Farm Happenings at Against the Grain
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Sixth Week of 2021 CSA, Making Hay While the Sun Shine and the Breeze Blows

Posted on June 25th, 2021 by Holly Whitesides

Greetings from Against the Grain and welcome to the sixth week of the 2021 CSA!

Just like previous weeks, the customization period begins once this notification lands in your inbox (which should be around noon on Friday) and will end at 11:59pm on Sunday, June 27th.  During this customization window, you can make swaps to your box and add extras.  Pick up your box at your chosen location on Wednesday, June 30th.  Just as a reminder, if you'd like to change pick up locations for the share that is currently open for customization, please email Harvie support to request that change  Always feel free to double check with Holly to make sure the change was made.  It is so important to the farm that CSA members have flexibility in their pick up location.

If you'd like to donate your box, change your pick up location to the FARM Cafe and email Holly to let her know you'd like to share the love!

This week's newsletter offering is, once again, brought to you by M Mueller, Biodynamic farm worker at ATG.

In the week following the solstice the hay continued to ripen, and on Wednesday we cut and tedded (spread) it to dry. In the following days we raked and baled it. While the hay lay on the ground it spread a delicious aroma through the farm; to me it seemed to have a slightly fruity scent in addition to the cut-grass smell familiar at this time of year; it held a deep familiarity, like the smell of a new baby.  

That smell awoke in me something greater than the idyllic associations one has with haymaking. Like a book opening, the aroma began to remind me of the past year, like an olfactory history, you could say, of years past leading to this moment. That fruity scent is a sign of good fertility, good water and good attention to the needs of the grass organism of the farm. In the same way we cultivate our food crops with tenderness, we grow the fodder we feed to our animals with similar care and attention.  

In the new mown hay I smell the cool rainy spring we just passed through; I smell the transformed goodness of the turkey litter dropped last autumn, which slowly seeped into the ground through the winter and is now reflecting back up in the growing grasses; the non-GMO grain we fed the turkeys performed its own transformation from grains that the previous summer sun had ripened, passing into the bellies of the birds and making its alchemical changes into the freshness of life and growth. In fact, the memory of the entire preceding year is evident to us if we just take a moment to inhale the fragrances of time transformed into leaves of grass. The course of the sun and moon through the constellations, the planets zigzagging their paths across the sky, comets and eclipses and alignments and oppositions all had their ineffable effects on the tender growing grass that is infinitely more attuned to such things than humans are. Neither moving nor thinking, the plants are silent witness to all that has transpired in the heavens above and the earth below. And when the mower cuts the grass and drops it on the ground, the plants testify exactly what they have imbibed from the heavens and the earth. With the decision to cease turkey production the farm has committed to a different form of fertilization this year, something called the cow-pat, or barrel compost, preparation. Next season the new mown hay will reveal to us what it thinks and smells of our evolving cultural practices and this new source of fertility.  

This hay we cut will feed our cows and goats through the winter. They in turn will provide the basis of our fertility next year. When we gather their manure for compost, we will be continuing the cycle of growth and transformation into higher levels of life necessary to grow food crops good for us humans undergoing the fierce demands of our times. This week as you taste the food our farm provides, join those beautiful tastes present on your palate with this picture of the hay and all that its growth represents. This is what we give you from Against the Grain!

Much Love and Happy Eating,

Holly,  Andy and the ATG Crew