The Art of Farming
I’m relatively new to farming, but one thing I can say I’ve been involved with my whole life is art. I definitely wouldn’t consider myself an expert at any certain medium but at any given time there are at least three different crafty endeavors going on in every corner of my home. This year I’ve been a bit disappointed in myself for not finding the time to finish many projects, but I’ve just realized that it might have something to do with all the time and energy I’ve been investing in one very big, multifaceted art project… FARMING. A creative pursuit in the most literal sense, it’s unsurprising that myself and all the other artistic minds that make up our crew have been drawn to the art of farming.
Every single process from seeding, to transplanting, weeding, watering, and harvesting must be done in a thoughtful and precise manner to become the masterpiece that is the most beautiful bunch of chard, or the biggest head of romaine, or a whole bed of perfect radishes.
When we bunch curly kale we face the leaves outwards to make a big, fluffy, cone-shaped bouquet. When we bunch carrots, we try to pick the ones that are similar size and line up their tops in a neat cluster. The produce tastes just the same when it’s bunched a bit more sloppily, but is it a work of art that we’re proud of?
The satisfying feeling when you have just the right mix of different color varieties in an Easter Egg Radish bunch is art. The way we must carefully pick the raspberries that are just perfectly ripe, but not too much so, is art. The way we clean garlic, rubbing and peeling off the dirty layers to reveal the clean purple skins underneath is art. The sight of a perfectly straight line of bright green sprouts coming out of black soil is art. The fact that we all have our favorite variety of chard or kale, not based upon its taste, but because of the way the colors and textures of its leaves particularly speaks to our unique artistic eye.
Certain crops and tasks are so enchanting and inspiring and enjoyable, but I’ve been trying to remind myself that since this whole farming this is all a creative endeavor, that means the less desirable tasks are also necessary parts of the bigger picture. Like weeding; where we’re removing the “ugly,” unwanted details, making cleaner lines, to give attention to the focal point and allow it to flourish.
I hope my paintbrushes and yarn will be okay collecting dust over the next few months, because right now I’m entirely enamored with the brown muddy canvas and the awe-inspiring color palate of rainbow carrots and purple kohlrabi and chioggia beets I’m working with.