I am a teacher by trade but have always found joy in making things with my hands. I come from a long line of gardeners. My grandmother had a tiny city lot in Cleveland where she utilized every square inch of land to grow something edible: pears, currants, tomatoes, peppers, apples, melons... Some of my fondest memories of visiting her as a child include steaming pies and choosing which cans to take home with us from her cellar. The two things I always grabbed were canned peaches and currant jam.
In every house I’ve lived in as an adult I’ve found a way to incorporate vegetable gardening into my environment. From my first apartment in Philadelphia, where I planted some tomatoes in pots behind the building, to my first house on my own where I got a corner lot with a nice big yard and planted a huge raised garden with berries, kale, corn, tomatoes, peppers, herbs, cabbage, squash, and more.
When my husband and I settled into our new home on 4 acres in Batavia, Ohio, I decided that I wanted to continue this legacy, by growing and making food to share this feeling of home with others. Unfortunately, I was too young and too far removed geographically to learn about canning and food preservation from my grandmother, so I had to learn it on my own by trying out recipes and reading about procedures and tools. I have a good friend who has been through many experiments in the kitchen with me, as it was in the old days – women working together in the kitchen and enjoying each other’s company. Now I sell some of my canned goods as well, so that others can savor the taste of home, even if they don’t have the time, tools or skills to can.
Here on Phillips Farm, we are also raising birds: a mixed flock of Ameraucanas and Rhode Island Reds as well as three Pekin ducks. We are learning much about chickens, ducks and poultry in the process! The girls are so interesting to observe, and it is such a joy to go out and find their lovely eggs waiting for us. When our sons come home from school, they always want to run out and check what the chickens are up to and if they have laid any eggs. This combined with picking carrots, beans, tomatoes, corn and more straight from the garden for dinner - what a wonderful experience for them to connect with the natural world and to see exactly where their food comes from!
I hope through my blogs that I can share some of our lessons learned, as well as some interesting, silly and fun moments along the way!