The story behind kale-centric Gastown shop Brassica & Co.

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      It seemed too good to be true: A kale-centric shop opening in Vancouver.

      On March 31 and April 1, a “new” company called Brassica & Co. sent bouquets of kale and T-shirts silkscreened with “Kale heure est-il?” to members of the media, announcing that a boutique specializing in kale-derived and kale-inspired products would soon be open in Gastown.

      A website was built (, and there were social media accounts—Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest—that looked, for the most part, real and active. On the Brassica & Co. website, the store was to be located at 310 West Cordova, which seemed reasonable (the space is listed as leasable commercial space).

      “We’re Brassica & Co. A friendly crew of passionate people who believe in creating quality products from a selection of nature’s greatest gifts. Our inspiration for creating a life that shines from the outside as well as within are reflected in the items on offer in our introductory Kale range,” reads a statement on the website.

      However, a closer look at some of the products offered had this writer skeptical of whether all was what it seemed. For example, kale-flavoured kale chips with the description, “We give you an extra helping of kale flavoured seasoning in a separate container so you can sprinkle as much kale flavour over your kale chips.” Another product, Kale Ale—a kale-flavoured beer “inspired by the pioneering spirit of the original monk brew masters of Bravaria”. Finally, Kaleogne, which captures the scent of kale in a perfume bottle.

      The website also stated that a “Quinoa Collection” was in the works. This morning, an “about” page popped up, introducing Julia and Robert Huxley—two Salt Spring Island hipsters, who looked straight out of an issue of Kinfolk magazine.

      Then I found a phone number on Brassica & Co.’s Facebook page (one wasn’t listed on the company website). I called, left a message, and a few hours later received a call from four-year-old Gastown digital advertising agency Pound & Grain.

      Sorry, Vancouverites, Brassica & Co. won’t be opening anytime soon.

      “Brassica and Co is just our little April Fools prank to the world,” Jackson, an employee at Pound & Grain confirmed to the Georgia Straight. “Our creative team just wanted to have a little fun.”

      Jackson said that that the hoax had many people convinced—some actually excited for a kale shop to open—because “it’s so true and possible that it treads the line between real and not.”

      Sure, we watch episodes of Portlandia and laugh, and read articles describing Williamsburg and shake our heads, but Vancouverites are just as much free-range, gluten-free, kombucha- and kale-obsessed people as the next hipster-run city. Maybe it’s time we embrace it.

      The Brassica & Co. website made it look as though a kale-centric shop in Vancouver could be real.
      Kale-flavoured kale chips that were both gluten- and preservative-free!
      Kaleogne, the "perfect balance between masculinity and natural kale fragrance".
      Kale ale contained "tiny kale shards" for added texture.



      Elvis Parsley

      Apr 1, 2014 at 9:28pm

      I am definitely stoked to purchase the entire range of kale products, hoping that one day soon we can not only enjoy kale cologne, kale flavored kale chips, kale cola, and kale ale, but also kale toothpaste, kale shoes, kale runners, and fashionable kale t-shirts, made from finely spun kale fibres.

      Barry William Teske

      Apr 2, 2014 at 3:34am

      Nothing like the great human tradition of creating names to denigrate another segment of the population.

      Who is the real (April) Fool here?


      Apr 7, 2014 at 4:29pm

      I'm not sure I've seen the phrase “too good to be true” used to describe anything kale-related before…