Sara Schneider, our wine editor, tracked me down the other day to give me a gift. She found me chatting with Elizabeth Jardina, researcher-extraordinaire, and Alan Phinney, managing editor (also extraordinaire, of course) and handed over a nice, sleek cardboard box. You can imagine how special I felt being singled out by the wine editor, of all people, and being handed a gift. Who me? Gosh, thanks.

Was it special wine from an amazing organic vineyard? It didn't feel heavy enough to be a bottle. Magical seeds she'd procured?

I opened the box and instantly choked on a cloud of particulate matter. Ok, a slight exaggeration, but I essentially opened up a box of finely decomposed cow manure and a big 'ol cow horn. Um, thank you?

Sara had been given "horn manure" from  Paul Dolan, a partner at Mendocino Wine Company. The tradition of horn manure (cow poo fermented underground in a cow horn) comes from biodynamic farming.

This is what I understand about biodynamics:

  • It comes from a series of lectures given by Rudolf Steiner back in the '30s (Steiner also gave us  Waldorf education).
  • It involves paying very close attention to your land.
  • There are a lot of compost preparations, such as stuffing a cow horn with cow poo and burying it under your ground for a winter.
This is what I've never understood about biodynamics:
  • Stuffing a cow horn with cow poo and burying it under your ground for a winter
Listen, I am not meaning to poo-poo biodynamics (heehee). It is not a method of farming with which I am familiar. And yes, from the outside it seems very woo-woo. But I'm open to learning. I swear. I'm even going to make compost tea out of the horn manure and irrigate my crops with it.

But back to my story. The gift. Of horn manure.

So, Paul Dolan gave Sara his old horn manure. And then Sara gave it to me. And then I went home and thought long and hard about the decisions I've made in life to have reached this moment. The moment of being given the gift of cow poo in a box.


See what else our wine editor is up to here.

And learn more about the One Block Diet here.

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