Rapeseed | Mansfield, WA | May 2020

I’m no farmer (barely even a backyard gardener) but I’d like to heartily endorse rapeseed as an alternative crop for wheat on the Waterville Plateau. My enthusiasm has little to do with the crop’s usual byproducts — biofuel, cooking oil, livestock feed, soil enhancement — and more to do with visual aspect: It’s pretty. Fields of rapeseed flowers add daubs of yellow to the landscape’s usual greens and browns. The blooms are particularly brilliant in contrast to house-sized erratics deposited millennia ago by glaciers. And the blossoms’ yellow-greenish hues fully complement the trademark colors of harvest equipment. As my artist friend Jeffrey once said after smearing yellow across his plateau painting: “It works.”

[In photo: Acreage of rapeseed seems to be increasing as a dryland alternative crop. And I’m only half-joking about it improving the plateau’s color palette.]