Dishing Up the Dirt: Simple Recipes for Cooking Through the Seasons by Andrea Bemis, PDF, 0062492225

July 28, 2017

Dishing Up the Dirt: Simple Recipes for Cooking Through the Seasons by Andrea Bemis, PDF, 0062492225

Dishing Up the Dirt: Simple Recipes for Cooking Through the Seasons by Andrea Bemis

  • Print Length: 304 Pages
  • Publisher: Harper Wave
  • Publication Date: March 14, 2017
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B01HBPSH56
  • ISBN-10: 0062492225
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062492227
  • File Format: PDF








An Ode to Sauce Dijon Tahini Dressing

Garlic Cashew Herb Sauce

Basic Tahini Sauce

Smoky Cashew Sauce

Romesco Sauce

Miso Harissa Sauce

Tumbleweed Farm Basic Pesto

Herbed Tahini Sauce



Spring Honey-Roasted Strawberry Muffins

Spring Veggies with Garlic Scape Herb Butter & Salt

Grilled Baby Bok Choy with Ginger Sesame Sauce

Cauliflower Tahini Dip

Deviled Eggs with Fried Garlic Scapes & Capers

Minty Pea Soup

Strawberry Salsa

Lamb Lettuce Wraps with Mint Yogurt Sauce

Strawberry Mint Smoothie

Smoked Salmon Arugula Salad with Crunchy Lentils

Roasted Fennel with Fennel Frond Gremolata

Chesua’s Perfect Pizza Dough

Bourbon Thyme Cocktail

Mustard Greens & Gruyère Quiche with Almond Crust

Spring Celebration Bowl

Miso & Honey-Glazed Radishes

Chocolate Chip & Real Mint Cookies

Spring Harvest Pizza with Mint & Pea Pesto

Pan-Fried Butter Beans & Greens

The Farmer’s Breakfast Bowl

Kohlrabi & Chickpea Salad

Penne with Parsley Pesto, White Beans & Parmesan

Mushroom & Fried Egg Tartine



Summer Grilled Romaine with Dijon Tahini Dressing & Fried Capers

Spiced Zucchini Honey Walnut Bread

Crispy Smashed Potatoes with Herbed Yogurt

Corn Salad with Walnuts & Feta

Beet Butter

Chicken & Chickpea Pesto Summer Salad

Kohlrabi Fritters with Garlic Herb Cashew Cream Sauce

Grilled Scallions with Romesco Sauce

Summer Squash & Corn Pasta with Garlic Tahini Sauce

Cucumber & Pea Salad with Mint & Feta

Heirloom Tomato & Corn Pizza

Sweet Corn & Summer Squash Coconut Milk Chowder

Rustic Peach & Thyme Galette with Almonds & Honey Yogurt

Burst Tomatoes & Cashew Ricotta Tartine

Roasted Vegetable & Chickpea Tacos with Herbed Tahini Sauce

Tumbleweed Farm Bloody Mary

Blueberry Lemon & Ricotta Biscuits

Farmer’s Candy

Roasted Ratatouille Toast

Za’atar-Roasted Beets with Honey & Yogurt

Farmers’ Market Burgers with Mustard Greens Pesto



Autumn Canned Tomatoes

Pickled Beets with Honey

Roasted Red & Yellow Peppers

Beet, Walnut & Kale Pizza (Beetza!)

Crispy Broccolini & Chickpea Salad

Spiced Pumpkin Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

Winter Squash Carbonara

Beet Pickled Eggs

Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Hazelnuts, Lemon & Parmesan

Honey & Cardamom Whipped Sweet Potatoes

Early Autumn Moroccan Stew

Butternut Molasses Muffins

Roasted Beet & Carrot Lentil Salad

Basic Vegetable Stock

Butternut Squash Kale Salad with Maple-Bourbon Dressing

Simple Cauliflower Soup

Collard Green Slaw with Bacon Gremolata

Farm Girl Veggie Bowls

Cauliflower Steaks with Hazelnut Gremolata & Cauliflower Puree

Tumbleweed Farm Tomato Sauce

Harissa & Honey–Roasted Carrots with Yogurt

Honey-Roasted Pears with Coconut Whipped Cream

Kohlrabi Leek Soup

Autumn Spiced Granola

Spiced Cauliflower with Honey Tahini Sauce

Chicken & Turnip Salad with Grape Tarragon Dressing

Cranberry Sage Sparklers

Sweet Potato Tart with Hazelnut Oat Crust



Winter Tumbleweed Farm Winter Panzanella

Kale, Sausage, & White Bean Soup

Rutabaga Home Fries with Smoky Cashew Sauce

Cranberry & Anise Scones

Hoisin-Glazed Brussels Sprouts

Spicy Tomato Bisque with Pan-Fried Chickpeas

Country Girl Old-Fashioned

Carrot Ginger Soup with Cashew Cream

Roasted Cabbage with Bacon Gremolata

Winter Tabbouleh Salad

Venison Stew

Parkdale Cupcakes with Maple Cashew Cream Frosting

Spiced Winter Porridge

Roasted Acorn Squash with Tahini & Hazelnuts

Tumbleweed Farm Spaghetti & Meatballs

Miso Harissa Delicata Squash & Brussels Sprouts Salad

Honey Cardamom Lattes

Maple-Roasted Parsnips with Sea Salt

Flank Steak with Kale Chimichurri

Morning Sweet Potatoes with Maple-Spiced Yogurt

Winter Harvest Pizza

Roasted Chicken Thighs with Root Vegetables












I’ve learned many lessons in the seven years since my life took a radical turn for the dirt. I’m physically capable of doing tasks that I would never have dreamed I could do in my prefarming life. I now organize an entire calendar year between the first and last predicted frosts of the season. I know community is everything. Food is medicine. And most important, cocktail hour should never be passed up after a long and hard day of work.

