HURDLE MILLS, N.C.—Linda Leach wears a mask as much for the pollen that’s whipping through the air as for the coronavirus. Sticking her head out her pickup truck window, she checks the progress in the shed on the farm she owns with husband Stanley Hughes.
Gloved and intent, Gabrielle Eitienne and Gerald Harris pull apart tangles of herbs. They sort them into piles, determining what’s what by smell and sight: cilantro, oregano, sage, mint. Soon, the scent in the Pine Knot Farms shed is an olfactory cocktail, as Hughes peels an orange and the wind picks up, blowing empty boxes off the truck bed a few steps away. Those boxes will soon each hold a dozen fresh eggs and Pine Knot’s trademark sweet potatoes, then gradually fill up with the vegetables of this in-between season: kale, mustard greens, bundles of collards, leaves as broad as fans—the bounty from five farms, ready for pickup.