A culinary online center dedicated to promoting the importance and the joy of American home cooking with an emphasis on local products and talent, celebrating the unique spirit and energy of the new food world ethos, especially in Vermont.

amuse bouche

I love quotes that add meaning to my life. Here are a few to live by:

Americans who have been to France and come home craving a reminder of their magical European experience, love Vermont cheeses.
—Allison Hooper, founder, VT Butter & Cheese Creamery

Practice not cleaning your plate: it will help you eat less in short term and develop self-control in the long term.
—Michael Pollan

Sweet taste buds develop before all others, that’s why small children love sweets.
—Bronwyn Dunne

Don’t eat breakfast cereals that change the color of milk.
—Michael Pollan

My rule of thumb is, when in doubt, cook more than you think you may need.
—Marian Cunningham, from Learning to Cook


Seven joys of urban farming

It’s mildly self-inflating to describe myself as an “urban farmer…” but my husband and I have a pretty legitimate operation in the works.  I am growing 19 different fruits and vegetables, 17 of which were started from seed!  We recently adopted 6 darling ducklings, soon to be egg-laying machines.  We also have two terrariums setup as mealworm farms to raise fodder for our ducks. We are rewarded with small, sometimes unexpected, joys from our facilitation of, and participation in, the circle of life.

In no particular order:

  1. The first beetle: mealworms are kind of gross…they aren’t slimy, but they’re squirmy and wiggly, and look too grubby to not be kind of yucky.  But, they are a great source of protein (for the ducks!) and very easy to raise.  They hatch as a worm, shed a few times, turn into a pupae, transform into a beetle, and the beetles lay eggs.  When I got my first pupae, and then my first beetle, I was surprisingly proud!  Who knew something so gross could be so rewarding?!  The best resource I found for mealworm farming is The Happy Chicken Coop.
  2. Pool parties: I have found my after work zen.  I take our girls to their pool, post up in a lawn chair, and watch – seriously, soooooooooo good.
  3. Ducklings are like drunk humans: they hilariously lack physical awareness.  They are constantly moving, either by choice or because they are falling over.
  4. The birds and the bees: last year I was horrified when my first squash blossoms died without producing any fruit…I had clearly forgotten everything I learned about flower genders in Biology 101.  This morning I saw my first squash blossom of the year – it’s a boy!
  5. Grandmom’s pride: my brother and I both don’t have children (not yet!).  For a long time we didn’t even have pets.  Now I have 6 little entertainers.  Here’s a text from my mom after I sent her a duck video: “I LOVE them. My grand ducks <3”
  6. Starting or ending a business meeting with cute duckling videos: enough said!
  7. Pet fish = so American: one of my co-workers from India recently became a US Citizen, and she’s never had a pet fish.  For her “welcome to America!” gift, we bought her a beta fish for her desk.  She thinks it’s so American. American kids walk around with pet fish in a plastic bag, something that apparently doesn’t happen in India.  The office has a new mascot, and his name is Fred.  Not quite farm material, but you get the idea…

Basically, nature rocks!

Share your favorite nature photos, videos, and stories in the comments below!

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

Posted: 6-17-2018

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It's mildly self-inflating to describe myself as an "urban farmer..." but my husband and I have a pretty legitimate operation in the works.  I am growing 19 different fruits and vegetables, 17 of which were started from seed!  We recently adopted 6 darling ducklings, soon to be egg-laying machines.  We also have two terrariums setup as mealworm farms to raise fodder for our ducks. We are rewarded with small, sometimes unexpected, joys from our facilitation of, and participation in, the circle of life.



In no particular order:
  1. The first beetle: mealworms are kind of gross...they aren't slimy, but they're squirmy and wiggly, and look too grubby to not be kind of yucky.  But, they are a great source of protein (for the ducks!) and very easy to raise.  They hatch as a worm, shed a few times, turn into a pupae, transform into a beetle, and the beetles lay eggs.  When I got my first pupae, and then my first beetle, I was surprisingly proud!  Who knew something so gross could be so rewarding?!  The best resource I found for mealworm farming is The Happy Chicken Coop.
  2. Pool parties: I have found my after work zen.  I take our girls to their pool, post up in a lawn chair, and watch - seriously, soooooooooo good.
  3. Ducklings are like drunk humans: they hilariously lack physical awareness.  They are constantly moving, either by choice or because they are falling over.[video width="1920" height="1080" mp4="http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/wp-content/uploads/Clumsy-trim.mp4"][/video]
  4. The birds and the bees: last year I was horrified when my first squash blossoms died without producing any fruit...I had clearly forgotten everything I learned about flower genders in Biology 101.  This morning I saw my first squash blossom of the year - it's a boy!
  5. Grandmom's pride: my brother and I both don't have children (not yet!).  For a long time we didn't even have pets.  Now I have 6 little entertainers.  Here's a text from my mom after I sent her a duck video: "I LOVE them. My grand ducks <3"
  6. Starting or ending a business meeting with cute duckling videos: enough said!
  7. Pet fish = so American: one of my co-workers from India recently became a US Citizen, and she's never had a pet fish.  For her "welcome to America!" gift, we bought her a beta fish for her desk.  She thinks it's so American. American kids walk around with pet fish in a plastic bag, something that apparently doesn't happen in India.  The office has a new mascot, and his name is Fred.  Not quite farm material, but you get the idea...
Basically, nature rocks! Share your favorite nature photos, videos, and stories in the comments below!

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

" ["post_title"]=> string(27) "Seven joys of urban farming" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(27) "seven-joys-of-urban-farming" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2018-06-18 07:50:00" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-06-18 11:50:00" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(42) "http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/?p=4856" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "2" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [1]=> object(WP_Post)#371 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(4840) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "8" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2018-06-03 10:30:19" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-06-03 14:30:19" ["post_content"]=> string(3682) " Say it out loud, "The Northeast Kingdom."  It sounds wild and untamed.  The Kingdom is a year-round outdoor mecca, with mountain biking, hiking, leaf-peeping, and skiing.  For an interesting perspective on what, if anything, makes NEK different from the rest of Vermont, check out this VPR clip. I recently made NEK my destination to mountain bike the world renowned Kingdom Trails.  Just under two hours from Burlington, the drive rewards you with expansive views of rolling hills and picturesque farmland.  Akin to a sunset or the ocean, the visual effect is only fully appreciated in person - it is impossible to take a photo that effectively captures the essence of the place. For my most recent adventure, after a long day of hammering the trails, I treated myself to dinner at Juniper's Restaurant at the Wildflower Inn. From reading the reviews, I got the impression that Juniper's is a refined establishment, so I called beforehand to make sure it was OK that I show up trail-weathered.  I didn't realize how weathered I was until I caught sight of my mud-splattered reflection in the bathroom mirror...but I'm sure they've seen worse! The Inn is located right on the trail system. I started my meal with an AH-MAZING brussels sprouts salad.  The preparation was so well done, it would change the heart of even the most staunch brussels sprouts critic: thinly sliced and cooked until crispy, then tossed with pine nuts, cranberries, and blue cheese.  YUM!  For dinner, I ordered pan-seared scallops, which were tasty, but nothing to write home about.  They were served with garlic mashed potatoes and fiddleheads, which were the stars of the entree. But really, the best thing about Juniper's, is their location.  Seated atop one of the many hilly undulations, their back patio features a spectacular west-facing view, perfect for watching the sun go down while digesting a tasty meal after a day of adventuring.  I have no intention of turning this into a travel ad, but if you are looking for a getaway, this is an excellent escape.

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

" ["post_title"]=> string(16) "Wild and Untamed" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(236) "In need of a vacation, I took a weekend to escape to the wild and beautiful Northeast Kingdom. It is calm in the way only rural areas can be, while also offering adrenaline-fueled mountain bike trails and an unrivaled bike community. " ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(16) "wild-and-untamed" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2018-06-03 10:36:37" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-06-03 14:36:37" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(42) "http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/?p=4840" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "2" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [2]=> object(WP_Post)#368 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(4813) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "8" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2018-05-13 10:45:32" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-05-13 14:45:32" ["post_content"]=> string(6275) "As a beginner gardener, I accept (somewhat grudgingly...my type-A personality gets in the way of 100% graciously accepting my errs) that I will not do everything right the first time.  However, I embrace challenges - so bring it on! 2018 marks year two of my life as a home gardener.  I learned some valuable lessons last year.  After a slow start, and purchasing some starts instead of seeds, I had a (mostly) productive garden.  This year will be even better! Namely because I won't repeat my five biggest beginner mistakes from last year... 1. Smothered with love Every morning and evening, ever so lovingly, I watered my seedlings.  I was sure to keep their soil moist at all times, just like the seed packets and online articles said.  Naively, I carried this same diligence to my garden beds!  Halfway through the summer, my beautiful, healthy squash started to rot right on the vine. With some googling, I diagnosed my problem as root rot - this happens when the environment around the roots stays too wet and doesn't get enough oxygen, developing a fungus which causes droopy leaves and rotting fruits.  Even though I had raised beds, the densely rich compost did not drain well.  We had a fairly rainy summer, and I was still out there watering every day and night...oops!

The fix: Assure proper drainage - add a layer of gravel to the bottom of your raised garden bed and avoid planting in low areas where water will collect and hold.

2. Helicopter mom Thinking the protected, heated, and well-lit indoor environment would be best for all my plant starts, I started my lettuce indoors.  I planted them next to the heater, put them under grow lights, and fussed over their soil moisture, all in an effort to shelter them from trying to start their lives in the harsh outdoors. Know what I raised?  Pathetic lettuce...flimsy, weak, and floppy lettuce.  They sprouted into tall, spindly starts that would tip over just by looking at them wrong.

The fix: Show some tough love and start your lettuce outside.  Let the natural forces of wind and rain force the lettuce starts to be hardier and sturdier than their sheltered counterparts.

[caption id="attachment_4825" align="aligncenter" width="520"] Last year's squash starts using egg crates[/caption] 3. Pinterest is pretty, not practical I'm pretty sure everyone has a story about seeing something cute on Pinterest, then failing miserably in an attempt to re-create it (check out this link for funny Pinterest fails!).  My Pinterest fail was using egg crates to start my seedlings.  In theory - it sounds perfect - they can be transplanted straight into the garden, egg cup and all!  In reality, my plants all germinated as expected, then almost immediately wilted and died.

The fix: Don't plant in egg crates!  My theory is they do not hold enough soil to provide nutrients after germination.  I also think they may have been treated or exposed to something that harmed the plants...but these are just theories.  Simply put, don't start in egg crates.

4. Give the carrots a break Literally!  Last year, I filled my raised beds with rich compost from a local dairy farmer.  It was wonderfully nutrient dense, but also, very dense.  My carrot-tops were vibrant and feathery, and when it came time to harvest, I chose the fattest looking carrots I could find.  They were the shortest, stumpiest little carrots I've ever seen.  Apparently, girth is not indicative of length.

The fix: To be fair, I have not yet been able to prove out my solution this year yet, but based on garden advise from family (and the internet!), I mixed my compost with sand and perlite.  The goal is to aerates the soil, giving the carrots some space to push through and grow nice and long.

5. Bunnies are cute, but they're pests I completely underestimated the damage a single little cottontail can do to a bed of kale.  I transplanted my kale and figured I could wait a day or two to put up a pest barrier...WRONG!  So wrong...Literally that night, a hungry bunny ate the tops of every plant!  I had to start over with seed on all except one plant that had a couple leaves left and held onto life like a champ.

The fix: Be diligent with your pest barriers!  I use mesh wildlife netting supported by 2x2 posts.  Definitely diminishes the appearance, but you'll be glad YOU are the one eating your kale, not the damn bunnies.

[caption id="attachment_4827" align="aligncenter" width="520"] This year's squash starts.  Notice how plump and healthy they look compared to last year![/caption] PLEASE SHARE your pearls of wisdom for home gardening!  I look forward to a more productive year than last, but there is still much learning to be had...