I now know a whole different language of love. One chilly March morning, well before sunrise at our Parkdale, Oregon, farm, the sound of the howling wind woke me. Still groggy, I turned to look at our bedside alarm clock—ready to mentally calculate just how many precious minutes of sleep were left for me and my husband, Taylor—when my stomach dropped. The numbers were blinking, and I was pretty positive our electricity had gone out.

Like a mother bear anxious for her cubs, I was beyond concerned about our plants. No electricity meant no heat in our greenhouse. If our plants were exposed to the near-freezing temperatures for long, all 20,000-plus seedlings might be wiped out. Our whole farm could be lost in one cold night.

I gently shook Taylor awake, telling him I was going to trek out to the greenhouse to investigate. He slowly rolled over to face me and told me in a sleepy voice to lie back down. In the pitch-dark, I heard him put on his heavy coat and close the side door behind him.

This is one way we say “I love you” on the farm.

Waking up in the middle of the night to check on our crops is not a rare occurrence for us. Whether we’re on deer patrol, double-checking that the chickens are comfortably tucked in, or monitoring the greenhouse temperature, there’s always something to rouse us out of bed even though our bodies are bruised and battered from long days of physical labor. Sometimes I wonder how this has become the daily rhythm of my life, and how on earth I have fallen in love with this beautiful yet harsh existence.

My husband and I live in a pretty magical place. Our six-acre home and farm is affectionately named Tumbleweed Farm, after the wanderlust Taylor and I shared throughout our youth. The farm is only five miles from downtown Parkdale, population 266. It’s a farming community—there are no stoplights and only the bare essentials: grocery store, hardware store, gas station, BBQ joint, and the best damn brewpub in the world. It’s the kind of town where you wave to every vehicle you pass whether or not you know its occupants.

Believe it or not, our inspiration to start the farm came in the form of a single blueberry. Or rather, a bag of blueberries, sent to us by Taylor’s folks back in Massachusetts. It was a hot September afternoon in 2008, and Taylor and I were living in Bend, Oregon. We had a hike planned for the afternoon, so I packed water and a few snacks, including a big bag full of the juiciest blueberries I’d ever tasted.

We hiked for a while before taking a break and dipping into those organic berries. With the beauty of nature around us and the sun beating down on our bare skin, those little bursts of flavor were pure heaven. We started joking about how awesome it would be just to pack up our lives and move to a farm, learn how to grow our own food, and become self-sufficient. Somehow, by the end of that hike, we’d made a decision to do just that. Five months later, we loaded everything we owned into our pickup truck and headed east to Hutchins Farm.

Yes, it was a little crazy and impulsive, but the truth is we weren’t going into our new farm life completely blind: Taylor grew up on Hutchins Farm, his family’s sixty-acre organic vegetable operation in Massachusetts. He didn’t spend a lot of time working there as a kid, and so he didn’t talk much about it when we first started dating. But during that hike, I kept asking him questions and he kept offering answers, and with each answer, I grew more excited. I loved the idea of growing our own food and living a simpler, more honest life.

At Hutchins, life was simpler, but it definitely wasn’t easier. Before we arrived, I knew nothing about farming and was pretty naive about how food ended up on anyone’s table. I’d never weeded a garden let alone planted or harvested food. But we rolled up our sleeves and got to work.

Baptism by fire would be the best way to describe that first season on Hutchins Farm. My romantic visions of our new, rustic life quickly faded. In fact, I absolutely hated it at first—it was cold, wet, and dreary. The tasks were monotonous and physically demanding. We were a farm crew of twelve folks, and I was embarrassed that I didn’t know how to use any of the tools I was given. I couldn’t even figure out how to open the pocketknife that I was required to keep on my body at all times. The farm manager wasn’t very forgiving of my inexperience, and I’d never been so tired and dirty in my life. If I’d had the option to quit that first month, I would have done so in a heartbeat. Taylor, on the other hand, was quietly falling in love with the work. I didn’t want to disappoint him, so I kept my head down and tried to keep up.

Over time, each task became a little easier. I came to appreciate the hard labor and how it allowed us to eat and sleep better than we ever had before. Each night we’d crawl from the dinner table and climb the stairs to our bedroom. Our eyes were sealed shut before our heads hit the pillow. When saddled with a daunting task like weeding between 10,000 beet plants, I no longer let my mind focus on the drudgery of it all. Instead I started to fantasize about all the amazing ways I would prepare those beets when they were ready for harvest.

I hadn’t been much of a cook before then, but spending whole days focused on growing food gave me license to explore in the kitchen. We were cultivating a ton of vegetables I’d never cooked with, so there were some disasters at first (and I’d be lying if I said those still don’t happen on occasion). But just as with farming, over time I learned new skills and got more comfortable. Taylor started to look forward to the nights I made meals, and I found myself feeling energized in the kitchen, even when I was beat after a long day of work.

