One of the things that was lost with the introduction of supermarkets, quickie marts and drive-throughs was our connection to the land, the food that grows on it, and the farmer that makes it all possible. That vital connection to one of the most basic experiences of being human – nourishing ourselves from the land – is now somewhat strained. So many of us are yearning to re-establish that connection to our food and to fill the gap that has been growing ever more expansive with every processed and pre-made food purchase. In order to do that, we propose taking the easiest route back to where we started from, which is by finding the farmer – in this case, Andrea Bemis of Tumbleweed Farm.
When we first stumbled across Andrea’s blog, Dishing up the Dirt, we were giddy to say the least. Her beautiful photography and well-crafted recipes straight from her Oregon farm were spot on. Andrea is not only a seasoned food blogger, but a farmer too. She’s cute as a button, a talented chef, and a complete twist on what we expect to find when we envision ‘farmer.’ In an effort to reconnect with our roots and fulfill our modern day farming fantasies, we are putting on our overalls and knee-high rubber boots and getting our hands dirty on a day in the life of Andrea of Tumbleweed Farm.
When the rooster crows, I start my day by…
Chugging a green juice while reading over our seeding and harvest schedule for that particular day. My husband and I also chant our daily mantra before we step out into the fields. It sounds silly, but it sets a nice tone for the day. Here is what we say: “It’s all going to be okay, we rule, let’s get sh*t done.” Followed by a few fist pumps.
My daily work routine is…
I’m up with the sun. The early morning is when we harvest for local restaurants and markets. We usually drop off our produce and then get back to the farm for seeding, planting, irrigating, weeding and all other chores that need to get done.
The things i grow or raise are…
We grow over 50 different varieties of organic vegetables and are going to raise chickens for the 2014 season.
The hardest part of my day is…
Deciding to call it quits when the sun is going down. The work is never done and it’s hard to “leave” for the day.
Lunch is usually…
A big bowl of veggies with hummus, quinoa, and usually another green juice.
A creative aspect of my job is…
Sharing farm fresh recipes with our customers and CSA members. It is really important to me that our customers don’t get bored with their weekly vegetable boxes and continue to be inspired in the kitchen!
A day never goes by without…
A few curse words.
The most magical part of my day is…
Watching the sun set over our crops while enjoying an iced cold beer with my husband and dog after a long day spent hunched over in the dirt.
When the sun sets, I end my day by…
Taking a shower, followed by playing my favorite Pandora station, pouring a glass of wine and preparing a farm-fresh meal for my family.
Foods I eat that I don’t grow are…
Nuts, seeds, whole grains, avocados and citrus fruit.
The most unusual thing that happens on a farm is…
Sleeping in the greenhouse on particularly chilly nights in the early spring to make sure the temperature doesn’t drop below freezing in there. Or sleeping in the field on hot summer nights to scare the deer away.
I feel most rewarded by…
Hearing what people are cooking for their families with our produce!
The crop that I will always grow is…
One thing most people don’t know about a farmer’s life is…
We feel naked when we are washed up, not wearing our Carhartt overalls, and don’t have a pocket knife on us.
We view our role in the community as…
Very important. Feeding our friends and community healthy and sustainable food has become something we are extremely passionate about.
I wish people understood…
When you own a farm you are not the boss. Your farm calls all of the shots. You just have to be prepared for anything she throws at you!
Purchasing from a farmers market is important because…
You literally get to know your farmer. You can shake hands, ask questions, and get to know the person who grew the food you are eating and feeding to your family. I think that is really powerful.
We have fun by…
Swimming in the irrigation ditch on hot summer days.
Shopping tips: Organic, or free of pesticide use, the same or different?
If something is labeled organic at the grocery store it has been “certified,” so I would usually go with that. If something is labeled “pesticide free” it hasn’t been certified organic and there is some grey area there. However, both of these options are better than conventional produce. My biggest tip is to shop locally whenever it’s possible.
You can find us...
Serving up the freshest of produce at The White Salmon and Gorge Grown farmers markets in the Hood River area of Oregon.
My most loved recipe created from my farm is...
Curried cauliflower and chickpea soup.
Curried Cauliflower and Chickpea Soup
2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 large head (about 2 lbs) of cauliflower, chopped into florets
1 15-oz can organic chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tsp good-quality curry powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
4-5 cups vegetable stock
1 cup coconut milk
salt and pepper to taste
Garnish: cilantro, crushed red pepper flakes, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice
- Heat a large soup pot over medium heat with the coconut oil. Add the onion and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, cumin and curry powder, and cook for about 1 more minute, stirring often. Add the cauliflower, chickpeas, veggie stock and a few healthy dashes of salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes.
- Using an immersion blender, puree the soup (you can do this in batches with a regular blender as well) until smooth.
- Stir in the coconut milk. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes.
- Serve warm with plenty of chopped cilantro.
Ugh I really aspire to have a garden and farm so this post was awesome – thank you!! Oh and that recipe – looks delicious!
You’re so welcome, Mackenzi!
What a great interview! Andrea is the full package!
I’m so excited to see your profile and support of Tumbleweed Farm and other CSA ventures. I subscribe to Andrea’s posts and love trying out her amazing recipes. Life pretty much hasn’t been the same since discovering beet pizza and gingerbread smoothies….
She’s a game changer for sure, Shannon!
Can’t wait too try the cauliflower soup!
Let us know how it turns out, Pam!
Nepotism aside (she’s my sister), I couldn’t think of a better profile for The Chalkboard. The blood, sweat and tears that go into doing what Andrea and Taylor do makes these recipes that much sweeter. Here’s to bounty in 2014!
What a family!
What a great feature! I love Andrea, and it was great to get a peek at her daily life 🙂
We love her too, DessertForTwo!
Thanks for the great feature on our farm and blog. You guys are the best!
It was our honor and pleasure, Andrea!
Such a perfect profile for The Chalkboard… thanks guys!
Thank you for reading, Jess!
Thank you so much for featuring Andrea! I have been a reader of her blog for a while now, her stunning photography + veggie meals are just perfection. I just love everything about this.
So glad you enjoyed the feature, Sherrie!