I was born and raised on Mercer Island (aka Poverty Rock), a child of the late 50’s who grew up dining out in fine restaurants and shopping at Bellevue Square (before it was a square). But now I am coming full circle – I’m going to farm school!
Even though our family hobby was dining out, I was a wanna-be hippie in the late 60’s and early 70’s and thought my dream was to live in an A-Frame cabin above a river in the woods. Backpacking, camping and sporting a tree of frizzy hair with no make up were part of that dream. (see lovely photo on right!)
I moved on though and soon opted for first class hotels and five star restaurants, and spent 20 years managing trendy restaurants and living in Los Angeles and Seattle while giving the fast and furious life a good run.
A decade of marketing Washington wine across the country, sipping world-class wines, meeting tastemakers and attending and producing culinary events added a nice layer to my life and knowledge base. A five-year stint at Seattle Magazine rounded out the lifestyle category for me and now I was playing with a full deck of tools to start Peha Promotions, a media-marketing business focused on the wine and culinary world. Add to that my bi-monthly talk show Table Talk Radio That Tastes Good which gives me an outlet to bring Northwest tastemakers to a wider audience.
I have always loved the food world. I learned to love wine. People have always been my energy provider and my passion. It is learning though that has become more important with each year of my life and the curiosity to seek experiences that keep filling the treasure chest. That’s where farm school comes in.
The opportunity to attend Quillisascut Farm School of the Domestic Arts was presented to me at a recent media dinner by writer Leslie Kelly, (Seattle Weekly, Al Dente) who was planning on attending. This particular workshop is designed for food writers and journalists, to help broaden our knowledge of the methods, origins and ingredients behind the food we eat. It includes hands on cooking, gardening, goat milking and farm tours, with time for reflecting, writing and sharing.
Lora Lea and Rick Misterly started the Quillisascut (Quil-li-sas-cut) Farm School in 2002, outside of Rice, WA. “We want our farm to be a place where people can learn together, to understand where their food is coming from,” says Lora Lea.
The Misterlys’ vision for the farm soon encompassed the larger community of farmers, chefs, restaurateurs, and others who have a place in the farm-to-table continuum. Lora Lea and Rick want to show us the intricate web that links producers and consumers with the land.
The workshop application required a short essay about why I would want to do this, asking for an “aha-moment” I’ve had and how this experience would further my goals. An excerpt from my essay follows:
“I work with many food companies, chefs and other culinary related products and realized I have never really had a true farm experience. Recently I visited a sustainable lamb farm and was able to open my eyes to the total food process from farm to table. Having been a foodie since birth; seriously dining out as a hobby growing up and then 20 years in the restaurant field; I have always been close to food. This farm experience however brought me to a place I had never really been in order to connect all the dots. I learned how much care and feeding farm animals raised for food actually take, I made the connection to the food source and now have a much greater appreciation and understanding of this cycle. Now when interviewing chefs, food producers and farmers I can do so with a deeper knowledge as well as sharing this knowledge with others who are also anxious to learn more.”
So, I am off to Farm School August 3-7 and I admit I’m a little nervous. Can I hack it on a farm? I know I can work hard, but this is a different kind of work than I am used to doing. I’m going back to my tree full of frizzy hair for a few days, my old hiking boots and no make-up. I can’t wait to share my experiences and a few “blackmail-worthy” photos with you all. Wish me luck.