I wanted to share my stories—and meals—with my family back in Oregon, so I started a blog, Dishing Up the Dirt , to document our new life as farmers.

Our family and friends were a huge support to us, and the blog became a great way to share this new life. I was happy to read a comment on a recipe from my mom or sister or see a note from my dad about how dirty and strong I looked in my farm coveralls holding a large crate of potatoes. They were proud of us and loved living vicariously through the blog.

But after a few seasons on Hutchins Farm, we grew hungry for the West Coast. Taylor loves to ski, and I was yearning to be closer to my family. We both wanted to have our very own farming operation but on a much smaller scale than Hutchins. With three years of farming under our belts, we packed up our truck with a few essential possessions, all of my kitchen gadgets, and our rescue dog, Henry. And we were off.

If we thought Hutchins was hard work, we were greatly mistaken. Creating Tumbleweed Farm from the ground up (literally) was the most challenging undertaking of our lives. Gone was the luxury of expensive farm equipment like tractors; every single chore had to be done by hand. We quickly learned the true meaning of “working the land.” Through all of this, I continued to find respite in the kitchen, cooking daily and sharing the recipes on my blog—which, suddenly, had begun to attract a readership that extended beyond my parents. It was just the motivation I needed to keep going.

Like my blog, this book is intended to offer an honest glimpse into life on our six-acre farm in rural Oregon. It’s a story about love, community, farming, and, most important, the food that we grow, eat, and share around the table with family and friends.

The recipes are organized by season. My cooking is deeply rooted in fresh and local ingredients, and I hope that if you take anything away from this book, it’s an appreciation of the ingredients you bring into your kitchen. You don’t have to be a farmer to know that foods at the peak of freshness simply taste better.

You’ll also notice I tend not to categorize foods by meal or time of day. If my body is craving oatmeal and berries for dinner or a veggie pizza for breakfast, so be it. When we’re too rigid about food, cooking and eating aren’t quite as much fun.

I also welcome detours. Even when following a recipe, I tend to cook with a splash of “this” and a touch of “that,” and I encourage you to do the same. Also keep in mind that every kitchen is different, and ingredients and cooking times will likewise vary. The vast majority of these recipes grew from my early explorations in the kitchen, though, so they’re simple enough for even beginner cooks to follow (but delicious enough to serve your most discerning dinner guests). Sure, there will be trial and error along the way, and when you play a round of dominos or backgammon to see who’s doing the dishes—like Taylor and I do each night—there is only one winner. But despite all of the hard work that goes into making a meal, cooking and eating are really about one thing: love.

I invite you to embrace the whole experience, finding your own ways to make it enjoyable from start to finish. Blast some music while you chop onions. Try out a new recipe or cooking technique once a week. Heck, you may even be inspired to grow your own herbs on your windowsill or, better yet, plant a few vegetables in your backyard. Whatever works for you. But whether you’re growing your own food or simply preparing a meal for good friends, adding a little love and laughter will make it all taste better.



Dishing Up the Dirt



An Ode to Sauce

Sauces are the gateway to eating more vegetables. When we were working at Hutchins Farm, I quickly found that the best way to experiment with new (to us) vegetables was to pair them with a tasty sauce. Whether you dip, drizzle, or toss your veggies, a good sauce improves any veg dish a few notches.

As you’ll see in the pages to come, I use sauces in a lot of my cooking. The sauces that follow are my go-tos; they’re simple, versatile, and flavorful. Dinner can be whipped up in a flash with a few roasted veggies, a grain, and one of the many sauces/dressings in the pages that follow. All of these sauces will keep for three to five days refrigerated in an airtight container. Some of these sauces will thicken in the fridge, so feel free to thin them out with a little water if need be.



Dijon Tahini Dressing





This dressing isn’t just for salads—it can also be tossed into hot pasta, used as a dip, or drizzled on grain bowls.


¼ cup tahini

1 clove of garlic, minced

1½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1½ teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon honey

fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Whisk together all the ingredients with ¼ cup water—or use an immersion blender. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Add more water to thin if necessary.



Garlic Cashew Herb Sauce





Taylor calls this “hippie ranch dressing,” and it really does have a ranch flavor. It’s absolutely spoonworthy and tastes great served with roasted vegetables or meat dishes, as a condiment for fries, or spread on a sandwich in place of mayo.


1 cup raw cashews, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes

2½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, minced

2½ tablespoons minced dill

2½ tablespoons minced parsley

fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Drain the soaked cashews and rinse them under cold water. Place the drained cashews with ½ cup water, lemon juice, oil, garlic, dill, and parsley into a high-speed blender (see note). Whirl away on high until smooth and creamy; this will take about 2 minutes, so be patient! Scrape down the sides and add extra water, a little at a time, until you reach a smooth and creamy consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add more water to thin if necessary.

A powerful blender, such as a Vitamix, is essential for getting the smoothest consistency.



Basic Tahini Sauce





I’ve been known to travel with this sauce in my bag. When we work our farmers’ market booth and hunger strikes, I usually grab a bunch of veggies and dip away. And while I prefer this eaten with veggies, Taylor likes it drizzled over roasted chicken. The truth is, there’s no wrong way to enjoy this simple sauce.


