BOOK REVIEW: Kurtwood Farms and Growing a Farmer

Growing a Farmer: How I Learned to Live Off the Land

One of my favorite people in the Puget Sound these days has been Kurt Timmermeister of Kurtwood Farms. His book, Growing a Farmer: How I Learned to Live Off the Land, was featured in a bunch of the cool foodie rags, and so I picked up a copy and simply devoured the book. Each chapter, written like we were having a beer (or 2) and a conversation in the back booth of an old pub, is fun, full of great information, and my favorite part, HONEST. Kurt doesn’t tell share his I-want-to-grow-up-and-be-a-farmer story the way you are “supposed” to tell it, but rather, in a frank, daily grind sort of way. If he made mistakes, he tells us. When he tried something, and then changed course, he shares that too. In no way is there an pretentious tone in his book, like so many people that seem to have “rediscovered farming.” It is sort of a GOOD, BAD, and UGLY story of small independent farming.  He isn’t better than me, you, or the rest of the farming families around the US, he simply has tried his darnedest to try and make, grow, and kill any and all of his food (he told Martha Stewart recently he only buys sugar, flour, salt, and pepper at the store) and makes a go of it ALL year round. To give you a smidge insight into his frank way of dealing with his life on the farm, I had met him at a cheese tasting at the Queen Anne Met Market and a lady asked him if his cows lived til they were “old.” Without missing a beat he quipped, “Letting my cows get old is a waste, we butcher them when they are past their prime.”

So if you are thinking of becoming a gentleman farmer, having a few urban chickens, or even simply want to expand your garden and eat better, more local, know-where-your-food-is-coming from kind of a life, then you should read this book. Also, when you read his book, you will be introduced to his now deceased favorite cow, Dinah, whom his camembert-like cheese is gloriously named after. I have consumed a fair amount of this delicious cheese by itself, with a cracker, and with some apple, and let me tell you, it is grassy, natural goodness. Pick it up at the Met Market, PCC, and Calf and Kid (I am sure there is a bunch of other spots too) when you get a chance, and just in time for your Christmas parties too. Not only will you have some truly delicious cheese to offer, but you will be able to tell this simple story behind Kurt and his farm. You can pick up the book on Amazon (I have created a link for you on our home page; there is a hardback and Kindle edition and coming in paperback very soon) and in all sorts of small and big book stores around the Pacific Northwest.


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