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

" ["post_title"]=> string(35) "5 Mistakes of a First Time Gardener" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(228) "Learn how to avoid home gardening mistakes! Last year I attempted my first ever home vegetable garden. There is definitely a learning curve, especially for Vermont's short growing season, and I learned some valuable lessons..." ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(35) "5-mistakes-of-a-first-time-gardener" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(50) " https://diyprojects.com/pinterest-fails-make-day/" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2018-05-13 14:15:29" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-05-13 18:15:29" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(42) "http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/?p=4813" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "2" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [3]=> object(WP_Post)#367 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(4799) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "8" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2018-04-29 07:30:56" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-04-29 11:30:56" ["post_content"]=> string(3633) "Last November, I failed as a food blogger.  I was in Boston for a training, and through some stealthy Googling, I found a very promising lead on the best burger in town at a place called Craigie on Main.  Their beef is sourced from local grass-fed cattle farmers with limited supply, so they only make 18 burgers every night.  Because grass-fed beef is not as tender, Craigie's ensures juiciness by mixing in bone marrow and suet. If you're a burger fan, read this article for an excellent description of all the other reasons Craigie's has nailed the, dare I say, perfect burger. After reading said article, I was decidedly on a mission to secure one of these epic burgers.  My training went until 5:30 every day,  which means I had to face HORRIBLE Boston rush hour traffic to get to the restaurant.  While en route, I was sweating and nervous as I sat in parking lot after parking lot of stoplights and cross-streets...will I make it in time to procure my object of desire?? I finally made it, ran to the bar, and practically hugged the bartender when he tells me I can have a burger.  Whew!  I settle in with a good beer and wait.  It wasn't until I had 1 1/2 bites of burger left, with juice all over my hands and dripping down my arms that I realized my failure...I didn't take a single photo!  I made a journey out of this burger, and I write on a food blog, and I didn't take a picture...what?!?  No one wants to just read a story about me eating a burger...you want to SEE that burger and picture yourself there with me! Fast-forward to last week: after a looooooooong day of manning the booth at a trade show in Boston, my fatigued colleagues and I were eager to wind down with good drink and food.  As I'm sure you'll guess, we went to Craigie on Main!  Want to know the best way to embarrass and annoy your coworkers?  Go out to dinner hungry, then don't let them take a bite of anything until you've taken at least 10 photos of it! We ate family style, sharing pretty much one of everything on the menu, including the chef's tasting menu and two burgers.  I cannot say enough how great this place is.  The vibe, the staff, the food, the drink, and of course, the BURGER! I love how food brings people together and becomes the defining point of fond memories.  Have any standout food (or burger!) memories? Share them below!

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

" ["post_title"]=> string(22) "How I Failed in Boston" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(157) "A journey to find the perfect burger in Boston. What starts out as a solo adventure ends with good friends enjoying good food at Boston's Craigie on Main. " ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(22) "how-i-failed-in-boston" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2018-05-05 10:45:53" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-05-05 14:45:53" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(42) "http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/?p=4799" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "2" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [4]=> object(WP_Post)#278 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(4778) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "8" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2018-04-15 10:00:51" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-04-15 14:00:51" ["post_content"]=> string(4073) " Those of you who know me well will be surprised to know I have read, not one, not two, but THREE news articles this week.  If you're wondering why this is uncharacteristic, I don't read the news.  For one simple reason: it's depressing!  What's not surprising is that the three articles I read this week were all in the vein of food politics.  I am NOT a political person...but I get hotly opinionated about food policies! I have no intention of turning a lighthearted blog entry into a term paper...instead, my goal is to introduce ideas and generate productive conversations about food and where it comes from. All three articles shared a common food theme, namely, the sustainability of current farming practices.  Yeah, yeah, yeah...Sustainability and farming - old news!  But these articles all have current and poignant perspectives.  Case in point: check out this new startup, Aggressively Organic.  They provides small-space, at-home, organic, hydroponic farming solutions.  Their grow setups require minimal water, no soil, and no light, making them perfect for the space and/or resource (soil/water) constrained.  Their tagline: We are a movement.  Their mission? End food insecurity in our lifetime.   Next I read about a group of Vermont farmers involved in the Real Organic Project.  They seek to provide an organic label that encompasses the true spirit of "organic."  In their view, the USDA Organic label, which includes hydroponics (like Aggressively Organic) and does not account for animal welfare, fails to encompass the original values of organic.  Their goal is transparency in the marketplace, which they will achieve by creating an additional organic label to celebrate what they value: "crops grown in soil [rotated, organic soil-grown crops provide nutrients to the soil, whereas mono-crops and pesticides deplete the soil] and pasture-raised livestock."  Their motto: Feed the soil, feed the planet. Closer to home are the challenges of the dairy farmer.  This week's Seven Days cover story describes a bleak landscape for dairy farming in Vermont.  A cornerstone of Vermont agriculture for generations, the volatile financial landscape in which they operate have compelled many farmers to sell their herds.  According to the article, in the 1940's Vermont was home to over 11,000 dairy farms.  Today? only 749 are still in operation!  Less inspiring and more thought provoking, this is a great read for anyone with an appetite for "human interest" articles. My summary of this collection: vote with your dollar!  Every food purchase makes a difference.  We have an opportunity to support what we value each time we buy something.  Whether it's local, organic, pastured, etc, our purchases make a difference!

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

" ["post_title"]=> string(33) "Love your FOOD | Love your FARMer" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(132) "Farming in the news! From organics to local dairy farms, this week was rich with farm stories. Love your food? Love your farmers!!" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(31) "love-your-food-love-your-farmer" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2018-04-15 07:34:49" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-04-15 11:34:49" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(42) "http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/?p=4778" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "4" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } } ["post"]=> object(WP_Post)#372 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(4856) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "1" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2018-06-17 10:45:54" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-06-17 14:45:54" ["post_content"]=> string(3712) "[video width="1920" height="1080" mp4="http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/wp-content/uploads/First-time-in-poolTrim.mp4"][/video] It's mildly self-inflating to describe myself as an "urban farmer..." but my husband and I have a pretty legitimate operation in the works.  I am growing 19 different fruits and vegetables, 17 of which were started from seed!  We recently adopted 6 darling ducklings, soon to be egg-laying machines.  We also have two terrariums setup as mealworm farms to raise fodder for our ducks. We are rewarded with small, sometimes unexpected, joys from our facilitation of, and participation in, the circle of life. In no particular order:
  1. The first beetle: mealworms are kind of gross...they aren't slimy, but they're squirmy and wiggly, and look too grubby to not be kind of yucky.  But, they are a great source of protein (for the ducks!) and very easy to raise.  They hatch as a worm, shed a few times, turn into a pupae, transform into a beetle, and the beetles lay eggs.  When I got my first pupae, and then my first beetle, I was surprisingly proud!  Who knew something so gross could be so rewarding?!  The best resource I found for mealworm farming is The Happy Chicken Coop.
  2. Pool parties: I have found my after work zen.  I take our girls to their pool, post up in a lawn chair, and watch - seriously, soooooooooo good.
  3. Ducklings are like drunk humans: they hilariously lack physical awareness.  They are constantly moving, either by choice or because they are falling over.[video width="1920" height="1080" mp4="http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/wp-content/uploads/Clumsy-trim.mp4"][/video]
  4. The birds and the bees: last year I was horrified when my first squash blossoms died without producing any fruit...I had clearly forgotten everything I learned about flower genders in Biology 101.  This morning I saw my first squash blossom of the year - it's a boy!
  5. Grandmom's pride: my brother and I both don't have children (not yet!).  For a long time we didn't even have pets.  Now I have 6 little entertainers.  Here's a text from my mom after I sent her a duck video: "I LOVE them. My grand ducks <3"
  6. Starting or ending a business meeting with cute duckling videos: enough said!
  7. Pet fish = so American: one of my co-workers from India recently became a US Citizen, and she's never had a pet fish.  For her "welcome to America!" gift, we bought her a beta fish for her desk.  She thinks it's so American. American kids walk around with pet fish in a plastic bag, something that apparently doesn't happen in India.  The office has a new mascot, and his name is Fred.  Not quite farm material, but you get the idea...
Basically, nature rocks! Share your favorite nature photos, videos, and stories in the comments below!

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

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2 responses to “Seven joys of urban farming”

  1. Niki Glanz says:

    Bronwyn,
    Congrats on your and your husband’s incredible step into the world of yes, urban farming. Your practices obviously reflect lots of research and thought. Now for the experimentation phase. Wishing you great results and fun in the process,
    Niki Glanz

    • Bronwyn says:

      Hello Niki,
      Thank you for the kind and encouraging comments. We are very proud of what we’ve started, and we have learned from our mishaps along the way.
      THANK YOU!

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Wild and Untamed

Say it out loud, “The Northeast Kingdom.”  It sounds wild and untamed.  The Kingdom is a year-round outdoor mecca, with mountain biking, hiking, leaf-peeping, and skiing.  For an interesting perspective on what, if anything, makes NEK different from the rest of Vermont, check out this VPR clip.

I recently made NEK my destination to mountain bike the world renowned Kingdom Trails.  Just under two hours from Burlington, the drive rewards you with expansive views of rolling hills and picturesque farmland.  Akin to a sunset or the ocean, the visual effect is only fully appreciated in person – it is impossible to take a photo that effectively captures the essence of the place.

For my most recent adventure, after a long day of hammering the trails, I treated myself to dinner at Juniper’s Restaurant at the Wildflower Inn. From reading the reviews, I got the impression that Juniper’s is a refined establishment, so I called beforehand to make sure it was OK that I show up trail-weathered.  I didn’t realize how weathered I was until I caught sight of my mud-splattered reflection in the bathroom mirror…but I’m sure they’ve seen worse! The Inn is located right on the trail system.

I started my meal with an AH-MAZING brussels sprouts salad.  The preparation was so well done, it would change the heart of even the most staunch brussels sprouts critic: thinly sliced and cooked until crispy, then tossed with pine nuts, cranberries, and blue cheese.  YUM!  For dinner, I ordered pan-seared scallops, which were tasty, but nothing to write home about.  They were served with garlic mashed potatoes and fiddleheads, which were the stars of the entree.

But really, the best thing about Juniper’s, is their location.  Seated atop one of the many hilly undulations, their back patio features a spectacular west-facing view, perfect for watching the sun go down while digesting a tasty meal after a day of adventuring.  I have no intention of turning this into a travel ad, but if you are looking for a getaway, this is an excellent escape.

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

Posted: 6-3-2018

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It's mildly self-inflating to describe myself as an "urban farmer..." but my husband and I have a pretty legitimate operation in the works.  I am growing 19 different fruits and vegetables, 17 of which were started from seed!  We recently adopted 6 darling ducklings, soon to be egg-laying machines.  We also have two terrariums setup as mealworm farms to raise fodder for our ducks. We are rewarded with small, sometimes unexpected, joys from our facilitation of, and participation in, the circle of life.



In no particular order:
  1. The first beetle: mealworms are kind of gross...they aren't slimy, but they're squirmy and wiggly, and look too grubby to not be kind of yucky.  But, they are a great source of protein (for the ducks!) and very easy to raise.  They hatch as a worm, shed a few times, turn into a pupae, transform into a beetle, and the beetles lay eggs.  When I got my first pupae, and then my first beetle, I was surprisingly proud!  Who knew something so gross could be so rewarding?!  The best resource I found for mealworm farming is The Happy Chicken Coop.
  2. Pool parties: I have found my after work zen.  I take our girls to their pool, post up in a lawn chair, and watch - seriously, soooooooooo good.
  3. Ducklings are like drunk humans: they hilariously lack physical awareness.  They are constantly moving, either by choice or because they are falling over.[video width="1920" height="1080" mp4="http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/wp-content/uploads/Clumsy-trim.mp4"][/video]
  4. The birds and the bees: last year I was horrified when my first squash blossoms died without producing any fruit...I had clearly forgotten everything I learned about flower genders in Biology 101.  This morning I saw my first squash blossom of the year - it's a boy!
  5. Grandmom's pride: my brother and I both don't have children (not yet!).  For a long time we didn't even have pets.  Now I have 6 little entertainers.  Here's a text from my mom after I sent her a duck video: "I LOVE them. My grand ducks <3"
  6. Starting or ending a business meeting with cute duckling videos: enough said!
  7. Pet fish = so American: one of my co-workers from India recently became a US Citizen, and she's never had a pet fish.  For her "welcome to America!" gift, we bought her a beta fish for her desk.  She thinks it's so American. American kids walk around with pet fish in a plastic bag, something that apparently doesn't happen in India.  The office has a new mascot, and his name is Fred.  Not quite farm material, but you get the idea...
Basically, nature rocks! Share your favorite nature photos, videos, and stories in the comments below!

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

" ["post_title"]=> string(27) "Seven joys of urban farming" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(27) "seven-joys-of-urban-farming" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2018-06-18 07:50:00" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-06-18 11:50:00" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(42) "http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/?p=4856" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "2" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [1]=> object(WP_Post)#371 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(4840) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "8" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2018-06-03 10:30:19" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-06-03 14:30:19" ["post_content"]=> string(3682) " Say it out loud, "The Northeast Kingdom."  It sounds wild and untamed.  The Kingdom is a year-round outdoor mecca, with mountain biking, hiking, leaf-peeping, and skiing.  For an interesting perspective on what, if anything, makes NEK different from the rest of Vermont, check out this VPR clip. I recently made NEK my destination to mountain bike the world renowned Kingdom Trails.  Just under two hours from Burlington, the drive rewards you with expansive views of rolling hills and picturesque farmland.  Akin to a sunset or the ocean, the visual effect is only fully appreciated in person - it is impossible to take a photo that effectively captures the essence of the place. For my most recent adventure, after a long day of hammering the trails, I treated myself to dinner at Juniper's Restaurant at the Wildflower Inn. From reading the reviews, I got the impression that Juniper's is a refined establishment, so I called beforehand to make sure it was OK that I show up trail-weathered.  I didn't realize how weathered I was until I caught sight of my mud-splattered reflection in the bathroom mirror...but I'm sure they've seen worse! The Inn is located right on the trail system. I started my meal with an AH-MAZING brussels sprouts salad.  The preparation was so well done, it would change the heart of even the most staunch brussels sprouts critic: thinly sliced and cooked until crispy, then tossed with pine nuts, cranberries, and blue cheese.  YUM!  For dinner, I ordered pan-seared scallops, which were tasty, but nothing to write home about.  They were served with garlic mashed potatoes and fiddleheads, which were the stars of the entree. But really, the best thing about Juniper's, is their location.  Seated atop one of the many hilly undulations, their back patio features a spectacular west-facing view, perfect for watching the sun go down while digesting a tasty meal after a day of adventuring.  I have no intention of turning this into a travel ad, but if you are looking for a getaway, this is an excellent escape.

