Jeff Poppen, TheBarefootFarmer

My aha moment: discovering life in Winter

Out&About
By Ashleigh Prince By Ashleigh Prince

out&about is my personal journey of discovery asking questions and getting more informed. I want to share my findings with you so we can travel the journey together.

I went up to visit my friend Jeff Poppen, better known as ‘The Barefoot Farmer’ at his farm. I wanted to make bread with him and ask him about the soil; what’s happening with it now, that it’s winter.

It was a lovely evening. We caught up with one another, our conversations turn deep pretty quickly. It’s amazing how spiritual talking about the land and food can be.

We made this wonderful loaf of wheat bread, all by hand and it was delicious to eat with melting butter and local honey.

He made a fresh salad from the most gorgeous spinach I’ve seen and the taste: sweet. And cabbage, a big head just picked from the land. We had butternut squash, he had pork something and I had black beans. It was a very nourishing and delicious meal and everything came from his land or very nearby.

He lives in a 100+ year wood house that he and friends have updated and it has this lovely old cast iron fire stove. The fire was roaring, the rain was coming down hard and we cozily tucked away in the warmth.

I asked him about the soil and what was happening to it over the winter. He asked me to look out the window and to tell him what I saw. “Bare trees, a grey cat, and not much more”.

Sprout growing

He said all the life that we see in the Spring, Summer above the ground, returns to the ground during Fall and Winter. “The land is most alive in Winter”, he said.

That has been something I’ve been pondering about ever since: so now when I look out at the bareness of winter, I think about what lies beneath and the regeneration that is occuring for what’s to come.

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