not all who wander are lost.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Kurtwood Farms

WOW. I had the most amazing day today. Each day, better than the day before. Here's a bit of a foundation, that will help you better understand the story I'm about to tell:

Kurt Timmermeister was born in 1962 in the heart of Seattle, no where near farm country. Anticipating working in foreign service, he graduated from the American College in Paris with a degree in International Affairs. While in Paris he realized his love of food and restaurants far surpassed his affinity for government work and he returned to Seattle to begin a career in food service.

A series of restaurant jobs both in the kitchen and dining room gave him the early hubris to open his own café at the age of twenty four. For eighteen years he ran a series of ever larger Café Septiemes while at the same time beginning his education in small scale farming.

In 1991 he moved to Vashon Island, buying land that was to eventually become Kurtwood Farms. The farm began as four acres of overgrown blackberry brambles with rusted out cars and cast off junk hidden beneath the canopy of weeds. Little by little the four acres was cleaned out and planted with fruit and nut trees, vegetables and herbs. Once more land was acquired, pastures were created and fenced and sheep, pigs and cows arrived. By 2003 with the restaurants behind him, Kurtwood Farms had become his full time job.

Soon a professional kitchen was built to begin processing the food grown on the farm and to create a space for friends to gather for dinners of ever greater quality and scope. Progress on the enterprise continued with a Grade ‘A’ dairy licensed in the newly built dairy buildings and a cow barn raised to house the bovine producers of that milk. A underground cheese cave, dug deep under the cow pasture rounds out the facilities on the farm to produce the finest farmstead cheeses.

Kurtwood Farms is now home to a small herd of Jersey cows, a motley crew of sheep, happy free rooting pigs, an ever changing flock of chickens, geese and ducks, a guest room and sofa often filled with Seattle’s best cooks and Kurt and his two dogs Byron and Daisy.


Today we were lucky enough to be invited out to Kurtwood Farms! After running into Joel the night before, he said that she should swing on by for lunch - he'd be there all day, and planned on butchering a hog. Gordon, a great chef who has a sweet spot in his heart for pigs, was super stoked - and Julia and I were on the same page too! Jules and I woke up at the crack o'dawn today and headed to an early AM yoga class @ Yo Be. We were the only two at this pre-sunrise practice, and it was great. SO lovely to have a beautiful, deep practice alongside someone I love so much. We got home, had coffee, breakfast burritos and were out the door and headed to the farm. We got the 10:20am ferry to VASHAN Island, which is only bout 20minutes away by boat. It was rainy and cold, but we were all excited to be visiting such a special and unique place. When we arrived Joel was just getting ready to kill the pig. For all of you vegetarians and vegans out there - I do apologize for this posting...perhaps you shouldn't read on. And for all of you meat eaters and bacon lovers out there who are offended by this - well, shame on you. The hog was about 300 pounds, and it has lived a great life. As my Dad would say "the pig has had a great life, except for it's last moment", which truly is only but a moment. Kurt shot the pig, Joel cut it's throat, and then the process began. Hot water, de-fuzzing, hanging, and then the break down. It was pretty fascinating to watch. There is so much LOVE, DEDICATION and PRIDE put into this farm...into all of the animals on it, the vegetable patches, even the soil - tender love and care. The only thing on this farm that isnt FROM the farm is, drum roll please....salt and sugar. Christ. The butter, the cream, the cheese, the vegetables, the protein - all from the farm. Pretty fascinating shit. You can tell how excited and proud Joel is to be a part of Kurts creation. Hell, we were all excited to get such an intimate glimpse into his world. Several hours had passed - Joel sat aside his butcher knife and traded it in for a clean one - and began making us lunch. Steak, vegetables and rice. Such a simple dish, DONE SO VERY RIGHT. We had several glasses of wine, of course, and enjoyed another day - another meal - another great group of people.

We are home now, unwinding. Gordon is making us dinner - homemade cavatelli!!!! Jules and I are packing our bags, because after our 6am power yoga class we are hoping in the car and we're off to the mountains!! Just over 2 hours away, we will be spending the weekend with 7 other fabulous foodie females in a GORGEOUS cabin in the woods. Food, more food, wine, cocktails, hot tub, yoga, snow shoeing...just complete mayhem. For the whole weekend. Let's do this!

map on the ferry floor.
the unit
joel and gordon. this is where all the cheese is made!!!
this cow is joe. we love joe.
miles of abandoned greenhouses. kinda creepy.
the entrance to the kitchen. me and gordon.

mama and her babies

just some of the lil barns at the farm

gordon, admiring the hog.

joel making us coffee, gordon checking on the fresh churning butter.

jules <3
probably my favorite picture ever. jules and me in kurtwoods kitchen.

jules, me and Byron.

joel and jorge hanging the hog.

...and now joel is making us lunch

g-breezy and me
my always beautiful julia.

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