Category Archives: Quillisascut Love Story

To My Mom

June 6th was Daisy Mae’s birthday, so I am spending time with her memory and thinking sweet thoughts of her.

DAISIES

It is possible, I suppose that sometime
we will learn everything
there is to learn: what the world is, for example,
and what it means. I think this as I am crossing
from one field to another, in summer, and the
mockingbird is mocking me, as one who either
knows enough already or knows enough to be
perfectly content not knowing. Song being born
of quest he knows this: he must turn silent
were he suddenly assaulted with answers. Instead

oh hear his wild, caustic, tender warbling ceaselessly
unanswered. At my feet the white-petalled daisies display
the small suns of their center piece, their — if you don’t
mind my saying so — their hearts. Of course
I could be wrong, perhaps their hearts are pale and
narrow and hidden in the roots. What do I know?
But this: it is heaven itself to take what is given,
to see what is plain; what the sun lights up willingly;
for example — I think this
as I reach down, not to pick but merely to touch —
the suitability of the field for the daisies, and the
daisies for the field.
Mary Oliver, Why I Wake Early

Becky Selengut

Chef Becky Selengut, author of the sustainable seafood cookbook Good Fish, founder of Seasonalcornucopia.com and columnist for Edible Seattle Magazine, attended a Quillisascut Farm Culinary 101 workshop in 2004 when she worked at The Herbfarm Restaurant.

The Herbfarm is widely known for cooking with fresh from the garden produce so what was your motivation for attending a Q workshop?

While it’s one thing to be able to pick fresh produce from a farm garden to use in that night’s service, it’s something entirely beyond to play real farmer for a week. In the course of a week at Quillisascut, I killed a chicken, butchered a lamb, milked goats, made cheese, planted a row of garlic, harvested Italian plums and ‘put them up’ by dehydrating them and was immersed in a mind-altering introduction to where real food comes from.

At what stage of your career were you when you attended Q?

I was a line cook at the Herbfarm and it was nearing the end of my restaurant career. I worked in restaurants to get experience, knowing that I never wanted to run or own one. It was my week at Quillisascut that helped me realize where I wanted my career to go. Immediately after leaving the farm I started work on the seasonal foods website Seasonalcornucopia.com. The website was designed to help cooks learn about the seasons for all the many wonderful ingredients we have in the Pacific Northwest and when, approximately, they come in and out of season.

What are some of the interesting experiences or jobs you have had since your visit to Quilli?

Since 2004, I’ve cheffed on a boat heading up the Inside Passage and taught classes on sustainable seafood on the boat and in small towns in Alaska. I’ve had 2 sustainability cookbooks published and many freelance articles on local ingredients and I’m working on a new book right now on mushrooms. Each spring I lead foraging tours on Vashon Island.

What is happening in your life today that gets you excited, or motivates you?

Completely unrelated to sustainability issues, but perhaps contributing to my own sustainability, I’m pursuing a new avenue in my career and started a comedy podcast with Matthew Amster-Burton called Closed for Logging. It’s definitely NSFW. I’m also writing a humor column for Edible Seattle Magazine called “Back of the House”.

Share with us the changes in your life related to a more sustainable future.

Great question — recently we sold one of our cars and I’ve joined Car2go, a SmartCar car-sharing program. I’ve started walking more and using public transportation and this is a big change in my life and I love it, actually.

Becky Selengut
chef, instructor, author of Good Fish
becky@cornucopiacuisine.com
www.cornucopiacuisine.com
206-948-1595

Cooking words. Writing food. Drinking tequila.
www.chefreinvented.com
@ChefReinvented on twitter
www.goodfishbook.com

Sarah Hayden Williams

More news from friends of Quillisascut

Sarah came to tcafe-sarahhe farm during our early foray into introducing cooks to the source of their ingredients. At that time we were inviting people working in the industry to come out and spend a few days on the farm and learn along side us as we went about our daily chores. She now owns the delightful and delicious, Cafe Sarah in North Creek, New York.

At what stage of your profession were you when you first learned about Quillisascut?

SarahCollageW
– I learned about Quillisascut shortly after starting my job as pastry chef at Rover’s in Seattle. I was 25 and scaling a very steep learning curve in my career, like being thrown in with the lions… Chef Thierry Rautureau introduced me to Rick when he brought a cheese delivery to the restaurant. Karl Vennes, who was lead line cook at Rover’s at the time had just recently been to the farm and wouldn’t stop talking about it. Rick and I got to know each other during subsequent cheese deliveries and I finally got out there for a visit and met Lora Lea in late summer 1997. It was such an incredible, magical weekend and it changed my life!

Share some of the memories from your first visits?

