Brussels and the Buzz.
We discovered 2 new things on the farm this week, much to our delight.
In truth, we were aware of the existence of these things before this week, but the last several days gave us a whole new appreciation.
First, it must be said:
There is nothing more exciting than a brussels sprout.
Perhaps you're thinking, “Okaaay, what about tightrope walking? Or journalism in a war zone?” or maybe, “Well, there's the cry of your firstborn, or Google cars. Equal rights. Bread-making.”
And you'd be right. But to that I have to ask:
Have you ever GROWN a brussels sprout?
They are so delicate, so perfect.
Raised in the crooks of their mother's elbows, the sprouts grow silently, slowly plumping up over time. Harvesting these little round noggins is like a quiet, secret gift.
The main stalk can be covered with up to 2-3 pounds of sprouts, all protected in a canopy of leaves overhead. They raise their chins up, anxious to be plucked—and as they are incredibly delicious, we're happy to oblige.
And we finally have them! Our plants proved themselves this week, finally producing perfect leafy spheres. It's been a long time coming; we've been the slightest bit antsy as growing brussels sprouts down south is a risky enterprise.
Sadly, we won't harvest 2-3 pounds per plant this season, nor would that be likely in years to come. These plants thrive in the long-lasting cold-weather months of the north, preferably with a little condensation thrown in. (Think Washington or Maine.) The cooler and foggier, the sweeter they grow.
Yet, we'll take what we can get. We never shovel a walk nor have a need for the term polar vortex AND we've got at least some brussels sprouts, so take that Pacific Northwest.
Apart from gaping at our adorable veggies, we did get some actual work done. Mulching, pruning, washstand re-roofing, seeding of beets, weeding and thinning of scallions...the list is never-ending.
The only event nearly as exciting as the brussels sprouts came from pouring coffee grounds in the field. Honestly.
Every week, after our farmer's market in Galveston, we head to MOD Coffeehouse to pick up our bin.
All week long, those supportive baristas fill a trashcan with spent espresso and fair-trade coffee, which we then disperse in our compost and in the aisles of our gardens.
Free, recycled nitrogen.
One morning, as we performed a walk-through of the crops, checking in on each, Alex and I heard a faint buzzing in the air. Bee activity has been scarce since cold weather came to town, but that hum was unmistakably six-legged, fuzzy and winged.
We followed our ears (and noses) to the aisles covered in newly-scattered coffee grounds. Honeybees were swarming over them all day, sorting, tasting and getting—one can assume—wickedly caffeinated.
Foraging for food is a challenge for bees during winter months when there's far less vegetation blooming. Taking it where you can get it is a good mantra for all species, I suppose.
And who's to say they're not onto something--coffee with honey doesn't sound half-bad.