fresh start

How many times have you come home from the farmers’ market or grocery store with a fresh bundle of fragrant herbs only to watch it wilt before you’ve even had a chance to use it?

I know—me too.

Even greens grabbed from my garden will go limp if I don’t snip and season right away.

But I’ve found a little gem that may just flabbergast fresh produce fanatics from here to Farfoodle.

It’s called FreshPaper by Fenugreen.

Cute, right?

And oh so simple.

It’s just an unassuming piece of paper, not unlike a dryer sheet, that keeps fruits and veggies fresh for two to four times longer, organically.


Photo courtesy of

Continue reading

  1. Joan says:

    Sounds wonderful will give it a try. Thanks for letting the word out about it.

  2. Terry Steinmetz says:

    That sounds wonderful to me, especially since we live where winter is so-o-o long! I’m going to give this a try real soon. Thanks again for the info!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Mighty Mouse Girl

I have a huge amount of respect for a little girl who is building her own tiny house.


Nope …

tiny habitable, functional house.

Meet Sicily Kolbeck.


Photo courtesy of Sicily’s blog, La Petite Maison

At 12 years of age, Sicily is nothing short of a pint-sized … well … powerhouse. As we speak, this darling dynamo is building a 128-square-foot solar-powered mini-home.

Continue reading

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    This young girl is quite amazing and talented! Wow, she has a very bright future ahead of her with so many creative and practical skill sets at her age! I am with you, You Go Girl!!!

  2. Julie says:

    I will be following this project. It looks so interesting and in the back of my mind thinking it would make a good little lake retreat.

    Awesome job to the parents too. Meaningful project choices are so much more sensible than many of the ones my children were assigned

  3. Terry Steinmetz says:

    That is awesome! Great for young girls to keep building!

  4. amin says:

    Hello dear friend, I wanted to ask you for help in making a trailer insole.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Cows to the Rescue

I always knew my bovine team of Jerseys was destined for greatness. But I didn’t know they’d be the solution to Planet Earth’s demise. (I see a blockbuster movie in the making—Planet of the Cows.)

How many essays have I written where I’ve made my case for the use of protein harvested from local deer, elk, and moose rather than soybean and oats grown in the midwest where the land was tilled, sprayed, and eroded in order for a trucker to deliver granola and soymilk to our doorsteps? I’ve reasoned further, Aren’t bucolic, perennial pastures growing high-end protein better than the constant turning of soil?

cows_MG_1430But first a little background. For the most part, I’ve grown up following Allan Savory—he was a hero of mine when I was a young environmentalist. However, now that I’m an older, “well-seasoned” environmentalist with things like a dairy to manage, I haven’t caught even a glimpse of him in the last 10 years.

Now I know why.

He’s been busy figuring out a way to reverse climate change.

Continue reading

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    This research is quite amazing. I have been one of those who thought it was the over grazing of lands that was the problem. But it all does make sense when you look at history and the eons of balance between large herds and adequate grasslands. I for one want to hear more of what Allan Savory has said.Thanks for sharing!

  2. Julie Kram says:

    I’ve lived in Bay City, Michigan all my life. In recent years I’ve watched as more and more local “big” farmers eradicate fence lines and small woods blocks time and time again. As I drive down the road now, I see their precious topsoil laying on top of the snow in the ditches. All in the name of almighty profit. They just don’t listen. Keep up the good work where you are; I’ll keep yelling in my neck of the woods.

  3. Karlyne says:

    Well, another MaryJane article to raise my level of intelligence! Thanks! And now, I’m off to find a Jersey for my back yard. Or maybe a Brown Swiss…

  4. GrassFood says:

    I love Allen Savory and have only recently been introduced to his Holistic Management practices. I also just found your site and love it as well. 🙂

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Only 2 Days Left!!!!

“It has been a bit since I’ve posted in the MaryJanesFarm chatroom, but I knew that this was the place to come for some farmgirl support!” writes Ann of Forrester Farm in Belmont, Michigan.

Yesterday morning, Ann shared her recent mission:

She has been busy searching for a farm addition—a location that would allow her to expand her fabulous floral business and host dreamy rural weddings.


Photo courtesy of A Sprig of Lavender.

“We now have an opportunity to grow into an additional farm location that will support a you-cut flower garden, bridal and community floral classes, and small events like farm-to-table dinners by local chefs.”

Continue reading

  1. Judy Nance says:

    Done. Good luck. Sounds like a great opportunity.

  2. Helen L Olson says:

    I’d like a heads up on voting for things if you have to be on facebook. Going thru all the loading this page loading that page, then finding out I need to be on facebook and signed in.

  3. Ann says:


    I am humbled beyond words for your support on your blog. Thank you so much! I just saw the blog today, and was truly touched… ok, to the point of tears… happy ones!

