It’s a diet fit for a Prince.
Purple reins on the distressed wood tables at chic restaurants in Portland, on the shelves at organic grocery stores in San Francisco, in the bins at farmers markets in Manhattan. There are cauliflower, potatoes, carrots, okra, snow peas, and artichokes in shades of plum, lavender, mulberry and amethyst. And lest a beard-donning hipster want something a little out of the box: Edible lavender and violets; purple kohlrabi, a cousin of cabbage; and the ube, a purple yam, are all having a moment too, experts say.
“Purple is the [food] trend of 2017. It’s kind of like the brussel sprout of five years ago,” says Maggie Ehler, a founder of food blog Organic Blah Blah Blah — who has begun using the hashtag #eatyourcolors to talk about some of her brightly hued goodies.
But perhaps, the holy grail of all the purple products: purple kale.
“It sells like crazy,” says farmer Skye Caradonna, who owns a 250-acre farm in Marlboro, NY that supplies farmers markets around the city. “I never have enough. The plant won’t grow fast enough.” (He says he also frequently sells out of purple cauliflower at the Union Square farmers market.) Fans of the eggplant-colored leafy green, tweet their adoration with statements like “Darlings! Exceedingly fresh and simply divine #purpleKale,” and “Can’t get enough of this beautiful sweet purple kale!. (P.S. It tastes nearly the same as its deep green sister.)
The ube, a purple yam, is also causing a certain subset of foodies to swoon. They’re making ube-swirled bread, ube ice cream and ube-stuffed donuts. “I LOVE UBE,” a woman tweeted in all bold font earlier this month. Another tweeted a photo of a broken, ube-filled plastic fork with the words “this is what happens when you love ube …”
What’s with the purple veggie craze? It’s part of “a fundamental shift” in the way people eat, says John Cangir, the CEO of restaurant industry job site GrubJobs.com: Many consumers are looking for nutrient-packed foods, and believe that some of the purple versions of many veggies may health benefits that their traditional counterparts don’t. In fact, purple veggies often do contain anthocyanins, which may have healing properties and promote eye health.
But “‘eating the rainbow’ and garnering the nutritional benefits of all different color food … has always been the more well-rounded approach to staying fit and healthy,” says Renee Falack, who plans trips focused on food and wine for Ovation Vacations. “Similar to the kale craze of recent years, the ‘healing powers’ of purple is just the latest example of these types of food trends.”