I pulled into the driveway, kicking up uneven stones that seemed to eagerly tell the stories of each weathered soul that may have crossed it’s ground. Where the dirt met the door, the old farmhouse rose wistfully out of the gravel, it’s weary windows keeping watch over the fertile ground sprawled before it.

A sense of familiarity washed over me as I toed up to the dirtied glass screen door. A familiarity that whispered,
“No need to knock, warmth welcomes the weary traveler.”

Although I was hardly a weary traveler, the somewhat dark entryway lingered as though it was trying to tell me I was. The dreariness only lasted a breath, as it was immediately brightened by the heartfelt smile of Libby Mills, who greeted me at the door.

Libby, our nutritional and cooking coach for the evening, soon created an atmosphere that exuded enthusiasm, comfort, and bravura. Her passion for food was so transmissible that it beamed energy into every bowl, every utensil, every vegetable, and every person that gathered around he farm table that night.

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I had no idea what to expect out of this cooking class. All I knew was:

  1. You could bring your own wine
    For those that know me well, you know that there is nothing more satisfying than pouring myself a glass of wine and cooking a new recipe.

  2. It was veggies all the way
    This “week of vegetables” was PERFECT! My roommate and I had just signed up for a farm share program that delivers fresh locally grown produce and eggs right to our company’s doorstep (take that, U.S. food conglomerates!)

Baskets of red radishes, orange carrots, purple turnips, green asparagus, chickpeas, and herbs decorated the 10-foot table, looking as if they were just plucked from a rainbow.

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The kitchen embodied everything that I was to feel that night: community and passion. Our host, Sally Hammerman, who runs the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm called “In My Backyard at Misty Hollow,” darted around as if everyone in the kitchen was already family.

There were about 15 people gathered around the table when we began.

Libby had us work in small groups to chop, mix, toss, and cook a different recipe that was on her list of about 15 for the night. After each group was finished, they would explain their process, and pass it around family-style so that everyone could try it their dish!

I ended up trying a lot of new things. Turnips, BBQ tofu, cooked radishes, garlic scape, chickpeas straight from the pod…

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Some of the recipes were SO phenomenal that I went out the next day and bought the ingredients I needed to make some for myself.

Libby would float around the kitchen, giving helpful hints, tips, and advice on the recipes we were making. She even taught me how to shred cabbage the right way (you’d think something like that would be simple, but if you’ve never done it before, the knowledge was not easily accessible)!

It’s amazing how quickly bonds can form between strangers when you simply share a kitchen. The constant earnest dialogue of passing vegetables, sharing baking pans, and clearing plates created an enticing synergy of give and take.

Someone’s hard work being enjoyed by you.
Your hard work being enjoyed by them.

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I imagine this is what Misty Hollow is like. Community Supported Agriculture, that is. A synergy of give and take. An encouragement of passive consumers to become active shareholders. Working on the farm gives you the complete knowledge of how your food grows and where it comes from.

We cooked, we ate, we laughed and we learned.

Post a comment if you would like any recipes 🙂

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