BRIGHTON, Colo. — "This is not what it should look like," Jade Sato said, pointing to a greenhouse on her farm that is not fully upright.
Sato laughs, an attempt to hold back tears, as she surveys the damage on Minoru Farm, the place she pours her heart and her body into every day.
“I wanted to grow Asian varieties of vegetables that weren’t readily available at farmers markets or grown with the kind of knowing, ancestral knowing of how to eat certain plants," said Sato, a fourth-generation Japanese American who comes from a long line of farmers.
Minoru was her late grandfather's name.
On the farm, she grows things like bitter melon, Asian varieties of cucumbers and Asian eggplants.
“And this season was going so well," she said. "And I just kept thinking in the back of my mind, it just seems too good to be true that we haven’t had any hail yet."
Sato was standing inside her greenhouse, which she calls a caterpillar because of its shape, when heavy rain, hail and high winds came through.
"When I realized it was starting to collapse in I just ran as quickly as I could to my car for safety," she said. "And then I watched it happen."
The greenhouse will have to be replaced. It's what allows Sato to sell produce throughout the winter.
She's still assessing her summer crops, which she's been selling at the City Park Farmers Market in Denver, and to her summer CSA customers.
“There’s a tendency to expect perfection in the food that we eat," Sato said. "And so working around those expectations and saying, 'You can eat this. It might be a little damaged, and here’s why: it hailed."
Sato said her root vegetables should be OK, but she might have to sell them without the greenery on top.
Other vegetables were just demolished.
“So this bed used to have onions in it," Sato said. "And now it has nothing in it."
Right now, the damage is still new, and the emotion that comes with seeing it is raw.
Sato will post updates on the Minoru Farm Instagram page. She could use help when she's ready to break down the damaged greenhouse.
And next time it rains, Sato hopes it comes in a little slower.
"A nice soft rain would be preferred," she said.
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