People came last week to the Summer Solstice Party at Farmer D Organics’ Briarcliff store bearing dishes such as tri-color potato salad, fresh sliced tomatoes and basil, zucchini bread, and more (including my candied mint leaf brownies, of course). They were greeted by a bonfire, beautiful gardens, and a spinning composter filled with beverages. We ate and visited. Chickens entertained a little girl. And finally, I noticed some action happening in a far corner. A man was bent over a bucket where he was swirling a brown liquid with his outstretched arm, his hand submerged. “Ah, it’s Biodynamic prep time,” I thought to myself. These are the kinds of things I guess we consider normal in the Farmer D Organics world. My friends and I took turns swirling the liquid as well, forming a vortex to harness the energy of the cosmos. Farmer D came over and gave us an impromptu lesson about this particular preparation–chamomile blooms that composted in bovine intestines, manure that composted in a buried cow horn, valerian flowers, and more. He then poured it into a container, strapped it on his back and set off to spray the gardens with this vital life force.
I have much to learn about Biodynamic farming, although I’ve been reading about it and practicing some of its principles for years now. I know it was developed by Dr. Rudolph Steiner and communicated in a series of lectures. I know it proposes the creation of fully-balanced, integrated farm systems that return health and vitality to the earth, and works with the larger forces of the cosmos. I followed a Biodynamic calendar which I bought at Farmer D Organics last year, and found it very helpful to know when to plant and harvest with the moon. (Okay, full confession here: I mostly looked forward to the three days each month when you’re given permission to do nothing in the garden.) And I know that Farmer D has seen the positive results of Biodynamic farming first-hand on numerous farms and gardens where he has served as steward.
Farmer D Organics has a terrific selection of books both in-store and online to help you along in your farming and gardening education. Or you may get lucky and be there one day when your arm is needed, right there in the bucket, and you can learn, hands-on, as you’re doing.