Go Local-Week 12- Holli of Feeding the Big Guy visits

Holli of Feeding the Big Guy will conclude our Go Local 2009 guest posting series. I'm a very loyal reader of Feeding the Big Guy, and not just because I love Holli, though I do love her with all of my heart. I read her blog because it is beautifully written, thoughtful, challenging, and thoroughly inspiring. Many of you already know this and visit her regularly as well. A scroll through her project list in the sidebar of her blog will send you reeling with sheer admiration. If that's not enough, check out the reading lists she's compiled. You won't be disappointed by her suggestions. Then there's the recipe file. A vegetarian's delight and a sweet tooth's fantasy.

The first time I met Holli she was sporting a sassy short hair cut and ruling the roost at our local Chili's restaurant. She was the Hostess/social queen of the joint. To say hello to Holli is to invite yourself to know her. She knows no strangers and she's one of the best, most loyal friends a gal could ever wish for. Within a week of working together we were sharing our first apartment. We spent countless nights jabbering our 18 year old heads off. And she's a sleep talker, too. So sometimes just when I thought we were really getting serious I'd realize she was responding to me from a dead sleep. Let's just say there were secrets stolen. She'd tell me just about anything after 2am and not remember it the next morning. There's something about a first room mate, isn't there? I got lucky with mine. Holli turned out to be the best room mate ever and then became just like a sister to me. But that's the other thing about Holli, she makes everyone she knows feel just as loved. And we all love her with equal enthusiasm in return. Now on to Holli...

A Country Girl Returns to Her Roots

by, Holli Adams

I've been eating local my whole life.

It all started in 1974 when a longhaired, red-bearded young man waited in line to purchase his required textbooks at California State University. Restless in the excessively inert line, he randomly picked up and started thumbing through Bradford Angier’s book One Acre and Security: How to Live Off the Earth Without Ruining It. Instantly intrigued, he purchased the book, innocently putting into motion a course that would change his life forever.

Arriving home that evening, he kissed his wife, ate some dinner, and cracked the spine of his new book. Right away he was hooked - feeling like it had been written for him. Over the course of the next year he found himself re-reading it several times, taking copious notes in the margins. His wife read it too and felt equally compelled: life in the city was closing in on them and it was clear that their insatiable need for more space could not be met in Los Angeles. So in 1976, my father and mother sold their LA home, bought a small house on ten acres in southwestern Idaho, and left behind their California city life to ‘live off the land'.

Far from home, they immediately put down roots – both literally and figuratively. They became friends with farmers. They drank unpasteurized milk. They bought chickens, cows and a sheepdog. They planted their first garden.

Over time they grew in number and so did their garden. By the mid 1980s they’d produced six happy children and a very large garden so resourceful and gorgeous they could hardly believe it themselves. They were living their dream AND loving it.

As the one of their children, I grew up working. In the garden. In the kitchen. On the land.

I weeded. I hoed. I watered. I picked. I canned. I dehydrated. I preserved. It was hard work. Often hot work. And as soon as I could, I moved. To a city. Far away from the garden. Far away from that large plot of earth that needed my help to get it worked.

For years I was comfortable in a city apartment with highly processed foods. But over time, with experience, and innumerable under-ripe, over-shipped, icky pieces of produce I began to sincerely miss the look and feel of dirt under my nails. I began to miss what dirt under my fingernails meant: local homegrown food. And before I could control it, like my parents before me, I had developed an insatiable need for a garden - for space - for security.

This year, as Joe and I proudly cultivate our first garden, I feel so fortunate to be returning to my roots armed with years and years of knowledge gained from working beside the two best gardeners I know. Sharing the challenges and triumphs of this first garden with my parents has been both enjoyable and eye opening. My appreciation for their labors and their incredible bounty grows exponentially with each and every tomato, zucchini and onion I pick.

It’s been twelve years since I left Idaho, and I still don’t sound like a New Englander. People often ask me where I’m from and upon hearing that I hail from Idaho, I am often asked if I “grew up on a farm”. Chuckling to myself, my response is always the same, “No. I grew up on a garden."

Weeding SummerHarvest 2008

Thank you, Holli. Your post was beautifully written. As I read this story I couldn't help but remember the tales you used to share about growing up in the garden. I can vividly picture the containers of food you'd bring back to our apartment after each visit home. You'd be a little teary eyed each time, sharing how much you missed your family after those visits. It's clear from the picture above that you had good reason to be homesick.

Okay, Friends. This is your chance! Tell us what you've been up to. Oh! And by the way...our winner from week 10 was~~** Katie from Peas and Carrots**~~. She will be receiving a little gift in the mail from me sometime soon. If we hit 15 posts for this last week I'll select another winner! So tell your friends...we have more than enough people following this challenge to make that number. I think we can go out with a bang!

Just in case you've forgotten the rules....
1. post about something to do with local food
2. link directly to the post and not to your home page
3. link back to the Go Local challenge within your post or mention the badge in your sidebar within your post.
You have until next Sunday at midnight to enter your posts.


  1. Absolutely lovely--how fun you two were roommates!

  2. I loved Heather's description of Holli as much as I loved Holli's post. Our family has always enjoyed hearing Holli's stories from home and it was fun to read the description of how she learned from her parents how to be so self-sufficient. What an interesting journey her life has been so far!
    Love Laura B.

  3. What a lovely post! I enjoyed reading about live on the garden and how you two met! And all that beautiful bounty from your parents gardent! How great!

  4. Heather, thank you so, SO much for "intruding" me to Holli! I got all weepy at the end of that post. So often I find myself starting a sentence with "in my dad's garden...". We moved to Florida in 1993 and it seems that the garden was the only thing we couldn't bring with us. Over the past 2-3 years I have really, REALLY missed it. We have a small garden but the growing seasons are so different... I do love our garden here, it is just different. We are planning to sell our properties here and move to more acreage so we can have a big garden and goats and cows and chickens and, well just and.

    OK, that's more than long enough. I plan to post about the score from a flea market stop. Good stuff! =]

  5. umm...not "indruding" but "introducing"...love that spell check. =]

  6. Wonderful post! I want to find a little patch of dirt in my urban jungle to grow a little something. -S

    PS-Someday the blog will be caught up and my local goodness will join in with Mr. Linky! -S

  7. Better late than never, right. My local post is FINALLY up! -S

  8. Hey there. Just wanted you to know what a culinary influence you (and Stacey) have been for me this summer. Although I have yet to cook and ENTIRE local meal, I try to incorporate as much "localness" into my meals as I plan them. It is soooo yummy and fun. My neighbor and I are already planning our gardens for next summer, so we can co-op and double our harvest. Thanks for all the inspiration. You rock.

    Hope to see you at Oktoberfest!


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