Today we are harvesting the last of the overwintered kale, cabbage, and mustard rapini from one of our fields before turning over the crop residue to prepare the ground for a new year.
We could squeeze another week or two of market harvest from this field (though the plants are flowering in earnest and soon there will be no tender rapini buds left), but we need the ground for planting, and the best time for the transition, weather-wise, is now. Ariana asked me today if I would be sad to see this field of brassicas go. It's a good question.
In truth I often have mixed feelings about disturbing a field with a disc, disrupting the specific environment of plant, insect, and other beings which have assembled above ground and below. Bacteria, fungus, earthworms and beetles carefully build the soil as beneficial insects and pollinators explore and work the flowers in the plant canopy. Who says I (with my tractor and implement for shredding the plants and turning their residue underground) know better?
But the leeks, onions, and shallots which we plant here, and the communities which gather around them, will be just as important to the flow of life passing through this farm to your kitchen, as the kale flowers are now. A farm is no more a static event than life is.
So with gratitude to this field and its inhabitants for their beauty and abundant sustenance, I welcome the new season.