll bet having you around makes everything brighter for her, though. You have that effect on people. Well, me at least.

  14. My normally strong nails have been brittle, and I can’t seem to get them to grow without breaking. I’ve recently given up meat. I eat a relatively healthy diet with lots of vegetables, fruit and whole grains. I do not eat many nuts and seeds, but I do include hemp/flax seeds now and then.
    Do you have any suggestions of how I can help this problem?
    I’ve also started my first year of university. Do you think that stress may play an influence?

  15. “pear brandy, apple brandy, and applejack”–wow, that sounds awesome! you can tell where my mind is at…haha ๐Ÿ™‚

    Donna Reed. Dare I say I have no idea who that is. I admit it. I will google her.

    My deepest sympathies for Chloe’s grandparents. Plural. Wow. They both have passed in such a short amount of time; that family has gone thru alot, I hope they area coping and dealing with things as best as possible under the circumstances.

    Apple butter…interestingly, TJ’s makes pumpkin butter and I dont want to run down to the fridge and check, but pretty sure like 99% sure that it’s vegan. It’s just pumpkin and sweetener. I am sure one could make apple butter the same way, puree, reduce, sweeten, boil maybe, reduce more. Anyway just a wild guess.

    Love the pics from your trip; and so glad you had a nice time!!

    Have a great week, Gena!


  16. Seems like everyone went to the pumpkin patch or apple picking this weekend except me. Oh well, that’s what blogs are for, to live vicariously through others. Thanks for the great pics and salad recipe. So sorry for your friend’s loss but glad you got to see her.

  17. This post broke my heart. I live in NYC (and have for three years) but grew up in Michigan, surrounded by farms and apples and cider doughnuts and fall outings and hay bales. I love NY, but when I am reminded of what that’s like — well, it makes me wanna leave. I don’t think I have ever really been upstate. But this post made me want to escape, bad. I might have to rent a car some weekend soon just to go to a farm stand as perfect as this one. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Glad you enjoyed yourself! Sounds like a pretty good weekend to me!

  18. That looks so different from the farmers’ markets out here in LA! We’re still totally summer (and it’s over 100 degrees out).

    What’s Applejack?

    And I’ve been wondering, where do you get your kale and how much do you pay for it? I can’t even find it at the farmers’ market (sometimes Lacinato but almost never curly) and at Whole Foods it’s $2 for one little bunch. I still buy it I just wish I could find it cheaper.

    • I want to know the same thing, Gena! ๐Ÿ™‚
      In Texas, I pay $2.50 for curly kale, and it’s usually not even 100% fresh (often yellowed at the edges from being stored/shipped too long), and that’s at the really good grocery stores! It’s never available at the Farmer’s Markets; it just doesn’t grow here, so we import from California.
      I know NY prices are higher, but what are you paying for a bunch, and do you get it at a Farmer’s Market, or at a grocery store?

    • Erika (and Molly) —

      I get my kale mostly at my local grocer, and it’s $1.99/lb. Sometimes I get it organic at the health food store for $3.49/bunch. Depends on my budget that week. But even if the price doubled, I’d buy it — it is my main dietary staple, the food I prefer to all others.


  19. What a charming market! And I’m loving the Donna Reed imitation hahaha ๐Ÿ˜€

    My activities this weekend consisted of dance practices, walks with Chooey, and more quality family/friend time. Oh, and paper-writing.

  20. Ahh, I love the flavors of Fall. I remember having one too many apple cider donuts as a kid and loving it. Never tried Applejack, but a new year calls for a new experience, right ;-)? I can’t get over roasted acorn squash. It’s one of my favorites, and I’ve had the same pumpkin-stuffed squash dinner 2 nights this weekend.