"I think that that’s part of the reward for us, is continually improving our product. Like, efficient systems, and consistency. Like year after year, we’re like, 'Yeah, we do that well.'
In about three years, we’ve really got our system figured out for kale and chard. Last year, this new pest that came in from the South, the harlequin beetle—the harlequin bug? It kind of threw a wrench in the kale.
We didn’t really know anything about them. We tried picking them off. We weren’t sure what their eggs looked like. We looked them up. There really isn’t any organic control methods that people have found that really work. They were already there, so we couldn’t row cover, and prevent them from getting there, which is what we do a lot of times with like the cabbage loopers. We row cover, and then take the row cover off the broccoli and the cabbage, just in time for them to really size up and harvest them before the little moths can do their damage.
But so, the kale, we just kind of watched it—and what they do is, they just suck it out. So the leaves turn brown and brittle. Looks like they’re kind of burnt.
And like, a lot of bugs, like potato beetles, they munch their way through where they haven’t munched, it’s still alive. It can still photosynthesize. But with the kale, they pierce it, and they’re like sucking that fluid, the life out of that plant. So they are killing the whole plant when they’re doing that. It’s really what makes it so aggravating.
So, what we did this year, not really planning to, is we had some arugula and turnips and some, like a mustard green, that were planted pretty far away from the kale. And they got to that first. So we sacrificed those crops and they haven’t really showed up on the kale yet."