I have lots of guests that have been booking and lots of great interviews coming up! A Montana rockstar running the food truck here in Montana!
I did grow up on a farm and a ranch
A little bit about my past
I was raised in a world of agriculture
I grew up on a farm and ar ranch that was not always organic, my dad converted to organic in 2007
I was 10 years old it was interesting as a young child to see that process of old ways and shifting to new ways of organic and
how much better everything becomes with that process
with that conversion
we moved to a lot of diversified crops
Before we had converted to organic we were just doing the same old thing everyone else does. Switched to doing a lot of
growing ancient grains
while we were learning and growing all those
I was also at a pretty young age learning to bake
native to Montana at that time
I think that was where I got a pretty strong base
with working with local and available at any given time.
That’s the farming side of it.
We raised cattle as well. So that was really interesting for me to grow up working the trails and the
to grow up working cows
calving season everything you go through
on the organic side
everything 100% organic
everything takes longer
I remember watching food inc when it came out
I remember seeing the vast difference competed to the feed lots they have pictured!
Everything how everything is so crammed
compared to our open pasture
administering antibiotics and growth hormone
we were just allowing our cattle to grow naturally it takes longer but I believe it does allow for a healthful product
and a product that tastes better
Through all that processI think I gained a really good appreciating for the organic food system
extra time and thought that goes into it
That’s the same for a lot of people who are gardening
I love to have conversations that they are trying
some are working and some aren’t
learning what grows well here and what doesn’t
how to utilize in cooking.
Did you have a lot of brothers and sisters? You seem like you had a very mature upbringing. Mike and I were talking about chores the other day.
yeah I have 3 brothers and 2 sisters
I’m the 2nd oldest so I just have one older brother.
We’re ranging in ages in 23 down to 7.
I think growing up especially with so many younger siblings inputs a little bit of extra responsibility automatically to a person.
I think that was some part of it
cooking was something because I did like to do it, but I didn’t always cook because I wanted to
had to do but it was something we had a lot of people to feed
working on the ranch
not always great help
had a lot of kids
We were out there whenever we needed to be.That built a really good work ethic I appreciate all of those opportunities
Yeah! You could say, we did have a pretty good garden for the majority of my childhood
wouldn’t classify myself as a green thumb I am better at cooking then gardening. I enjoy the process. I had my little herb garden on the back porch in college.
Pretty standard things you could say
definitely lots of salad greens and tomatoes.
Now you’re up in the northern part of Montana, close to the border of Canada. Very cold right. Not easy to grow food.
It’s not, unless you have a greenhouse
even still there’s challenges. I’m about as close to Canada as you can get. It takes about 40 minutes to drive to the border.
from where I live
It definitely does present some challenges
climate but there’s ways to work around it.
I think that’s where experimenting with what really grows well in Montana. There have been a lot of farmers around the area spending time.
what’s gonna produce the best in the soil in the time frame that we have. Very different from other states across the country.
I was just going through our garden journals from when Mike puts the seeds in the ground, for the most part it’s between the 7th and 10th of April, cool starts, lettuce, spinach, peas, etc. Stuff that can’t have a frost, it’s more like green beans etc. it’s right after our anniversary in the first week in June.
I also have dates of when did we first harvest it, and things like, I thought we didn’t really harvest asparagus but actually it was for like 5 years. A lot of my guests have said keeping data was good.
I agree with you, I love to analyze data! I haven’t done it as much with gardening but especially for the STREATERY this past year.
I closed for the winter and so it’s been a time to rest and regroup
I have been going through numbers and analyzing what worked and what didn’t
Why don’t you tell us all about Streatery and your food truck and how all that got started.
Getting into a little bit of the agricultural background.
Now getting into the culinary realm I entered a few years ago, it all kind of started gradually. Like I can’t remember a point where I decided I want to be a chef. It just sort of accumulation of events in high school I did a lot of farmer’s markets
ancient grains we were growing and grind the
as many things I could get my hands on. Feature all of those local ingredients.
