When Wrong is Right
Sometimes it is prudent to defy conventional wisdom.
This picture was taken a week ago, at the tail-end of winter, it seemed. We had just started grazing without supplementary hay, and were trying to assess pace at which to proceed. The convention, at the outset of the grazing season, is to move animals quickly and leave behind as much grass as possible, so it will regrow rapidly. This approach maximizes quantity of forage produced for the year. Grass that has been grazed short, as in the above, will not regrow as quickly because fewer solar panels are in place to stimulate growth.
Our approach was different. We grazed closely for a number of days, because grass wasn't growing much. In order not to graze as short as we did, we would have had to restrict cows and feed hay, which would have cost money. Grazing short costs money, as well, because grass doesn't regrow as fast, and thus there is less to consume during the course of the year. But given the tremendous surge of growth in this climate in the spring, it seemed like the lesser of costs.
The risk of grazing short at the outset is if it suddenly turns hot and dry, regrowth can be arrested entirely. We don't face much of that risk in May in this climate, but it could happen.
With warming weather this past week, grass is growing, and we are picking up the pace of movement, per grazing convention. Working with convention is more reassuring than working against it. Last week, I felt we were defying standards, which was discomforting, but felt it was right to do, given our situation.
Don't we all have to take such risks periodically, in daily living, work, and play? A new menu, a new route to work, and different subject at school, a different form of worship, an unconventioanal investment, a new approach to solving pain...; these all suggest that being wrong can be so right at moments in time.
Further, without mistakes, there is no progress. If we don't dare to be wrong, how do we advance personally and culturally? Many technological and scientific discoveries, which importantly augment our lives, have been derived by mistake. They have been wrongdoings turned into benefits.
So, in tension between right and wrong, we over-grazed, stomped, urinated, and pooped on the sodden pasture below, and will give it plenty of time to heal before returning. It is not advisable to try this approach at work, but it feels like we will get away with it on the farm this spring.
These strip steaks below are from a 10-year old cow. Flavor was outstanding, as with aged spirits, with the risk being tenderness. That is best address by cooking rare. We are also experimenting with various marinades to release tenderness. Tender and flavorful beef steaks are the hardest to produce consistently among the three red meats - beef, lamb, and pork. Beef grows for a much longer period of time than does a hog or lamb, and becomes many times bigger, creating more variablility. As we learn ever-more about the business of producing nutrient-dense, flavorful meats, with your partnership, we continue to uncover challenges to and secrets of success.
We will be attending Findlay Market this Saturday. There is no market at Hyde Park on Sunday, because of the Flying Pig Marathon. We will have one more market in Hyde Park at Clark Montessori the following Sunday, the 13th, and then will return to the Square.
In the shuffle between wrong and right,
Drausin & Susan
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