Each of these early mornings was peaceful and beautiful, and our farmers agreed that this early hour was a special time to be out on the farm. One morning in particular stood out to me. We started this day in our 25-acre vegetable field harvesting kale. We like to harvest our greens first thing in the morning to protect them from the scorching sun, which can easily wilt a leafy green. At this point in the season, we spend the lion’s share of our time harvesting food from the plants we’ve been nurturing. We love growing good food to feed people, so there is little more satisfying than piling stacks of crates full of fresh, delicious produce onto the truck and sending it on its journey to your plates. But still, after spending so much time keeping a plant alive, supported, tended, fed, watered, and weeded, it is bittersweet to end it all with a single pluck or pull from the Earth.
On this morning, as I harvested kale, I found myself basking in the awareness that I was not only harvesting a plant, but I was also tending to it at the same time. When we harvest kale, rather than taking off all of the leaves or cutting the entire plant, we simply pinch off a few of the lower leaves, leaving behind the foliage surrounding the central leaf bud. Taking off the outer leaves gives the plant improved air circulation, helping the leaves absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen for photosynthesis. By leaving the central bud and remaining leaves, the plant can continue producing more and more harvestable kale each week. When tended properly, these kale plants will continue providing us with delicious green foliage throughout the season!
As the yellow-tinged sky turned deep gold and the sun made its way over Smith Rock, bathing us and our bountiful vegetable field in golden light, I tended to our dinosaur kale plants by harvesting a few leaves from each plant. The world around me slowly came alive with chickens, turkeys, and songbirds clucking and chirping together, cows munching away at the cover crop, and a bunch of farmers in constant motion while harvesting our bounty. I felt an intense connection to this place and the plants before me in that moment, and I am excited for what the next week of sunrise farming will bring.
Take care, stay cool, and we’ll see you soon!