Where are you based?
On a small farm in Weston, Connecticut, and sometimes in a seasonal summer cottage on Chappaquiddick Island.
How would you describe yourself, in a sentence?
I am in my element in the kitchen or in the garden, and even happier when I’m back and forth between both.
A plant, tree or flower you love to give as a gift?
I love to give poppy seeds (specifically papaver somniferum, or “breadseed” poppy) from poppies i have grown in my garden because they are easy to grow and gorgeous in the garden, they are wildly attractive to honeybees, and the seeds can be harvested and used in cooking and/or shared with someone else!
A moment in your life that inspired you to become a farmer and chef?
Living local is a big step towards living sustainably. Choosing to support local farmers, and to purchase, eat, and cook food that has been raised or produced nearby not only supports the local economy and reduces the carbon footprint associated with food distribution, but it also supports the health of the planet and the individual who chooses local food.
Eating food in season has greater nutrient density because it has generally been harvested at its peak, just before reaching you, rather than having been harvested before it’s ripe and transported across the country.
What is one of your go-to nature escapes?
Nearly every single day (rain or shine, warm or frigid) we walk our dogs down our dirt road to the Stonebridge Preserve (part of the Aspetuck Land Trust), where we follow the trails along the Saugatuck River and through the meadow, observing the bird life (great blue herons! bluebirds!) the wildflowers (ironweed! marsh iris! loosestrife!) and the trees. It is soothing and restorative and we count ourselves so fortunate that this magic spot has been preserved for our use.
What advice would you give to those looking to cook more sustainably?
I am all about local and seasonal ingredients. Plus, it makes deciding what to cook and eat so much easier. If you see what produce is available at the farmers’ market beforehand you can base your menu and recipes on those.
I am an omnivore, I eat food from every category. Plants are central to my dishes, and when I eat meat I make sure it is of the highest quality, humanely-raised pasture-raised, and fed organic/non-GMO feed where applicable. I recommend watching the Netflix documentary Kiss The Ground (watch on Netflix) to learn why eating sustainably-produced meat is actually GOOD for the planet.
Image credit (DIRT ROAD FARM).