Sinclair is cited as the mastermind behind kale in publications around the world. “Meet the Woman Who Made Kale Famous,” they write, calling Sinclair “the woman responsible for it all and the representative of kale across the nation.”
With a sturdy client list in the fashion and music industries, Sinclair amplified the plant with custom t-shirts, pricy salads and celebrity endorsements.
“My approach was relatively simple,” Sinclair explained to me, via email. “I sought to educate consumers on the benefits of a product via guerrilla marketing. I literally put it on chalkboards around Manhattan and on the menus of cool restaurants, the Fat Radish being one of them,” another My Young Auntie client, “and the ‘trend’ escalated from there.”
I thought I had solved the mystery. Celebrity-laden PR guru markets kale and gets it in the hands of paparazzi-followed friends, on restaurant menus, and in the fashion world. End of story, right? Not so much.
Later that day, I had a call scheduled with Dr. Drew Ramsey, assistant professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University, the founder of National Kale Day and author of 50 Shades of Kale, a cookbook that boasts “fifty enticing new ways to enjoy one of Mother Nature's hottest properties.”
I figured it was worth getting his opinion on the rise of kale, though I thought I’d already solved the riddle.
“I’ve heard that before,” Ramsey said on the phone about Sinclair’s role in elevating kale. But, he countered, “Have you talked to anyone at the American Kale Association? I’m not sure they exist.”
I paused in confusion. I had assumed the American Kale Association was a group of kale farmers. Kale sales go up, good for the people who grow it, right?
In fact, the exact opposite is true: Many kale farmers are actually suffering from kale’s sudden popularity. “The demand is rising, but the supply is outpacing it,” explained Muranaka, the executive vice president of, again, the largest shipper of bunched kale in the nation.