GCF Kale Watch — Week Two: How Long Will It Grow?

imagesLast night after dinner I realized there was nothing in the kitchen to pack for lunch today, so I pulled my boots back on and drove to Winchester, steeling myself against the confusion that afflicts me in stores like Martin’s, where every choice is multiplied a dozen times, and the criteria for selection are written in such small letters that I have to hold the labels at a certain angle or I can’t read them, and the angle changes from label to label for some reason, perhaps because I’m tired, or because the different colors make different demands on my eyes; and since I’ve come without a list, I have no sound basis for deciding which of those aisles to brave — 17? 24? — so the chances are good I’ll either buy things that will make me kick myself when I get home, or I’ll put my basket on the floor and walk away from it, bewildered, which I was about to do when I realized that the next day would be Friday, and I’d be checking the status of our kale, which meant I wouldn’t need to pack a lunch, so I bought a box of peanut butter cookies to compensate myself for taking all that trouble which it turned out that I didn’t need to take, and I drove home.

That’s why I like kale.IMG_0906

Since things slowed down here on the farm, I’ve had time to think about how to explain the nourishment I get from eating food right off the ground. It’s true that there’s a devil in me that still likes to defy my mother — “Ish!” she would have said. “Don’t eat food off the ground!” But angels walk alongside that devil when I go out to check the kale, which is waiting where is was a week ago.

I realize that it’s there because Mark planted it in August — it didn’t just appear — but that’s the most complicated aspect of its existence. For months now, it’s just been there, dwelling in the inverse of confusion — no choices to make whatsoever but ‘where should I start picking?’

I focused on the tightly-crinkled leaves today, eating one for every one I put into my bag, like Sal from that book about blueberries, and by the time my bag was full, my stomach was too. That was lunch.

Last week's kale wound up braised with pinto beans, corn bread, and GCF carrots. Soul food.

Last week’s kale wound up braised with pinto beans, corn bread, and GCF carrots. Soul food.

I know enough chemistry, biology, and physiology to understand why the lunch I ate today was better for my body than anything I might have bought at Martin’s last night would have been, and I’m beginning to understand why it was better for my soul as well: because for months now it’s just been there, its goodness contained in itself, with no human input required.

The complicated apparatus of a place like Martin’s scares me sometimes because it depends entirely on human input: so much attention, so much investment, so many lives to keep all those lights shining on all those choices — thousands and thousands of products! It seems like a miracle that all those energies can intertwine so thoroughly and hold their charge so long. But it’s not a miracle: it’s something people made. A lot of people.

The miracle is kale.     IMG_0904

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