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

" ["post_title"]=> string(16) "Wild and Untamed" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(236) "In need of a vacation, I took a weekend to escape to the wild and beautiful Northeast Kingdom. It is calm in the way only rural areas can be, while also offering adrenaline-fueled mountain bike trails and an unrivaled bike community. " ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(16) "wild-and-untamed" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2018-06-03 10:36:37" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-06-03 14:36:37" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(42) "http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/?p=4840" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "2" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [2]=> object(WP_Post)#368 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(4813) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "8" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2018-05-13 10:45:32" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-05-13 14:45:32" ["post_content"]=> string(6275) "As a beginner gardener, I accept (somewhat grudgingly...my type-A personality gets in the way of 100% graciously accepting my errs) that I will not do everything right the first time.  However, I embrace challenges - so bring it on! 2018 marks year two of my life as a home gardener.  I learned some valuable lessons last year.  After a slow start, and purchasing some starts instead of seeds, I had a (mostly) productive garden.  This year will be even better! Namely because I won't repeat my five biggest beginner mistakes from last year... 1. Smothered with love Every morning and evening, ever so lovingly, I watered my seedlings.  I was sure to keep their soil moist at all times, just like the seed packets and online articles said.  Naively, I carried this same diligence to my garden beds!  Halfway through the summer, my beautiful, healthy squash started to rot right on the vine. With some googling, I diagnosed my problem as root rot - this happens when the environment around the roots stays too wet and doesn't get enough oxygen, developing a fungus which causes droopy leaves and rotting fruits.  Even though I had raised beds, the densely rich compost did not drain well.  We had a fairly rainy summer, and I was still out there watering every day and night...oops!

The fix: Assure proper drainage - add a layer of gravel to the bottom of your raised garden bed and avoid planting in low areas where water will collect and hold.

2. Helicopter mom Thinking the protected, heated, and well-lit indoor environment would be best for all my plant starts, I started my lettuce indoors.  I planted them next to the heater, put them under grow lights, and fussed over their soil moisture, all in an effort to shelter them from trying to start their lives in the harsh outdoors. Know what I raised?  Pathetic lettuce...flimsy, weak, and floppy lettuce.  They sprouted into tall, spindly starts that would tip over just by looking at them wrong.

The fix: Show some tough love and start your lettuce outside.  Let the natural forces of wind and rain force the lettuce starts to be hardier and sturdier than their sheltered counterparts.

[caption id="attachment_4825" align="aligncenter" width="520"] Last year's squash starts using egg crates[/caption] 3. Pinterest is pretty, not practical I'm pretty sure everyone has a story about seeing something cute on Pinterest, then failing miserably in an attempt to re-create it (check out this link for funny Pinterest fails!).  My Pinterest fail was using egg crates to start my seedlings.  In theory - it sounds perfect - they can be transplanted straight into the garden, egg cup and all!  In reality, my plants all germinated as expected, then almost immediately wilted and died.

The fix: Don't plant in egg crates!  My theory is they do not hold enough soil to provide nutrients after germination.  I also think they may have been treated or exposed to something that harmed the plants...but these are just theories.  Simply put, don't start in egg crates.

4. Give the carrots a break Literally!  Last year, I filled my raised beds with rich compost from a local dairy farmer.  It was wonderfully nutrient dense, but also, very dense.  My carrot-tops were vibrant and feathery, and when it came time to harvest, I chose the fattest looking carrots I could find.  They were the shortest, stumpiest little carrots I've ever seen.  Apparently, girth is not indicative of length.

The fix: To be fair, I have not yet been able to prove out my solution this year yet, but based on garden advise from family (and the internet!), I mixed my compost with sand and perlite.  The goal is to aerates the soil, giving the carrots some space to push through and grow nice and long.

5. Bunnies are cute, but they're pests I completely underestimated the damage a single little cottontail can do to a bed of kale.  I transplanted my kale and figured I could wait a day or two to put up a pest barrier...WRONG!  So wrong...Literally that night, a hungry bunny ate the tops of every plant!  I had to start over with seed on all except one plant that had a couple leaves left and held onto life like a champ.

The fix: Be diligent with your pest barriers!  I use mesh wildlife netting supported by 2x2 posts.  Definitely diminishes the appearance, but you'll be glad YOU are the one eating your kale, not the damn bunnies.

[caption id="attachment_4827" align="aligncenter" width="520"] This year's squash starts.  Notice how plump and healthy they look compared to last year![/caption] PLEASE SHARE your pearls of wisdom for home gardening!  I look forward to a more productive year than last, but there is still much learning to be had...

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

" ["post_title"]=> string(35) "5 Mistakes of a First Time Gardener" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(228) "Learn how to avoid home gardening mistakes! Last year I attempted my first ever home vegetable garden. There is definitely a learning curve, especially for Vermont's short growing season, and I learned some valuable lessons..." ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(35) "5-mistakes-of-a-first-time-gardener" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(50) " https://diyprojects.com/pinterest-fails-make-day/" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2018-05-13 14:15:29" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-05-13 18:15:29" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(42) "http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/?p=4813" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "2" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [3]=> object(WP_Post)#367 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(4799) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "8" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2018-04-29 07:30:56" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-04-29 11:30:56" ["post_content"]=> string(3633) "Last November, I failed as a food blogger.  I was in Boston for a training, and through some stealthy Googling, I found a very promising lead on the best burger in town at a place called Craigie on Main.  Their beef is sourced from local grass-fed cattle farmers with limited supply, so they only make 18 burgers every night.  Because grass-fed beef is not as tender, Craigie's ensures juiciness by mixing in bone marrow and suet. If you're a burger fan, read this article for an excellent description of all the other reasons Craigie's has nailed the, dare I say, perfect burger. After reading said article, I was decidedly on a mission to secure one of these epic burgers.  My training went until 5:30 every day,  which means I had to face HORRIBLE Boston rush hour traffic to get to the restaurant.  While en route, I was sweating and nervous as I sat in parking lot after parking lot of stoplights and cross-streets...will I make it in time to procure my object of desire?? I finally made it, ran to the bar, and practically hugged the bartender when he tells me I can have a burger.  Whew!  I settle in with a good beer and wait.  It wasn't until I had 1 1/2 bites of burger left, with juice all over my hands and dripping down my arms that I realized my failure...I didn't take a single photo!  I made a journey out of this burger, and I write on a food blog, and I didn't take a picture...what?!?  No one wants to just read a story about me eating a burger...you want to SEE that burger and picture yourself there with me! Fast-forward to last week: after a looooooooong day of manning the booth at a trade show in Boston, my fatigued colleagues and I were eager to wind down with good drink and food.  As I'm sure you'll guess, we went to Craigie on Main!  Want to know the best way to embarrass and annoy your coworkers?  Go out to dinner hungry, then don't let them take a bite of anything until you've taken at least 10 photos of it! We ate family style, sharing pretty much one of everything on the menu, including the chef's tasting menu and two burgers.  I cannot say enough how great this place is.  The vibe, the staff, the food, the drink, and of course, the BURGER! I love how food brings people together and becomes the defining point of fond memories.  Have any standout food (or burger!) memories? Share them below!

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

" ["post_title"]=> string(22) "How I Failed in Boston" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(157) "A journey to find the perfect burger in Boston. What starts out as a solo adventure ends with good friends enjoying good food at Boston's Craigie on Main. " ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(22) "how-i-failed-in-boston" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2018-05-05 10:45:53" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-05-05 14:45:53" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(42) "http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/?p=4799" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "2" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [4]=> object(WP_Post)#278 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(4778) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "8" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2018-04-15 10:00:51" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-04-15 14:00:51" ["post_content"]=> string(4073) " Those of you who know me well will be surprised to know I have read, not one, not two, but THREE news articles this week.  If you're wondering why this is uncharacteristic, I don't read the news.  For one simple reason: it's depressing!  What's not surprising is that the three articles I read this week were all in the vein of food politics.  I am NOT a political person...but I get hotly opinionated about food policies! I have no intention of turning a lighthearted blog entry into a term paper...instead, my goal is to introduce ideas and generate productive conversations about food and where it comes from. All three articles shared a common food theme, namely, the sustainability of current farming practices.  Yeah, yeah, yeah...Sustainability and farming - old news!  But these articles all have current and poignant perspectives.  Case in point: check out this new startup, Aggressively Organic.  They provides small-space, at-home, organic, hydroponic farming solutions.  Their grow setups require minimal water, no soil, and no light, making them perfect for the space and/or resource (soil/water) constrained.  Their tagline: We are a movement.  Their mission? End food insecurity in our lifetime.   Next I read about a group of Vermont farmers involved in the Real Organic Project.  They seek to provide an organic label that encompasses the true spirit of "organic."  In their view, the USDA Organic label, which includes hydroponics (like Aggressively Organic) and does not account for animal welfare, fails to encompass the original values of organic.  Their goal is transparency in the marketplace, which they will achieve by creating an additional organic label to celebrate what they value: "crops grown in soil [rotated, organic soil-grown crops provide nutrients to the soil, whereas mono-crops and pesticides deplete the soil] and pasture-raised livestock."  Their motto: Feed the soil, feed the planet. Closer to home are the challenges of the dairy farmer.  This week's Seven Days cover story describes a bleak landscape for dairy farming in Vermont.  A cornerstone of Vermont agriculture for generations, the volatile financial landscape in which they operate have compelled many farmers to sell their herds.  According to the article, in the 1940's Vermont was home to over 11,000 dairy farms.  Today? only 749 are still in operation!  Less inspiring and more thought provoking, this is a great read for anyone with an appetite for "human interest" articles. My summary of this collection: vote with your dollar!  Every food purchase makes a difference.  We have an opportunity to support what we value each time we buy something.  Whether it's local, organic, pastured, etc, our purchases make a difference!

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

" ["post_title"]=> string(33) "Love your FOOD | Love your FARMer" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(132) "Farming in the news! From organics to local dairy farms, this week was rich with farm stories. Love your food? Love your farmers!!" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(31) "love-your-food-love-your-farmer" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2018-04-15 07:34:49" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-04-15 11:34:49" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(42) "http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/?p=4778" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "4" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } } ["post"]=> object(WP_Post)#371 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(4840) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "8" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2018-06-03 10:30:19" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-06-03 14:30:19" ["post_content"]=> string(3682) " Say it out loud, "The Northeast Kingdom."  It sounds wild and untamed.  The Kingdom is a year-round outdoor mecca, with mountain biking, hiking, leaf-peeping, and skiing.  For an interesting perspective on what, if anything, makes NEK different from the rest of Vermont, check out this VPR clip. I recently made NEK my destination to mountain bike the world renowned Kingdom Trails.  Just under two hours from Burlington, the drive rewards you with expansive views of rolling hills and picturesque farmland.  Akin to a sunset or the ocean, the visual effect is only fully appreciated in person - it is impossible to take a photo that effectively captures the essence of the place. For my most recent adventure, after a long day of hammering the trails, I treated myself to dinner at Juniper's Restaurant at the Wildflower Inn. From reading the reviews, I got the impression that Juniper's is a refined establishment, so I called beforehand to make sure it was OK that I show up trail-weathered.  I didn't realize how weathered I was until I caught sight of my mud-splattered reflection in the bathroom mirror...but I'm sure they've seen worse! The Inn is located right on the trail system. I started my meal with an AH-MAZING brussels sprouts salad.  The preparation was so well done, it would change the heart of even the most staunch brussels sprouts critic: thinly sliced and cooked until crispy, then tossed with pine nuts, cranberries, and blue cheese.  YUM!  For dinner, I ordered pan-seared scallops, which were tasty, but nothing to write home about.  They were served with garlic mashed potatoes and fiddleheads, which were the stars of the entree. But really, the best thing about Juniper's, is their location.  Seated atop one of the many hilly undulations, their back patio features a spectacular west-facing view, perfect for watching the sun go down while digesting a tasty meal after a day of adventuring.  I have no intention of turning this into a travel ad, but if you are looking for a getaway, this is an excellent escape.

