Dishing Up the Dirt

2017…a year for the books

December 31, 2017

To say that this past farm season was a breeze would be the understatement of the century. Taylor’s hair is turning grey and the wrinkles around my eyes are more pronounced than ever. We have weathered many storms in the nine years that we’ve spent farming , but the truth is, the 2017 season is one we’ll never forget.

Every season has had its fair share of ups and downs. When we started Tumbleweed Farm we started small, had a tiny CSA, only a few restaurant accounts and our farmers market booth wasn’t nearly as big or diverse as it is today. We’ve grown our farm slowly and thoughtfully. We never wanted to take on more than we could handle because we knew that could affect the quality of our product. This past season we took on (almost) more than we could handle. The stress level was high, our expectations for ourselves and our farm were through the roof and Mother Nature was not on our side. We worked through drought and weeks of smokey weather (from the Gorge wildfires) had two major crop devastations, tractor problems, irrigation issues, our largest CSA to date, and learned how to raise, love and say goodbye to our first ever pigs. We didn’t sleep much, and when we did we’d dream about things that needed to get done. In August, we had a “family meeting” and decided that enough was enough. We needed help and didn’t want to continue living our lives at this crazy pace.  We want to enjoy the farm and not have it kill us. We’re finally bringing on help (hallelujah!!) and we’re going to “try” and relax a bit more next season.

As always, I’ve found contentment in my kitchen and on this blog. I love sharing recipes in this special place and I hope you all continue to enjoy cooking and eating through the seasons with us.

This blog will always be a place that I come to to share inspiration and shed light on the simple pleasures of farm to table cooking. One of the things I shy away from (most of the time) is honestly sharing the hardships that come with farming. The main reason I don’t want to go there is that I’m “off the clock” when I’m on this blog. I love unwinding after a day in the field and totally forgetting about the stresses, failures or even triumphs that ebbed and flowed through the day. This little place–regardless of who reads or follows along– will always be a special spot for me to write, create and forget about the typical stresses of the day.

2017 may have been a tough year, but I wouldn’t take it back. It was the year my cookbook debuted, it was the year we got to throw an epic farm dinner, it was the year we decided to hire help, and most important, it was a year of resilience. We’re continuing to grow, learn and navigate our way through this crazy, dirty life. It may not always be easy, but it’s worth every challenging moment.

I hope that in the coming year we get to slow down more often and enjoy the simple pleasures of resting in the middle of the farm field with a few beers (still muddy from the days work) and of course, more gatherings around the table with friends, neighbors and strangers alike.

Cheers to 2018!

All of the above photos were taken by my dear friend Kate Schwager.

Leave a Reply

42 thoughts on “2017…a year for the books

  1. john says:

    Andrea and Taylor, Just adore the pictures and your writing. You guys are the best. Look forward to seeing you in 2018.
    Love you both.

    1. Andrea says:

      Thanks John! xo

  2. Maureen says:

    Even though I live in the city, there’s a bit of country girl still in my soul. Thanks for sharing your recipes and stories. Wishing you healthy & happy for the farm and in your personal lives in 2018.

    1. Andrea says:

      Thanks for following along and for your kind words. Happy New Year. xo

  3. Sue Peoples says:

    I so enjoy reading your posts and use your recipes both from the blog and the cookbook more than any other.
    I wish you a happy 2018 and more continued success and hope that you have good helpers next season.

  4. Terry Erb says:

    Cheers to you and Taylor, Andrea! You are truly an inspiration. Wishing you both the best in 20018

  5. Abby says:

    Beautiful! We are embarking on a new farm, Boundless Farmstead, in Alfalfa, OR. Come visit sometime, and see how we fare. A great, dirty, hard and joyful adventure is before us.

  6. Christine says:

    Happy New Year!
    Great job this year!
    Fabulous pictures, Kate!

  7. Sally says:

    Andrea and Taylor
    Man oh man — love your straight from the heart words and fantastic pics – rain or shine, energized or pooped
    you two always look great!!! Michael and I have only the barest idea of your realities at the farm and marveled all Tumbleweed
    Season that no matter the challenges we imagined you dealt with daily, every Tuesday you were there, on time, with a smile, a story and listening ear not to mention containers full of simply the best produce ever for us. You touch people’s lives with heart and soul. You’ve sure touched ours!
    We are so grateful to be part of the Tumbleweed connection and are already counting the weeks until the first 2018 delivery. Celebrate big time your accomplishments, successes and failures and all that you do and give to others. Speaking of which so happy you have hired more hands for next year — to give you some r and r as needed and deserved!
    Happiest of New Year’s !
    Hugs, Sally

    1. Andrea says:

      Thank you so much for your kind words Sally. We are so appreciative of your support. You and Michael are wonderful CSA members and we are so thankful to have both of you be a part of our farm family! We’re looking forward to the coming season and are excited to come back rested and ready to kick 2018 in the butt! See you in the Spring Sally! xoxoxo

  8. Sally says:

    Here’s cheers to the strength, courage and resilience of the world’s farmers. Thank you!

    1. Andrea says:


  9. Francis-Olive Hampton says:

    we all love you two. thank you for sharing your beautiful world with all of us. happy new year! xo

  10. jeff says:

    Happy New Year’s to you and the inhabitants of the farm!

  11. Barbara says:

    Andrea and Taylor, we send greetings from Concord and wish you every blessing in the New Year.

