by Lisa Tome
Kelsie Birney is advancing her education in ornamental horticulture one kale leaf at a time.
Birney, who lives near Fair Hill, is spending her summer working at Priapi Gardens in Cecilton. The job is part of her internship for her studies at the University of Maryland - College Park.
Birney and Kirsten Welker, a student at North East High School, were picking organic dinosaur kale last week. The pair waded into the patch of kale, counted out 12 leaves, bound them with a rubber band, and then set them aside as part of Priapi's wholesale crop harvest.
The pair said the job at the grower has exposed them to new things. They both have tried vegetables they may not have otherwise, "You want to be able to tell people what it tastes like," said Birney.
Welker and Birney also talked about what can be made from the crops. They recently heard of a recipe where kale is baked and then broken up into chips. Kale may also be eaten raw.
Vic Priapi, who owns Priapi Gardens with his wife, said that the heat and rain have produced excellent crops this year. He said that cabbage, kohl rabi, beets, and lettuce are all plentiful.
"Everything is good. We are just waiting for folks to start stopping in. It's been slow," he said.
But while the crops have flourished due to the heat and rain, Priapi said the weather has also led to extensive growth of weeds.