Pulling a warm egg from beneath a broody hen is a magical thing; the ruffled mummer as she relinquishes; the egg’s perfect, spherical warmth, its bone-smooth promise. And fitting so perfectly in the palm of the hand, as though the relationship between laying and gathering always was.
But when a new CSA member stopped by this week to say hello, to meet and greet with chickens and chard, I was unprepared for the power and imprint of memory on her visit.
Smooth, magical warmth – straight from the source.
She had grown up on a farm in Iowa, and her connection to that time seemed to rill through her as we did our walkabout.
On the way out, we visited the hens in the Cage Aux Fowl and, on putting a warm egg in her palm, she began to cry softly. Clearly, the evocation was almost too much.
There was some awkward silence as she held the egg – and her childhood – in her hand and struggled for composure. But she seemed grateful for the connection, the coup de coeur, that the experience summoned up.
The connective tissue of memory, even unconjured, ties us to a past when farming and growing food were everywhere and everyone took part. For most people, the relationship between a meal and its source was immediate. Now, in an age of industrialized distance from real food, more depth and awareness is vital. Small farms make that connection.
So I’m becoming an egg doner (The X in my male XY has made me so!) for more obvious reasons here at Stonegate, but if I can offer up the occasional Madeleine, how wonderful. If a farm can serve as a common metaphor for connecting to our past, our food, our deeper responsibilities to the planet, so be it. - Mb
Our fearless weeder, Jane Savage. She don’t stop ’till she gets enough.
Carpets of mixed loose-leaf and mesclun greens are getting that delicious ’70s shag. We can dig it!