Ham hock & Bean soupI grew up with bowls of ham hocks and beans, a classic stick to your ribs comfort food that doesn’t break the bank. My guess, given that my mother grew up poor on a southern Idaho farm and my father grew up poor on a middle of Montana farm, is that this was a dish they had in common (and trust me, they didn’t have all that much in common – wink). They divorced when I was 4, but this dish was a staple with both parents for my entire childhood. Read the rest of this entry »

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Copyright Stitch Fix

© Stitch Fix

OK, I realize this is a 90 degree turn from farming, but a girl still wants to look good when she’s not wearing carhartts and mud boots, right?! And really, this is a post about trying to find the balance between consumerism and minimalism, between living deliberately vs looking like you’ve given up all together, between fashion and farming. Read the rest of this entry »

PoachedPearFinishedwatermarkI got this recipe from a friend some 25 years ago, while working at a photo lab in Boulder Colorado. It is still one of my go-to recipes for a simple elegant dessert. Got a half bottle of left over wine sitting around? Try these. Seriously. You won’t be disappointed. Read the rest of this entry »

Snow Farm Implement

First snow. When it all seemed charming.

Years ago, I took a summer biology class at the Mountain Research Station near Nederland Colorado. During the course of that wonderful week, there was a conversation with our instructor, in which she was talking about an old friend of hers, who used to do work at the station, and was now suffering from Alzheimer’s. She would go to visit him, and ask him questions about his past, to keep him engaged. At one point, she asked, “What’s your favorite season”. And his answer has always stuck with me, these 20+ years later. “WINTER, because it’s so dynamic!” I try to remember this, as I witness how snow transforms the landscape, softening edges, hushing the noise, insulating the world from all insults. Read the rest of this entry »

Thin cornmeal pancakesAfter my dad (1995) and step-mother (1999) passed away, I spent some time cleaning out the house I grew up in, and found a cache of recipes my father had clipped from various newspapers over the years. My step-mom tended to be the meat and potatoes cook of the house, but my father loved to bake. (I just used his Kitchen-Aid standing mixer today). I kept the recipes that sounded interesting, scanned them, and I’ve worked my way through most of them over the years. Read the rest of this entry »

Cranberry Ambrosia MoldThere are certain foods from my childhood that I tend to refer to as “food porn”. You know, those foods that you KNOW aren’t really healthy, and are pretty much nothing like how you eat now, but that when put in front of you, you eat until you can’t see straight. You have no resistance. The combination of sugar, fat, and nostalgia are irresistible. Read the rest of this entry »

Fall LeavesWow. These last few months just FLEW by. I did my last farmers market of the season on October 29th. I did my first market of the season on April 30th. We got rained out of four. (Because all of my soap and jam labels are paper, rainy markets and I don’t mix. Even though I’m under a tent, its almost impossible to keep everything dry.) We took one additional Saturday off. So I did a total of 47 market days, in four different locations, this year. My sales were up about 40%, so the move into the Pendleton and Richland markets was a good one, even though the first year at a new market is always about building your brand and customer base with the locals. I attribute a large part of the increase to my being able to offer jams throughout the year. Jams were about 27% of my sales this year. Mostly, I am thrilled to be finished. I’ve been pretty darned brain dead these last few weeks. Read the rest of this entry »

Magic Manna Flour Corn Harvest

Magic Manna Flour Corn

When a farmer says corn, no doubt the first thing that comes into your head is sweet corn, dripping with butter, maybe hot off the grill. I know that’s what I think of. But corn has a long and fascinating history. Corn is thought to have been domesticated at least 7,000 years ago, somewhere in central Mexico, from a wild grass called Teosinte. Modern day corn is a plant that literally can not survive without human input, as it needs to be planted and harvested by us in order to continue. It is (or was) a crop with huge genetic diversity. The US Department of Agriculture’s Plant Introduction Station in Ames, Iowa holds 19,780 different samples or “accessions” of corn from around the world. Read the rest of this entry »

IMG_20160920_143854353_HDRwatermarkWhen I first started canning, I’d get overwhelmed with a particular item of produce that was available in abundance, and thumb through my canning books looking for recipes that used that fruit or vegetable. For instance, I once had an abundance of peaches, and had already canned plenty of them, so I made peach chutney. The problem? We don’t really eat chutney (this recipe excepted). So it languished on the shelf, beautiful but unwanted, and eventually, several years later, I opened the jars and fed it to the chickens. Read the rest of this entry »

Old Door Hardware

This is the hardware on a small storage shed. History baby.

A few of you who have been following me from the beginning, way back in July 2010 when I had more time to post, know that for the first year and a half or so of this blog, I was living on a farm north of Spokane Washington while my husband was mostly in Walla Walla and came up only on weekends, due to job issues. This almost 20 acre piece of ground just south of Elk Washington is really special. It was homesteaded in 1903, and we suspect that the house, barn and one other outbuilding were built from hand-hewn trees felled on the property. There are some HUGE tree stumps on the hillside below the house. Strong hard-working people built this place, and it is still in amazing shape 100+ years later. Read the rest of this entry »

Jennifer Kleffner

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