PLENTY SUMMER 2020 | Page 5

Story PHOTOS: WIB MIDDLETON for their wine and ambience. As we wait our turn at the sweet one lane bridge, the creek ambling below eases us. Montevideo is one of 99 roads designated by Montgomery County as Rustic Roadways, through a program aimed at protecting the historic character of these byways. We are both struck by a long vista dotted in scarlet set in deep green. Crimson Clover is being planted as a “cover crop” to help transition farm acreage to more soil healthy practices, known as regenerative agriculture. A growing number of the Reserve’s farms are employing these practices to better boost crop yields and increase moisture retention, among other benefits. I recall one of my favorite tours with agricultural advocate Saahthi Revathi, visiting with her son from India. She is widely celebrated for bringing back her country’s farmland from devastating saltwater intrusion after the major tsunami in 2009. My plan to provide schooling about our good farming practices was thankfully upended by her extraordinary insights as to how we can and must work with nature rather than struggle with it, providing a pivotal moment in my understanding the importance of maintaining the delicate balance of life in soil. After together helping, very gingerly, a large cantankerous snapping turtle across Hunting Quarter Road, we make our way past fields of winter wheat, newly planted corn, grazing horses and alpacas to St. Paul Community Church, the heart of the Sugarland Forest community. Sugarland is one of more than ten of the Reserve’s historic African Ameri- future hold. I love these outings. They are never the same and are always enriching as I learn what matters to others who are not steeped, as I am, in this place. We talk as we drive about the imperative for bolstered local food production and better stewardship for forests, habitat, and water resources, agreeing that the Reserve will help to meet these goals in the years to come. Catching the breathtaking view of Rocklands Farm as we roll along Montevideo Road, you vow to return with friends and family Opposite: Field cover of crimson clover; top: Seneca Store; above, one-lane bridge at Rocklands Farm Winery. plenty I summer growing 2020 5