From an organic farm in South Dakota comes a cookbook that encourages culinary enjoyment of every season. Prairie Grown: Stories and Recipes from a South Dakota Hillside is a book that will nourish your soul and body.
It sets the table with beautiful, nutritious dishes. Taste the vibrant colors and the rich cultivation of the prairie hillside.
Advance Praise for Prairie Grown:
As the producer of a food podcast for public radio, new cookbooks and guides to eating and living cross my desk daily. Prairie Grown stands out for its originality, simplicity, and clarity.
Anne Noyes Saini, WNYC’s “The Sporkful”
Channeling Wendell Berry at his best, Heidi Barr’s personal and familial book of meditations and recipes resounds with a highly original voice of her own. Hers is an active and proactive philosophy, taking the reader through the seasons of growth and renewal tied to the land, its bounty and challenges. Highlights are photographs that draw the reader into Barr’s world, stories of and from her own extended family across the generations, and a powerful authenticity: Barr clearly practices what she preaches, an active philosophy that resonates from every page. This short, intimate book is like a gift of good food for body and soul, and like Barr’s delicious recipes, her writing will make you hungry for more.
William Huggins, Writer and contributor for Texas Review in Books
With delectable recipes, family stories, stunning photographs, and inspiring quotes, Prairie Grown is a practical and layered cookbook that journeys back to real, slow grown, sustaining food. Barr inspires readers to cook and bake through the seasons, utilizing every morsel from the quiet of winter and the abundance of harvest time. Barr’s step-by step advice on how to plant, freeze, store and can will help bring a new consciousness of food justice to your kitchen. Prairie Grown is a beautiful and accessible read, inviting you to connect to the earth and calendar.
Ellie Roscher, author of How Coffee Saved My Life
Enticing recipes, stunning photos, beautiful words…Heidi Barr has woven them all together with warmth and passion. This lovely book about the joy of homegrown bounty from the garden–whether it’s from your own backyard or the nearest farmer’s market–is sure to inspire anyone who desires to eat more mindfully and live more fully.
Donna Tabbert Long, author of Tastes of Minnesota and Iowa’s Hometown Flavors
Like a lovingly prepared meal, Prairie Grown delights the senses on several levels. Barr’s calm and serene prose invites the reader to slow down and savor a progression through one year, beginning in January, when a garden is asleep under a snowy blanket. The recipes interspersing this progression reinforce an awareness of the here and how: the snow, the buds, the fruit, the harvest. The illustrations at the same time please the eye and emphasize the profound beauty that lies all around in a simple garden year.
Sue Leaf, finalist for the Minnesota Book Awards & author of The Bullhead Queen: A Year on Pioneer Lake and Portage: A Family, A Canoe and the Search for the Good Life.
Heidi Barr’s Prairie Grown is a feast for the senses. This beautiful book offers us a bounty of flavorful recipes as well as some of the flavor of life on a South Dakota farm. The beautiful photographs which accompany the recipes guide us on a stroll through the seasons. Anyone who loves gardening or local, seasonal cooking is sure to enjoy this book.”
Gregory Ripley, author of Tao Of Sustainability: Cultivate Yourself to Heal the Earth.
Lovely, delicious, nourishing — Heidi Barr’s Prairie Grown is a delightful collection of seasonal recipes and so much more. The book will certainly be my companion month by month, year after year. I not only look forward to making Grandma K’s Zucchini Bread (July) and Winter Squash Soup (February) — and so many other recipes throughout the yummy pages — but I also look forward to reading Barr’s thoughtful, inspiring reflections on the land, the garden, the wild around us, and our place in it all.
