In 2006, I wrote for In the Kitchen, a free publication devoted entirely to locally sourced food. My column was aptly named The Farm Chef since I was running a small farm-to-table restaurant at a local Inn in Nelson County. At that time there were very few of us who would actually take the time to go to the farm and procure ingredients. We used Polyface chicken, Blue Heron Farm produce, and had a huge garden in the backyard. We grew lettuces, winter greens, horseradish root, and anything else we could get to grow. I preserved the harvest by canning and pickling. Whenever I walked into the dining room to meet guests, I could honestly feel their contentment. The restaurant was always busy, and it was a bittersweet decision to leave all of that.
I stopped “officially “cooking and writing in 2007. I started Caromont Farm that year, and since then my head and heart have been immersed in trying to make great cheese in the state of Virginia. We now tend over 150 goats, chickens, cows, peacocks, and guard dogs, not to mention numerous interns and employees. I’ve been blissfully overwhelmed with farming, and well – life. I’ve challenged myself in ways I’ve never dreamed I could or would want to ever again. Glossy magazines with beautiful photos make farming look glam. Spoiler alert – it’s not glam! It is, however, the best work you could ever hope to do. It gets in your blood and it stays there. Every day, every season, every year brings a richness that cannot be duplicated. They say that happiness begins at the end of your comfort zone. This applies to me.
So, after 10 years in the farming trenches, I’ve decided to re-blog, but this time around there will be no sugarcoating. I hope you enjoy the honest reflection and join in the adventures to come as we boldly approach the next decade. We will share it all, one week at a time.