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By: Susie Middleton Published: Huffington Post, January 21, 2014
When I left my job as chief editor of Fine Cooking magazine six years ago, I had no idea I’d be writing to you now from a small farm, my third cookbook (based on our life as farmers, no less) about to be published (Fresh From the Farm: A Year of Recipes and Stories, Taunton Press, Feb. 2014).
It’s nothing short of an act of God that I was able to transform a strange longing to be better connected to my food into a rural life of growing vegetables and raising laying hens. Sometimes, in fact, it seems so otherworldly to me, that I feel like writing about it in any authoritative sense is kind of a sham. (Fortunately, things like cleaning chicken coops, living on a small budget, and battling cabbage worms quickly bring me back to reality.)
I also realize that any kind of farming is a leap of faith. Whether you’re a young person setting out, determined to be a Grower of Things, or a mid-life changer like me, intent on a less stressful lifestyle, or someone who grew up on a farm who wants simply to continue working in this age-old profession, you know it will be hard and that there will be failures. But that’s true of the best things. And the secret, I now realize, is that it is possible to succeed.
So if you’re willing to hang with me here (knowing I’m not the last-word-expert on any of this), I’ll give you a list of things that worked for us in our small farm start-up, in case you’re dreaming (or acting on the dream) of starting one.