shelter in place: the urban homesteader’s dream?

posted March 21, 2020

How might we make the most of these unfolding, uncertain times? In the face of COVID-19, folks across the country find themselves holed up, whether self-isolating, quarantining, or social distancing — the jargon goes on.

We at the greenhorns propose to YOU: allow these mandates to motivate your homesteading genius! If you are fortunate to have a safe home space to operate in, we inspire you to pick up and start off in your very own kitchens. Extra time in the house means extra time to invest in trying new recipes, going deeper into fermentation projects, harvesting seasonal greens from your neighborhood and making pesto — the list goes on. Farmer’s markets are largely being kept open: support local and stock up on nutrient-dense produce. Whatever slew of culinary, carpentry or other crafty projects you’ve been eager to take a stab at: there is no time like the present!!

Distract your brain by working with your hands (an effective way to process anxiety and bottled up emotions, not to mention). Rake the backyard and finally hang some lights! Sow some seeds! Read on for project ideas from your’s truly, as well as urban homesteader friends across the country. (Email with more project ideas, and she will add them to this post for the world to discover).

Nasturtium Greens Pesto
Food processor or blender
Local nasturtium plants to harvest from
Freshly harvested nasturtium leaves
Olive oil
Minced garlic, OR fresh green garlic (chopped into small rounds)
Nutritional yeast, OR grated parmesan cheese
Nut or seed of choice (pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower, walnuts or pecans, all great!)
Fresh lemon juice (of 1-2 lemons)
Salt & Pepper
For more flavor: dash of curry powder, small pinch of dried thyme, and a little cayenne pepper.
Blend together all ingredients for a peppery, bright-green, immune-boosting, delicious pesto!! Add a dollop to just about any savory dish for zest and zeal. Nasturtium greens contain vitamin C and iron, and have antibiotic properties (at their most effective just before the plant flowers).

Freshly foraged late-summer chanterelles sizzling on Smithereen Farm’s timber frame stove top.

Butternut Squash Seed Milk
Blender, nut milk strainer bag or cheese cloth, butternut squash
Hollow out 1-2 butternut squashes, plopping the seeds into a bowl of water.
Cover completely with water and let soak overnight for slight sprouting effect.
After soak, separate seeds from squash flesh, lay in a baking tray (atop parchment paper recommended) and bake for 30 minutes at 325 degrees.
Let cool, and place in a jar for storage in the fridge.
When desired, blend seeds with hot water (+honey, a little salt, and spices of choice! such as cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, turmeric) and strain through a nut-milk bag or cheese cloth (or, enjoy chunky!).
Add to your favorite hot tea for a delicious, nutty, nutrient-dense non-dairy milk.
Butternut seeds are rich in zinc, calcium, and also contain magnesium, vitamin A & C, potassium and iron.

Ophir’s Tahini Oat Bread
Small loaf recipe:
3/4 cup oat flour from ground oats
1/4 cup oats
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp salt
1/2 cup tahini (can substitute with other seed or nut butter)
1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
3 tbsp olive oil (or other oil)
4 eggs
Optional: 1 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp cardamom
Extra seeds or nuts as you like
Combine in separete bowls your dry ingredients and wet ingredients. Helpful to gently heat (I.e. double boil) your wet ingredients to thoroughly mix together. Tenderly and with love, sprinkle dry ingredients incrementally into wet ingredients, folding together to create a beautiful batter. Pour into baking dish, and decorate with seeds and spices on top. Bake for about 25 minutes at 350 degrees, or until loaf has fully risen and become golden brown around all edges! (Check for a baked inside by inserting toothpick, bread done when only tiny crumbs remain).

From author and fermentation revivalist Sandor Katz:
Sweet Potato Fly!
A delicious tonic beverage native to Guyana. Follow link for the recipe. Consider making a simple rennet or farmer’s cheese to obtain whey, which you can use as a starter for your Sweet Potato Fly.

From herbalist Aisling Badger of Urban Moonshine, a beautiful recipe for Immune Tonic Soup.

From herbalist Rosemary Gladstar and Mountain Rose Herbs, spicy and powerful Fire Cider Recipes. Hop to it!