1 clove of garlic, minced

3 tablespoons tahini

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon honey

1½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Whisk the garlic, tahini, lemon juice, honey, oil, and a pinch each of salt and pepper with 2 tablespoons water, until smooth and creamy. Taste test and adjust seasonings as needed. Add more water to thin if necessary.



Smoky Cashew Sauce





Smoked paprika gives this sauce an extra depth of flavor. Drizzle it onto nachos or use it as a dip for burritos or quesadillas. Try it smeared on a turkey sandwich or, my favorite, served with Rutabaga Home Fries .


1 cup raw cashews, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes

2 tablespoons tomato paste

¼ cup nutritional yeast

1½ teaspoons smoked paprika

⅛ to ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (depending on spice preference)

½ teaspoon fine sea salt

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice


Drain the cashews and place them in a high-speed blender along with the rest of the ingredients and 1 cup water (see note). Blend on high until the mixture is smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides as necessary and taste as you go. Add more water to thin if necessary.

A powerful blender, such as a Vitamix, is essential for getting the smoothest consistency.



Romesco Sauce





Romesco sauce originated in northern Spain, where it was traditionally served with a variety of seafood dishes. We like serving it with all kinds of grilled meats and raw or cooked vegetables, especially our favorite Grilled Scallions . You can also top your morning toast and eggs with a few spoonfuls. In a pinch, toss it into hot pasta for a tasty, no-fuss dinner.


1 large red bell pepper, or 1 cup drained roasted red pepper from a jar

1 clove of garlic, smashed

½ cup almonds

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional to thin if necessary

fine sea salt


If you’re using the fresh bell pepper, generously oil the grate of an outdoor grill and preheat it to high. Place the pepper directly on the grate and roast, turning it occasionally, until the skin is blackened on all sides, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the pepper from the heat, place it in a bowl, and cover it with aluminum foil or a kitchen towel. Allow the pepper to steam for about 10 minutes. When it is cool enough to handle, remove and discard the skin and seeds.

Place the garlic and almonds in a food processor and pulse until they’re coarsely chopped. Add the roasted pepper, tomato paste, vinegar, paprika, olive oil, and salt. Process until smooth. Taste test and adjust seasonings as needed.



Miso Harissa Sauce





I love miso and I love harissa, so it was only a matter of time before I combined two of my favorite condiments. You can jazz up any roasted vegetable dish with this sweet, spicy sauce.


¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

¼ cup white miso

1 tablespoon harissa paste

2 teaspoons honey

3 tablespoons rice vinegar, unseasoned


Whisk all the ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl until smooth and creamy. This works great with an immersion blender or small food processor. Taste test and adjust seasonings as needed.



Tumbleweed Farm Basic Pesto





Every summer I dedicate a weekend to preserving food with two of my best girlfriends, who just happen to live right up the road from Tumbleweed Farm. We make large batches of pesto to freeze for the year, and this simple recipe is our absolute favorite. Use this pesto on everything from pasta to pizza to roasted veggies and even toast.


6 cups gently packed basil

½ cup walnuts

2 cloves of garlic

¼ teaspoon fine sea salt

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil


In the bowl of a food processor, combine the basil, nuts, garlic, and salt. Process until finely chopped. With the motor running, slowly add the lemon juice and oil until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

You can freeze the pesto in mason jars or freezer bags for up to 1 year.



Herbed Tahini Sauce





This versatile sauce tastes great served with pretty much anything. Sometimes I like to keep it on the thicker side by adding less water so it can be served as a dip for crackers or raw veggies. However, when taco night comes rolling around, I like to achieve a smooth and pourable sauce by adding more liquid.


1 clove of garlic, minced

1 scallion, minced (white and light green parts only)

¼ cup tahini

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon honey

¼ cup loosely packed basil, finely chopped

¼ cup loosely packed dill, finely chopped

¼ cup loosely packed parsley, finely chopped

⅛ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Combine all the ingredients with ⅓ cup water in a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Add more water 1 tablespoon at a time to thin the sauce, if necessary. Taste-test and adjust seasonings as needed.




I fear deer, gophers, and hailstorms more than I fear God himself.

In early spring, Taylor and I are on high alert. There’s a constant sense of urgency around the farm, and a lot to be done. April is particularly hectic, and the unpredictable weather in the Pacific Northwest can also make it scary: below freezing some nights, low 70s in the afternoons, with high winds and a lot of rain to fill in the gaps. It’s hard to dress for a day at the farm in April, and each afternoon requires multiple wardrobe changes. We work through the erratic conditions and rarely take a moment to breathe in between chores. By day’s end, our sore bodies are covered head to toe in wet, thick mud. Each night we climb into our bed exhausted.

Still, we never rest well in the spring.

The propagation house—the greenhouse-style nursery where we start most of our plants from seed—has been almost completely full with the first of our spring seedlings since the end of March. Onions, leeks, scallions, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage take up most of the space. But because the temperature drops after dark, one of us usually needs to set an alarm to wake up in the middle of the night, grab a headlamp, go out to the greenhouse to check the temperature, and while we’re out there, scan the fields for hungry wildlife. It’s like we’re new parents—only our main concern is making sure that our tender seedlings aren’t exposed to the bitter air. It’s on these nights, as I walk out into the cold pitch-black, that I wonder why we chose farming as a livelihood.

