The Dirt on Andrea Bemis and Tumbleweed Farm
Andrea and Taylor Bemis have one of the most interesting and beautiful jobs I've ever seen. And hardest. I mean hard. What are other words for hard? Insert those here. They are farmers. They own 6 acres of land near Parkdale, Oregon where they run Tumbleweed Farm. That's Mt Hood in the background. I have been with Andrea when she meets people for the first time and they realize that it's just the 2 of them out there. No one else. No help. No equipment! Two people and their bare hands. When this registers with people the look on their faces is priceless. This is not for the weak, or clean.
If you go out to their beautiful farm, this is what you will see. Two people working their asses off. And smiling! And making cute banter with each other. I don't know if that is just for my benefit, but honestly I doubt it. Andrea and Taylor seem incapable of bullshit. Who has the time for that? There are like 500 more lettuce starts to plant. They seem like 2 people at peace with their lives, and I dig it. (See what I did there?)
And what they grow looks like this. How beautiful! All of their crops are gorgeous and healthy. This is nature in all it's glory. It is said that if you talk to plants they will thrive, well A & T must be singing to every plant out here because everything seems to be thriving. Including eachother.
Andrea is not only a farmer. She is a recipe maker, blogger, and cookbook author. She tells me that farming turned her into a cook.
“Farming is so physically demanding. It’s monotonous. I love it, I love being out in the dirt. But the days are long and hard, so having this creative outlet in the kitchen was awesome.”
She also got off on the challenge of truly eating with the seasons.
"Sure a tomato sounds fantastic, but they aren’t in season, zucchinis are so - what will I do with those? I really started to have fun in my kitchen. Even zonked after a long day. I looked forward to it.”
Andrea and Taylor first worked in Massachusetts on Hutchen's Farm, owned by Taylor's family. It was brutal but they learned the ropes, and Andrea fell in love with cooking.
“Creating flavor combinations that end up working totally gets me off. I love it. And that’s all thanks to Hutchen's farm and growing all these crazy vegetables.”
The couple moved across the country and bought their own farm. And now her recipe building serves a purpose. They have a thriving CSA as their main source of income. Andrea includes recipes so their customers know what to do with the box of vegetables. And customers say it saves them.
“Our CSA might have turnips 4 weeks in a row, and I don’t want everyone to be thinking- fuck, turnips again?? So I give them all sorts of recipes for how to cook them. Maybe a stew, a dip, Italian style or Asian. I get so excited about that.”
Andrea started a blog nine years ago - back before Instagram, when blogs were on Wordpress and used as a way of keeping family and friends updated on life across the country. She shared her life on the farm and the recipes she was making with her mom and sister, the only people reading it. But with the evolution of social media, her blog, Dishing Up the Dirt, really grew. Now it is a dope website with hundreds of recipes and gorgeous photos taken by Andrea herself.
This also led to a seriously awesome cookbook. I really don't like to cook, and I use it just as much as my foodie friends. The recipes are easy and healthy and so freakin delicious. And the book itself is a work of art. You can get a signed copy from Andrea's local bookstore here!
Andrea never set out in life to be a farmer. And she will easily tell you she can't believe it's where she's ended up. I love having conversations with her about this because we both are such firm believers that there is no path to follow. We just move forward each day making the best decisions we can with the information we have, and trust that life is and will be good. People often ask her how she got her book deal or following on social media, hoping for a path to follow. Andrea laughs because her path was all over the place. From beauty school to being an esthetician. She always worried she would never find her stride.
"The advice I would give is to be a risk taker. I credit my parents with instilling that in me. As soon as something is not working, try something else. It’s ok to quit. Quitting is underrated! You don’t owe it to anyone to keep doing something that isn’t feeling right. I have a thing. Everyone on earth does. Keep trying until you find it. And lastly, have more compassion for yourself. I wish I would’ve been nicer to myself. I would compare myself to others and beat myself up. It is ok to not have it together. Just give yourself a break."
Andrea is such a killer example of the beauty that can come from not knowing how your life will turn out, and not knowing what you are "supposed" to do. Not following a path is working really well for her!
I'm so grateful to Andrea for sharing her story with Art Fare. You can follow her insanely beautiful Instagram feed here, and get recipes on her website. Be sure to share this profile with all of your foodie friends! And get yourself the Dishing up the Dirt Cookbook, you can thank me later. xx