The Power of Being Herd

Originally published in Nevada County Grown's 2019 Food & Farm Guide

The sunshine has just started to touch the upper field at eight o’clock in the morning. Dew gathers on leaf tips as the plants wake up from their chilly slumber. It’s late October, but you would never know it from the abundance at First Rain Farm. Row after row of carrots, kale, chard, collards, turnips, radishes, and cilantro are bursting with energy, displaying every hue of green imaginable. Today is a harvest day and you can feel the electricity in the air.

It’s a semiweekly event: One harvest on Tuesdays for local restaurants and Briarpatch Food Co-op, and another on Fridays to get ready for the Farmers Market in Downtown Nevada City. Today happens to be Friday and the field hands are on the scene, grabbing large empty totes. Before long there are four workers in the field skillfully cutting, bunching, and banding – only stopping to deliver the punchline of an occasional joke, breathe warm air on hands chilled by the morning dew, or haul a full tote to the washing station. Farming is hard work, no doubt, but this is not a dreary scene. E