October 23rd, 2011

Landarbeiters

In a muddy drizzle last week, we harvested the last of the oak leaf and lolla rosa lettuce, tilled under the remaining rain-stunted eggplant and peppers, and yanked out the tangled sprawl of tomatoes in the orchard.

The normally solemn end-of-season ritual was buoyed by some cranking iTunes, although “This is the End” by the Doors didn’t do much to lift the mood.

Antonia and Maren, Bavarian Gothic.


When I say “we” I mean my seasonal intern Maren and her friend Antonia, two city girls from Munich. When you’ve come of age on pavement, as I did, there’s something exotic about organic dirt. Not the urban kind, but the beautiful, complex soil one builds over years of sustainable farming.

So we wallow in it. We top-dress it with compost, we till in manure, we rake and coddle it into cake flour.  Winter will be here soon enough, and render it as hard and unyielding as stone.

Besides the Fall ritual of soil farming, we harvested some imperfect organic apples this week–blotched and mottled and beautiful. One antique variety, Hidden Blush, had a tart, rose-streaked interior.  Another, Melrose, was the size of a softball, with a complex acid sweetness.

The Downing orchard is planted with historic apples and pears that were cultivated more than 150 years ago by famed landscape architect, pomologist and Newburgh native Andrew Jackson Downing.  The orchard’s references to history and place are important to our mission here at Stonegate. Because the farm is on the National Historic Register, we’re intent on cultivating history as well, from antique apples to heirloom greens.

Some fruit this season was too far gone to be more than cider or chicken feed (five weeks of rain and two hurricanes saw to that!), but growing organic tree fruit will always be an unrequited affair.  As the Beatles said:  “The love you take is equal to the love you make.”

And the love we took from the farm this year was bountiful.  Thank you for taking part.     –Mb


WINTER EGGS: The Winter Egg Share begins this week.  CSA members can stop by anytime and pick up eggs on the front porch.  Please take only a half-dozen at a time, so there’s enough to go around, and latch the box when you leave.  Enjoy!


Organic Gardening magazine has a feature out this month on Stonegate Farm, called “The Accidental Farmer.”  Check it out at Organic Gardening.com or pick it up at the newsstand.


In case, god forbid, you can’t get enough, follow Us on Twitter at Stonegate Farm


ME-DIA: Latest comedy of air-ors: CBS Early Show and Regis & Kelly.


Contact Us: If you have any information you’d like to share, or comments, feel free to drop us a line: Stonegate Farm


Stonegate Farm

4 Stonegate Drive

Balmville, NY 12550

Copyright (C) 2011 Stonegate Farm All rights reserved.

Forward this email to a friend

Remove me from this list

*|IF:REWARDS|*

*|HTML:REWARDS|*

*|END:IF|*

Tags: , , ,

Comments

    I just found your blog and I’m enjoying reading through the older entries. Will you resume posting in the Spring?

Post a comment




    Comments:






OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image
OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image
OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image
OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image
OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image
OGFooter image OGFooter image
OGFooter image OGFooter image
OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image
OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image
OGFooter image OGFooter image
OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image
OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image
OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image
OGFooter image OGFooter image
OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image
OGFooter image OGFooter image
OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image