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It all came about rather serendipitously (I love that word!) when I attended Holly Decker’s makeup workshop for women over 40.  Yes, I am well over 40 now — and I need all the help I can get to “accentuate the positive”! If I’m confessing here, the class was my 49th “Happy Birthday to Me!” present — I’m making the most of my last year of my 40’s!

By the end of the evening, I had a fresh face, new friends, and Holly asked me to speak at one of her Girl Talk YXE events. Girl Talk YXE is all about sharing women’s stories, uplifting, inspiring each other and collaborating together — all things I can really get behind!

She asked me to talk about our farm and what inspires us. My talk went kind of like this . . .

How did Pine View Farms start?

First of all, let’s be clear. I said I’d never marry a farmer. It’s strange what happens when a city girl meets a handsome, tall, blonde dairy farmer in Levi’s with a half-ton truck and crushed velvet seats! I believe that sometimes we find love where we least expect it.

Our unexpected journey together led us to Pine View Farms. Neither of us had been chicken farmers and certainly not butchers, “But hey, how hard can this be?”, said two young naïve entrepreneurs — that was literally our business plan. Crazy huh?

I am truly the accidental farming entrepreneur, but now I can’t imagine myself anywhere else. We are 4th generation of Boldt family farmers on this land, growing food for our family and our community with love.

What’s Our Why?

Over the years, the school of hard knocks (excessive droughts, floods, rock bottom commodity prices, soaring debt) has taught us what we were really made of — when determination and commitment were the only things we had.

We developed our three Sustainability Pillars — economic, environmental and social sustainable — against which we measure all our business and family decisions.

Sustainability drives us to follow our All Natural Protocol and how we raise our animals, power our farm with solar energy, plant a woodlot to create a carbon sink, pay our Partner Producers a fair price for their animals so they can make a living, and provide meaningful work to 25 people in our local community – all on our little farm.

We believe in the power of local supporting local. The profits from our farm stay in our community in the form of taxes and reinvestment in infrastructure and equipment as we grow, our staff spend their wages at other local businesses — local loves local and it all works together!

We serve people by connecting them with their food. You can talk straight to the farmer and butcher who grew and made your meat. We are authentic and transparent about our food, so you can feel confident in your food choices.

We believe food is more than just fuel to get us to the next event. Food creates connection, culture and belonging. The family dinner table teaches children social norms, how to converse, listen, share and be supported.

Hospitality, or just plain old having people over, is a dying art. We don’t have each other over anymore or stop in at the neighbours for coffee. Heck, we don’t even call people without texting first to see if it’s OK to call!

A few weeks ago, I hosted my female entrepreneurial group on a snowy, early October evening for dinner and a meeting. Some commented that they don’t get invited over for dinner much anymore. It felt intimate and luxurious.

The menu was unfussy food and unfussy vibes — homemade roasted tomato soup and cheese toast, followed by fresh Concord grapes, dark chocolate and tea for dessert. I used my mom’s soup tureen to make it “fancy” and Kevin built a roaring fire in the fireplace. We were cozy and warm, inside and out, and it felt like our friendships and conversation moved to a new level — partly because we broke bread together.

On Feeding Men & Boys

  1. Train your partner & kids– Kevin has had nearly 28 years of my kitchen mentorship and we make a pretty good team. He’s my sous chef. But seriously, persist in asking for help from the others in your household, especially the begrudging kids. Connection while chopping veggies is priceless AND meal prep doesn’t have to be all up to you! It took me a while to learn that lesson.
  2. Rely on the Well Stocked Pantry – having staple items on hand means that as a last minute cook, I can usually whip up a meal from what’s in the cupboard and fridge.
  3. Embrace leftovers – plan to cook extra and transform them a day or two later. For example, a slow cooker roast beef becomes quesadillas or roast beef sandwiches.
  4. One chicken = Three meals  – in a similar way, I usually roast a chicken for Sunday dinner on the weekend, throw the bones in my Instant Pot for broth and use the leftover chicken for salads, wraps and quick suppers during the week. It’s a time and money saver!
  5. The Top 20 List – this is my go-to list of 20 family meal favourites that anyone can make AND the ingredients can be found in my well-stocked pantry. Meals like tacos, sloppy joes, General Tso’s chicken, fettuccine, and meatball noodle soup fit the bill.
  6. Start with quality ingredients – really good ingredients don’t need extra sauce, marinades or sizzle to make them delicious. You can cook simply and let the ingredients stand for themselves. It saves time and work!
  7. Indulge in an Instant Pot – I’m not a fan of every gadget, but this one has a home in my kitchen. It’s a time saver for soups, stews, rice, risotto, yogurt and more.
  8. Practice – cook, taste and repeat. Like anything in life, we only get good at something when we do it, over and over.

Who knew that the hardest part of adulting would be figuring out what to make for supper, every day, for the rest of my life? This takes a lot of mental work — like what needs to be used up in the fridge, what do we need to buy, who is home for supper, who likes what — and did I just make this last week? Or am I losing my mind? All the questions.

That’s why we introduced our meat subscriptions with meat and recipes delivered to your door to help Chief Cooks and last minute people like me survive arsenic hour — you know, that time when you just walk in the door from work and the kids yell “What’s for supper?”.

Our meat subscriptions come in two sizes and provide a foundation of 10-12 meals for the month. We’ll inspire your recipe box and make sure you’ve got meat on hand for everyday meals. It’s one way to make life just a little easier, tastier and all round better!

Cooking is my act of love for the people around me. And love should be about joy, not producing anxiety! So, keep it simple.

For me, cooking calms the chaos of this fragmented world. The repetitive motions of chopping, stirring and smelling the simmering aromas are my meditation. Pausing to eat simple, good food anchors and connects me to my family.

I know that cooking is not everyone’s cup of tea and even for those of us who do, it can be a chore. But, if you want to cook more and enjoy it, I want you to know that you can do this! We’re here to help.

What are your everyday meal strategies that get food on the table AND save your sanity? We’d love to hear from you.

Photo: courtesy of @thewellcollaborative

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