The late-spring frost also poses a threat to our newly transplanted lettuces, so on particularly chilly evenings, we’ll trek out to the fields with shovels and giant bundles of floating row covers, which we gently lay on top of the plants to provide an additional layer of protection. This job can be a real pain and is one that I, in particular, detest. If you have ever wondered why farmers are a little edgy in the spring, you can usually blame the weather.

The cold isn’t all Mother Nature has in store for us come spring. If gophers decide to dig through our beds under the cover of darkness, they can decimate a 200-foot-long bed of baby broccoli plants by sunrise. Deer have a tendency to gather in the fields in late evenings and early mornings, making a buffet of many of our plants and often trampling the rest. The main solution is a proper deer fence, which hasn’t yet been in our budget, so when things get bad, we resort to camping out in the fields with Henry. It can be cold and damp, but for the time being, the best (and cheapest) option is patrolling the fields ourselves.

Each morning, regardless of how many hours I’ve slept, I close my eyes while taking my first sip of strong black coffee and say a quiet thank-you to our buddy Ben. Ben owns a coffee shop in town that does small-batch roasting, and we are smitten with his beans. We trade a dozen eggs each week for a bag of freshly roasted beans, and this magical relationship—between us and Ben, his coffee roaster, and our chickens—is pure bliss. When we sit down to a farm-fresh breakfast accompanied by giant mugs of piping-hot coffee, I can feel a fire ignite inside of me. That first sip reassures me that it’s a new day, a clean slate, and anything is possible. If farming has taught me anything, it’s to embrace the unpredictable with a sense of optimism. It’s a difficult way to make a living, and we sometimes feel crazy for choosing Mother Nature as our boss. But as we sit in our quiet farm kitchen, sipping our morning brew and sharing a simple meal, we feel pretty darn okay.

One of the highlights of spring at Tumbleweed Farm is the arrival of a new batch of baby chicks. Chickens provide nutrient-rich compost for our soil, but mainly, we can’t get enough of their eggs. And I can’t get enough of the chicks. I’m giddy with excitement when I get the annual phone call from the post office alerting us that our chickens have arrived. (Yes, you can mail-order chicks. They are overnighted to us the day after they’ve hatched.) Taylor and I hop into the truck and jet over as quickly as possible. Once we get back to the farm, we gently move the chicks from their traveler box to their brooder, which is equipped with heat lamps, wood chips, food, and water. Holding a baby chick in my hands and feeling its body’s warmth, soft feathers, and quick heartbeat is one of my favorite springtime joys.

While I’m tending to these little bundles of life, I can’t help but think about all the eggs, compost, and coffee that they’ll soon contribute to our lives. They also bring a sense of joy and life to the farm after a long winter. The sound of their chirps is the perfect background music for chores—everything feels a bit cozier with the arrival of our new girls. We let the chicks grow for a few weeks in their brooder before moving them to a temporary coop out in the field. It’ll be a few months before we integrate them with the older gals, which is another late-night chore—since chickens can be cruel to newcomers, we’ve found that moving them when everyone is sleeping is best. When it gets dark, Taylor and I head out to the field and move each chicken, one by one, to her new home. Not only is it easier to move a sleeping chicken (no running and trying to catch them!), but everyone wakes up the next morning as if nothing has changed. Sure there may be some pecking and a few adjustments, but there’s never an all-out feathers-flying brawl.

All of my early romantic visions of what farm life would be like become laughable by the peak of spring. I used to think farmers were slow and meticulous about planting, taking special care to nurture the young transplants they placed in the ground. But the truth is, spring is a crazy race, and it feels like we’re constantly falling behind. I still remember my farm manager at Hutchins barking at me, on my first afternoon, to “hurry the hell up!” I quickly learned that planting was not a slow, therapeutic experience—it was a goddamn sprint! If you saw how quickly we shoved plants into the earth, you’d think we were abusing them. Time is money, and there are only so many hours of daylight. Nowadays we can hand-plant five hundred heads of lettuce in less than thirty minutes. We’ll follow those up with fifteen hundred kale and cabbage plants, and still have time to hand-fertilize and water them before lunch.

Taylor and I typically break for lunch around noon and catch each other up on the status of the chores we’ve been tackling individually. While we do many tasks side by side, we also divide and conquer when necessary, and it’s never more necessary than in the spring. I’m in charge of all the greenhouse seeding, and Taylor is in charge of all mechanical work. We hand-plant every single crop on the farm (thousands and thousands of plants) and use a walk-behind seeder for direct seeding with certain crops. We err on the side of overproduction because we want to guarantee that we have enough food for our CSA members, farmers’ market customers, and restaurant accounts all season long. If we make a mistake in the spring, we’ll pay for it in the summer, so we’re always planting with caution.

Taylor and I talk about the weather more than anything else. The weather dictates what our days will look like and how we will tackle our chores. The weather is the first thing we check in the morning and the last thing we check before bed each night. We check it multiple times throughout the day, too, because for some reason, we feel like if we look often enough, we might exert some magical influence over the forecast. All day long, we receive informal weather updates—text messages from other farmers in the valley asking things like “Did you get some of that rain this afternoon?” This obsession has turned our computer keyboard black from our dirty hands.