    1. Andrea says:

      Happy New Year to you and your family Barbra! Stay warm back there. xoxoxo

  12. Dawn says:

    Totally love this post. I love reading about others’ thoughts and emotions. You just never know what someone else is going through. Hope 2018 will be a great year for you

  13. Jean G says:

    Andrea and Taylor you both are a perfect example of “when the going gets tough the tough get going”! I love reading your blog and following your daily farm chores! Congrats on being problem solvers! The best to you both in 2018!

    1. Andrea says:

      Thank you Jean! Happy New Year! xoxoxo

  14. Wendy Bradley says:

    Many thanks for sharing your beautiful, strenuous, wonderful life and creativity with us. I ran across some of your recipes a while ago — now I’m delighted to meet you! Your dishes will be all the sweeter. (Carrots, bourbon, and feta are next up!)

    1. Andrea says:

      Thanks for your kind words Wendy! Happy cooking and thanks for following along. Cheers! xo

  15. Sandra agricola says:

    Blessings upon you. I love the blog and have enormous respect for you and your husband.

  16. Julie says:

    Happy New Year!!!

  17. Jean says:

    The world needs more people like you and Taylor. It would be a far, far better place. Thanks for sharing and inspiring. And the happiest of new years to you both.

    1. Andrea says:


  18. Carrie says:

    That last picture of you and Taylor made me tear up. You two are inspirational in all ways. You have so many people cheering you on, loving and supporting you with pride and gratitude!

  19. Andrea says:

    Hi Andrea–
    I too am an Andrea, who works hard on a farm, doesn’t sleep enough, and had a very challenging 2017. Mother Nature was both kind and angry on our farm….and it was a heck of a challenge both in the times of bounty and the times of loss. Your recipes and your book are so wonderful. I admire you, your work, your determination, your wisdom and the realization that you too are mortal. I get so damned frustrated that I can’t trump the exhaustion I feel in my body anymore and am trying to figure out how to be ok with that as well as going to bed with a long list of things remaining on the “To Do” list. Wishing you all the best in 2018. May you find rest and joy in the midst of the organized chaos we both call farming. The Earth is good and we are both blessed to be working within in it…we just have to remember to step back every now and again to remind ourselves of all the reasons we do what we do. Wishing you and Taylor a restful and rejuvenating winter—Andrea

    1. Andrea says:

      A fellow Andrea!!! I love it. Thanks for your kind words and hard work sister. Keep on keeping on! We’re all in this together. 2018 is a fresh start and I hope it’s a bountiful year for us all. Thanks for following along. Keep getting those hands dirty. Cheers from Tumbleweed. xo

  20. sandie says:

    Love reading your tales. I have a small 1 acre plot where I grow my own produce. Nothing like the scale of yours, and I still get overwhelmed! Cant imagine your stresses. But love that you take the time to share. Its truly inspirational for me. Keep up your great work and look forward to reading in 2018. May it be a fantastic year for you both … and the hired help.

    1. Andrea says:

      Thanks for following along and keep on getting those hands dirty! Happy New Year! xo

  21. Michelle says:

    I don’t usually comment but have been following along on your Journey since your Emerson/Concord days and have been making your recipies regularly. A favorite is your best ever granola. Hope 2018 is wonderful for you and you find time to enjoy friends, family and food. And oh those Mountain View’s!!! Also true story daughter moved to Seattle and told me she found a blog she knew I’d like….I said “guess where that granola recipie came from….”

    1. Andrea says:

      Ahhh! I’m so happy to know that you’ve been following along all these years. Thank you for your support and kind words. Happy New Year!

  22. Jen says:

    Totally understand the blog as a refuge. Just wanted to add that hearing about the hardships, even just in snippets, has really deepened my sense of respect for the food I eat and the people who grow it. It’s also made me better understand the value in spending more money to buy quality produce because I see in a way I really didn’t before how much work goes into growing it, and how easily things can go awry. I hope you and Taylor enjoy the rest of your winter “off,” and that 2018 is a great year for Tumbleweed Farm.

    1. Andrea says:

      Thank you for your kind words Jen. This comment made my day. Happy cooking! xo

  23. Larry Bartenstein says:

    Keep up the great work! We have your cookbook and I just made the gingerbread muffins from email recipe. Peace!

    1. Andrea says:

      Love it! Keep on dishing it up! xo

    2. Andrea says:

      So happy you have the book! Glad you loved the gingerbread muffins from the blog too. Thanks for following along! xo

  24. Julie Sebby says:

    The struggle is real, but so are the rewards. So many people love watching y’all.

    1. Andrea says:

      Thanks for following along! Happy New Year! xo

  25. Jennifer Kleinrichert says:

    Thanks for sharing the hint of your hardships. We have that, too, on our native plant farm and sometimes it just kicks our tails and we find ourselves not in the place mentally or emotionally we want to be. It’s all work we love! It’s for the goodness of the planet! Yet, when we push too hard, it is at extreme cost to us. So here’s to balance for all of us in 2018!!

  26. Sarah King says:

    My daughter and I met you at the Farmer’s Market this summer during our summer vacation in the Pacific NW. Exploring Hood River and meeting you are some of our favorite memories from an unforgettable trip. Your cookbook is a treasure and I have shared copies with several friends. Candidly I am not the best cook but your love for cooking is inspiring and I enjoy your stories of farm life. Thanks for generously sharing your gifts.

    Blessings for a wonderful 2018!


Order Today!

New cookbook!

Local Dirt

I'm super excited about my new book full of farm fresh recipes and stories straight from the farm. There's a little something for everyone inside. You can order a copy today! Please order from my local bookstore, they have signed copies for a limited time and they'll ship anywhere worldwide!

Order From My Local Book Store