Kate processing algae harvest in Smithereen Farm timber frame kitchen.

save the date for the 23rd annual dairy sheep symposium in quebec

posted July 13, 2017


The 23rd Annual Dairy Sheep Symposium is taking place from Nov 30th – Dec 2nd this year at the Estrimont Suites and Spas, Orford (near Sherbrooke), Quebec.  The title of this year’s symposium is “Profitability in Dairy Sheep Production”, and it will focus on genetics and nutrition of dairy sheep flocks.  Each year the Dairy Sheep Association of North America travels to a different North American location  for this event. Quebec is one of the perfect spots for an event like this to be held as it has a vibrant community of sheep-milk producers and artisan cheesemakers.  The 2017 symposium will feature discussions on the development of long-term breeding plans, using milk data, the diet of dairy sheep, and the nutrition of youngstock; producer and cheesemaker panels; and presentations from dairy sheep researchers in Canada and the Roquefort region of France.  There will also be visits to Quebec dairy sheep and cheesemaking operations — and don’t forget the banquet with dozens of DSANA members’ sheeps-milk cheeses!

For more information click HERE or contact the organisers directly.

Laurel Kieffer (DSANA President):  715-797-3909

Maria-Chantal Houde (2017 Symposium Chair):  819-578-7234

Bee Tolman: 315-760-2766 (Dairy Sheep Association member): 315-760-2766

Cheesemaker position in Redmond Oregon!

posted March 4, 2011

Cheesemaker:  Juniper Grove Farm seeks a cheesemaker experienced in lactic and rennet cheeses. Duties will include preparation of milk, transformation, aging, packaging, preparation of orders for sale. There may also be opportunity for relief milking and farmers market sales. You will be working with three others – the herdswoman, relief milker, and owner who makes cheese on your days off.  Because of the small and very focused nature of this business, you will have a lot of autonomy. You should be good at problem solving and communicating.

Juniper Grove Farm is the longest running farmstead goat cheese dairy in Oregon, at 24 years. We make pasteurized and unpasteurized cheeses. Working with unpasteurized milk exclusively from our own herd, means we are uncompromisingly attentive to quality.   You should share our passion and continuing interest in unpasteurized cheeses.

This is a full time, salaried position with in-kind benefits. Redmond, pop. 26,000, sits at 3000’ in the high desert of central Oregon. Bend, pop. 80,000 is the commercial center 30 minutes away. The central Oregon area is a mecca for mountain bikers, skiers and snow boarders, rock climbers, kayakers, road cyclists, fishermen and hunters. Housing rentals are bargains right now. Please respond by email with a resume and at least two professional references.

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cheese classes offered in SF Bay

posted February 20, 2011

HOW IT WORKS: On-site cheesemaking classes in the Bay Area. You gather the people. I bring milk and all the supplies. Classes are suited for up to 15 students though not limited to. Choose fromclasses that last an hour to ones that last several. Learn anything from yogurt to feta to mozzarella to farmstead cheddar.

  • Ricotta Clouds: This class teaches you how to make whole milk, skim milk and whey ricotta at home. Includes a taste testing of cow vs. sheep ricottas as well as a display of traditional and creative ricotta forms. Class is 2 hours long. ($300)
  • Kefir and Yogurt: Learn the simplicity of homemade kefir and yogurt. Learn how to sweeten and flavor these delicious andhealthy foods. Learn about probiotics, shelf life, mother cultures and more. Participants recieve cultures to take home.Class is 3 hours long. ($335)
  • Mozz Stretch: After a breeze through cheese chemistry, you’ll jump right into mozzarella stretching fun. Taste test mozzarella varieties. Be inspired with mouthwatering meal ideas. Stretch your own fresh mozzarella knots to take home and enjoy. Class lasts 1 hour. ($375)
  • Mozzarella Madness: Start with some fresh milk. End with a buttery ball! This longer class teaches you how to make mozzarella curd (both the old-fashioned way and the quick methods) then moves you through curing and stretching techniques. Cultures and recipes are included. Class is 4 hours long. ($450)