In the seven years since we began farming and the eleven years since we started dating, our relationship has shifted and evolved according to the needs of our farm. Taylor and I no longer have wild nights out on the town, but we do have happy hour—usually drinking beer and snacking on raw carrots on the bed of our pickup truck. As the sun begins to set, we walk around the farm hand in hand with Henry by our side, keeping our eyes out for hungry deer while shutting off irrigation and closing in the chickens for the night. We live in our own six-acre corner of the world where nothing seems to matter other than the shared work that keeps our farm thriving. We will do anything it takes to grow the best damn food we know how to grow in order to feed ourselves and our community. In the evenings, we climb into bed and chat about the weather, compost, or how many pallets of potting soil need reordering. The farm doesn’t grant us vacations or care that it’s one of our birthdays. We haven’t taken a sick day since we started, and both of us have worked out in the fields with head colds and even the flu. But through the drudgery of it all, I have my partner in crime by my side, fighting the same battle. And with that, there is something extra special about curling up at night, cuddling with someone whose body aches the way yours aches, whose hands are just as calloused as your own. Most nights Taylor will run his fingers through my hair and gently remove grass, twigs, and whatever else has managed to make its way in that day. It may not sound romantic, but it is.


I made a promise to myself that first season at Hutchins Farm that if I was going to ruin my body with the physical demands of farming, I would counteract at least some of that wear and tear with the nutrition that comes from our soil. And no crop is more celebrated on our farm than the first harvest of greens. Our first fresh salad of the season is reason enough to crack open a bottle of bubbly. We’ll toast to the fresh flavors of our vegetables, to surviving another day, and, most important, to the fact that we chose to live this crazy, stressful life that we would not change for the world.



Honey-Roasted Strawberry Muffins





Biting into a fresh strawberry that is still warm from the spring sunshine is one of my favorite treats of the season. These muffins, hot out of the oven, are reminiscent of that feeling I get when I bite into a strawberry straight from the patch. We think these are the perfect farmer’s fuel and taste best when enjoyed with a cup of strong black coffee.



2 cups strawberries, quartered

2 teaspoons olive oil

2 tablespoons runny honey

pinch of salt


1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup rolled oats

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon fine sea salt

1 egg, lightly beaten

½ cup almond milk

¼ cup walnut oil

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

½ cup honey


To roast the berries: Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment. Toss the strawberries with the oil, honey, and salt. Place them on the baking sheet and roast until they are juicy and reduced in size, about 25 minutes. Remove them from the oven and let them cool slightly. Measure out ¾ cup and set that aside for the muffins (see note).

To finish the muffins: Increase the oven temperature to 400°F. Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners or generously coat the tin with oil.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, oil, vanilla, and honey. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Gently fold in the reserved strawberries and stir until they are evenly incorporated. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups and bake until the muffins are lightly golden and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center, 18 to 20 minutes. Let muffins cool for 5 minutes before using a knife to gently remove them from the muffin pan and transfer to a wire rack. Enjoy the muffins within 2 days or freeze them for up to 1 month.

If there are any leftover strawberries from roasting (they should reduce by about half while they cook), serve them with yogurt or ice cream, or simply on their own.

Cooking times will vary from kitchen to kitchen, so keep a close eye on the muffins while baking.



Spring Veggies with Garlic Scape Herb Butter & Salt





This platter of spring produce and garlic scape herb butter is about as perfect as a side dish can be. It’s simple to prepare and is a pure celebration of the harvest. The butter keeps in the fridge for up to ten days, and you’ll find plenty of uses for it—it is delicious simply spread on a toasted baguette. Serve this platter as an appetizer or a midafternoon snack.



1 cup (2 sticks) good-quality unsalted butter, softened

1 garlic scape, minced (can substitute 1 clove of garlic)

2½ tablespoons minced parsley

2½ tablespoons minced dill

½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice

¼ teaspoon fine sea salt


4 carrots, sliced in half, lengthwise

1 bunch of asparagus, lightly blanched

1 bunch of radishes, sliced

1 to 2 heads Belgian endive

flaky sea salt


To make the garlic butter: Using a hand mixer or a small food processor, beat together the softened butter, garlic scape, herbs, lemon juice, and salt until well combined. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

To serve, place the butter in a small bowl and arrange the sliced vegetables on a platter. Enjoy with flaky sea salt.

I find that the most inspiring way to shop at a farmers’ market is to arrive with an open mind. Toss out your grocery list and try cooking with what’s available from the vendors. Let the ingredients in front of you determine what your dinner will look like.



Grilled Baby Bok Choy with Ginger Sesame Sauce





At the height of spring, the farm is overflowing with a variety of greens. There are so many wonderful ways to prepare each one of them, but as the days get warmer, we love to fire up the grill and cook our vegetables simply, over an open flame. This recipe for grilled baby bok choy could not be more basic but is one of those dishes that we make time and time again. It pairs well as a side dish with grilled fish, chicken, or tofu.


4 heads baby bok choy

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger

3½ tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

2½ tablespoons rice vinegar, unseasoned

1½ tablespoons honey

1½ teaspoons sesame oil

1½ teaspoons toasted sesame seeds


Preheat an outdoor grill to medium. Trim the large leaves from the bok choy; slice larger heads in half lengthwise, and keep smaller heads whole. Rinse the bok choy under cold water to remove any dirt. Pat the bok choy dry, toss it with the olive oil, and place it on the grill to cook until tender and browned and lightly charred on all sides, 10 to 12 minutes.