    The voting ended today at noon. Two other ideas won the support this week – Congratulations to them. We can submit our idea 2 more times. I’ll keep you posted when we do. Thank you for all of the support in this round of voting!

    What a blessing the farmgirl connection is!

  4. Ann says:

    Just a little update… My husband and I feel that making this leap is… a leap, but a leap worth taking. We are in agreement and want to make it happen, but just need a little extra boost (push?) – SO, We are running a second time with Start Garden – for investment “seed money”. The Start Garden rules are that you can endorse 1 idea 1 time per week via facebook only. Please check out the ideas for the week and hit “endorse” if you like what you see for Forrester Farm. Here’s the link:

  5. Ann says:

    continued…. I’m sure that all of the farmgirls who love glamping would love another friend’s business that was recently funded – Retro Rentals, a vintage camper rental company.

    If the picture in my mind matches what I hope will happen with our expansion, I’d love to host a Farmgirl Gathering. Years ago, when Mary Jane put a request out for farms that might host a get together, I so wanted to be able to do that. This additional space would be just the place – for campers too :)!

    Thanks all for your support! Blessings,

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Food Swap

There’s a craze sweeping the countryside that combines two of the things we love most:

food and friends …

and not necessarily in that order.

The brain-child of five food-lovin’ ladies, Food Swap Network is a growing work of gustatory genius.

So … what’s a food swap?

Continue reading

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    This is a great idea and it sounds like a ton of fun as well. In your experience, does it end up being fair for all participants in the end? I would hate to invite someone and then nobody wanted what she brought compared to the other participants.

  2. Carol Norwood says:

    Wow! This looks like such fun! I live on the East Coast so it may take a while for the craze to get here! I’ll keep my eyes open!

  3. Jean says:

    Love this idea!!!! How much fun would this be?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Anyone? Here’s an eco-preneur idea.

Would you rent a pair of jeans?

Bert van Son is betting that you would.

Bert van who?

He’s a Dutch fellow who owns a trendy clothing company in the Netherlands called Mud Jeans.

Since his website is written in his native tongue, I’ll do my best to translate.

(No, I don’t actually speak Dutch. Fortunately, the grapevine is an English-speaking establishment).

The Lease a Jeans program is designed to help eliminate wasteful clothing production (and wasteful spending).

The gist: instead of owning a pair of jeans indefinitely, you can just keep it for a year before you send it back and move on to something new …

or, at least, new to you.


Image by C. H. Trotter via Wikimedia Commons

Continue reading

  1. Elizabeth says:

    Interesting concept. I tend to wear my pants until they: a) fall apart or b) become outdated…mostly, both:-) Until most recently, our recycling center used to accept/collect truly worn clothing & re-purpose the textile.

  2. Winnie Nielsen says:

    For his cost, it seems cheaper to purchase thrift store finds when possible. The yearly cost seems exorbitant for potentially a used pair of jeans. I would prefer to buy new, wear them out, and repurpose into a braided rug or rag quilt.

  3. Nan Roberts says:

    Yeah, I’d rent the jeans. I went to the site, but couldn’t figure out how to do it. Maybe it isn’t for overseas customers. Tho I could email them and ask them. Lots of Europeans speak English, lucky for me.

  4. ace says:

    Hi Nan,
    If you look at the top right-hand corner when you are on their webpage, there is a British flag. If you click on that the site will change to (mostly) English.
    I went through “checkout” to the point of entering my information and it looks like they are restricted to the Netherlands for now. But let’s keep our eyes open! Maybe they will soon be available to the U.S.A. 🙂 -ace

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Cold Weather Cures

Calling all fans of fermented and cultured food! I received an email recently from our 2009 Farmgirl of the Year, Carrie Williams, telling me that her first attempt to create Kombucha was a huge success. That got me to thinking …

Do you savor sauerkraut,

crave kombucha,

yearn for yogurt,

hanker for true sourdough bread?

If so, you’ve probably considered creating your own cultured cuisine.

Maybe you’ve already given it a whirl.

Whether you’ve just begun a foray into fermentation or are itching to try it, lingering March cold weather can prove challenging to the unseasoned culturist.



Continue reading

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Down here in Florida, we have more months of the year where cultured things are hard to make unless you have a controlled environment. My luck with yogurt has not been good at all. Too runny and sour. I am not sure if it is me or the environment, so I pretty much gave it up. Cultured foods take a real skill and my few efforts at sour dough started and yogurt have pretty much all ended up in the trash!!

    • Terry Z says:

      Winnie, I used to make yogurt all the time and don’t think it is dependent on the whether? If my memory serves me right, you just heat a gallon of milk (I had raw milk) to 180 degrees–just before it boils. Then let it cool down to around 110 degrees. Add to this a cup of yogurt with life cultures from the store. Put it in a big plastic cooler with a lid. Inside set a heating pad on low, put your gallon of warm milk with the yogurt stirred in, surround it with towels, and let it set for at least 4 hours (with the lid on the cooler). Tip it slightly at the end of this time, and see if it is firm. The longer you let it set, the sourer it will become. Good Luck!

