Local, organic agriculture. Environmental education.

From the Good Earth, This Meal Comes

seedling closeupIn the last official days of summer, there is much to harvest, seeds still to sow and garlic to gather for a late October planting and for bread that is oily, healthy and delicious.  The back-to-school routine has everyone adjusting to new schedules, sitting at desks and tables and feeling the need for a jacket as the cooler weather prevails.  No rain yet, but I hope that too will come and give these hard working crops a chance to continue and for seedlings to grow for a fall harvest meal.  The need to work on the Farm is more precious and needed.  The cooler temperatures keeps us huddled around a coffee mug a little longer. But any chance to work into the evening is thwarted by the setting sun. It is hard to work outside in the dark. Better to come inside to a newly organized and clean desk to properly start planning for next year. Are the weeds just better off covered and mulched?  Is there a way to keep the tractors, aged and wary, quiet and resting in the tractor, nee horse barn? The desire to till lessens as weeds take hold. As an innovative, forward-thinking farm, we need to be sure to decide which fields will yield the best variety of harvest. Some fields may have more success under the sustainable blanket that is a nutrient-providing cover crop of barley, vetch and rye.  It is not too early for us to keep working in the daylight and thinking during the darkness hours about how best to grow.

The recently visiting 5th grade Girl Scouts from Scituate may not be thinking about crop rotation and sustainable practices, but they are the direct recipients of farmers and teachers who did consider the harvest season and careful planning. After  a spirited walk to the Ice Pond, that seasonally held no ice, we set to work on harvesting from the Education Garden at the Farm. We eagerly dug potatoes, which each of the eleven girls had the joy of spying and grabbing a purple or yellow potato. Then there was parsley to pick and camouflaged beans to collect. Lots of hardy kale was ready to be clipped for salty kale chips.  We washed, though all the crops were grown organically, and prepared, chopped and readied for the portable camp oven and stove. The potatoes were gobbled and the kale chips devoured. Oh for more time to cook some more. Even the chance to spend more time with the animals was temporarily forgotten. In less than ninety minutes, the kids and I for that matter, had a fine time seeing a bit of the farm, cooking and eating from it too. As the breeze began to fly and the hot sun considered setting, we were delighted to chalk up this effort toward an organic badge of some sort in the girl scout guide. And we did not need to ask from where this good meal came, as it was evident that thought, hard work and the earth each played a part.

© 2015, Jon Belber. All rights reserved. Friends of Holly Hill Farm

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