A Hearty Welcome to VALERIE COMER

A hearty Wildflower howdy to Valerie Comer! Don’t forget to leave a comment…Valerie is giving away an e-copy of her book!MARCH 20 Headshot

Gather around, friends, and let’s talk about food in the olden days. You know about the olden days, right? I see a lot of talk about history in this here neighborhood, and I expect you know that folks back then liked their dinner as much as we do today. But maybe they didn’t have the same variety we do.

Who thinks the gold miners consumed pineapple and bananas? Who thinks Montana ranchers ate caviar? Who thinks the stagecoach stop served Indian curry one night and sushi the next?

Our ancestors here in the West believed that wealth came from a milk cow and a few chickens. Okay, maybe not wealth, exactly, because chickens don’t lay gold nuggets. But then again, you can’t eat gold nuggets, and I’m guessing after a while hard tack and jerky didn’t seem all that appetizing.

Fact is, our ancestors ate the same diet week in and week out. They ate what they could grow and preserve. They ate what kept well and they could import cheaply, like dry beans, flour, sugar, and the like.

So all the choices we have today—that’s good, right? Well, yes, to a degree. But there is a growing number of people concerned about food security. About the dangers of depending on an international supply system, to say nothing of the loss in flavor and nutrition caused by shipping food across the continent and around the world.

MARCH 20 Food

Some people want to take back their food. Want to know where it comes from. Want to grow their own or buy it from their neighbors like our ancestors did. But maybe with a bit more variety.

And… some of these people are fictional. My contemporary Farm Fresh Romance series follows the adventures, romantic and otherwise, of a group of young women who band together to buy a farm where they plan to grow their own food and live as sustainably as possible.

I know a bit about this as a gardener, farmer, and beekeeper. I’ve spent a lifetime growing vegetables and preserving them for long Canadian winters. We have three deep freezes… for two people. I’ve served my community’s food security association as a board member, blogger, and webmaster. My daughter-in-law is the manager of our local farmers’ market. My family is immersed in local food.

Green Acres (you’ve got the theme song from the old TV show running through your head now, haven’t you?) is a fictional farm set in northern Idaho, not far from the valley in British Columbia where I live. I needed to know the climate and growing season intimately for books that revolve around growing food, so my own backyard was perfect.

Dandelions for Dinner, the fourth book in the projected six-book-series, released March 3. It’s fun (for me, anyway) to see Green Acres Farm develop over the series into the kind of cooperative farm the girls had envisioned when they bought the rundown place. Through the books they’ve moved out of the mouse-infested ancient mobile home on the property and into a spacious straw-bale house. They’ve catered weddings and other events to keep the financial wheels turning. They’ve added beekeeping and backcountry tours to the mix, and now, in the fourth book, they’re finally building the farm school they’ve been talking about for years.

Through it all, I’ve had fun exploring themes of environmental consciousness, sustainability, and local food from a Christian worldview. Why don’t you join the thousands of visitors who’ve enjoyed a visit to Green Acres?

For an appetizer, the first book, Raspberries and Vinegar, is free on all e-book platforms. It’s also available in paperback and audio. I’d love to give a digital copy of Dandelions for Dinner to one commenter today, or—if the winner prefers—an earlier Farm Fresh Romance title.

 

Dandelions for Dinner

About Dandelions for Dinner:

 She hates him. He loves her not.

Men are weeds. Allison Hart doesn’t need them in her carefully tended life, though her friends at Green Acres seem happy with their guys. Why can’t Allison open her heart to anyone but her young nephew? Then again, he’ll be a man one day, too. If only the irritating contractor in charge of building her home and farm school wasn’t the boy’s favorite person.

Fireworks with Brent Callahan’s newest client shift from antagonism to the rocky possibility of a relationship. When he comes face to face with a history he’d much rather forget, he realizes hiding his failures isn’t the best option for finding forgiveness, let alone love.

Can a little boy help weed out the past before it chokes their future together? 

For buy/ download links for any Farm Fresh Romance books, click here: http://valeriecomer.com/series/farm-fresh-romance/

Photographer: Hanna Sandvig. Used with permission

Guest Blogger
Updated: March 18, 2015 — 12:24 pm

18 Comments

  1. I always say I will starting rowing veggies in my yard. But I never get around to doing it. I don’t like being outside that much when it warms up because of the mosquitoes and other bugs and critters in my area. But I really do love nothing more then good fresh veggies. Your book sounds really good too. I have put it on my must read list.

    1. I hear you, Janine. My garden doesn’t get really good care, either. It is often too hot, too cold, too wet, too many bugs… but even in neglect, there seems to be a lot of veggies growing!

      1. My biggest fear is a snake will make it’s way up in there. We have a creek behind our house and get snakes in the summer. if I see one, I don’t think I will be back there for a while.

