Featured Foodie: Heather Scholten

Neysa : March 2, 2012 01:27 : Featured Foodies

In some ways, Heather Scholten’s Farmgirl Gourmet is a typical food blog. Heather started it in 2006 with few expectations; she had just moved to Eastern Washington and used Farmgirl Gourmet as a forum to keep her friends and family updated on the goings-on in the Scholten household.  Like many new bloggers with an inviting voice and fresh perspective, she soon found herself gaining readers, notoriety, and attention from brands, and suddenly Farmgirl Gourmet had sprouted from a personal diary to a notable recipe site with a wide community of readers.  Not an uncommon tale for food bloggers today.  But there is more to Heather’s story that makes Farmgirl Gourmet particularly intriguing.  In 2006, the Scholtens didn’t move to just anywhere in the Northwest; they moved to a 130-year-old farmhouse on 20 acres just outside of Spokane.  For eight years, Heather called that piece of dirt home, grew a sizable vegetable garden and even raised a few horses, goats, and chickens.  That time on the farm shaped the way she cooks and eats today.  Warm, homey recipes built upon fresh, local, sustainable ingredients, Heather’s recipes beg to be served on a heavy farmhouse table.  Although Heather doesn’t live on that piece of land in Spokane anymore,  farm life still styles her recipe development — solid, self-made, confident, and adventurous.   more »

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Featured Foodie: Jameson Fink

Neysa : February 24, 2012 04:45 : Featured Foodies

In 2004, Jameson Fink’s IT job ruled his Monday to Friday, but his weekends were full of wine.  No, he wasn’t drowning his sorrows in Thunderbird, he was exploring the wine regions of France, Italy, and America, all inside Randolph Wine Cellars and the Tasting Room in Chicago’s West Loop. He started blogging that year, and since then his writing has taken him all over the world, to vineyards on five out of seven continents (One of those unvisited being the very-grapeless Antarctica).  He has written for Dabble Magazine and became Wine Editor at Foodista in 2010.  Jameson’s writing is direct and accessible, even when he ventures into more complex discussions of growing, aging, and food pairings, and though he’s clearly an expert in wine, he resists holding himself up as one.  In his own words, Jameson is less concerned with right and wrong, and more interested in “enthusiasm, excitement, and discovery.”  His current blog, Wine Without Worry, articulates this attitude perfectly.  Wine in Jameson’s mind ought to be simple, easy, and, above all, pleasurable.  Most recently, Jameson came off a month living and working at Finnriver Farm in Chimacum, Washington, where he helped with their cider making operation.  The writings from Finnriver are heady and excitable and remind us of the indefatigable sense of adventure that pulled Jameson into wine writing in the first place. more »

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Featured (Farmer) Foodie: Marysol Valle

Neysa : February 17, 2012 03:32 : Featured Foodies

Everywhere you look, you’ll see details that say Urban Roots is a community farm: an oversized get well card cut from construction paper and taped to a barn door; a random assortment of vegetables dangling on twine from the branches of a peach tree; a stray bottle of water — “Reynesha” scrawled in sharpie on one side, and a line from a Chris Brown song on the other.  At any given time at Urban Roots, you’ll find the farm manager Marysol Valle there, tinkering with her spader or leading a group of volunteers.  Marysol’s farming career started unsteadily twelve years ago, with sudden moves, money woes, and an uncertain future.  But Marysol pursued farming with a steady drive that eventually landed her a job at this locally loved non-profit in Austin, Texas.  Employing students ages 13-17, Urban Roots uses sustainable agriculture to empower Austin’s youth, while increasing the city’s access to fresh food.  Last year the crew at Urban Roots grew over 30,000 pounds of vegetables, 40% of which was donated to local hunger relief efforts and food banks.  The other 60% was sold at Austin farmers markets by the very youth who helped grow it.  Marysol has been with Urban Roots for three years.  To her, farming should be close to all foodies’ hearts.  After all, without farms, there is no food. more »

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