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INTERVIEW: Marjory Sweet

Marjory Sweet is the author of Farm Lunch. A book that describes an overall approach to cooking and a framework of ingredients that can be adapted and combined in countless ways. We are so delighted to carry Farm Lunch at Idun and learn more about the woman behind this unique and inspiring book.

Tell us a little about yourself. (Where do you reside? What’s your background, is it specifically in farming, writing etc.?)
I grew up on the coast of Maine; a landscape that I can still feel in my bones even after 10 years in the desert. During my early 20's, I lived in New York City and worked for artists: at Rivington Arms gallery, with Maryam Nassir Zadeh in her shop & showroom, and for Tony Oursler and Jacqueline Humphries. I never wanted to become an artist or gallery person, but all of those experiences were intensely formative for me at the time and they have shaped the work I'm currently doing in unexpected ways. I moved to New Mexico in 2011 for a drastic change of scenery, pace, and purpose. I didn't plan on farming, but I knew I wanted to be outside as much as possible. A single summer on a 5-acre Organic vegetable farm turned into two summers, which turned into nearly a decade of growing food. At this point, certain aspects of that lifestyle are deeply ingrained in me. No matter what else I do in the future, farming will always be my most significant, most personal effort in this lifetime. Writing has been a thread throughout, I suppose. Right now, my work is a nice balance of farming, cooking, and writing. 

Tell us about the inspiration or intentions behind Farm Lunch
The book is based around the concept of "farm lunch", a template anyone can use to prepare a different, locally-sourced meal every day using an accessible set of ingredients. The point is not to replicate my life or my lunch exactly, but to cultivate your own routine around market shopping, cooking and eating. My hope is that the book makes people feel capable and inspired. It's intended for anyone who prepares, consumes or thinks about food. 

What recipe have you been going back to again and again these days? Would you be willing to share it with us?
Various combinations of goat's milk ricotta, greens, and eggs---the gifts of early spring. Highly recommend Pasta Grannies, or any of the 90's-era Chez Panisse cookbooks for inspiration. Also, salsa verde on everything. I think it's the best way to use up all the green bits that start to emerge from the garden and markets this time of year. Recipe in Farm Lunch!

What helps keep you stable when the chaos of life takes hold?
  1. Hiking with my pup (Finn) at sunrise in the wilderness surrounding Santa Fe. The quality of the light and the air in that first sliver of morning is unreal- profoundly still, yet ultra-charged at the same time. I love being out at that hour. It's when I do all of my deep thinking. 

  1. Watching Steph Curry play basketball-- that guy is a whole lesson in how to maintain your edge, composure, and personal style in the midst of chaos. 

  2. Talking to my older brother, Sam Sweet. He is a lighthouse for me in this world.

Current book or publication you’re reading?
I've recently had the urge to revisit all of the books I read (or was supposed to read) when I was 17, so right now I'm halfway through My Antonia. Willa Cather's writing is so lyrical and unflinching-- it's mesmerizing. I've also been exploring Jane Grigson's work, especially Good Things. Food writing from that era is notably lean and elegant; very inspiring to me. I'm particularly intrigued by her recipe for gooseberry tart and something called "4-day spinach."

Have you let anything go recently- an object, belief, goal, way of thinking or doing that has made you a better or happier person?
Oof, well. The older I get the more it becomes clear to me that life is so much about letting go: of expectations, regrets, patterns, ambitions, desires, you name it. I've been thinking a ton about this lately. Something specific I have let go of recently? Being fixated on outcomes-- it's so freeing to simply honor the process instead. On a less revelatory note, I just let go of a rug I've had for years. Turns out it's extremely refreshing to roll up an old rug, toss it out the door, and plant your feet on a freshly revealed surface.

Images by Halley Roberts Strongwater

Shop Farm Lunch HERE.

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