What has the response to the blog been like and did you get many followers?
The feedback from the blog was really positive. I ended up connecting with my camp counselor when I was ten through that, and ended up following my journey with them and that was really nice. I think I was averaging probably 75–100 views a week at one stage. That’s something I would like to be better at this year.
We hear that you were also involved in a TV show about gardening—can you tell us a bit about that? How did it come about? What was it all about?
I was already a subscriber to the Beekman Boys website. I loved their TV show and thought it was really cool that they came from a city (just like me) and bought a farm on a whim and became goat farmers and vegetable farmers. Watching them be successful at that was inspiring, knowing I too could someday succeed and be successful with this.
It then came out that they were trying to do a nationwide community garden in connection with Williams-Sonoma and they were looking for people for each of the various growing zones to be their master gardeners and to be active on their online community to answer questions. We were all to grow the same ten heirloom seeds from a packet supplied us.
Of the heirloom seeds supplied, the two most interesting were the Black Cherry Tomatoes that have the most sweetest concentrated tomato flavor you can get and are a dark purple—really beautiful. And something called a Hubbard Squash, which we started growing. The plants got huge, but we could never find any fruit happening. Then one day, when I was walking by the patch, I nearly stepped on one of them and was amazed when I finally saw it. I don’t know how I missed it—they look like dead turkeys, about 40 or 50 pounds, each! So sweet, better in a pumpkin pie than a pumpkin, but you do need a chainsaw to get into them!
One of the big pushes for the project (and one of my big beliefs) is that our seeds have history and that diversity is so important. You can get all kinds of wonderful flavors that you can’t get at a grocery store when you grow it yourself.
How did you find making the book and are there more to come?
I really enjoyed using Blurb to make what has come to be a beautiful keepsake for my family and me. I actually started on a different book-making website and found their process to be so confusing. Nothing was intuitive or came together nicely, so I eventually abandoned making something on there. I went back to my search for websites that would do this and Blurb came up, so I started using it and found it to be very easy to use. My book is just gorgeous and I actually have a couple of other people who saw it and ended up buying it for themselves because they loved it so much. One of the kids from the church ended up doing their book report on me, which was lovely.
I’d like to do another book this season because of my growth and the farm’s growth and the growth of things that I do has been so drastic over the last four years. I sometimes have to look at the book to even remember where I started and it’s so incredible where we’ve come to now.