Monthly Archives: May 2012

For Money or Love

Often we are asked the question, “Who attends a Quillisascut workshop”? It seems the people who sign-up can be divided into two groups, for money “vocational” those learning skills for work, or for love *“vacational” those who are learning skills for life. Although, the outcome for most everyone is that Quillisascut is a place to dream up new ideas for the future. (maybe we should call it “idea farm”)

Many who participate are obvious food lovers who are looking for opportunities to refresh their memories around farm to table deliciousness, among them are those who are developing new skills for their careers or searching for a new path in life. It is apparent in our conversations around the dinner table that there is a common desire to make each day of their life vital and fulfilling. Continue reading

Spring Greens


Winter Cress, Yellow Rocket, or Barbara’s Cress (Barbarea vulgaris, R. Br. member of a large family of plants, cruciferae, brassica and mustard) Named for Saint Barbara since the herb can be harvested during the cold winter months, Saint Barbara’s Day is December 4 and used as a salad green.

Surprising how quickly we forget the use of wild foods when it is so simple to fill our refrigerator with store purchased produce. Late in April, during the Intro to Farming workshop we wanted to include some fresh and foraged foods in our meal so Rick took a group of students to the nettle patch. It was a prosperous harvest, as they also came across a large area of Winter Cress that was beginning to form florets.

Rick had them harvest a shopping bag full of cress, along with another paper sack of nettles. Continue reading

A Recent Visitor to Quillisascut


Vera Chang, one of the students during the recent Intro to Farming Workshop has written a wonderful article about her visit to Quillisascut. Read what Vera has written and see if you recognize yourself in her words. Vera is also a talented photographer. One of the photos from her visit is Gigi the goat.

Since I moved to Seattle a year and a half ago, there’s no farm whose name has come up more than Quillisascut, located in the foothills of the Huckleberry Mountains in Rice, WA. And since I visit farms as Bon Appétit Management Company Foundation’s West Coast Fellow, I have lots of conversations about food and farming. Quillisascut is a cheese company, selling what they call “traditional farmstead cheese from the pampered pets of Pleasant Valley,” but it’s also a school for the domestic arts.

After completing a five-day “Introduction to Farming” workshop at Quillisascut recently, nicely documented by Farmgirl Gourmet, I understand why this farm school is so beloved by food service professionals, healthcare students, farmers and aspiring farmers, vacationers, and other “co-producers” (as Slow Food and the farm’s cookbook, Chefs on the Farm refer to us “eaters”). Attendees from around the US and the world come to milk goats and share the dinner table with farmers Lora Lea and Rick Misterley. Celebrity chefs, such as Tom Douglas, and media, like Sunset Magazine, have lauded Quillisascut. I hope that you, dear reader, can one day visit it, too.Read More

What Came First?

Take a good look at the photo, and you will get an idea of where I am going with this chicken and egg story. Yes, that is a beautiful Muscovy duck sitting on her nest and yes that is a little chick peeking out from under mother ducks wing.

About a month ago when the weather was still cold and colder, this duck started to sit on a clutch of eggs. In the past we have noticed that when a duck sits on these late winter eggs that have been exposed to the cold, very few of the eggs hatch. So last month Rick decided to take the eggs away, but the duck didn’t want to give up. Continue reading

Serviceberry Flower Infusion


I love ingredients so this idea of playing with Serviceberry flowers is my idea of fun.

Serviceberries are one of the tastier wild fruits at Quillisascut and the easiest for us to savor fresh from the bush (think about elderberries, rosehips, Oregon grape, and chokecherries which all need additional sweetener and you will understand the context of tasty) Serviceberries are slightly sweet with a hint of bitter almond. Last year I was eager to make bitters so I tried macerating the ripe berries in vodka and it did give a slight almond flavor to the infusion. Today while the trees are still flowering I steeped some of the flowers in vodka and others were infused in simple syrup. The flavor is wonderfully bitter almond! Continue reading

Wildflowers

Spring with all it’s forceful energy can be overwhelming so I decided to take a little break and pick you a bouquet of wildflowers.

These flowers, Arrowleaf Balsam Root, Serviceberries, and Wooly Britches, all grow along the driveway here at Quillisascut. It is a favored time of year for a walk through natures beautiful garden. With every shade of green you can imagine, soft textures and the toughness to endure. I think it is the perfect garden all it requires is to open your eyes, see the transformation and enjoy. Take a walk with me down the driveway. That is easy work!