Flowers represent so many things in our culture. We gather them up to give to a girl we're sweet on, we give them to our teacher on the first day of school, we take a bunch to our mom on Mother's Day, and we carry them to the grave site of someone we've loved and lost as a symbol of our continued commitment to them.
One of the things we love to do most on our farm is walk through the fields when the sun is rising. Nighttime gives the plants a reprieve from the heat of the day and it's when they're at their perkiest and most vital.
As children we picked blue kale when it had reached full maturity like most traditional farmers do. It was tough and leathery and I never developed a fondness for it. Kale was something to be endured during the autumn months, not something to be celebrated.
I always loved Brussels sprouts as a kid because let's face it, anything served with greasy, crunchy bacon and a side of mashed potatoes is a home run. But so many people are turned off by Brussels and it comes down to the fact that they've never had a good one. This is where our baby Brussels swoop in like a sprout superhero to save the day.
We do farm tours at The Chef's Garden all through the winter because even in the middle of a chilly December day, there are fascinating things to be discovered growing in the fields. Maybe it's the cold temperatures that get to me when I'm giving a winter tour but I always like to have a little fun by playing something I like to call, "Stump the chef."
I like to drive through the fields on Sunday afternoons to check up on how things are doing – what is ready for harvest and what still needs a little more time. My wife Mary and I are usually dressed in our Sunday best for the drive and this time was no different.