– so many…. I do remember the first time I pulled up that driveway and saw the house and the view of the mountains behind and I had such a feeling of comfort and home, immediately. I arrived right on time for afternoon milking, so Rick handed me a coverall, introduced me to Lora Lea and led me to the milking parlour. I had never milked an animal in my life, but learned awfully quick, no nonsense in the milking parlour! I swear the goats were testing me, I would get a bucket just about full and she would put her hoof right in it so all that milk had to be dumped. Rick dumped it in a basin for the barn cats and literally poured it all over them, but they didn’t care.
My favorite time of day at the farm was right after morning milking and chores, Lora Lea and I would make breakfast while Rick finished up in the barn and we would sit down and have coffee and listen to the radio and talk. So peaceful.
-being so amazed that every single thing we ate was produced on the farm or by neighbors nearby, nothing was purchased, except beer and wine.
-watching Rick and Oly work the goats in perfect harmony. She was an amazing dog
– making felt hats and soap with Lora Lea in the winter; lazing about the yard in the middle of a summer day, making ice cream from the fresh morning’s milk.
-I stayed at the farm with Willow and Daisy Mae while R and LL went to Oregon, so many funny things happened that week, but one of things that really stuck with me, (besides the baby goats being born when THEY WERE NOT SUPPOSED TO..) was going out to the barn in the morning and it was barely light and all the wild turkeys would drift down from the giant pines like giant beachballs, silently. I didn’t know turkeys roosted so far up in the trees. I became very good at chopping wood that week, a skill I still use and value today. I could go on and on.

SarhLLR

Fill us in on what you are working on now.

-I moved back to the Adirondacks in upstate New York, from Seattle, in 1999. My dad flew out and we rented a U-Haul and a flatbed for my car and drove straight to Quillisascut for goodbyes. I was so sad, but very glad my dad could meet the Misterly’s.
I opened my own bakery in 2001 and proudly brought the first espresso bar to North Creek. My time spent at Quillisascut really influenced how I run my business. I try to do everything as close to nature as possible and with love. It is my 12th winter in operation. I only wish I could get back out there for a visit, hard to do when you are the sole owner and operator.

Tell us about the changes in your life related to a more sustainable future.

– Being at Quillisascut showed me how connected to our food we can and should be. I was so impressed at how every single thing could be made with my own two hands. I’ll admit that I didn’t love watching the butchering, but the way Rick was so loving and careful with the animals made me respect not only him, but the way our food brings us life from life and we must give back in return. I am very aware of what I feed my family and do my best to buy local and fresh always.

wedding-cake

My experiences at Quillisascut are some of the things I value most in my life. I learned what real work was, not just “going to work”, but HOW to work and how it can be so enjoyable and rewarding and worthy. I consider myself very, very lucky to have met the Misterly’s when I did, at a time in my life when I needed them and the farm and a new way of looking at the world. I have so many happy memories of time spent around the table with great friends, old and new, after a day of milking, hauling, chopping, cheesemaking, baking, grinding, digging, kneading, twisting and plucking. I always slept so well there. I cherish that time so much. I can’t wait to drive up the driveway with my daughters someday..

Sarah Williams owns Cafe Sarah in North Creek, New York. Visit her website or if you are in her neighborhood, stop in for a treat!

Family Stories

Janae’s Story

Making dreams come true takes a lot of nurturing from family and friends. If you are lucky your family and friends are all rolled-into-one. My sister, Janae, has always been supportive of my ambitions. She is my best sister-friend, listening, encouraging and helping shape the goals for Quillisascut Farm School. Here is Janae’s story on the emerging dream that is Quillisascut Farm.

I think there’s a vortex of positive energy there. Isn’t that supposed to be a special place on earth where all the points of positive energy converge? I think it’s something like that. I have always thought there was a special power at Quillisascut Farm since the first time I went there, when Rick and Lora Lea lived in the little house that later became a chicken house. There’s a special feeling there. If you’ve been there, you know what I mean. It must be a vortex, like in Arizona. Especially when there is a late afternoon golden sun.

Many years ago, on one of my visits, she talked about ‘sustainability’. I had never heard the term. “What does sustainability mean, Lora Lea?” Certainly that was my own ignorance, but I wasn’t alone. It was a new term and very few people had even heard the term yet. She was already living it. Continue reading

Growing Up on Q Farm

Willow’s Memories

Imagine growing up on a goat farm. It probably wasn’t as dreamy as you might think. Our daughter, Willow, typed-up a few of her memories for this post. If you want to read more stories of Willow’s growing up on the farm add your words of encouragement in the comments.

Growing up on Quillisascut Farm has definitely shaped the person I am today. At a young age I learned the cycle of life and death by observing and helping Rick and Lora Lea with raising the animals, planting and harvesting the garden, and butchering the meat that we ate. Initially, my parents were apprehensive about their young daughter watching a goat be alive one moment and then killed and butchered the next. Yet, when they saw the sudden curiosity in my eyes as I picked up a goat head, they knew from then on they had nothing to worry about. Not only was I not scared or disgusted to watch an animal butchered but I was also learning a valuable lesson on anatomy at a young age.

When my parents butchered chickens they would show me what the heart, gizzard, lungs, or liver looked like and where they were located inside the chicken.When Lora Lea cooked liver and onions for dinner, my friends and I would get really excited, which surprised my parents since most children plug their noses to the sheer idea of eating liver and onions. Continue reading

Aage’s Farm Story

If you remember back a few months ago I sent out an invitation for Quillisascut love stories

Well, we have a new entry from Aage, who has spent every summer of his life (five years!) here on the farm, he has a unique story to share.  I am surprised he does not mention chokecherries or finding a mother-lode of grapes hanging-on the vine.

What would you add?

Quillisascut Love Story for Lora Lea- by Aage Bonnell, Age 5

I love doing chores with Rick and not just at night.
Sometimes I play and then do chores with Rick in the morning,
and then the chores fade into the night.

I like waking up first thing in the morning. It’s just the start of the day
and I like to see what I can do before breakfast Continue reading

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