Broccoli Gauntlet Thrown

Allan Appel Photo“We’re going to dethrone the Monarch Kale. Elm City is going to become Broccoli City. We’re going to make broccoli the president of vegetables!”

Drew Morrison issued those defiant Presidents’ Day declarations at a press conference held Monday afternoon in the produce section of the Elm City Market on Chapel Street.

He and two fellow Yalies held the conference to launch a new campaign to pump up an underappreciated superfood: broccoli.

Organizers aim to have broccoli replace kale as the vegetable people reach for when they’re aiming for healthful eating.

A bunch of local businesses—Claire’s Corner Copia, Edge of the Woods, Atticus Cafe, Campus Customs, the Blossom Shop—have all agreed to offer special deals and hold events in the coming month to make broccoli a winner, and to make New Haven the city to show how to make that happen.

Morrison and fellow Yalies Monica DiLeo and Adam Goff convinced an ad agency Victors & Spoils to donate clever, smart-alecky designs to be used in ads to promote the campaign. Look for them on CT Transit buses and on I-91. Victors & Spoils originally drew up the designs for this New York Times Magazine broccoli cover story, which inspired the Yale students to launch the New Haven campaign.

The students raised $2,000 prior to launching the campaign. They also created this website for it. They’re asking people to eat “fad-free.” Now they’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise another $600.

Team Broccoli held its press event Monday in their Broclyn and Eat Fad-Free green and yellow T-shirts. Elm City Market Marketing Manager Amy Christiansen had prepared a strawberry broccoli salad (strawberries, broccoli, cashew halves, red onion, Monterey Jack cheese) that local eaters all declared a hit.

The market will sell broccoli for only 99 cents a pound, half price, through Feb. 26, said Christiansen.

Calling broccoli the “alpha vegetable,” the campaign urges people to order a “bro-quet” from the Blossom Shop (203-782-1550).

Goff, who said that after graduation he might pursue a career in food or farming, will be keeping track of the success of broccoli and kale both through sales at the participating businesses and from measuring the hits on the social media sites.

Don’t miss Elm City Market’s kale-versus-broccoli cook-off March 7, to be held at the market as part of the Ninth Square and the Town Green Special Services District First Friday series. Special broccoli-inspired green confections will also be available at Atticus and at Claire’s, said the organizers.

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posted by: HewNaven on February 17, 2014  7:09pm

Seriously, broccoli? You’re gonna step to kale with that weak flavor? Smelling like a sewer leak when you’re cooked?  Puh-leez

Plus Kale is way easier to grow year-round in CT. You’re lucky if you even can get a spring or fall harvest with broccoli. Forget growing it during the heat.

This contest was over before it started.

posted by: Gretchen Pritchard on February 17, 2014  11:53pm

New Haven: are you gonna let Brooklyn and Portland beat you out?!

What is this, Hipster Central?

Still, I’m glad to see that the cute ideas the ad company came up with for the NYT are not going to waste.  Those folks had a blast doing that project, clearly.

posted by: LaurieA on February 18, 2014  8:26am

I don’t understand the point of this campaign.  Broccoli and kale are both very healthy.  And while I’m not a fan of fads myself, a kale fad is pretty innocent.  Besides, who says broccoli is underappreciated?

posted by: HewNaven on February 18, 2014  11:17am

On the surface, this is inane. The broccoli vs. kale contest is downright confusing to most people. Why are they in competition? They’re both really good for you. Did Kale say something about Broccoli’s mother? Is Broccoli jealous of Kale’s delicious flavor and versatility in the kitchen? No one understands this campaign. But then I found this statement on their website:

Why is this happening?

We’re giving broccoli some much needed love. It’s great for you, it tastes great , and it hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves.  We want New Haveners to eat healthy and we want them to eat broccoli.

We’re also going to show that a community can get together to advertise something important.

Whether it is healthy food or anti-violence campaigns, cities can come together to provide discounted and free ways for an important message to be heard.

Ahhh. So this is a way to explore advertising of community issues and messages for New Haven residents. That’s a worthy experiment. Why not just come right out and say that?

posted by: cunningham on February 18, 2014  11:54am

Broccoli is better than kale on pizza, which I think gives it an edge in the Elm City.

posted by: TheMadcap on February 18, 2014  2:15pm

Here’s the thing about broccoli, I can’t make kale chips with it.

posted by: alex on February 18, 2014  7:22pm

I would have liked to see these Yalies’ own ideas, rather than regurgitating the piece commissioned for the New York Times.