In this episode, we talk with Lady Farmer and chef Michelle Aronson, creator of Farmbelly, an educational platform dedicated to sharing the love of growing, cooking, and eating wonderful food. Although Michelle wasn't particularly interested in cooking while growing up in the suburbs of the Midwest, once she moved to the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia for college, she I discovered her love for food and farming. After several summers apprenticing on different small-scale farms, and after managing an educational farm in Charlottesville, complete with laying hens, bee hives, and lots of eager student volunteers, she recognized that she needed to level up her cooking skills in order to enjoy the hard-earned fruits and veggies she was learning to grow.
In the spring of 2013 Michelle attended culinary training at the Ballymaloe Cooking School, located on a 100-acre organic farm on the coast of Ireland, where almost all of the dairy, meat, vegetables, and herbs come straight from the fields into the teaching kitchens. Inspired by the incredible teachers, fresh ingredients, and straightforward culinary ethos at Ballymaloe, Michelle returned home to work in many sectors of the food/farming world, and ultimately to where she now lives on a beautiful 10-acre farm near Saxapahaw, North Carolina, cultivating a diverse market garden + farmstand, and teaching gardening + cooking classes. Michelle shares about her journey and her mission to make farm-fresh food accessible and less intimidating for folks...and to help everyone get a “farm belly." What's that? Listen in to find out!
Timestamps, Links & Resources
6:36: Introducing Michelle
8:35: Michelle describes her journey
10:27: Ballymaloe Culinary School in Ireland
11:28: Starting Farmbelly
12:33: A day in the life at Ballymaloe Culinary School
16:17: What is a "farm belly" ?
18:45: Food culture now
20:00 The value of sitting down together for a meal
22:22 Focus on the farm
24:00 The farmstand, how it works
27:00 Cooking with the produce
31:30: Planting season
33:00 Lady Farmers
34:00. Michelle's Inspiration
38:30 Sustainability and good dirt
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