Come on in! How did you find us? If you are a faithful follower that tracked me down from the old blog site, I am so thrilled to see you, you early-bird you!
We’re having a lot of fun (and a few headaches!) moving to our new blog home here, and we haven’t finished unpacking yet! Watch out for all those boxes and papers, spilling code and drafts and edits everywhere …. That sawing sound? That’s my SEO guy, trying to hack into the mainframe.
I’ve always been known for my stellar content and astral copy, but my CSS skills (or was it HTML? Or SOL?), are in the Sorely Lacking category. That’s why it takes me longer. Trust me, I’ll stick to what I’m good at and find People for the rest.
If you’re peeved at me for not writing on the old blog for the past year, and curious as to why I moved to a new platform and am suddenly barraging you with posts and letters (does one really, really fabulous post count as a barrage?), read on, Fascinated One.
During my husband’s deployment through 13-’14, I spent less time on the computer and more time filling my hours with our baby, volunteering on New Earth Farm in Eastern Virginia. An organic, biodiverse, sustainable, water-conserving farm led by Farmer John and his business partner Kevin and their team, this is a farm that is shaking things up. We troweled in the dirt, washed eggs, worked the farmer’s market stand, dug potatoes, chased sheep and watched lambing, picked kale with red-numb fingers in December and harvested tomatoes in sweat-sticky August. I started working at the farm as a fermentation and food preservation expert, and following the vision of our farm manager Kevin, we developed an entirely new facet of the farm called the Food Lab. Here, in an airy, high-ceilinged building designed by interned architects and built entirely by donations, we experiment with food, create, invent, fail and laugh, and I teach classes in our new Food Lab – kombucha, advanced kombucha, sauerkraut, charcuterie, pasta, canning, lacto-fermentation … and I take the classes mobile, too, teaching at Williams-Sonoma, Whole Foods, Norfolk Botanical Gardens, local garden clubs, private classes, area shops and markets.
I finished my 200-hour yoga teacher training, took a prenatal yoga teacher training to add to my Simkin Center doula training and then immersed myself in a few other teacher trainings both in Virginia and in Seattle, meeting Manju Jois, Troy Lucero, Suzanne Hite and other yoga legends (I am heading off to the Baron Baptiste Level One training in August 2014! Very excited). I’m still writing for the San Francisco Book Review and their Alphabet Soup and Critical Eye blogs, and I began writing for a magazine after they came to the farm for a photo shoot and a four-page spread on the Food Lab. Journalists and magazine writers from around the world started calling for media visits every week; schools drove buses of children out for tours. All – and I mean all – the top chefs in our area, keen on the best tasting, freshest produce and the unusual weeds, bugs and herbs we could provide, started descending on the farm and hammering us with questions, the most passionate of them digging in the dirt themselves and foraging with us for wild plants. They started inviting me in to their kitchens for private, pre-hours sessions with them, working to create the most delicious, unusual, ancient foods together. Farm Table events, where brilliant chefs designed a menu based on whatever we had to harvest that day and fourteen paying participants attend to cook and eat with the chef, started selling out back to back.
Whole Foods, Williams-Sonoma, local goat farms, butchers and pork farms, Bonfire Magazine, and other wonderful area providers and organic farms joined the charge as class sponsors, providing ingredients, tools, publicity, whole-hearted support. A photographer volunteered her time to come shoot events, edit the photos and get them back to us – she shot all the pictures in this post! An appliance store donated a dishwasher. Area chefs donated used tools. Farm visitors donated cash, kitchen gear, time to paint and sweep and mop, just plain shook our hands and encouraged us to keep doing what we were doing. Contractors gave tools and materials for our building, time, skill. With a massive group effort, the building was put together, the classes fell into place, and the people started coming.
With the scope of the blog ever evolving and my audience constantly growing, the name of the blog itself evolved and I found I had to move to a different platform – quite a daunting prospect in the blog world, but I was ready to take it on with your faithful reading support! All the good information on the old blog will stay there, safely housed and accessible for us to search, read and bookmark, and the best posts will also be imported over to the new blog platform to find a fresh, new look. Things like how to eliminate some of the trash that flows from the home starting in the kitchen, or one of our hottest posts of all time – my booklist top picks and recommendations! Even how to make yourself a back-alley cheese press with these cheap items you already have in your kitchen, and if you’re in the mood for food, whip up a deviled meat spread (we have a vegetarian option, too!).
If you need something fresh to read and you’re bored, check out fantastically well-written articles by yours truly on topics such as my favorite home-made deodorant, a sneaky trick for frothing milk without a frother, a cold overnight salad that will make your family fall in love, and a list of 66 awesome things to do with your Vitamix. Did I make those sound pretty good or do I need to tempt you with a recipe for laundry detergent, too? I know, who could resist that!
Watch in shock and awe as farm-tested recipes straight from the field roll out, photos and news clips and tutorial videos, hilarious and piquing interviews, even horror stories roll out on the new blog! You’ll even start seeing things for sale. Is a cookbook in the works? I can’t say anything officially. But If I said two new cookbooks, would you believe me …? Yes, I knew you would. If I said one was a raw food cookbook, and the other was a seasonal farm cookbook … I know, you’re already pulling out your wallet to buy copies for you and all your friends. Don’t make me blush!! Events will be posted on the blog so you can find when a class is coming to a city near you, and class tours will start to open up nationwide as I do a West Coast series in August in Seattle, Washington and travel to Williamsburg in September to teach in my favorite town! And you can always visit us on the farm for a tour, a class, or just lunch with the farmhands – every day but Sunday, at about noon. We’d love to have you.