  2. Eileen V Widman says:

    I ferment all of the time. My favorite source of information came in the Sandor Katz book “Wild Fermentation”. He has another book out now too. I have always got Kombucha on my counter fermenting as I consume the last batch. Saurkraut and Kimchee! I also make my own raw milk Yogurt on a weekly basis.I love the fermented cream top on this! I keep a sourdough starter in my fridge between uses and take out a start and add to it often. It likes to be used, and for some who might feel threatened by the look of a sourdough culture kept in the fridge that separates into the dark liquid with the solid tan blob under it, this is good sourdough. Just warm it up stir it and use it. Then feed it and let this set a few days on the counter. Then you can store it in the fridge. Been doing this for years.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Waste Not

You probably know that I’m,


somewhat less than


when it comes to


Techie-talk befogs me (wrong generation, I suppose),

but, my old-fashioned farmgirl radar recently recognized an electronic issue that warrants TUNING IN.


Photo by Mo Riza (GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0) via Wikimedia Commons

So, this is the problem:

  • Cell phones are generally “locked” to a single carrier company.
  • Until recently, it was legal to “unlock” your phone so that you could use it with another carrier.
  • Then, the Library of Congress made it illegal to unlock a phone via the Digital Millenium Copyright Act  (DMCA).

Continue reading

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Sometimes I think to myself, how did I get so attached to my phone? For years, such a thing never existed and life went just fine. But today, you have to have a phone to communicate across family and business lines. But, as you point out, there is a huge environmental cost to this convenience. How can that be worth the convenience? I don’t have any answers but we should all be asking the question and looking for solutions. thanks for bringing this topic forward!

  2. Terry Steinmetz says:

    I have a tracfone for traveling, but I have to renew a yearly thing to keep it activated. What a waste! I let my other tracfone time expire & I had to buy a new phone. Another waste. I love being able to contact my family as we all live far from each other. But I am definitely “not married” to my phone. That’s why I love living in the country. I love the peace that is in my own backyard! Thanks for bringing this more attention.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Farm Effect




and pollen …

Are you squirming?

Scratching? Sneezing?

Reaching for the nearest bottle of antibacterial something or other?

Take a big breath (airborne microbes and all),

and nibble on this recent tidbit of news:

A new study has determined that the Amish of northern Indiana, whose day-to-day lives are ensconced in farming, have some of the lowest rates of allergies and asthma in the westernized world.


Photo by Gadjoboy via Wikimedia Commons


Researchers are calling it the “farm effect,” a phenomenon that is unlikely to shock born-and-raised farmgirls who have known for eons that farming builds hearty constitutions.

Yet another old wives’ tale turns up true? Hmmmmm.

“This [study] would suggest that if you have early life exposure [to allergens], then somehow it drives the immune system away from developing allergies,” says lead author and Indiana allergist Dr. Mark Holbreich. “Large animals are part of it, and the straw bedding animals sleep on … and what [the Amish children] eat, and the fact that their mothers are in the barn when they are pregnant.”


Farmgirl fortitude isn’t just learned, it’s earned.


Photo by Ilamont via Wikimedia Commons

Continue reading

  1. Laurie Dimino says:

    Looking forward to reading your next book!

  2. Winnie Nielsen says:

    I can’t wait for your next book!! I love them all and re-read the ones I have over and over. I wish the allergy thing was easier to define and successfully treat. Ad why is it that we suddenly develop allergies late in life? What is up with that? One thing I have read about the Amish is that their large consumption of sugar has led to high rates of obesity and related diseases. I find it odd that they would not figure out that so much sugar was unhealthy given the other more natural aspects of their lives?

    • MaryJane says:

      As we age, it’s even more important to “change your oil and oil filter” regularly. A good liver cleanse and then colon and parasite cleanses are the fountain of youth! Once you see all the stones that come out of your liver, you’ll know why your body wasn’t working quite right has kits that we use and like. And yes, sugar in moderation, strict moderation!

  3. Brandy Ward says:

    AMEN!! But of course us “Farmgirls” knew this all along:)

  4. Amy says:

    Good stuff. I looked at the liver cleanse link you posted, Mary Jane. What exactly are the symptoms that would indicate that the liver and gallbladder aren’t working properly?

  5. Mary Jo Koca says:

    AMEN! I have been preaching this all my life and my kids were raised in “dirt” even though I’m a city girl. We always had some kind of vegetable garden even if it was planted in my flowers. I now have two daughters with children of their own. My one daughter’s children are outside all the time, they have their own garden and in the summer we have to check them for ticks. My other daughter’s children are the complete opposite and not only have allergies but skin issues from anti-bacterial products. They are also not as physically fit and their diet needs some improvement.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Oh my, the cutest spring lambs! Adorable!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *