Slow Food for Thought...

“Defending the earth means safeguarding biodiversity, the landscape and farming. Those who haven’t seen the importance of farming haven’t understood anything!”
Carlo Petrini, Founder of Slow Food

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Chefs on the Farm

"Something unique is happening at Quillisascut, placing this tiny goat-cheese farm -- named for a nearby creek at the forefront of a national movement known as 'sustainable food'." ~The Seattle Times

Chefs on the Farm: Recipes and Inspiration from the Quillisascut Farm School of the Domestic Arts by Shannon Borg & Lora Lea Misterly, Recipes by Karen Jurgensen, Photography by Harley Soltes, Foreword by Tom Douglas. For more information about the book please visit Mountaineers Books.

Qullisascut Farm and Lora Lea & Tom Misterly were in our second book, The New American Farm Cookbook. They probably influenced us more than any other of the farmers we met in our 45,000 miles of travel.

They were a young couple, raising Lora Lea's niece. Lora Lea was hand milking a bunch of Alpine goats and making about a thousand pounds of goat cheese, and a few hundred pounds of Jersey cow cheese a year...all by hand, when we met. Rick was working the farm, and also working a second job to feed the farm...all of it organic. They lived near Kettle Falls, Washington in the Northeast corner of the state. And every week Rick drove all the way to Seattle to sell his cheese at the Pike Place Market, as well as at a few hot restaurants. Their farm name was on those menus.

They were dirt poor, but passionate. They had a plan. They had a group of friends nearby who all farmed the rich soil around there organically. We spent a lot longer there than we ever expected, because of this visionary couple whose dreams were just so inspirational. And whose cheese was so darned good.

Over the years we have seen them and heard from them and about them. The farm has grown significantly in terms of complexity. And now it is an exciting place for chefs to go for a week, or more. They work on the farm, they visit other farms in the area and have an opportunity to butcher... dig in the dirt, forage, and cook with ingredients that are fresher than fresh. They can work in the cheese house... test recipes like blood sausage, for example. They can go for a week of bread making in a wood-fired oven. They can spend time with a very special miller in the area.

Everything exceptional about Chefs Collaborative, Slow Food, and all of the Pacific Northwest culinary groups are all wrapped up on this farm. I'm so proud of my friend Lora Lea, I sat and read through this book and wept.

We met 19 years ago. It really is possible for dreams to come true...although, as Lora Lea would say..."It takes a community to make them happen."

This book is a must for chefs, farmers, cooks and food-lovers everywhere.

-Linda Griffith

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