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

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" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(16) "wild-and-untamed" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2018-06-03 10:36:37" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-06-03 14:36:37" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(42) "http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/?p=4840" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "2" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } ["queried_object"]=> object(WP_Term)#277 (16) { ["term_id"]=> int(1) ["name"]=> string(4) "blog" ["slug"]=> string(4) "blog" ["term_group"]=> int(0) ["term_taxonomy_id"]=> int(1) ["taxonomy"]=> string(8) "category" ["description"]=> string(0) "" ["parent"]=> int(0) ["count"]=> int(145) ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" ["cat_ID"]=> int(1) ["category_count"]=> int(145) ["category_description"]=> string(0) "" ["cat_name"]=> string(4) "blog" ["category_nicename"]=> string(4) "blog" ["category_parent"]=> int(0) } ["queried_object_id"]=> int(1) ["comments"]=> array(2) { [0]=> &object(WP_Comment)#240 (18) { ["comment_ID"]=> string(6) "208660" ["comment_post_ID"]=> string(4) "4856" ["comment_author"]=> string(10) "Niki Glanz" ["comment_author_email"]=> string(17) "nikiglanz@aol.com" ["comment_author_url"]=> string(33) "http://www.memoriestomomentum.com" ["comment_author_IP"]=> string(11) "65.96.4.155" ["comment_date"]=> string(19) "2018-06-18 09:11:52" ["comment_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-06-18 13:11:52" ["comment_content"]=> string(259) "Bronwyn, Congrats on your and your husband's incredible step into the world of yes, urban farming. Your practices obviously reflect lots of research and thought. Now for the experimentation phase. Wishing you great results and fun in the process, Niki Glanz" ["comment_karma"]=> string(1) "0" ["comment_approved"]=> string(1) "1" ["comment_agent"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_parent"]=> string(1) "0" ["user_id"]=> string(1) "0" ["children:protected"]=> array(1) { [208661]=> object(WP_Comment)#233 (18) { ["comment_ID"]=> string(6) "208661" ["comment_post_ID"]=> string(4) "4856" ["comment_author"]=> string(7) "Bronwyn" ["comment_author_email"]=> string(35) "bronwyn@inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com" ["comment_author_url"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_author_IP"]=> string(12) "64.223.67.34" ["comment_date"]=> string(19) "2018-06-18 12:58:35" ["comment_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-06-18 16:58:35" ["comment_content"]=> string(165) "Hello Niki, Thank you for the kind and encouraging comments. We are very proud of what we've started, and we have learned from our mishaps along the way. THANK YOU!" 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We are very proud of what we've started, and we have learned from our mishaps along the way. THANK YOU!" 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Your practices obviously reflect lots of research and thought. Now for the experimentation phase. Wishing you great results and fun in the process, Niki Glanz" ["comment_karma"]=> string(1) "0" ["comment_approved"]=> string(1) "1" ["comment_agent"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_parent"]=> string(1) "0" ["user_id"]=> string(1) "0" ["children:protected"]=> array(1) { [208661]=> object(WP_Comment)#233 (18) { ["comment_ID"]=> string(6) "208661" ["comment_post_ID"]=> string(4) "4856" ["comment_author"]=> string(7) "Bronwyn" ["comment_author_email"]=> string(35) "bronwyn@inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com" ["comment_author_url"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_author_IP"]=> string(12) "64.223.67.34" ["comment_date"]=> string(19) "2018-06-18 12:58:35" ["comment_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-06-18 16:58:35" ["comment_content"]=> string(165) "Hello Niki, Thank you for the kind and encouraging comments. We are very proud of what we've started, and we have learned from our mishaps along the way. THANK YOU!" 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We are very proud of what we've started, and we have learned from our mishaps along the way. THANK YOU!" 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2 responses to “Wild and Untamed”

  1. Kellie Kutkey says:

    I want to know how the fiddleheads were!
    I think we’re too late to harvest them in the PNW, also too late for harvesting nettles, but ONE DAY!

    • Bronwyn says:

      Fiddleheads are kind of like asparagus…but less woody on the outside and maybe slightly nuttier in flavor.

      It’s a little late here, as well, so I’m not sure just where they got these…but they were tasty nonetheless!

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5 Mistakes of a First Time Gardener

As a beginner gardener, I accept (somewhat grudgingly…my type-A personality gets in the way of 100% graciously accepting my errs) that I will not do everything right the first time.  However, I embrace challenges – so bring it on!

2018 marks year two of my life as a home gardener.  I learned some valuable lessons last year.  After a slow start, and purchasing some starts instead of seeds, I had a (mostly) productive garden.  This year will be even better! Namely because I won’t repeat my five biggest beginner mistakes from last year…

1. Smothered with love

Every morning and evening, ever so lovingly, I watered my seedlings.  I was sure to keep their soil moist at all times, just like the seed packets and online articles said.  Naively, I carried this same diligence to my garden beds!  Halfway through the summer, my beautiful, healthy squash started to rot right on the vine.

With some googling, I diagnosed my problem as root rot – this happens when the environment around the roots stays too wet and doesn’t get enough oxygen, developing a fungus which causes droopy leaves and rotting fruits.  Even though I had raised beds, the densely rich compost did not drain well.  We had a fairly rainy summer, and I was still out there watering every day and night…oops!

The fix: Assure proper drainage – add a layer of gravel to the bottom of your raised garden bed and avoid planting in low areas where water will collect and hold.

2. Helicopter mom

Thinking the protected, heated, and well-lit indoor environment would be best for all my plant starts, I started my lettuce indoors.  I planted them next to the heater, put them under grow lights, and fussed over their soil moisture, all in an effort to shelter them from trying to start their lives in the harsh outdoors.

Know what I raised?  Pathetic lettuce…flimsy, weak, and floppy lettuce.  They sprouted into tall, spindly starts that would tip over just by looking at them wrong.

The fix: Show some tough love and start your lettuce outside.  Let the natural forces of wind and rain force the lettuce starts to be hardier and sturdier than their sheltered counterparts.

Last year’s squash starts using egg crates

3. Pinterest is pretty, not practical

I’m pretty sure everyone has a story about seeing something cute on Pinterest, then failing miserably in an attempt to re-create it (check out this link for funny Pinterest fails!).  My Pinterest fail was using egg crates to start my seedlings.  In theory – it sounds perfect – they can be transplanted straight into the garden, egg cup and all!  In reality, my plants all germinated as expected, then almost immediately wilted and died.

The fix: Don’t plant in egg crates!  My theory is they do not hold enough soil to provide nutrients after germination.  I also think they may have been treated or exposed to something that harmed the plants…but these are just theories.  Simply put, don’t start in egg crates.

4. Give the carrots a break

Literally!  Last year, I filled my raised beds with rich compost from a local dairy farmer.  It was wonderfully nutrient dense, but also, very dense.  My carrot-tops were vibrant and feathery, and when it came time to harvest, I chose the fattest looking carrots I could find.  They were the shortest, stumpiest little carrots I’ve ever seen.  Apparently, girth is not indicative of length.

The fix: To be fair, I have not yet been able to prove out my solution this year yet, but based on garden advise from family (and the internet!), I mixed my compost with sand and perlite.  The goal is to aerates the soil, giving the carrots some space to push through and grow nice and long.

5. Bunnies are cute, but they’re pests

I completely underestimated the damage a single little cottontail can do to a bed of kale.  I transplanted my kale and figured I could wait a day or two to put up a pest barrier…WRONG!  So wrong…Literally that night, a hungry bunny ate the tops of every plant!  I had to start over with seed on all except one plant that had a couple leaves left and held onto life like a champ.

The fix: Be diligent with your pest barriers!  I use mesh wildlife netting supported by 2×2 posts.  Definitely diminishes the appearance, but you’ll be glad YOU are the one eating your kale, not the damn bunnies.

This year’s squash starts.  Notice how plump and healthy they look compared to last year!

PLEASE SHARE your pearls of wisdom for home gardening!  I look forward to a more productive year than last, but there is still much learning to be had…

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

Posted: 5-13-2018

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It's mildly self-inflating to describe myself as an "urban farmer..." but my husband and I have a pretty legitimate operation in the works.  I am growing 19 different fruits and vegetables, 17 of which were started from seed!  We recently adopted 6 darling ducklings, soon to be egg-laying machines.  We also have two terrariums setup as mealworm farms to raise fodder for our ducks. We are rewarded with small, sometimes unexpected, joys from our facilitation of, and participation in, the circle of life.



In no particular order:
  1. The first beetle: mealworms are kind of gross...they aren't slimy, but they're squirmy and wiggly, and look too grubby to not be kind of yucky.  But, they are a great source of protein (for the ducks!) and very easy to raise.  They hatch as a worm, shed a few times, turn into a pupae, transform into a beetle, and the beetles lay eggs.  When I got my first pupae, and then my first beetle, I was surprisingly proud!  Who knew something so gross could be so rewarding?!  The best resource I found for mealworm farming is The Happy Chicken Coop.
  2. Pool parties: I have found my after work zen.  I take our girls to their pool, post up in a lawn chair, and watch - seriously, soooooooooo good.
  3. Ducklings are like drunk humans: they hilariously lack physical awareness.  They are constantly moving, either by choice or because they are falling over.[video width="1920" height="1080" mp4="http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/wp-content/uploads/Clumsy-trim.mp4"][/video]
  4. The birds and the bees: last year I was horrified when my first squash blossoms died without producing any fruit...I had clearly forgotten everything I learned about flower genders in Biology 101.  This morning I saw my first squash blossom of the year - it's a boy!
  5. Grandmom's pride: my brother and I both don't have children (not yet!).  For a long time we didn't even have pets.  Now I have 6 little entertainers.  Here's a text from my mom after I sent her a duck video: "I LOVE them. My grand ducks <3"
  6. Starting or ending a business meeting with cute duckling videos: enough said!
  7. Pet fish = so American: one of my co-workers from India recently became a US Citizen, and she's never had a pet fish.  For her "welcome to America!" gift, we bought her a beta fish for her desk.  She thinks it's so American. American kids walk around with pet fish in a plastic bag, something that apparently doesn't happen in India.  The office has a new mascot, and his name is Fred.  Not quite farm material, but you get the idea...
Basically, nature rocks! Share your favorite nature photos, videos, and stories in the comments below!

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

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Until next time,

Corrie Austin

" ["post_title"]=> string(16) "Wild and Untamed" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(236) "In need of a vacation, I took a weekend to escape to the wild and beautiful Northeast Kingdom. It is calm in the way only rural areas can be, while also offering adrenaline-fueled mountain bike trails and an unrivaled bike community. " ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(16) "wild-and-untamed" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2018-06-03 10:36:37" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-06-03 14:36:37" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(42) "http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/?p=4840" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "2" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [2]=> object(WP_Post)#368 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(4813) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "8" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2018-05-13 10:45:32" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-05-13 14:45:32" ["post_content"]=> string(6275) "As a beginner gardener, I accept (somewhat grudgingly...my type-A personality gets in the way of 100% graciously accepting my errs) that I will not do everything right the first time.  However, I embrace challenges - so bring it on! 2018 marks year two of my life as a home gardener.  I learned some valuable lessons last year.  After a slow start, and purchasing some starts instead of seeds, I had a (mostly) productive garden.  This year will be even better! Namely because I won't repeat my five biggest beginner mistakes from last year... 1. Smothered with love Every morning and evening, ever so lovingly, I watered my seedlings.  I was sure to keep their soil moist at all times, just like the seed packets and online articles said.  Naively, I carried this same diligence to my garden beds!  Halfway through the summer, my beautiful, healthy squash started to rot right on the vine. With some googling, I diagnosed my problem as root rot - this happens when the environment around the roots stays too wet and doesn't get enough oxygen, developing a fungus which causes droopy leaves and rotting fruits.  Even though I had raised beds, the densely rich compost did not drain well.  We had a fairly rainy summer, and I was still out there watering every day and night...oops!

The fix: Assure proper drainage - add a layer of gravel to the bottom of your raised garden bed and avoid planting in low areas where water will collect and hold.

2. Helicopter mom Thinking the protected, heated, and well-lit indoor environment would be best for all my plant starts, I started my lettuce indoors.  I planted them next to the heater, put them under grow lights, and fussed over their soil moisture, all in an effort to shelter them from trying to start their lives in the harsh outdoors. Know what I raised?  Pathetic lettuce...flimsy, weak, and floppy lettuce.  They sprouted into tall, spindly starts that would tip over just by looking at them wrong.

The fix: Show some tough love and start your lettuce outside.  Let the natural forces of wind and rain force the lettuce starts to be hardier and sturdier than their sheltered counterparts.

