This week's Featured Friday blogger has a special place in our Gooseberry Patch family. She lives right here in Ohio (Go Bucks!) and has not just one but TWO recipes in our new book, Slow Cookers, Casseroles & Skillets!
We're pleased to introduce Renae Scheiderer
(and family!) of the blog, Down on the Farm!
The blog started out as a way to stay in touch with farmers' market customers looking for information on the artisan cheese her family makes. With Renae's touch, it's turned into a great way to capture family stories, photos and recipes...we know you're going to enjoy it as much as we do!
Tell us a little about yourself, your family and your home.
I married a dairy farmer, just about 10 years ago. We met through an ad in a dairy magazine. I used to glance at those, just for fun. I sent an email to him, we met at the end of May, and married by October 1 of the same year. I lived 2 hours away from his farm, so we only saw each other on weekends.
We have since purchased the farm from his parents and taken over the cheese business that they started as well. We milk 50-60 registered Jersey cows, along with the babies and heifers.
Our daughter Emily and I go to several farmer's markets to sell our cheese. We are considered farmstead-artisan cheese-makers, because we make our own cheese on our own farm using only our own cows' milk. We do not pasteurize, so our cheeses are called "raw milk" cheese. We only make one batch of cheese a week, which is close to 150 lbs. of cheese each batch. The rest of our milk goes to United Dairy.
We are very excited to be able to do what we do. I enjoy doing the farm markets and events educating others about where food comes from and how it is prepared.
When we're not working, which is rare moments, we enjoy taking walks on our farm. Even when we are working, we try to make time for fun. Emily and I like to pack food and a blanket, walk to our hayfield during the summer when my husband is making hay. He enjoys the few minutes rest and lunch.
Emily and I also take time to cook together. She loves to look through the Kids in the Kitchen books by Gooseberry Patch. I let her pick out one recipe each week, we make a grocery list, she helps me find the ingredients at the store, and we come home and make the recipe she chose.
We try to combine fun with our work. We have a saying in the family..."As long as you wake up with a smile." That is when you know you are doing what you love.
Who or what originally inspired you to start blogging? How do you stay inspired?
I had several friends who were blogging, and I would visit theirs often. And after having customers ask if we had considered doing a blog to update them on what we were doing on our farm, we thought it may be something to do to inform others of our day to day chores and a way to share my love of cooking too, by sharing recipes occasionally. I stay inspired when I have people stop by my table at the farm markets and tell me how much they enjoy reading about us and what we are doing.
With a busy life taking care of your family, running the farm and making cheese, how do you find time to write & create on your blog?
No matter how busy our work keeps us, I make time each day to do something that is a little slower paced and creative. Blogging for me is a perfect way to unwind after a busy day, or week. Our daily life changes often, our chores that we have to do, or fun stuff that goes on in our small community. That gives me ideas for my blog and keeps me encouraged to keep writing or sharing pictures.
Since you have two recipes featured in our upcoming book, Slow-Cookers, Casseroles & Skillets, we know you're a whiz in the kitchen...how did you get your start cooking?
My Grandma always made the best food and, for most of what she made, she never used an actual written recipe and rarely measured the ingredients. My first attempt at baking was when I found an old cookbook that belonged to her. I found a recipe for peanut butter cookies and made them to surprise my grandma. They turned out pretty good, but I did learn not to add too much salt!
Speaking of your fantastic recipes...do you have a favorite you'd like to share?
This is a favorite recipe that I like to make often, and I get a lot of compliments whenever I serve it to guests. It was one of the first recipes I tried when we were first married, and it's been a keeper ever since! It's also one of the ones chosen for the upcoming Gooseberry Patch cookbook, Slow Cookers, Casseroles & Skillets.
Yummy Pork Chops
4 pork loin chops
3 T. soy sauce
3 T. ketchup
2 t. honey
Place pork chops in an ungreased 8" x 8" baking dish. Mix remaining ingredients together; pour over pork. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until pork is slightly pink in the center. Uncover and bake 5 minutes longer. Serves 4.
Aside from your family, friends and animals, what are 5 things that you just can't do without?
2. My computer, it keeps me in touch with our customers, family and friends.
3. My camera is important to me also. I love taking pictures, and have found that taking pictures of our cheese and the process is something I enjoy, and it helps to display pictures at the farm markets and events that I attend.
4. I collect mixing bowls and kitchen gadgets, I don't think I could do without those. I love to have nice bowls at our table, even for everyday use, since I figure anytime I serve my family is special time.
5. My aprons. I collect aprons, and have a couple that belonged to my grandma. I have some that was given to me from my friend who is a neighboring vendor at the farm market. I even made my first apron this past winter when we were snowed in.
Tell us something that no one would guess about you.
Talking with people and being outgoing with our business has been the biggest challenge for me. I have always been quiet and thought I would rather do things "behind the scenes".
Since taking over the cheese business almost 3 years ago, I've found that part of promoting is getting out there and talking and sharing our lives with others.
I've since become involved with 2 farm markets, several events and having articles done on our business and family. I've found that I enjoy getting to know others and being involved, which is something I would have never thought I would be doing before!
Thanks for taking time out to share a little background with us, Renae...we love reading your stories and, whether your photos are of the beautiful Ohio farmland, your sweet Emily or happy cows, we'll keep coming back to see more.
Take a trip Down on the Farm today...we know you'll enjoy your stay!