A thing of beauty is a joy forever—be it a poem or a perfectly ripe tomato. And as we learned from Geraldine Pluenneke’s 2009 story, “The Poet, Grounded,” the joys of the page and palate converge at Amagansett’s own Quail Hill Farm in the shape of its director, Scott Chaskey.
“You easily spot him among the thousand attending the January Northeast Organic Farmers Association conference in upstate New York,” Pluenneke writes. “He’s board president of the 1,700-member group. He’s everywhere: mentoring growers on organic farms, coaching five farm apprentices, teaching in local elementary schools then guiding children’s hands as they learn to seed, touring graduate students over Quail Hill fields. At last July’s potluck supper in the apple orchard, yes, there was the soft-spoken, bearded farmer reading one of his poems, for as his passport indicates his profession is farmer-poet.”
This marriage of the earthy and the elevated is everywhere found on the grounds of Quail Hill Farm, and not just in Chaskey’s writing (the most recent example of which, Seedtime, can be found here). No, Quail Hill Farm has hosted senators and, just last year, published its own recipe e-book.
But for Chaskey, writes Pluenneke, “the bottom line for agriculture across the land and in the solitude of the back field is sustainability. ‘It takes nature 700 years to build one inch of topsoil. The world’s six-inch layer of topsoil upon which all agriculture depends is endangered by intensive industrial farming.’ A frightening reality Chaskey hopes to mitigate, he says, by reviving “an effective NOFA organic seed program that [connects] farmers and consumers with the importance of maintaining a viable diverse organic seed supply.”
If that sounds like poetry to your ears, as it does to mine, you can read the entire
ode article here.