Publisher’s Letter Fall 2021

“We have neglected the truth that a good farmer is a craftsman of the highest order, a kind of artist.” – Wendell Berry

Looking over the lively photos of past Chefs for Farmers events, I was overwhelmed by the magnitude of what Iris Midler has accomplished over the last 10 years. I attended every Chefs for Farmers Main Event, from that first long table dinner at Marie Tedei’s farm in 2010—along with 100 people in attendance—to the 2019 event at Dallas Heritage Village where there were close to 4,000. And that was just the Main Event! Many farmers connected with local chefs and continue those relationships to this day. Iris, you did good!

Cody Neathery captured the essence of that first dinner, plus the evolution and challenges of subsequent events. We tried to credit all of the talented photographers who took such great photos, but if we missed someone, please let us know. We can update our digital issue.

I love seasonal recipes, and Jennifer Dishner Taylor from Old Quail Run Farm came through in a grand fashion. Her Fresh Fall Fruit Cake (our beautiful cover image, photographed by the talented Teresa Rafidi) is one everyone needs to try. Who doesn’t like bourbon caramel sauce and mascarpone whip on a cake with seasonal ingredients like pears and pecans? I think I’m making this for Thanksgiving dinner this year.

Daniel Cunningham took his whole family to visit Antonio Ranch and brought us the heartwarming story of Anthony Vu and his multi-generational family, all involved in their shared farm and their mission of sustainability. Thanks, Teresa Rafidi, for also providing some powerful images from your trip. I think both Daniel and Teresa were amazed at what this family has achieved and left with a feeling of awe.

The 10-year plan of local homesteading family Casey Cutler and husband John Ramos was captured in inspiring words and photos by Melinda Ortley. It makes you want to go buy some land and start your own adventure! From chickens to goats to sunflower harvesting, they are doing it all.

And Toby Thomason, General Manager at Harvest Seasonal Kitchen in McKinney walks us through his home garden filled with native edible herbs, including traditional herbs to make your own bitters. The seasonal cocktail feature he provided brings these mysterious ingredients into libations for all to enjoy. The photography of Christie Connell only makes us want more. I think the 70 Degree Flannel will be a perfect drink when the temperature drops.

There continue to be plenty of highs and lows in North Texas, but I know as a community we’ll keep supporting one another to make it through. Cheers to our fall season!

Nanci Taylor, Publisher

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NANCI TAYLOR is a third generation Texan whose family came to the state in the 1800’s to pursue cattle ranching and Texas has remained her home. She was born in San Antonio, but ended up in North Texas where she nurtured her Texas roots while attending college and raising two sons in Dallas. Proudly following in her parent's footsteps, Nanci plants and harvests the bounty of her own backyard garden in Old East Dallas. She keeps a busy calendar attending local food and ecology events, and on weekends she spends her time visiting with growers and food artisans at farms, shops and farmers markets around North Texas.