The Clever Root

Winter / Spring 2016

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6 0 | t h e c l e v e r r o o t 6 0 | t h e c l e v e r r o o t For the Love of a LEAF A TEXAS URBAN FARMER FINDS HIS MOST BEFITTING CROP photos and story by Alfonso Cevola September 18, 2011 was the day I acquired an urban farmer's heart. It was a violent transplant. On that day, the sun set at 7:30 p.m. Clouds were threatening a downpour. I had nursed my backyard hoja santa plantation through a hot and stormy summer. Then at 7:50 the sky ripped open in a biblical way and I witnessed a horrendous sight— hail. For what seemed like a lifetime, shiny white balls of ice pummeled my precious plants. So fierce was the storm that it destroyed our roof. But I was more concerned about my hoja santa, for I had promised a harvest to cheesemaker Paula Lambert at the renowned Mozzarella Company in Dallas. Within minutes the fleshy, emerald leaves were shredded and rendered lifeless, useful only as compost, at best. Alfonso Cevola stands among the bounty of hoja santa leaves in his backyard. HOME MADE

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