Q: What is the proper way to pick vegetables: from the base of the plant or do I leave the stem attached to the base and just pick the vegetable itself?
A: When a vegetable is ready to pick, it loosens the fibers that connect it to the parent plant. Even so, it only takes one misguided tug to break a main stem or even pull a young plant from the ground. The safest thing to do is to use a knife or scissors to clip the stem a half-inch above the vegetable. More details at https://secure.caes.uga.edu/extension/publications/files/pdf/C%20935_4.PDF