Kris Woll, writer, editor and contributor to Edible Twin Cities and Minnesota magazine
A pure literary and artistic delight, Prairie Grown tugs readers’ heart strings gently, inviting them into the landscape of the Midwest, into a story that quickly feels like home. Inspired by the author’s connection to her family’s land and a deep-felt sense of stewardship, it inspires a deepening of relationship to food, to nature and its cycles, and the sense of well-being that arises from nurturing these connections. So much more than a compilation of recipes, this book offers readers moments of self-reflection, a re-birth of creativity in the garden and home, and an abundance of practical tips and inspirations to bridge these.
Lindsey Ruder, Organic Farmer, Herbalist and Yoga Instructor
From the preface
As a new calendar year looms, while the ground it still covered in snow, I start thinking about seeds. In December and into January, the seed catalogues start to arrive, which leads to thinking about soil, planting the seeds, tending the plants, and the resulting harvest. Most large grocery stores in northern climates have fresh produce stocked all the time – even in the depths of winter. But that produce comes from Mexico and California and New Zealand and isn’t so “fresh” by the time it arrives at Cub Foods or Target, and it takes a whole lot of energy for those strawberries or bananas to be transported to their final destination. So despite the convenience of being able to walk into a store and get whatever I want, whenever I want it, I choose to embrace the benefits of sourcing fruits, vegetables and other food items from places closer to home. Or at home, in some cases. I try to do the bulk of my shopping at farmer’s markets and a small locally owned grocery to supplement what my family and I harvest from the garden. If I didn’t have the space or time or desire to tend a garden, I would probably be a member of one of the many CSAs (community supported agriculture) that serve my community.
There’s nothing like going out to your yard or patio (or even windowsill!) to pluck a juicy red tomato from a vine or pick some lettuce for a salad. Anyone can do it-you don’t need a green thumb, years of experience or a 30 acre farm. All you need are some basic tools, a pot or spot in the yard with good soil, some seeds or seedlings, light, water and patience.
For help in getting started with your own growing season, head to your library to borrow a book on gardening. Get to know that neighbor who is always out in the garden when you drive by on the way the work. Stop in at the local greenhouse. Many community education programs offer gardening classes, as do local extension services, through the master gardener program. But your best bet? Plant something and see what happens. Some things won’t grow. Last year none of my hot pepper plants came up. And some things will grow and then wilt before ripening, or get eaten by bugs. Or deer. But some things will grow and thrive, and it will be amazing. Trust me.
Need some seeds? Seed Savers Exchange, located in Decorah, Iowa, is a non-profit dedicated to saving and sharing (non-GMO) heirloom and open-pollinated seeds. I get most of my seeds from them, in addition to the seeds that we swap with neighbors and those that are gifted by my organic veggie farming family, who you will learn more about later in this book.
Gardening not a good fit? Most communities have some kind of farmer’s market where fresh vegetables, eggs, honey, meats and all sorts of other local products can be found.
And better yet, consider becoming a part of a CSA – you’ll get to purchase a share of the season’s harvest (typically a weekly box, picked up at the farm, or at a drop location in town) and you will directly support a farm or garden in their mission to provide healthy food to the community.
To learn about your CSA options, farmer’s markets and other sustainably produced food in your area, visit www.localharvest.com.
There is such abundance to be found right where we are. Down the road at the market. In the neighbor’s chicken coop. Or in perhaps even in the front yard.
This book is one part story and two parts recipes. It’s based on how life moves through the calendar year on the Midwestern homestead where I grew up, where my parents still live and grow vegetables to share with the community. It is my hope that the simple descriptions of how life on one farm unfolds month by month and the seasonal recipes included inspire you to embrace fully your own story and to spend part of it cooking and eating locally sourced food.
About the Author
Heidi Barr lives near the St. Croix River Valley in Minnesota with her husband and daughter where they tend a large organic vegetable garden, explore nature and do their best to live simply. Daughter of Steve and Mary Kay Helling, she grew up at the Hillside Prairie Gardens homestead and is committed to supporting ways of being on the earth that are life-giving and sustainable for people, communities and the planet. She writes and edits for We Are Wildness and works as a wellness coach: visit her at www.embodyabundance.com