Fall and the Farm Virgin

The end of summer is the culmination of our warm weather projects. Here in the inland northwest it is a time of processing and storing foods for winter.  One of our projects is butchering the pigs, it is a big job that calls for helpful and skilled hands.

Late October, when the days grow cool, our close friends visit the farm to help us with the pigs. Animal harvest is a solemn anchor to the season, yet a time of celebrating another year with our friends who have been joining us in this fall ritual for fourteen years.

Ten years ago Chef Greg Johnson came along for the autumn pig butchery. Greg has generously shared his story with us. Lucky for us the weekend was also documented by Gary Moogk. Continue reading “Fall and the Farm Virgin”


All of our students know that the culmination of the summers workshops is a giant cassoulet flavored with the creative work of many hands; butchery, charcuterie, garden work, planning and delight!(90 percent of the ingredients are grown here on Quillisascut Farm)

Last Thursday evening was the last workshop dinner and the cassoulet was voluptuous! Duck confit, garlic sausage, lamb shanks, white beans, fresh tomatoes, and herbs all topped with a generous crusting of bread crumbs.

Today I noticed this fabulous article, Cassoulet: The Quilt of Cooking, inspired by a Quillisascut  cassoulet. The meal is celebrated in Wisconsin and showcases a wealth of their regional farmers. Enjoy the story by Jessica Luhning

Here is Chef Karen Jurgensen’s recipe (you can also find this recipe in Chefs on the Farm Continue reading “Cassoulet”

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 “Family Stories”

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 “Growing Up on Q Farm”