Andrea Bemis is not afraid of a little dirt. In fact, as the farmer and co-owner of Tumbleweed Farm in Orgeon, she embraces it. Whether it’s working to create healthy soil on her farm, rinsing her dirt-caked boots after a day of harvesting, or posting a new recipe on her site, Dishing Up the Dirt, it’s all a part of her love of cultivating fresh produce and transforming it into nourishing meals. “The farm is my office, but the kitchen is my happy place,” says Andrea.
With days consumed working the land, cooking up farm-to-table dishes, and writing on her blog, Andrea takes us on a week in the life of the self-described farmer, eater, and lover.
Mondays at the farm are one of the most chaotic days. The alarm clock goes off at 5 a.m. so we can get a jump start of the day’s harvest. We deliver our CSA (community supported agriculture) shares on Mondays and Tuesdays to our members. It’s a full day of picking, washing, sorting, bagging, and then assembling boxes to go out to all 80 families that are shareholders in our farm.
Because the day starts off early the first thing my husband and I reach for in the morning before heading out to the field is coffee. One of my favorite drinks is this honey cardamom latte (the recipe can be found in my cookbook, Dishing Up the Dirt) which we sip on while chatting about the the game plan for the day.
Before breakfast, I head out and feed the pigs and collect eggs from the hens before coming back in to whip up a nourishing breakfast to help fuel us up for the long day ahead.
Breakfasts at the farm are typically simple and packed full of protein to keep us full and energized. I can’t get enough of a good fried egg with crispy bacon. We’ll even fry up some minced scallions to add crunch and flavor to the eggs. It’s simple and delicious — and we can’t get enough!
After breakfast we head to the field for a full day of harvesting and usually don’t come up for air until dinner time. We’ll break for a quick lunch, but Mondays are pretty intense so it’s go time until all the CSA boxes are packed up and ready to head home to members.
We get to sleep in a little later on Tuesdays (6 instead of 5 a.m.! ) since we harvest all of our CSA veggies on Monday. Tuesdays are a little different because after all of our morning chores are complete — feeding animals, collecting eggs, watering the greenhouses and moving irrigation — we’ll come in for a farm-fresh lunch before hitting the road to Portland, Oregon, which is an hour and a half away to drop off our CSA boxes to our members. Lunch is usually a random mix of leftover veggies from Monday’s harvest.
This bok choy Cesar salad is one of our favorite ways to enjoy bok choy.
After lunch and before we hit the road for a long afternoon of deliveries we typically munch on some deviled eggs (which I always have on hand because they’re my favorite snack!)
We spend most of the day transplanting veggies from the greenhouse out into the field. It’s a long day hunching over in the dirt, but we always reward ourselves with good food throughout the day to keep us moving along and feeling strong.
Grilled Sugar Snap Peas with Spicy Peanut Sauce is one of our favorite springtime snacks. If you’ve never grilled snap peas before stop what you’re doing right now, fire up the bbq and make this recipe! It’s simple and is always a crowd pleaser.
Because Wednesdays tend to be physical we usually end the day with the farm crew sipping beers (or canned wine) to help unwind and loosen up those sore muscles.
Thursday at the farm is another long day of finishing up any planting that we couldn’t get to on Wednesday followed by hours (I mean hours!!) of weeding. We do everything from mechanical weeding with the tractor to hand weeding, but most often you’ll find us with a hoe in our hands weeding row after row of veggies and trying to be fast, thorough, and efficient.
Lunch is usually some kind of open-faced sandwich or toast. I’ve gotten really into making sourdough bread at the farm and love having fresh bread on hand for simple lunches or meals with minimal effort but a lot of flavor. These spring veggies toasts with herbed cashew ricotta are one of my favorite simple meals.
Friday is another long harvest day for us and the alarm clock is back to 5 a.m. (sometimes 4:30 a.m. depending on when in the season). We spend all day on Friday harvesting for local restaurants and the Saturday farmers market. It’s a chaotic day with a lot to get done. And we usually don’t come up for air until dinner time.
However, one thing that keeps us going even when we’ve still got work to get done is a 6 p.m. happy hour in the fields as we finish up chores.
And then Friday night dinner usually consists of one side dish like these roasted radishes with anchovies. So dang good!
And then a simple zucchini soup with a side of toasted sourdough bread. I love how easy it is to eat well in the spring when the vegetables don’t need much doctoring up because they’re fresh, in season and delicious.
Saturday is another super early morning (4:30 a.m.) as we pack up the truck and trailer with all of our farmers market and restaurant produce. It’s a long day of slinging veggies, talking to customers and trying to keep up with the chaos that comes from working a farmers market booth.
After we get home from our marathon day we’re pooped. However, we don’t like a weekend to go by without a good old-fashioned pizza night so we usually make a veggie pizza with any farmers market leftovers. We’ll typically make a pesto out of any and all of the leftover greens. Think chard leaves, beet greens, and spinach. We’ll then slice up any root veggies and toss those onto the pie with plenty of cheese. We like cooking our pizza on the outdoor grill and usually kick back with a few cold beers before calling it a night.
Sunday is the only day of the week that we don’t set an alarm. Though we’re usually out in the field doing chores by 7 a.m. We’ll work for a few hours in the morning before coming in for a proper Sunday brunch. We usually cook up a big pot of cheesy grits, fry up some eggs and toss everything with some wilted greens. It’s simple and can be adapted to any season on the farm.
We spend the rest of Sunday doing whatever chores we couldn’t get to earlier in the week. That usually includes more weeding and greenhouse work. At the end of the day we’ll have a simple dinner and get ready to do it all over again!