[caption id="attachment_4825" align="aligncenter" width="520"] Last year's squash starts using egg crates[/caption] 3. Pinterest is pretty, not practical I'm pretty sure everyone has a story about seeing something cute on Pinterest, then failing miserably in an attempt to re-create it (check out this link for funny Pinterest fails!).  My Pinterest fail was using egg crates to start my seedlings.  In theory - it sounds perfect - they can be transplanted straight into the garden, egg cup and all!  In reality, my plants all germinated as expected, then almost immediately wilted and died.

The fix: Don't plant in egg crates!  My theory is they do not hold enough soil to provide nutrients after germination.  I also think they may have been treated or exposed to something that harmed the plants...but these are just theories.  Simply put, don't start in egg crates.

4. Give the carrots a break Literally!  Last year, I filled my raised beds with rich compost from a local dairy farmer.  It was wonderfully nutrient dense, but also, very dense.  My carrot-tops were vibrant and feathery, and when it came time to harvest, I chose the fattest looking carrots I could find.  They were the shortest, stumpiest little carrots I've ever seen.  Apparently, girth is not indicative of length.

The fix: To be fair, I have not yet been able to prove out my solution this year yet, but based on garden advise from family (and the internet!), I mixed my compost with sand and perlite.  The goal is to aerates the soil, giving the carrots some space to push through and grow nice and long.

5. Bunnies are cute, but they're pests I completely underestimated the damage a single little cottontail can do to a bed of kale.  I transplanted my kale and figured I could wait a day or two to put up a pest barrier...WRONG!  So wrong...Literally that night, a hungry bunny ate the tops of every plant!  I had to start over with seed on all except one plant that had a couple leaves left and held onto life like a champ.

The fix: Be diligent with your pest barriers!  I use mesh wildlife netting supported by 2x2 posts.  Definitely diminishes the appearance, but you'll be glad YOU are the one eating your kale, not the damn bunnies.

[caption id="attachment_4827" align="aligncenter" width="520"] This year's squash starts.  Notice how plump and healthy they look compared to last year![/caption] PLEASE SHARE your pearls of wisdom for home gardening!  I look forward to a more productive year than last, but there is still much learning to be had...

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

" ["post_title"]=> string(35) "5 Mistakes of a First Time Gardener" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(228) "Learn how to avoid home gardening mistakes! Last year I attempted my first ever home vegetable garden. There is definitely a learning curve, especially for Vermont's short growing season, and I learned some valuable lessons..." ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(35) "5-mistakes-of-a-first-time-gardener" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(50) " https://diyprojects.com/pinterest-fails-make-day/" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2018-05-13 14:15:29" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-05-13 18:15:29" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(42) "http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/?p=4813" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "2" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [3]=> object(WP_Post)#367 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(4799) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "8" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2018-04-29 07:30:56" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-04-29 11:30:56" ["post_content"]=> string(3633) "Last November, I failed as a food blogger.  I was in Boston for a training, and through some stealthy Googling, I found a very promising lead on the best burger in town at a place called Craigie on Main.  Their beef is sourced from local grass-fed cattle farmers with limited supply, so they only make 18 burgers every night.  Because grass-fed beef is not as tender, Craigie's ensures juiciness by mixing in bone marrow and suet. If you're a burger fan, read this article for an excellent description of all the other reasons Craigie's has nailed the, dare I say, perfect burger. After reading said article, I was decidedly on a mission to secure one of these epic burgers.  My training went until 5:30 every day,  which means I had to face HORRIBLE Boston rush hour traffic to get to the restaurant.  While en route, I was sweating and nervous as I sat in parking lot after parking lot of stoplights and cross-streets...will I make it in time to procure my object of desire?? I finally made it, ran to the bar, and practically hugged the bartender when he tells me I can have a burger.  Whew!  I settle in with a good beer and wait.  It wasn't until I had 1 1/2 bites of burger left, with juice all over my hands and dripping down my arms that I realized my failure...I didn't take a single photo!  I made a journey out of this burger, and I write on a food blog, and I didn't take a picture...what?!?  No one wants to just read a story about me eating a burger...you want to SEE that burger and picture yourself there with me! Fast-forward to last week: after a looooooooong day of manning the booth at a trade show in Boston, my fatigued colleagues and I were eager to wind down with good drink and food.  As I'm sure you'll guess, we went to Craigie on Main!  Want to know the best way to embarrass and annoy your coworkers?  Go out to dinner hungry, then don't let them take a bite of anything until you've taken at least 10 photos of it! We ate family style, sharing pretty much one of everything on the menu, including the chef's tasting menu and two burgers.  I cannot say enough how great this place is.  The vibe, the staff, the food, the drink, and of course, the BURGER! I love how food brings people together and becomes the defining point of fond memories.  Have any standout food (or burger!) memories? Share them below!

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

" ["post_title"]=> string(22) "How I Failed in Boston" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(157) "A journey to find the perfect burger in Boston. What starts out as a solo adventure ends with good friends enjoying good food at Boston's Craigie on Main. " ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(22) "how-i-failed-in-boston" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2018-05-05 10:45:53" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-05-05 14:45:53" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(42) "http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/?p=4799" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "2" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [4]=> object(WP_Post)#278 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(4778) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "8" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2018-04-15 10:00:51" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-04-15 14:00:51" ["post_content"]=> string(4073) " Those of you who know me well will be surprised to know I have read, not one, not two, but THREE news articles this week.  If you're wondering why this is uncharacteristic, I don't read the news.  For one simple reason: it's depressing!  What's not surprising is that the three articles I read this week were all in the vein of food politics.  I am NOT a political person...but I get hotly opinionated about food policies! I have no intention of turning a lighthearted blog entry into a term paper...instead, my goal is to introduce ideas and generate productive conversations about food and where it comes from. All three articles shared a common food theme, namely, the sustainability of current farming practices.  Yeah, yeah, yeah...Sustainability and farming - old news!  But these articles all have current and poignant perspectives.  Case in point: check out this new startup, Aggressively Organic.  They provides small-space, at-home, organic, hydroponic farming solutions.  Their grow setups require minimal water, no soil, and no light, making them perfect for the space and/or resource (soil/water) constrained.  Their tagline: We are a movement.  Their mission? End food insecurity in our lifetime.   Next I read about a group of Vermont farmers involved in the Real Organic Project.  They seek to provide an organic label that encompasses the true spirit of "organic."  In their view, the USDA Organic label, which includes hydroponics (like Aggressively Organic) and does not account for animal welfare, fails to encompass the original values of organic.  Their goal is transparency in the marketplace, which they will achieve by creating an additional organic label to celebrate what they value: "crops grown in soil [rotated, organic soil-grown crops provide nutrients to the soil, whereas mono-crops and pesticides deplete the soil] and pasture-raised livestock."  Their motto: Feed the soil, feed the planet. Closer to home are the challenges of the dairy farmer.  This week's Seven Days cover story describes a bleak landscape for dairy farming in Vermont.  A cornerstone of Vermont agriculture for generations, the volatile financial landscape in which they operate have compelled many farmers to sell their herds.  According to the article, in the 1940's Vermont was home to over 11,000 dairy farms.  Today? only 749 are still in operation!  Less inspiring and more thought provoking, this is a great read for anyone with an appetite for "human interest" articles. My summary of this collection: vote with your dollar!  Every food purchase makes a difference.  We have an opportunity to support what we value each time we buy something.  Whether it's local, organic, pastured, etc, our purchases make a difference!

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

" ["post_title"]=> string(33) "Love your FOOD | Love your FARMer" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(132) "Farming in the news! From organics to local dairy farms, this week was rich with farm stories. Love your food? Love your farmers!!" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(31) "love-your-food-love-your-farmer" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2018-04-15 07:34:49" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-04-15 11:34:49" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(42) "http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/?p=4778" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "4" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } } ["post"]=> object(WP_Post)#368 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(4813) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "8" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2018-05-13 10:45:32" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-05-13 14:45:32" ["post_content"]=> string(6275) "As a beginner gardener, I accept (somewhat grudgingly...my type-A personality gets in the way of 100% graciously accepting my errs) that I will not do everything right the first time.  However, I embrace challenges - so bring it on! 2018 marks year two of my life as a home gardener.  I learned some valuable lessons last year.  After a slow start, and purchasing some starts instead of seeds, I had a (mostly) productive garden.  This year will be even better! Namely because I won't repeat my five biggest beginner mistakes from last year... 1. Smothered with love Every morning and evening, ever so lovingly, I watered my seedlings.  I was sure to keep their soil moist at all times, just like the seed packets and online articles said.  Naively, I carried this same diligence to my garden beds!  Halfway through the summer, my beautiful, healthy squash started to rot right on the vine. With some googling, I diagnosed my problem as root rot - this happens when the environment around the roots stays too wet and doesn't get enough oxygen, developing a fungus which causes droopy leaves and rotting fruits.  Even though I had raised beds, the densely rich compost did not drain well.  We had a fairly rainy summer, and I was still out there watering every day and night...oops!

The fix: Assure proper drainage - add a layer of gravel to the bottom of your raised garden bed and avoid planting in low areas where water will collect and hold.

2. Helicopter mom Thinking the protected, heated, and well-lit indoor environment would be best for all my plant starts, I started my lettuce indoors.  I planted them next to the heater, put them under grow lights, and fussed over their soil moisture, all in an effort to shelter them from trying to start their lives in the harsh outdoors. Know what I raised?  Pathetic lettuce...flimsy, weak, and floppy lettuce.  They sprouted into tall, spindly starts that would tip over just by looking at them wrong.

The fix: Show some tough love and start your lettuce outside.  Let the natural forces of wind and rain force the lettuce starts to be hardier and sturdier than their sheltered counterparts.

[caption id="attachment_4825" align="aligncenter" width="520"] Last year's squash starts using egg crates[/caption] 3. Pinterest is pretty, not practical I'm pretty sure everyone has a story about seeing something cute on Pinterest, then failing miserably in an attempt to re-create it (check out this link for funny Pinterest fails!).  My Pinterest fail was using egg crates to start my seedlings.  In theory - it sounds perfect - they can be transplanted straight into the garden, egg cup and all!  In reality, my plants all germinated as expected, then almost immediately wilted and died.

The fix: Don't plant in egg crates!  My theory is they do not hold enough soil to provide nutrients after germination.  I also think they may have been treated or exposed to something that harmed the plants...but these are just theories.  Simply put, don't start in egg crates.

4. Give the carrots a break Literally!  Last year, I filled my raised beds with rich compost from a local dairy farmer.  It was wonderfully nutrient dense, but also, very dense.  My carrot-tops were vibrant and feathery, and when it came time to harvest, I chose the fattest looking carrots I could find.  They were the shortest, stumpiest little carrots I've ever seen.  Apparently, girth is not indicative of length.

The fix: To be fair, I have not yet been able to prove out my solution this year yet, but based on garden advise from family (and the internet!), I mixed my compost with sand and perlite.  The goal is to aerates the soil, giving the carrots some space to push through and grow nice and long.

5. Bunnies are cute, but they're pests I completely underestimated the damage a single little cottontail can do to a bed of kale.  I transplanted my kale and figured I could wait a day or two to put up a pest barrier...WRONG!  So wrong...Literally that night, a hungry bunny ate the tops of every plant!  I had to start over with seed on all except one plant that had a couple leaves left and held onto life like a champ.

The fix: Be diligent with your pest barriers!  I use mesh wildlife netting supported by 2x2 posts.  Definitely diminishes the appearance, but you'll be glad YOU are the one eating your kale, not the damn bunnies.

[caption id="attachment_4827" align="aligncenter" width="520"] This year's squash starts.  Notice how plump and healthy they look compared to last year![/caption] PLEASE SHARE your pearls of wisdom for home gardening!  I look forward to a more productive year than last, but there is still much learning to be had...

