Years ago, our contributor Elizabeth Crane wrote an article for Edutopia about Pie Ranch, a farm which hosts young people from regional high schools to learn about farming and food production. Through the farm and its associated cafe, Mission Pie, the folks at Pie Ranch work hard to, in their own words, “create a model center of sustainable farming and food system education.”
Liz connected us with Jered Lawson, the director of Pie Ranch, who gave Cassoulet a wonderful blurb and invited us to the farm for one of their monthly community dinners. I’d been wanting to take the kids down to the ranch for years, so was happy to make a day of it: Liz taught a baking class to 15 students while my kids wandered the farm, met the baby goats, and played catch.
Lisa brought her daughter and her daughter’s friend, who, being the free range girls that they are, wandered from the Lower Slice of land to the Upper Slice, where they found the pigs, the mama goats (about to give birth to more babies), cows, a new crop of wheat, bee hives, lots more crops, and Jered’s kids, who gave them a tour while he sort of stalked the local quails with his bow and arrow (just for the record, he’s never caught one). Pie Ranch has 27 acres. It’s a pretty magical place, and the barn dance is not to be missed. If you can get down for the next work day and Barn Dance, just go. If you can’t make the work day, just go to the barn dance. Couples, college students (lots of college students), families, groups of friends, little kids, not-so-little-kids–they’re all there. Lisa had to drag her girls away from it.
Lisa and I read in the interval between the potluck and the square dance and Jered — who was celebrating his wedding anniversary (his wife plays fiddle in the band) — gave the book a great plug. You’ll be able to buy the book at the Pie Ranch farm stand. Which is just cool.
I’ll let the pictures tell the rest of the story.
apricot, pluot, kumquat and strawberry jams for the tarts
Liz and her students gather for the baking class
While the tarts bake, Liz reads her essay, “It Takes A Market”
The welcome Pie sign
A barn full of square dancers