As I was walking through the PSU MG Edible Demonstration Garden this week I noticed an unfamiliar plant tag. At first I wasn’t sure if I was reading it correctly but there it was plain as day, “Kalette.” Hmm, Kalette. Now if you’re a plant geek like me a name like this rates high on the curious meter so off I went to do some research.
This is what I found: Kalette is the brainchild of British seed house Tozer Seeds and it is a hybrid cross between the Brussels Sprout and English Kale thus making it a very interesting vegetable indeed. According to the plant’s website (yes, Kalette has its own website - sponsored by Tozer Seeds America) it is sweet and nutty and it can be sautéed, roasted, grilled or eaten raw. Sounds pretty good, right.
Truly what’s not to like yet the appearance of this new vegetable lead my thoughts to GMOs. These days when anyone mentions GMOs an ominous tone of dread sets in and I had to curtail my kneejerk reaction upon learning about this hybrid and recall that gene crossing through traditional, non-GMO, hybridization and open pollination has a rich, deep, safe and tasty history in the garden.
A history that is alive and well and it is showing up in the form of plants like the Kalette.
Want to learn more about other, traditional, non-GMO hybridizations (like the apple tree and a couple canopy trees)? Check out this PSU Extension online publication: http://extension.psu.edu/plants/master-gardener/counties/lackawanna/news/2016/genetically-modified-plants-in-our-landscapes