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

" ["post_title"]=> string(35) "5 Mistakes of a First Time Gardener" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(228) "Learn how to avoid home gardening mistakes! Last year I attempted my first ever home vegetable garden. There is definitely a learning curve, especially for Vermont's short growing season, and I learned some valuable lessons..." 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I think we’re too late to harvest them in the PNW, also too late for harvesting nettles, but ONE DAY!" ["comment_karma"]=> string(1) "0" ["comment_approved"]=> string(1) "1" ["comment_agent"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_parent"]=> string(1) "0" ["user_id"]=> string(1) "0" ["children:protected"]=> array(1) { [208659]=> object(WP_Comment)#1060 (18) { ["comment_ID"]=> string(6) "208659" ["comment_post_ID"]=> string(4) "4840" ["comment_author"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_author_email"]=> string(35) "bronwyn@inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com" ["comment_author_url"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_author_IP"]=> string(12) "64.223.67.34" ["comment_date"]=> string(19) "2018-06-05 15:00:33" ["comment_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-06-05 19:00:33" ["comment_content"]=> string(222) "Fiddleheads are kind of like asparagus...but less woody on the outside and maybe slightly nuttier in flavor. It's a little late here, as well, so I'm not sure just where they got these...but they were tasty nonetheless!" 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It's a little late here, as well, so I'm not sure just where they got these...but they were tasty nonetheless!" 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I think we’re too late to harvest them in the PNW, also too late for harvesting nettles, but ONE DAY!" ["comment_karma"]=> string(1) "0" ["comment_approved"]=> string(1) "1" ["comment_agent"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_parent"]=> string(1) "0" ["user_id"]=> string(1) "0" ["children:protected"]=> array(1) { [208659]=> object(WP_Comment)#1060 (18) { ["comment_ID"]=> string(6) "208659" ["comment_post_ID"]=> string(4) "4840" ["comment_author"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_author_email"]=> string(35) "bronwyn@inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com" ["comment_author_url"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_author_IP"]=> string(12) "64.223.67.34" ["comment_date"]=> string(19) "2018-06-05 15:00:33" ["comment_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-06-05 19:00:33" ["comment_content"]=> string(222) "Fiddleheads are kind of like asparagus...but less woody on the outside and maybe slightly nuttier in flavor. It's a little late here, as well, so I'm not sure just where they got these...but they were tasty nonetheless!" 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It's a little late here, as well, so I'm not sure just where they got these...but they were tasty nonetheless!" 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2 responses to “5 Mistakes of a First Time Gardener”

  1. You did it, again, Corrie. I learned something about vegetable gardening from your post, and I’ve been gardening for too many years to mention! Thank you for the tip on carrots, getting rid of those sweet, hungry bunnies and avoiding cute ideas on Pinterest! Another winner!!

    • Corrie Austin says:

      Hi Bronwyn,
      It’s a humbling experience, as you just have to accept some failures. I’m hoping for a better turnout than last year! Only time will tell, and I’m sure I will make at least 5 more big errors!
      See you Friday,
      Corrie

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How I Failed in Boston

Last November, I failed as a food blogger.  I was in Boston for a training, and through some stealthy Googling, I found a very promising lead on the best burger in town at a place called Craigie on Main.  Their beef is sourced from local grass-fed cattle farmers with limited supply, so they only make 18 burgers every night.  Because grass-fed beef is not as tender, Craigie’s ensures juiciness by mixing in bone marrow and suet. If you’re a burger fan, read this article for an excellent description of all the other reasons Craigie’s has nailed the, dare I say, perfect burger.

After reading said article, I was decidedly on a mission to secure one of these epic burgers.  My training went until 5:30 every day,  which means I had to face HORRIBLE Boston rush hour traffic to get to the restaurant.  While en route, I was sweating and nervous as I sat in parking lot after parking lot of stoplights and cross-streets…will I make it in time to procure my object of desire??

I finally made it, ran to the bar, and practically hugged the bartender when he tells me I can have a burger.  Whew!  I settle in with a good beer and wait.  It wasn’t until I had 1 1/2 bites of burger left, with juice all over my hands and dripping down my arms that I realized my failure…I didn’t take a single photo!  I made a journey out of this burger, and I write on a food blog, and I didn’t take a picture…what?!?  No one wants to just read a story about me eating a burger…you want to SEE that burger and picture yourself there with me!

Fast-forward to last week: after a looooooooong day of manning the booth at a trade show in Boston, my fatigued colleagues and I were eager to wind down with good drink and food.  As I’m sure you’ll guess, we went to Craigie on Main!  Want to know the best way to embarrass and annoy your coworkers?  Go out to dinner hungry, then don’t let them take a bite of anything until you’ve taken at least 10 photos of it! We ate family style, sharing pretty much one of everything on the menu, including the chef’s tasting menu and two burgers.  I cannot say enough how great this place is.  The vibe, the staff, the food, the drink, and of course, the BURGER!

I love how food brings people together and becomes the defining point of fond memories.  Have any standout food (or burger!) memories? Share them below!

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

Posted: 4-29-2018

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It's mildly self-inflating to describe myself as an "urban farmer..." but my husband and I have a pretty legitimate operation in the works.  I am growing 19 different fruits and vegetables, 17 of which were started from seed!  We recently adopted 6 darling ducklings, soon to be egg-laying machines.  We also have two terrariums setup as mealworm farms to raise fodder for our ducks. We are rewarded with small, sometimes unexpected, joys from our facilitation of, and participation in, the circle of life.



In no particular order:
  1. The first beetle: mealworms are kind of gross...they aren't slimy, but they're squirmy and wiggly, and look too grubby to not be kind of yucky.  But, they are a great source of protein (for the ducks!) and very easy to raise.  They hatch as a worm, shed a few times, turn into a pupae, transform into a beetle, and the beetles lay eggs.  When I got my first pupae, and then my first beetle, I was surprisingly proud!  Who knew something so gross could be so rewarding?!  The best resource I found for mealworm farming is The Happy Chicken Coop.
  2. Pool parties: I have found my after work zen.  I take our girls to their pool, post up in a lawn chair, and watch - seriously, soooooooooo good.
  3. Ducklings are like drunk humans: they hilariously lack physical awareness.  They are constantly moving, either by choice or because they are falling over.[video width="1920" height="1080" mp4="http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/wp-content/uploads/Clumsy-trim.mp4"][/video]
  4. The birds and the bees: last year I was horrified when my first squash blossoms died without producing any fruit...I had clearly forgotten everything I learned about flower genders in Biology 101.  This morning I saw my first squash blossom of the year - it's a boy!
  5. Grandmom's pride: my brother and I both don't have children (not yet!).  For a long time we didn't even have pets.  Now I have 6 little entertainers.  Here's a text from my mom after I sent her a duck video: "I LOVE them. My grand ducks <3"
  6. Starting or ending a business meeting with cute duckling videos: enough said!
  7. Pet fish = so American: one of my co-workers from India recently became a US Citizen, and she's never had a pet fish.  For her "welcome to America!" gift, we bought her a beta fish for her desk.  She thinks it's so American. American kids walk around with pet fish in a plastic bag, something that apparently doesn't happen in India.  The office has a new mascot, and his name is Fred.  Not quite farm material, but you get the idea...
Basically, nature rocks! Share your favorite nature photos, videos, and stories in the comments below!

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

" ["post_title"]=> string(27) "Seven joys of urban farming" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(27) "seven-joys-of-urban-farming" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2018-06-18 07:50:00" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-06-18 11:50:00" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(42) "http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/?p=4856" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "2" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [1]=> object(WP_Post)#371 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(4840) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "8" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2018-06-03 10:30:19" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-06-03 14:30:19" ["post_content"]=> string(3682) " Say it out loud, "The Northeast Kingdom."  It sounds wild and untamed.  The Kingdom is a year-round outdoor mecca, with mountain biking, hiking, leaf-peeping, and skiing.  For an interesting perspective on what, if anything, makes NEK different from the rest of Vermont, check out this VPR clip. I recently made NEK my destination to mountain bike the world renowned Kingdom Trails.  Just under two hours from Burlington, the drive rewards you with expansive views of rolling hills and picturesque farmland.  Akin to a sunset or the ocean, the visual effect is only fully appreciated in person - it is impossible to take a photo that effectively captures the essence of the place. For my most recent adventure, after a long day of hammering the trails, I treated myself to dinner at Juniper's Restaurant at the Wildflower Inn. From reading the reviews, I got the impression that Juniper's is a refined establishment, so I called beforehand to make sure it was OK that I show up trail-weathered.  I didn't realize how weathered I was until I caught sight of my mud-splattered reflection in the bathroom mirror...but I'm sure they've seen worse! The Inn is located right on the trail system. I started my meal with an AH-MAZING brussels sprouts salad.  The preparation was so well done, it would change the heart of even the most staunch brussels sprouts critic: thinly sliced and cooked until crispy, then tossed with pine nuts, cranberries, and blue cheese.  YUM!  For dinner, I ordered pan-seared scallops, which were tasty, but nothing to write home about.  They were served with garlic mashed potatoes and fiddleheads, which were the stars of the entree. But really, the best thing about Juniper's, is their location.  Seated atop one of the many hilly undulations, their back patio features a spectacular west-facing view, perfect for watching the sun go down while digesting a tasty meal after a day of adventuring.  I have no intention of turning this into a travel ad, but if you are looking for a getaway, this is an excellent escape.

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

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The fix: Assure proper drainage - add a layer of gravel to the bottom of your raised garden bed and avoid planting in low areas where water will collect and hold.

2. Helicopter mom Thinking the protected, heated, and well-lit indoor environment would be best for all my plant starts, I started my lettuce indoors.  I planted them next to the heater, put them under grow lights, and fussed over their soil moisture, all in an effort to shelter them from trying to start their lives in the harsh outdoors. Know what I raised?  Pathetic lettuce...flimsy, weak, and floppy lettuce.  They sprouted into tall, spindly starts that would tip over just by looking at them wrong.

The fix: Show some tough love and start your lettuce outside.  Let the natural forces of wind and rain force the lettuce starts to be hardier and sturdier than their sheltered counterparts.

[caption id="attachment_4825" align="aligncenter" width="520"] Last year's squash starts using egg crates[/caption] 3. Pinterest is pretty, not practical I'm pretty sure everyone has a story about seeing something cute on Pinterest, then failing miserably in an attempt to re-create it (check out this link for funny Pinterest fails!).  My Pinterest fail was using egg crates to start my seedlings.  In theory - it sounds perfect - they can be transplanted straight into the garden, egg cup and all!  In reality, my plants all germinated as expected, then almost immediately wilted and died.

The fix: Don't plant in egg crates!  My theory is they do not hold enough soil to provide nutrients after germination.  I also think they may have been treated or exposed to something that harmed the plants...but these are just theories.  Simply put, don't start in egg crates.

4. Give the carrots a break Literally!  Last year, I filled my raised beds with rich compost from a local dairy farmer.  It was wonderfully nutrient dense, but also, very dense.  My carrot-tops were vibrant and feathery, and when it came time to harvest, I chose the fattest looking carrots I could find.  They were the shortest, stumpiest little carrots I've ever seen.  Apparently, girth is not indicative of length.

The fix: To be fair, I have not yet been able to prove out my solution this year yet, but based on garden advise from family (and the internet!), I mixed my compost with sand and perlite.  The goal is to aerates the soil, giving the carrots some space to push through and grow nice and long.

5. Bunnies are cute, but they're pests I completely underestimated the damage a single little cottontail can do to a bed of kale.  I transplanted my kale and figured I could wait a day or two to put up a pest barrier...WRONG!  So wrong...Literally that night, a hungry bunny ate the tops of every plant!  I had to start over with seed on all except one plant that had a couple leaves left and held onto life like a champ.

The fix: Be diligent with your pest barriers!  I use mesh wildlife netting supported by 2x2 posts.  Definitely diminishes the appearance, but you'll be glad YOU are the one eating your kale, not the damn bunnies.

[caption id="attachment_4827" align="aligncenter" width="520"] This year's squash starts.  Notice how plump and healthy they look compared to last year![/caption] PLEASE SHARE your pearls of wisdom for home gardening!  I look forward to a more productive year than last, but there is still much learning to be had...

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

" ["post_title"]=> string(35) "5 Mistakes of a First Time Gardener" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(228) "Learn how to avoid home gardening mistakes! Last year I attempted my first ever home vegetable garden. There is definitely a learning curve, especially for Vermont's short growing season, and I learned some valuable lessons..." ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(35) "5-mistakes-of-a-first-time-gardener" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(50) " https://diyprojects.com/pinterest-fails-make-day/" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2018-05-13 14:15:29" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-05-13 18:15:29" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(42) "http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/?p=4813" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "2" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [3]=> object(WP_Post)#367 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(4799) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "8" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2018-04-29 07:30:56" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-04-29 11:30:56" ["post_content"]=> string(3633) "Last November, I failed as a food blogger.  I was in Boston for a training, and through some stealthy Googling, I found a very promising lead on the best burger in town at a place called Craigie on Main.  Their beef is sourced from local grass-fed cattle farmers with limited supply, so they only make 18 burgers every night.  Because grass-fed beef is not as tender, Craigie's ensures juiciness by mixing in bone marrow and suet. If you're a burger fan, read this article for an excellent description of all the other reasons Craigie's has nailed the, dare I say, perfect burger. After reading said article, I was decidedly on a mission to secure one of these epic burgers.  My training went until 5:30 every day,  which means I had to face HORRIBLE Boston rush hour traffic to get to the restaurant.  While en route, I was sweating and nervous as I sat in parking lot after parking lot of stoplights and cross-streets...will I make it in time to procure my object of desire?? I finally made it, ran to the bar, and practically hugged the bartender when he tells me I can have a burger.  Whew!  I settle in with a good beer and wait.  It wasn't until I had 1 1/2 bites of burger left, with juice all over my hands and dripping down my arms that I realized my failure...I didn't take a single photo!  I made a journey out of this burger, and I write on a food blog, and I didn't take a picture...what?!?  No one wants to just read a story about me eating a burger...you want to SEE that burger and picture yourself there with me! Fast-forward to last week: after a looooooooong day of manning the booth at a trade show in Boston, my fatigued colleagues and I were eager to wind down with good drink and food.  As I'm sure you'll guess, we went to Craigie on Main!  Want to know the best way to embarrass and annoy your coworkers?  Go out to dinner hungry, then don't let them take a bite of anything until you've taken at least 10 photos of it! We ate family style, sharing pretty much one of everything on the menu, including the chef's tasting menu and two burgers.  I cannot say enough how great this place is.  The vibe, the staff, the food, the drink, and of course, the BURGER! I love how food brings people together and becomes the defining point of fond memories.  Have any standout food (or burger!) memories? Share them below!

