About five years ago, I got the idea that it might be fun to make a seasonal calendar of farm photos for my family who had just ramped up their gardening game, offering a small CSA to the community and getting back into farmer’s market selling after some time away. And then for awhile I thought that instead of a calendar, maybe I’d make it into some sort of pamphlet, or maybe put the calendar photos together with some anecdotes from my family plus a recipe or two and have them bound at the local printing store. And then I thought, hmm, maybe I should add another story or two, and a few more recipes and be more intentional about what photos to include. At that point my conglomeration of stories and recipes was starting to be a little book like and I thought, “Maybe it should be a book instead of a pamphlet.” But the thought of all the design work, plus trying to format and put the content together in a way that looked right that self publishing requires was daunting, and I put the idea down for awhile. After another year went by, I picked the project back up and explored a hybrid publisher – they do the editing, design, formatting, and printing for you if they think your work is quality enough to have on their imprint. The catch is that there’s a steep price tag if you are accepted…..they quoted me $5, 500 to complete the project. Ha! Back to the drawing board.
And then Ellie, a friend and writing colleague of mine, introduced me to her friend Andrew who runs Avenida books out of Minneapolis. He had a publishing opening later in the year in 2015 and liked the project enough to send a publishing contract. And off we went. Turns out when you have an idea and you want to make it a reality, persistence and patience are key qualities to embrace.
So now, about a year and a half after initially contacting Andrew of Avenida, my little calendar idea is Prairie Grown: Stories and Recipes from a South Dakota Hillside.
In Prairie Grown, you’ll move through the seasons from January to December, and as the year rolls though, it’s a call to celebrate eating in a way that is grounded in practicality and abundance. It is my hope that the simple descriptions of how life on one farm unfolds month by month and the seasonal recipes included inspire you to embrace fully your own story and to spend part of it cooking and eating locally sourced food.
And before this book takes up residence on your table or kitchen counter, I encourage you to take some time to think about from where your food comes, and what you might do to support sustainability with each meal that graces your table.