My senior year of high school I took a trip to California to the bay area. I thought this was interesting.
I interviewed Liz Carlisle!
farmers in Montana who were some of the first people growing organic lentils and just that process because now Montana is the number one producer of lentils. She goes through the whole story!
They are who are your parents?
Chapter 12, in
the gospel of lentils
because of that she flew my family my siblings and everyone out to California when she launched the book
It wasn’t just my family it was all of the families featured in the book, and we stayed in this huge Airbnb house and had a great time and got to meet all the people who were reading the book and explained about the process of everything
One of them, are here near Havre and they farm as well they are Doug and Anna Crabtree with Vicious farms. On that trip, they sort of casually offered me a job in between that summer between high school and college.
I had decided to go to culinary school but didn’t have a plan beyond that. They hired me on as their culinary specialist and I lived out at their farm M-F cooking for their farm crew.
At the time, I felt highly unqualified. It turned out really great! I loved every minute of it. It gave me freedom to cook whatever I was feeling that today but also to use what was readily averrable and locally grown
We were totally tracking each other on
they were really great to work with. I think I got lucky to get that opportunity.
Then in the fall I attended Culinary Institute of Montana in Kalispell. It takes a little under 2 years to get an associates degree. I graduated in Dec 2016 and kind of just craving an adventure at that point. I had always leaned towards entrepreneurship and self employment and tie that into the food world, so the most obvious choice was to start a restaurant but that seemed daunting at the time.
went with the WWOOF program
They have this great online directory
You can essentially type in the type of agriculture you are interested in or you can type in the city or state that you would like to
go have an experience
You can stay from a week to a month to several months! Depends on what you are looking for and what the the operation needs
you go and the standard agreement is you work 20 hours a week then in return you get free room and board so some places that means they feed you 3 meals a day someplace that means give you staple ingredients and a kitchen
It was very rugged. I actually lived in a tent for a month. We didn’t have running water and we had to haul that up to a top of a mountain.
Did you get to go to the beach?
It was hard work but it wasn’t’ very long so there was definitely lots of free time.
the farm in Maui
You could see the ocean from the mountains of Maui called upcountry.
You could see the ocean and beach but to actually get there you would have to walk a few miles to the beach. Since none of us had cars. Between that and hitchhiking, so we did make it to the beach a couple of times.
There were other people there? Were you scared going from Montana to Hawaii? Were your parents like oh my?
My parents were nervous but I was ready. I had a skype interview. I had my tent and a general plan and they picked me up at the airport. After a while I got a phone call from mom after I was there a couple of days she was like I know that you landed in Hawaii, but never confirmed you made it to the farm. I thought I should check.
It was a great group of people
have adventures together
Quite a few of us ended up switching to another farm after a month.
first I had learned of permaculture
found this farm online through the website
said it was fruit orchard
Did mention permaculture but I didn’t know what to expect and so in my mind I thought it would be rows of
looked like the garden of eden!
You walk in and there is this winding dirt road going through this tropical forage. Going on the first tour and he’s pointing!
there’s a banana tree
coffee is growing
2 chicken coops
intermixed and benefiting from each other in turn!
That was a wonderful experience to see that different approach to agriculture.
While I was at that farm it didn’t take the owner long to learn I could cook. So we ended up
putting together a farm-to-table event while I was there!
We had a group of people come out to the farm.
A local hunter brought some venison tenderloin
lots of greens
veggies from the farm
featured as much local produce as we could get from markets and things
four course dinner with wine pairings
fantastic. IT was this little moment of paradise in my past.
Then the advent of Streatery came about a year later. I moved back home in the summer of 2017
To help out with a few things. We had a huge farm tour coming up.
We were also a little short handed, my dad needed me to help
thing I hadn’t done in a long time after being away. It was good to get back into that
summer of 2017
Towards that fall, I noticed that we could possibly benefit from some direct marketing of our organic beef...