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

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Until next time,

Corrie Austin

" ["post_title"]=> string(33) "Love your FOOD | Love your FARMer" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(132) "Farming in the news! From organics to local dairy farms, this week was rich with farm stories. Love your food? Love your farmers!!" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(31) "love-your-food-love-your-farmer" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2018-04-15 07:34:49" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-04-15 11:34:49" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(42) "http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/?p=4778" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "4" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } } ["post"]=> object(WP_Post)#367 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(4799) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "8" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2018-04-29 07:30:56" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-04-29 11:30:56" ["post_content"]=> string(3633) "Last November, I failed as a food blogger.  I was in Boston for a training, and through some stealthy Googling, I found a very promising lead on the best burger in town at a place called Craigie on Main.  Their beef is sourced from local grass-fed cattle farmers with limited supply, so they only make 18 burgers every night.  Because grass-fed beef is not as tender, Craigie's ensures juiciness by mixing in bone marrow and suet. If you're a burger fan, read this article for an excellent description of all the other reasons Craigie's has nailed the, dare I say, perfect burger. After reading said article, I was decidedly on a mission to secure one of these epic burgers.  My training went until 5:30 every day,  which means I had to face HORRIBLE Boston rush hour traffic to get to the restaurant.  While en route, I was sweating and nervous as I sat in parking lot after parking lot of stoplights and cross-streets...will I make it in time to procure my object of desire?? I finally made it, ran to the bar, and practically hugged the bartender when he tells me I can have a burger.  Whew!  I settle in with a good beer and wait.  It wasn't until I had 1 1/2 bites of burger left, with juice all over my hands and dripping down my arms that I realized my failure...I didn't take a single photo!  I made a journey out of this burger, and I write on a food blog, and I didn't take a picture...what?!?  No one wants to just read a story about me eating a burger...you want to SEE that burger and picture yourself there with me! Fast-forward to last week: after a looooooooong day of manning the booth at a trade show in Boston, my fatigued colleagues and I were eager to wind down with good drink and food.  As I'm sure you'll guess, we went to Craigie on Main!  Want to know the best way to embarrass and annoy your coworkers?  Go out to dinner hungry, then don't let them take a bite of anything until you've taken at least 10 photos of it! We ate family style, sharing pretty much one of everything on the menu, including the chef's tasting menu and two burgers.  I cannot say enough how great this place is.  The vibe, the staff, the food, the drink, and of course, the BURGER! I love how food brings people together and becomes the defining point of fond memories.  Have any standout food (or burger!) memories? Share them below!

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

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I learned something about vegetable gardening from your post, and I've been gardening for too many years to mention! Thank you for the tip on carrots, getting rid of those sweet, hungry bunnies and avoiding cute ideas on Pinterest! Another winner!!" 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2 responses to “How I Failed in Boston”

  1. Kellie M Kutkey says:

    YUM! I love a good burger, maybe we can get one in June 🙂
    Does Craigie’s take reservations this far in advance? I’ll make some!
    Let’s see . . . my burger story would be when me and Zach went on a day trip to Aberdeen (Kurt Cobain’s stomping grounds) and stopped at a cinder block building called “mr T’s.”
    Zach asked what kind of fries they had.
    The frizzled frazzled gal cooking (all she was missing was a cigarette hanging out of her mouth) held up a little paper boat of fries and barked, “They look like this!”
    Burger? Good. Fries? Soggy crinkle cut salty mess. haha!
    We had fun though.
    Love you! See you soon!

    • Corrie Austin says:

      MMMMM yum yum yum…Many Mucho Fries – hahaha!
      I did see we have Craigie rezzies for the girls week in Boston. So looking forward to it all!

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Love your FOOD | Love your FARMer

Those of you who know me well will be surprised to know I have read, not one, not two, but THREE news articles this week.  If you’re wondering why this is uncharacteristic, I don’t read the news.  For one simple reason: it’s depressing!  What’s not surprising is that the three articles I read this week were all in the vein of food politics.  I am NOT a political person…but I get hotly opinionated about food policies!

I have no intention of turning a lighthearted blog entry into a term paper…instead, my goal is to introduce ideas and generate productive conversations about food and where it comes from.

All three articles shared a common food theme, namely, the sustainability of current farming practices.  Yeah, yeah, yeah…Sustainability and farming – old news!  But these articles all have current and poignant perspectives.  Case in point: check out this new startup, Aggressively Organic.  They provides small-space, at-home, organic, hydroponic farming solutions.  Their grow setups require minimal water, no soil, and no light, making them perfect for the space and/or resource (soil/water) constrained.  Their tagline: We are a movement.  Their mission? End food insecurity in our lifetime.  

Next I read about a group of Vermont farmers involved in the Real Organic Project.  They seek to provide an organic label that encompasses the true spirit of “organic.”  In their view, the USDA Organic label, which includes hydroponics (like Aggressively Organic) and does not account for animal welfare, fails to encompass the original values of organic.  Their goal is transparency in the marketplace, which they will achieve by creating an additional organic label to celebrate what they value: “crops grown in soil [rotated, organic soil-grown crops provide nutrients to the soil, whereas mono-crops and pesticides deplete the soil] and pasture-raised livestock.”  Their motto: Feed the soil, feed the planet.

Closer to home are the challenges of the dairy farmer.  This week’s Seven Days cover story describes a bleak landscape for dairy farming in Vermont.  A cornerstone of Vermont agriculture for generations, the volatile financial landscape in which they operate have compelled many farmers to sell their herds.  According to the article, in the 1940’s Vermont was home to over 11,000 dairy farms.  Today? only 749 are still in operation!  Less inspiring and more thought provoking, this is a great read for anyone with an appetite for “human interest” articles.

My summary of this collection: vote with your dollar!  Every food purchase makes a difference.  We have an opportunity to support what we value each time we buy something.  Whether it’s local, organic, pastured, etc, our purchases make a difference!

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

Posted: 4-15-2018

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It's mildly self-inflating to describe myself as an "urban farmer..." but my husband and I have a pretty legitimate operation in the works.  I am growing 19 different fruits and vegetables, 17 of which were started from seed!  We recently adopted 6 darling ducklings, soon to be egg-laying machines.  We also have two terrariums setup as mealworm farms to raise fodder for our ducks. We are rewarded with small, sometimes unexpected, joys from our facilitation of, and participation in, the circle of life.



In no particular order:
  1. The first beetle: mealworms are kind of gross...they aren't slimy, but they're squirmy and wiggly, and look too grubby to not be kind of yucky.  But, they are a great source of protein (for the ducks!) and very easy to raise.  They hatch as a worm, shed a few times, turn into a pupae, transform into a beetle, and the beetles lay eggs.  When I got my first pupae, and then my first beetle, I was surprisingly proud!  Who knew something so gross could be so rewarding?!  The best resource I found for mealworm farming is The Happy Chicken Coop.
  2. Pool parties: I have found my after work zen.  I take our girls to their pool, post up in a lawn chair, and watch - seriously, soooooooooo good.
  3. Ducklings are like drunk humans: they hilariously lack physical awareness.  They are constantly moving, either by choice or because they are falling over.[video width="1920" height="1080" mp4="http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/wp-content/uploads/Clumsy-trim.mp4"][/video]
  4. The birds and the bees: last year I was horrified when my first squash blossoms died without producing any fruit...I had clearly forgotten everything I learned about flower genders in Biology 101.  This morning I saw my first squash blossom of the year - it's a boy!
  5. Grandmom's pride: my brother and I both don't have children (not yet!).  For a long time we didn't even have pets.  Now I have 6 little entertainers.  Here's a text from my mom after I sent her a duck video: "I LOVE them. My grand ducks <3"
  6. Starting or ending a business meeting with cute duckling videos: enough said!
  7. Pet fish = so American: one of my co-workers from India recently became a US Citizen, and she's never had a pet fish.  For her "welcome to America!" gift, we bought her a beta fish for her desk.  She thinks it's so American. American kids walk around with pet fish in a plastic bag, something that apparently doesn't happen in India.  The office has a new mascot, and his name is Fred.  Not quite farm material, but you get the idea...
Basically, nature rocks! Share your favorite nature photos, videos, and stories in the comments below!

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

" ["post_title"]=> string(27) "Seven joys of urban farming" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(27) "seven-joys-of-urban-farming" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2018-06-18 07:50:00" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-06-18 11:50:00" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(42) "http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/?p=4856" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "2" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [1]=> object(WP_Post)#371 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(4840) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "8" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2018-06-03 10:30:19" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-06-03 14:30:19" ["post_content"]=> string(3682) " Say it out loud, "The Northeast Kingdom."  It sounds wild and untamed.  The Kingdom is a year-round outdoor mecca, with mountain biking, hiking, leaf-peeping, and skiing.  For an interesting perspective on what, if anything, makes NEK different from the rest of Vermont, check out this VPR clip. I recently made NEK my destination to mountain bike the world renowned Kingdom Trails.  Just under two hours from Burlington, the drive rewards you with expansive views of rolling hills and picturesque farmland.  Akin to a sunset or the ocean, the visual effect is only fully appreciated in person - it is impossible to take a photo that effectively captures the essence of the place. For my most recent adventure, after a long day of hammering the trails, I treated myself to dinner at Juniper's Restaurant at the Wildflower Inn. From reading the reviews, I got the impression that Juniper's is a refined establishment, so I called beforehand to make sure it was OK that I show up trail-weathered.  I didn't realize how weathered I was until I caught sight of my mud-splattered reflection in the bathroom mirror...but I'm sure they've seen worse! The Inn is located right on the trail system. I started my meal with an AH-MAZING brussels sprouts salad.  The preparation was so well done, it would change the heart of even the most staunch brussels sprouts critic: thinly sliced and cooked until crispy, then tossed with pine nuts, cranberries, and blue cheese.  YUM!  For dinner, I ordered pan-seared scallops, which were tasty, but nothing to write home about.  They were served with garlic mashed potatoes and fiddleheads, which were the stars of the entree. But really, the best thing about Juniper's, is their location.  Seated atop one of the many hilly undulations, their back patio features a spectacular west-facing view, perfect for watching the sun go down while digesting a tasty meal after a day of adventuring.  I have no intention of turning this into a travel ad, but if you are looking for a getaway, this is an excellent escape.

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

" ["post_title"]=> string(16) "Wild and Untamed" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(236) "In need of a vacation, I took a weekend to escape to the wild and beautiful Northeast Kingdom. It is calm in the way only rural areas can be, while also offering adrenaline-fueled mountain bike trails and an unrivaled bike community. " ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(16) "wild-and-untamed" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2018-06-03 10:36:37" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-06-03 14:36:37" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(42) "http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/?p=4840" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "2" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [2]=> object(WP_Post)#368 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(4813) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "8" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2018-05-13 10:45:32" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-05-13 14:45:32" ["post_content"]=> string(6275) "As a beginner gardener, I accept (somewhat grudgingly...my type-A personality gets in the way of 100% graciously accepting my errs) that I will not do everything right the first time.  However, I embrace challenges - so bring it on! 2018 marks year two of my life as a home gardener.  I learned some valuable lessons last year.  After a slow start, and purchasing some starts instead of seeds, I had a (mostly) productive garden.  This year will be even better! Namely because I won't repeat my five biggest beginner mistakes from last year... 1. Smothered with love Every morning and evening, ever so lovingly, I watered my seedlings.  I was sure to keep their soil moist at all times, just like the seed packets and online articles said.  Naively, I carried this same diligence to my garden beds!  Halfway through the summer, my beautiful, healthy squash started to rot right on the vine. With some googling, I diagnosed my problem as root rot - this happens when the environment around the roots stays too wet and doesn't get enough oxygen, developing a fungus which causes droopy leaves and rotting fruits.  Even though I had raised beds, the densely rich compost did not drain well.  We had a fairly rainy summer, and I was still out there watering every day and night...oops!

The fix: Assure proper drainage - add a layer of gravel to the bottom of your raised garden bed and avoid planting in low areas where water will collect and hold.