Whisk together the ginger, soy sauce, vinegar, honey, sesame oil, and sesame seeds. Taste and adjust the sauce as necessary. Drizzle the grilled baby bok choy with the sauce and enjoy.



Cauliflower Tahini Dip



At any given moment, we have a batch of hummus or roasted vegetable dip in our fridge. Having premade dips makes snacking easy and is a great way to get a little midday energy boost out in the fields. This creamy, garlicky dip is a tasty springtime recipe. Our favorite way to enjoy it is with an assortment of raw vegetables, but it’s also wonderful spread on toast and topped with a fried egg for breakfast.


1 medium-sized head cauliflower, broken into small florets

3 large cloves of garlic, peels left on

4 tablespoons olive oil

⅓ cup tahini

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

⅛ teaspoon ground cumin

⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper

fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment. Toss the cauliflower and garlic with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and spread it out on the baking sheet. Roast until the pieces are tender and lightly browned, about 30 minutes, tossing halfway through the cooking time. Let the vegetables cool slightly. When the garlic cloves are cool enough to handle, gently squeeze them from their skin.

Combine the roasted cauliflower, garlic, tahini, lemon juice, cumin, and cayenne with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and salt and pepper to taste in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is smooth and creamy, adding warm tap water 1 tablespoon at a time for a creamier texture. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. Store the dip in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 5 days.



Deviled Eggs with Fried Garlic Scapes & Capers





There is nothing I crave more in the early spring than brunch on the farm with good friends, lots of coffee, and these deviled eggs. I was originally inspired to make this dish to share with our CSA members so they’d have a good recipe for the surplus of garlic scapes they receive in their CSA boxes. If you’ve never tried garlic scapes, I’d suggest heading to your local farmers’ market in the early spring to pick up a few bunches! The best part is that you don’t need to peel them, which makes prep time super easy. Just fry them in a little oil and sprinkle them on top of these lovely deviled eggs, and you’ve got yourself a delicious brunch or happy hour snack.


12 hard-boiled eggs, peeled

2 tablespoons finely chopped scallions

½ cup full-fat plain Greek yogurt, plus additional to thin if necessary

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

¾ teaspoon fine sea salt

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil

2 tablespoons jarred capers, drained and patted dry

2 garlic scapes, cut into large dice

2 tablespoons dill, minced

sprinkle of smoked paprika (optional)


Cut the eggs in half lengthwise and scoop the yolks into a large bowl. Add in the scallions, yogurt, mustard, and sea salt. Mix well until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust seasonings if need be. If the mixture is too thick, add a touch more yogurt.

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high. Once the oil is hot and runs easily around the pan, add the capers and garlic scapes. Fry, shaking the pan occasionally, until the capers split open and the garlic scapes become brown and crisp, about 3 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain.

Spoon the yolk mixture into the egg white halves. Top each egg with a sprinkle of the fried scapes and capers and some minced dill. Dust with smoked paprika, if you’d like, and enjoy.

Garlic scapes are the flower bud of the garlic plant that are snapped off to help encourage the garlic bulb to grow larger. They taste similar to garlic cloves, and can be used in place of them in any recipe. One of our favorite ways to prepare scapes is to toss them in olive oil, then grill them until they’re lightly charred and sprinkle them with sea salt.



Minty Pea Soup





In the dead of winter, when I’m dreaming of spring, this is the dish I most long for. And while I despise picking buckets of peas—to describe it as “backbreaking” labor is an understatement—they win over my heart time and time again. Simple, delicious, and bursting with bright flavors, this soup remains on rotation at Tumbleweed through the summer and can be served warm or at room temperature. Enjoy it with crusty bread, a glass of crisp white wine, and good company.


1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 medium-sized spring onion (or yellow onion), diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

3 cups fresh shelled peas or thawed frozen peas

¼ cup firmly packed fresh mint leaves, finely chopped

1 (14-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk (make sure to use full-fat coconut milk for the creamiest texture)

fine sea salt

lemon wedge

freshly ground black pepper

extra-virgin olive oil for serving

thinly sliced radishes for serving

fresh dill for serving


Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium. Add the onion and garlic. Sauté until the pieces are soft but not browned, about 3 minutes. Add the peas, mint, coconut milk, ½ teaspoon salt, and 1½ cups water. Bring the mixture to a low simmer, then turn off the heat. Working in batches, transfer the soup to a high-speed blender and process until smooth. Add additional water to thin if necessary. Taste and adjust salt as needed.

Serve the soup warm or at room temperature with a tiny squeeze of fresh lemon juice, a sprinkling of pepper, a drizzle of olive oil, a few radish slices, and a sprig of dill.



Strawberry Salsa





Pass around a bag of salty tortilla chips, a bowl of this sweet-spicy salsa, and an ice-cold beer, and we’re a couple of happy farmers. Spring flavors shine in this simple dip, which can, honestly, be eaten with a spoon if you find yourself fresh out of tortilla chips.


juice and zest from 1 medium-sized lime

1½ teaspoons honey

pinch of fine sea salt

1 pint of strawberries, hulled and diced

1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced (leave some seeds for more heat)

½ small red onion, diced

½ cup minced cilantro

freshly ground black pepper

chips for serving


In a large bowl, whisk together the lime juice, honey, and salt. Stir in the strawberries, jalapeño, onion, cilantro, and pepper to taste, and mix well. Taste and adjust the seasonings if need be. Serve with chips and enjoy.