  2. I love the idea of good Stewardship of our natural resources and want to teach my young son about it. Unfortunately, I seem to have, well, not a black thumb… but close to it. I cannot seem to grow anything well. *sigh* I got a hankering for growing more fresh stuff from before I was married and my roommate had a small garden going to feed her gourmet cooking hobby. Nothing like fresh salsa made from that-day harvested veggies and herbs. YUM!!

    This series sounds like a really cool read. Thanks for providing an appetizer for visitors. I’m going to go straight from here to go “harvest” it and probably consume it once I get home to my Kindle. (yay! beginning of weekend treat).

    Thanks for sharing about the history and some of your experience that fuels your books. Very interesting!

    1. Enjoy, Deb! Fresh salsa *is* amazing.

  3. Hi Valerie…….Welcome back to P&P! We’re tickled to have you. Love your blog. As a writer of western romance I’m always challenged with the food issue. You’re definitely right about few choices. Variety was unheard of, even amongst the wealthy. It was an occasion to savor when a person saw something new on the table.

    Congratulations on the new release! Wishing you much success.

    1. Thank you, Linda! I enjoy visiting here. I do love local food, but am thankful for choices!

  4. My paternal grandmother always had a good garden and put up beans, etc. for winter. Loved seeing all those jars lined up in her pantry. Her daughter, my aunt, also had a garden but didn’t do much canning except for pickles. I would spend weekend at their homes weeding their gardens when I was a kid. We have always had a garden as we moved around the country in the Air Force. Some were part of flower beds beside the house and others were real garden plots. Now that we are retired, we have a nice big garden and are enjoying it. I can’t understand why I managed to spend more time in our gardens and canned more when our children were little than I manage now when they are grown and have their own families.

    It has been nice seeing the trend towards more home and community gardens. Even our church has set up raised beds for people to use and added a large fenced in garden for the school to use. Farmers markets are expanding and more re venders are offering organic products. Our oldest daughter doesn’t have time for her own garden (60 hour+ work weeks are too much), but she does belong to an organic cooperative and gets much of her produce from them that she can pick up at the farmers market. I avoid going with her. There are too many wonderful products available and the temptation too great. Since I only get there infrequently, it is hard to resist the baked goods. Thankfully we have freezers. There have been some commercial organic farms and farms specializing in historic varieties started in our area lately.

    One thing I have noticed has been how different vegetables taste depending on where they are grown. I know some of that has to do with the soil. I think the biggest influence is the heat and growing season. I grew up in Northeastern NY along the Canadian border. We now live in NE TN. The vegetables and fruit grow and mature so much faster down here, but don’t have the flavor those grown in the North or out in the Rockies do. I think the cooler temperatures and slower maturity give them more of an opportunity to develop the flavor. We have planted the same varieties as well as those grown around here and the result is still the same.

    I like the premise of your series. Hopefully it will inspire more people to garden.

    1. For me, I had a bigger garden when my kids were small out of necessity. We didn’t have a lot of money, and I was a stay-at-home mom, so a garden was a terrific way to make sure we got good food even on a budget.

      That’s an interesting thought about the length of the growing season affecting the flavor of the veggies. Now you’ve got my gears turning!

  5. welcome,,great post,,very interesting,,we were raised on country cooking,,dont remember eating out much at all,not like today,,i dont think there were as many cancers back then either,all this chemicals and preserviates they add cant be good for us,,thanks for the great article

    1. Thanks, Vickie. I agree that with childhood diseases growing, it’s hard not to think about what we consume as a partial cause. That and way more sitting around, mostly in front of various screens! I know as an author, I’m guilty of that one.

  6. I won’t be in and out for the next few hours as hubby and I are on our way to visit our daughter’s family for the day. She’s the gal who illustrates my book covers! I’ll check in again later, so keep chatting. 🙂

  7. Welcome to Wildflower Junction, Valerie. Hope you enjoy your weekend here. Hubs is in his second year of a small backyard garden. Oh, the tomatoes will be divine again.So good to have you here.

    1. There’s nothing like a sun-ripened garden tomato, Tanya! Thanks for the warm welcome.

  8. I have grown up gardening and having fruit trees. We also kept bees until a couple of years ago when my husbands health called a halt tp him helping with them. I too keep freezers and pantry filled from the bounty of field snd forest. Some of my fondest memories are of helping my grsndmothers put up there bounty.

    1. Sounds like I’d be right at home in your kitchen, Shirley! We ran 75 beehives for several years and cut back to 8, which my hubby and son run together. Enough honey for family and some to sell.

      1. We kept bees for more than 25 years. We worked over 200 hives. I really miss working with then. At least I can still get raw honey from my oldest son who keeps bees.

        1. Yes, I imagine we’ll keep at least a few hives for many years yet. There’s nothing like honey warm from the hive. Liquid sunshine.

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