My farm Living Kitchen became Living Kitchen in name nearly seven years ago before I ever actually had a farm. The name seemed a way to express my deepest feeling that kitchens are a living, breathing entity and are like mothers keeping their children (the cooks) safe and protected. But I should tell you, I’ve spent practically my whole life in kitchens in one form or another, rarely, however, the one in my home. As I learned more about growing food I came to feel that a vibrant farm represented nothing short of life itself embodied within a network of fields, barns and fences and the work that was done in and on these places was sacred.
Back in Seattle the restaurant was my life. I found time for very little else, maybe a walk every morning, a couple of yoga classes a week and the rest was time dedicated to a selfish passion of cooking. This became even more intense as I began to discover and embrace the farmers market. Across the street from my Sicilian restaurant, an old parking lot every Wednesday between 3pm and 7pm turned into a European vibrant market place. I had never experienced such excitement stateside as I had from my travels to Italy and Sicily.
Back then my Co-worker Julie (now current owner) would run over to the farmer’s market at 3pm. We would load up on things for the restaurant, but we would also just grab things that spoke to us, like a few bags of miners lettuce, garlic scapes, lemon cucumber, an assortment of heirloom tomatoes, lettuces of all different shapes, sizes and colors, purple cauliflower. After we had our run of the place like kids in a candy store we would go back to the restaurant, and create what we called a farmers market menu. $20 bucks got you a 3 course dinner from just things we picked up and created from the farmers market. Up until the farmers market became our neighbor Wednesday was one of our slowest nights of the week. That soon ended and Wednesdays became one of the busy nights of the week. It was the best time ever!
So when I came to Oklahoma surfing on the wave of lust, Living Kitchen was more of an idea, a hope, a dream. I had a lot of challenges, a lot of heart ache, a lot of false starts, but the vision never changed. Living Kitchen was a place where I could share my passion for food. The idea that my now ex-partner and I talked years ago about was having a farm close enough to Tulsa and Oklahoma City that people could drive to quite easily. I wanted to create that same vibrant experience that I had at the restaurant on Wednesdays and bring that incredible flavor explosion that you just could not get in a restaurant those days. I was starting to get the feeling that most people were searching for the same thing I was, a purposeful meal, a meal that meant more than taking a break from cooking or just filling the void. Now we have many names for it, ethical eating I’ve heard, locavore, and of course eating and enjoying foods fresh from the farmers market is “green,” go figure.
Living Kitchen is still a dream but now it’s a dream come true. Selling produce at the farmers market gives me so much joy, and cooking for our farm table dinners is absolutely the best. I feel as safe and comfortable as I always have in the kitchen only this time my kitchen includes 5 acres in vegetable fields, 50 laying hens, 200 chicks on the way, 12 Nubian milk goats, 30 or so sheep, 17 or so lambs, a Llama, two great Pyrenees, three lap dogs, 6 spoiled barn cats. The name couldn’t be more fitting.