Store the salsa in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

When chopping fresh herbs like cilantro, dill, and parsley, there’s no need to separate the leaves from the tender stems—chop everything! The stems offer a lot of flavor and texture. If the herb has a woody stem, like rosemary or thyme, gently remove the leaves before chopping.



Lamb Lettuce Wraps with Mint Yogurt Sauce





This is a nice recipe to turn to if you’re expecting company but are short on time. I have prepared this many times over the years for parties and picnics. We’re lucky to live a stone’s throw away from a farm stand that sells amazing lamb, but even if you can’t get your hands on farm-fresh meat, I recommend using the best quality lamb you can find.



1 tablespoon olive oil

1 bunch of scallions, minced (white and light green parts only)

1 clove of garlic, minced

1 teaspoon ground coriander

½ teaspoon ground cumin

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

a few grinds of black pepper

1 pound ground lamb


1 cup plain sheep’s milk, goat’s milk, or cow’s milk yogurt

1 garlic scape (or clove of garlic), diced

½ cup fresh mint, finely chopped

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

½ teaspoon fine sea salt

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil


1 small head of Bibb lettuce, radicchio, or endive, separated into individual leaves, washed, and patted dry

1 cucumber, peeled and roughly chopped

½ cup currants, soaked in warm water for 5 minutes to soften

minced fresh mint leaves for garnish


To prepare the lamb filling: Heat a large skillet over medium-high. Add the oil to the pan, swirl to coat. Add the scallions, garlic, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, salt, pepper, and lamb. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the lamb is cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes. Let the mixture cool.

Prepare the yogurt sauce by combining all the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and stirring until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed.

To assemble the wraps, place a spoonful of the lamb onto each lettuce leaf and top with some chopped cucumber, currants, and a drizzle of yogurt sauce. Garnish with mint leaves.



Strawberry Mint Smoothie





This light and refreshing smoothie makes a great quick breakfast or a midafternoon pick-me-up. With sweet strawberries, spicy ginger, fragrant mint, and a drizzle of honey, it tastes like a dessert but offers plenty of energy and nutrition.


1 frozen banana

1 cup loosely packed fresh strawberries, roughly chopped

¼ cup fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped

1½ teaspoons grated fresh ginger

2 teaspoons honey

1½ cups plant-based milk (coconut, almond, hemp—whatever you prefer)

2 or 3 ice cubes


Place all the ingredients into a high-speed blender and whirl away until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust flavors if necessary.



Smoked Salmon Arugula Salad with Crunchy Lentils





The first salad greens of the season are among the greatest joys of being a farmer. After months of prepping the fields, seeding, weeding, watering, and waiting . . . then waiting some more, we are like kids on Christmas morning when we get to dive into our first greens. This particular salad highlights smoked salmon from our neighbor, Dan, who gifts us with fresh and smoked fish he has caught throughout the year in exchange for veggies. The crunchy lentil topping should not be skipped. Sprinkle any leftover lentils on soups, salads, and even pasta dishes for some added crunch.


Andrea Bemis, the creator of the popular farm-to-table blog Dishing Up the Dirt builds on her success with this beautiful, simple, seasonally driven cookbook, featuring more than 100 inventive and delicious whole-foods recipes and dozens of color photographs.

For Andrea Bemis, who owns and runs a six-acre organic farm with her husband outside of Portland, Oregon, dinners are inspired by what is grown in the soil and picked by hand. In Dishing Up the Dirt, Andrea offers 100 authentic farm-to-table recipes, arranged by season, including:

Spring: Honey Roasted Strawberry Muffins, Lamb Lettuce Wraps with Mint Yogurt Sauce, Spring Harvest Pizza with Mint & Pea Pesto, Kohlrabi and Chickpea Salad

Summer: Blueberry Lemon Ricotta Biscuits, Roasted Ratatouille Toast, Kohlrabi Fritters with Garlic Herb Cashew Cream Sauce, Farmers Market Burgers with Mustard Greens Pesto

Fall: Farm Girl Veggie Bowls, Butternut Molasses Muffins, Early Autumn Moroccan Stew, Collard Green Slaw with Bacon Gremolata

Winter: Rutabaga Home Fries with Smokey Cashew Sauce, Hoisin Glazed Brussels Sprouts, Country Girl Old Fashioned Cocktails, Tumbleweed Farm Winter Panzanella

Andrea’s recipes focus on using whole, locally-sourced foods—incorporating the philosophy of eating as close to the land as possible. While many recipes are naturally gluten-free, dairy-free, or vegetarian, many others include elemental ingredients like bread, cheese, eggs, meat, and sweeteners, which are incorporated in new and inventive ways.

In short essays throughout the book, Andrea also presents an honest glimpse of life on Tumbleweed Farm—the real life of a farmer, not the shabby-chic fantasy often portrayed—offering fascinating and frequently entertaining details about where the food on our dinner tables comes from. With stunning food photography as well as intimate portraits of farm life, Dishing Up the Dirt allows anyone to be a seasonal foodie and an armchair farmer.


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