The butterflies are being drawn to the farm right now by the sweet nectar found in the blooms of the buckwheat plant. By the hundreds, they flit in every direction just above the surface of a grassy sea, rolling like waves in the wind. To drink, the butterflies balance on the long stem of the buckwheat flowers, like bright orange flags on a ship’s mast, drawing nectar through their thread-thin proboscises as if sipping through a straw.
Monarch butterflies are welcome immigrants here. We’re honored to be a stopover and fueling station as they embark on their annual migration home from Canada to Mexico.
As the summer sun glows through wings the color of sweet potato with a contrasting, intricate black and white mosaic, the butterflies are like flying shards of stained glass.
Trying to capture still images of them in constant motion, two photographers wade deeper and deeper into the waves of hip-high grass, dipping below the surface from time to time, then re-emerging like swimmers coming up to breathe.
The sound of tall grass being blown by a hot summer breeze is the rustle and swish of the seashore, with the rumble of a distant tractor the only giveaway that there isn’t sand beneath your feet; rather, the rich soft soil of a vegetable farm.
The Monarchs aren’t the lone fieldworkers on this day. Honeybees are also buzzing intently about their business, hovering and gathering, stuffing their little saddlebags with powdered gold that they’ll later spin into buckwheat honey. Red and black lady beetles travel the broad leaves like tiny spotted Volkswagens on a green divided highway.
The insects neither know nor care that their work is as important as any done here on the farm. But we recognize them as a natural continuation of our commitment to our sustainable farming philosophy.
Planting a cover crop like buckwheat grass helps us replenish the soil with nutrients that get depleted over time.
It’s what allows us to grow fresh vegetables of unrivaled quality and flavor. And, when the buckwheat plant burst into blossoms, it nourishes the flying insects that help pollinate our flowering plants and crops.
For their tireless toil, we are delighted to pay our visitors’ wages in nectar and pollen from our abundant supply. It’s all part of letting Mother Nature call the shots, or, as we like to say, “growing vegetables slowly and gently in full accord with nature.”
Our delicate white, lilac-like buckwheat blooms are available to our chefs for a limited time, while they last. Call your product specialist to order.