2. Helicopter mom Thinking the protected, heated, and well-lit indoor environment would be best for all my plant starts, I started my lettuce indoors.  I planted them next to the heater, put them under grow lights, and fussed over their soil moisture, all in an effort to shelter them from trying to start their lives in the harsh outdoors. Know what I raised?  Pathetic lettuce...flimsy, weak, and floppy lettuce.  They sprouted into tall, spindly starts that would tip over just by looking at them wrong.

The fix: Show some tough love and start your lettuce outside.  Let the natural forces of wind and rain force the lettuce starts to be hardier and sturdier than their sheltered counterparts.

[caption id="attachment_4825" align="aligncenter" width="520"] Last year's squash starts using egg crates[/caption] 3. Pinterest is pretty, not practical I'm pretty sure everyone has a story about seeing something cute on Pinterest, then failing miserably in an attempt to re-create it (check out this link for funny Pinterest fails!).  My Pinterest fail was using egg crates to start my seedlings.  In theory - it sounds perfect - they can be transplanted straight into the garden, egg cup and all!  In reality, my plants all germinated as expected, then almost immediately wilted and died.

The fix: Don't plant in egg crates!  My theory is they do not hold enough soil to provide nutrients after germination.  I also think they may have been treated or exposed to something that harmed the plants...but these are just theories.  Simply put, don't start in egg crates.

4. Give the carrots a break Literally!  Last year, I filled my raised beds with rich compost from a local dairy farmer.  It was wonderfully nutrient dense, but also, very dense.  My carrot-tops were vibrant and feathery, and when it came time to harvest, I chose the fattest looking carrots I could find.  They were the shortest, stumpiest little carrots I've ever seen.  Apparently, girth is not indicative of length.

The fix: To be fair, I have not yet been able to prove out my solution this year yet, but based on garden advise from family (and the internet!), I mixed my compost with sand and perlite.  The goal is to aerates the soil, giving the carrots some space to push through and grow nice and long.

5. Bunnies are cute, but they're pests I completely underestimated the damage a single little cottontail can do to a bed of kale.  I transplanted my kale and figured I could wait a day or two to put up a pest barrier...WRONG!  So wrong...Literally that night, a hungry bunny ate the tops of every plant!  I had to start over with seed on all except one plant that had a couple leaves left and held onto life like a champ.

The fix: Be diligent with your pest barriers!  I use mesh wildlife netting supported by 2x2 posts.  Definitely diminishes the appearance, but you'll be glad YOU are the one eating your kale, not the damn bunnies.

[caption id="attachment_4827" align="aligncenter" width="520"] This year's squash starts.  Notice how plump and healthy they look compared to last year![/caption] PLEASE SHARE your pearls of wisdom for home gardening!  I look forward to a more productive year than last, but there is still much learning to be had...

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

" ["post_title"]=> string(35) "5 Mistakes of a First Time Gardener" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(228) "Learn how to avoid home gardening mistakes! Last year I attempted my first ever home vegetable garden. There is definitely a learning curve, especially for Vermont's short growing season, and I learned some valuable lessons..." ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(35) "5-mistakes-of-a-first-time-gardener" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(50) " https://diyprojects.com/pinterest-fails-make-day/" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2018-05-13 14:15:29" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-05-13 18:15:29" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(42) "http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/?p=4813" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "2" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [3]=> object(WP_Post)#367 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(4799) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "8" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2018-04-29 07:30:56" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-04-29 11:30:56" ["post_content"]=> string(3633) "Last November, I failed as a food blogger.  I was in Boston for a training, and through some stealthy Googling, I found a very promising lead on the best burger in town at a place called Craigie on Main.  Their beef is sourced from local grass-fed cattle farmers with limited supply, so they only make 18 burgers every night.  Because grass-fed beef is not as tender, Craigie's ensures juiciness by mixing in bone marrow and suet. If you're a burger fan, read this article for an excellent description of all the other reasons Craigie's has nailed the, dare I say, perfect burger. After reading said article, I was decidedly on a mission to secure one of these epic burgers.  My training went until 5:30 every day,  which means I had to face HORRIBLE Boston rush hour traffic to get to the restaurant.  While en route, I was sweating and nervous as I sat in parking lot after parking lot of stoplights and cross-streets...will I make it in time to procure my object of desire?? I finally made it, ran to the bar, and practically hugged the bartender when he tells me I can have a burger.  Whew!  I settle in with a good beer and wait.  It wasn't until I had 1 1/2 bites of burger left, with juice all over my hands and dripping down my arms that I realized my failure...I didn't take a single photo!  I made a journey out of this burger, and I write on a food blog, and I didn't take a picture...what?!?  No one wants to just read a story about me eating a burger...you want to SEE that burger and picture yourself there with me! Fast-forward to last week: after a looooooooong day of manning the booth at a trade show in Boston, my fatigued colleagues and I were eager to wind down with good drink and food.  As I'm sure you'll guess, we went to Craigie on Main!  Want to know the best way to embarrass and annoy your coworkers?  Go out to dinner hungry, then don't let them take a bite of anything until you've taken at least 10 photos of it! We ate family style, sharing pretty much one of everything on the menu, including the chef's tasting menu and two burgers.  I cannot say enough how great this place is.  The vibe, the staff, the food, the drink, and of course, the BURGER! I love how food brings people together and becomes the defining point of fond memories.  Have any standout food (or burger!) memories? Share them below!

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

" ["post_title"]=> string(22) "How I Failed in Boston" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(157) "A journey to find the perfect burger in Boston. What starts out as a solo adventure ends with good friends enjoying good food at Boston's Craigie on Main. " ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(22) "how-i-failed-in-boston" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2018-05-05 10:45:53" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-05-05 14:45:53" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(42) "http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/?p=4799" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "2" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [4]=> object(WP_Post)#278 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(4778) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "8" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2018-04-15 10:00:51" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-04-15 14:00:51" ["post_content"]=> string(4073) " Those of you who know me well will be surprised to know I have read, not one, not two, but THREE news articles this week.  If you're wondering why this is uncharacteristic, I don't read the news.  For one simple reason: it's depressing!  What's not surprising is that the three articles I read this week were all in the vein of food politics.  I am NOT a political person...but I get hotly opinionated about food policies! I have no intention of turning a lighthearted blog entry into a term paper...instead, my goal is to introduce ideas and generate productive conversations about food and where it comes from. All three articles shared a common food theme, namely, the sustainability of current farming practices.  Yeah, yeah, yeah...Sustainability and farming - old news!  But these articles all have current and poignant perspectives.  Case in point: check out this new startup, Aggressively Organic.  They provides small-space, at-home, organic, hydroponic farming solutions.  Their grow setups require minimal water, no soil, and no light, making them perfect for the space and/or resource (soil/water) constrained.  Their tagline: We are a movement.  Their mission? End food insecurity in our lifetime.   Next I read about a group of Vermont farmers involved in the Real Organic Project.  They seek to provide an organic label that encompasses the true spirit of "organic."  In their view, the USDA Organic label, which includes hydroponics (like Aggressively Organic) and does not account for animal welfare, fails to encompass the original values of organic.  Their goal is transparency in the marketplace, which they will achieve by creating an additional organic label to celebrate what they value: "crops grown in soil [rotated, organic soil-grown crops provide nutrients to the soil, whereas mono-crops and pesticides deplete the soil] and pasture-raised livestock."  Their motto: Feed the soil, feed the planet. Closer to home are the challenges of the dairy farmer.  This week's Seven Days cover story describes a bleak landscape for dairy farming in Vermont.  A cornerstone of Vermont agriculture for generations, the volatile financial landscape in which they operate have compelled many farmers to sell their herds.  According to the article, in the 1940's Vermont was home to over 11,000 dairy farms.  Today? only 749 are still in operation!  Less inspiring and more thought provoking, this is a great read for anyone with an appetite for "human interest" articles. My summary of this collection: vote with your dollar!  Every food purchase makes a difference.  We have an opportunity to support what we value each time we buy something.  Whether it's local, organic, pastured, etc, our purchases make a difference!

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

" ["post_title"]=> string(33) "Love your FOOD | Love your FARMer" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(132) "Farming in the news! From organics to local dairy farms, this week was rich with farm stories. Love your food? Love your farmers!!" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(31) "love-your-food-love-your-farmer" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2018-04-15 07:34:49" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-04-15 11:34:49" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(42) "http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/?p=4778" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "4" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } } ["post"]=> object(WP_Post)#278 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(4778) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "8" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2018-04-15 10:00:51" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-04-15 14:00:51" ["post_content"]=> string(4073) " Those of you who know me well will be surprised to know I have read, not one, not two, but THREE news articles this week.  If you're wondering why this is uncharacteristic, I don't read the news.  For one simple reason: it's depressing!  What's not surprising is that the three articles I read this week were all in the vein of food politics.  I am NOT a political person...but I get hotly opinionated about food policies! I have no intention of turning a lighthearted blog entry into a term paper...instead, my goal is to introduce ideas and generate productive conversations about food and where it comes from. All three articles shared a common food theme, namely, the sustainability of current farming practices.  Yeah, yeah, yeah...Sustainability and farming - old news!  But these articles all have current and poignant perspectives.  Case in point: check out this new startup, Aggressively Organic.  They provides small-space, at-home, organic, hydroponic farming solutions.  Their grow setups require minimal water, no soil, and no light, making them perfect for the space and/or resource (soil/water) constrained.  Their tagline: We are a movement.  Their mission? End food insecurity in our lifetime.   Next I read about a group of Vermont farmers involved in the Real Organic Project.  They seek to provide an organic label that encompasses the true spirit of "organic."  In their view, the USDA Organic label, which includes hydroponics (like Aggressively Organic) and does not account for animal welfare, fails to encompass the original values of organic.  Their goal is transparency in the marketplace, which they will achieve by creating an additional organic label to celebrate what they value: "crops grown in soil [rotated, organic soil-grown crops provide nutrients to the soil, whereas mono-crops and pesticides deplete the soil] and pasture-raised livestock."  Their motto: Feed the soil, feed the planet. Closer to home are the challenges of the dairy farmer.  This week's Seven Days cover story describes a bleak landscape for dairy farming in Vermont.  A cornerstone of Vermont agriculture for generations, the volatile financial landscape in which they operate have compelled many farmers to sell their herds.  According to the article, in the 1940's Vermont was home to over 11,000 dairy farms.  Today? only 749 are still in operation!  Less inspiring and more thought provoking, this is a great read for anyone with an appetite for "human interest" articles. My summary of this collection: vote with your dollar!  Every food purchase makes a difference.  We have an opportunity to support what we value each time we buy something.  Whether it's local, organic, pastured, etc, our purchases make a difference!

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

" ["post_title"]=> string(33) "Love your FOOD | Love your FARMer" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(132) "Farming in the news! From organics to local dairy farms, this week was rich with farm stories. Love your food? Love your farmers!!" 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I love a good burger, maybe we can get one in June :) Does Craigie's take reservations this far in advance? I'll make some! Let's see . . . my burger story would be when me and Zach went on a day trip to Aberdeen (Kurt Cobain's stomping grounds) and stopped at a cinder block building called "mr T's." Zach asked what kind of fries they had. The frizzled frazzled gal cooking (all she was missing was a cigarette hanging out of her mouth) held up a little paper boat of fries and barked, "They look like this!" Burger? Good. Fries? Soggy crinkle cut salty mess. haha! We had fun though. Love you! See you soon!" 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I did see we have Craigie rezzies for the girls week in Boston. So looking forward to it all!" 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I love a good burger, maybe we can get one in June :) Does Craigie's take reservations this far in advance? I'll make some! Let's see . . . my burger story would be when me and Zach went on a day trip to Aberdeen (Kurt Cobain's stomping grounds) and stopped at a cinder block building called "mr T's." Zach asked what kind of fries they had. The frizzled frazzled gal cooking (all she was missing was a cigarette hanging out of her mouth) held up a little paper boat of fries and barked, "They look like this!" Burger? Good. Fries? Soggy crinkle cut salty mess. haha! We had fun though. Love you! See you soon!" 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I did see we have Craigie rezzies for the girls week in Boston. So looking forward to it all!" 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4 responses to “Love your FOOD | Love your FARMer”

  1. Kellie Kutkey says:

    Hi Corrie!
    Awesome pic of Karin with the calf 🙂
    I’m getting ready to go meet Terri at the Vancouver Farmer’s market. I plan to get yummy, local, organic food to fix for dinner. (They have food too! Not just goat’s milk soap-ha!)
    I appreciate your commitment to healthy food and healthy planet. You’ve taught me a lot about healthy food-thank you.
    Keep it up!

  2. Buy local food and whatever else you can. I am sad about the 7 Days articles explaining the dairy business. My moto these days is “Live like today was your last, and garden like you will live forever.”

    • Corrie Austin says:

      Jenifer,
      That is an excellent motto. I was also sad to read the article about dairy farmers…it’s a tough landscape for all farmers. I’m glad to know there are others out there like you making buying decisions to support the things we value
      Corrie

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