On a field in Brookland just off Fourth Street NE where priests used to play soccer, Gail Taylor harvests an ear of Bear Island Flint corn and peels back a husk to find a worm nibbling at the pomegranate-red kernels. Without hesitating, she executes the pest with the quick slice of a knife and reaches for the next ear.
“We have a bit of a corn worm problem,” she says casually. “Usually I just kill them with my hands.”
The two-acre plot, with its urban soundtrack of cicadas, cars and church bells, is Taylor’s farm, courtesy of the Catholic order housed there, which lets her work the land free.