Shainna M. Callaway
The Farm with Lucky Clovers
Updated: Mar 29, 2020
While living in Maryland, we were surrounded by an Amish community that brought about stirrings of an unknown past just from their presence. Driving by a horse and buggy almost anywhere along the highways and back roads gave me a want to return to a simpler life where local food and hard work were not a personal choice. I had a desire to find a way to share with my daughter some of the things I learned from my mother or at fairs and expos as a child and never forgot, such as churning butter and the tasty thickness of fresh milk.
I researched the area and was able to find a CSA (community supported agriculture) farm that provided a weekly box of farm fresh vegetables and goodies throughout the entire year. We got a half a hog butchered from another farm which kept the deep freezer full of meats for almost a year. Then there was another farm that sold off their chickens before winter and we grabbed up what could fill the rest of the little freezer space we had left. Whatever else essentials we needed could almost all be found at the farmers market held each weekend. I felt blessed to live in such a productive area of fresh food.
In my research, I was able to find a farm near enough that sold raw “pet” milk since it is now illegal to sell raw milk for human consumption at least in the state of Maryland while we lived there until 2017. My husband drinks milk as if it is water. At that time, he was still an avid skim milk drinker. I wanted him to try fresh milk because I remember it had a flavor so different than pasteurized milk. My mother was a 2% drinker which is what I grew up not wanting to drink. If you’ve never had real milk, the difference would be comparable to drinking skim and then drinking whole milk. The step between drinking whole milk and real milk is just as dramatic, and it is delightful. If you take that same step backwards, then the milk appears to be watered down unnecessarily. Since then, at least, Ian has never switched back to skim milk.
P.A. Bowen Farmstead in Brandywine, Maryland gave tours to anyone wanting to see their farm, and I quickly signed us up for an outing. The owners happen to be highly intelligent and well intended farmers who are living their principles in a way that truly puts their money where their mouth is figuratively and literally. The wife is an author of nutritional science, and this farm is an embodiment of the genius they have acquired from researching the field. They also started a foundation that shares information on eating a better diet, and they have done all the leg work for anyone interested in where they should shop or which brands are fulfilling their real food promises. If you ever get an interest, check out the Weston A. Price Foundation for their shopping guide which is an amazingly reasonable $5. The cookbooks she authored are called Nourishing Traditions.
Their farm stands out from all the countless farms I have visited from living in the South just by scent alone. There was no manure or ammonia smell; just clean fresh air. They had a system of rotation where the cows moved from one pasture to the next and what followed was a mobilized chicken coop. I’m not sure why chickens eating cow manure isn’t a bad thing, but it wasn’t. They had hogs in the woods clearing out the underbrush and perfecting the soils for maybe another eventual pasture or farmland. It was the first time I had seen hogs used instead of goats, and the first time I saw hogs and yet did not smell hogs.
They also had all the trimmings for a state of the art system to corral the cows into a blissful state before being hooked up to be pumped. There were enormous back scratchers that looked similar to a car washer and the whole place was superbly inspection level clean. It followed the idea of “cleanliness is next to Godliness” in a reassuring way one wants when purchasing outlawed raw milk to bring home to the family.
The tour group was invited to come and help out on the farm on their chicken days. I'm not sure how often these occur, but she did say that anyone that helped to clean and de-feather the birds could take some home in gratitude. If I had not had to witness and occasionally help out on my own mother's farm, I might have took her up on that offer. I didn't exactly want that memory to share with my daughter. At least, not at 2 years old.
The most peculiar part for me was that as we toured this farm, I kept finding four leaf clovers. I am a bit of neurotic when it comes to clover patches. They always draw me in even when there is a whole world of interest around me. I also know it is off putting, the staring at the ground and such, and yet I continue to do it. Anyway, I found so many while walking along that I eventually was capable of making myself stop because of all the questioning looks I was starting to get from others in the tour group as they might have wondered what it was I kept picking from the side of the paths. Perhaps Mrs. Morell herself was questioning what I was collecting from her property, or she could have thought I was just some odd asian.
I have a trick for finding four leaf clovers, though. It’s quite simple. If you look for a square or a circle, then it easily stands out against the triangles. You just have to look for shapes instead of trying to count them at all.
I had so many that I was able to share them with my friends and still make myself a pair of bookmarks with all the excess lucky clovers. To date, I have not encountered many places that have this kind of abundance in lucky clovers. Only three times in my life have I seen this occur; once in New Orleans at Audubon Park in 2011, once in Italy at Parco Giardino Sigurtà in 2019, and then this farm in Brandywine, Maryland in 2015. It made the visit and overall experience, as special as it already was, just that much more blessed for me.
With the fondest of memories, I wish Geoffry and Sally Fallon Morell all the best luck and prosperity on their small corner of this world. May we all find a way to live a life as fulfilling as theirs. God bless them and their endeavors.
Much love and kind regards, Shainna 🌼🍀