My kale juice habit started in 2005. It tasted like rancid grass soaked in lemon peels most of the time. But it held out a promise of living longer through the rapid delivery of nutrients to my bloodstream. Or some such hogwash, anyway! I needed to believe, I had a bad job and was in a psychological gulag. I got some kind of high from the sugar and Vitamin C, at least. So the habit stuck.
Back then you had to purchase kale juice in crusty health food stores. The people who made my kale juice often wore their hair in dreads regardless of ethnicity. The people who bought it did not believe in (a) hair dye; (b) any cookbook without "Moosewood" in the title; or (c) apartments without rent control. It could feel a little Soviet, but it had a grim sort of charm.
The rise of kale juice, and kale more generally, has obviously changed that.
For one thing, the Cold-Pressed Juice Conglomerate which has arisen since then is relatively dehumanized. There are entire stores that that only squeeze the juice freshly if you ask them to, preferring to display their wares in cases lest anyone lose any time in something so vulgar as waiting their turn.
But worse it now seems like any sense of autonomy has been leached out of the act of merely eating kale. You literally can't go anywhere without tripping over some corporation holding it up for your consumption with a toothy grin. You don't "choose" kale anymore, the Kale Industrial Complex chooses you.
And you get all the other baggage with it to: Say you like kale, and instead of a green leafy vegetable you conjure a Whole Foods refrigerator case, a Lululemon outfit, and a BPA-free Scandinavian water bottle. Curiously for something that literally grows in dirt, kale is now a luxury product, for luxury people, who luxuriously drape themselves over luxurious furniture, and wish to convey that luxuriousness to others through the greenness of their foodstuffs. They will live forever the way glass and stainless steel live forever.
I, for one, welcome the Act of God which will bring an end to this. Modern Farmer is somewhat skeptical we'll get it this time, since there have been scares before. But bring the Kale-pocalypse on, I want a reset. I'm even ready to go back to lining up for my share behind someone who doesn't believe in deodorant.
[Image by Tara Jacoby.]