Monday, October 13, 2008

It's harvest time

Last Friday I had the opportunity to help a local farmer with his harvest.  To be honest I wasn't sure what I was getting into, but my friends Jenny and Travis were going to visit Brandon at his farm, so I wanted to tag along.

I got to know Brandon this summer when he came out to play frisbee.  I had heard about his experiments growing these grains that aren't native to North America, but can be part of sustainable agriculture.  These crops provide the best bang for the buck, since they are all high in protein.  He received a grant to grow grains in southeast Ohio, to see if this is something that can be viable for the area.  He is growing amaranth, quinoa, millet, and buckwheat.  I only got to help harvest the amaranth and millet. (Oh yeah, and some heirloom corn that is going to be used at the local bakery for tortillas.)  

But back to the A and M.  The amaranth is beautiful with this intense maroon plant and flower.  Here is a picture I borrowed from some online source.  Some of the types are completely maroon.  Even the leaves.

After harvest, it must dry to make it easy to get the seeds out of.  Then it gets threshed.  Which is basically stomping the heck out of it.  Then you get to sift it through a mesh to separate the seeds from the rest.  This gets tough but can be meditative.  So the threshing part is more party like and festive.  Winnowing (the separation state) is more focused.

The same process goes for millet.  Though, we only harvested and threshed the millet.  Didn't winnow.  

So that was my farm experience.  

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