{Hello} I’m Liz

Hey there readers! This is Liz, from Brown Betty Farm. First of all, a big thanks to Chris for inviting me to share something with you here… especially considering the perpetual ‘construction’ state of my humble little homemade web page and the less-than-frequent posts that occasionally show up on my blog, {semi}veggie sisters. I am utterly flattered and to be honest, a bit self-conscious to be sharing among such accomplished and inspiring ladies.

{Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival}

I live just outside Schuylerville with my husband and two children, Andrew (3) and Eleanor (1). In our suburban backyard, we raise laying hens and keep a respectable kitchen garden. We do our best to consume only local and sustainably raised food, and avoid all factory farmed meat. With such an abundance of fantastic farmers in the area it’s not too hard!

{2010 garden}

Once upon a time I worked as a researcher/product developer for Kraft Foods — gasp! eek! I know, I know, mega corporate and SO not local! I have a degree in Food Science, though, and it was a dream job coming out of college. Despite the fact that most of my work was focused on artificial sweetener research, it was an extremely valuable experience. I loved every minute though I do NOT consume or advocate artificial sweetener use! Motivated by the desire to be closer to my family (I am a proud Troy native and Emma Willard graduate), I left Kraft to come home. My work experiences since then are all over the map and include OSHA coordinator at a flour mill, software trainer and curriculum editor for the SUNY Research Foundation, litigation project manager for an international e-discovery firm, and practice manager for Sage-Femme Midwifery. Right now, I stay home with Andrew and Eleanor though I still dabble part-time in the e-discovery space as a technical writer/consultant.

{Foster Sheep Farm}

So you’re probably wondering… what about the farm? Who is Brown Betty?? Well, about a year and a half ago we had the stomach flu the week of Andrew’s second birthday. I wasn’t able to plan any fun celebration but at the last minute remembered receiving an email from the Saratoga Farmers Market announcing an open shearing day at Foster Sheep Farm. In short, we visited the farm for Andrew’s birthday outing, I got hooked on sheep, and within a month or two I was the new official Foster Sheep Farm intern. Carole and Tom Foster have welcomed me and my family into their lives and their barn in a way that exceeded anything I could have imagined. My role at Foster Farm continues to provide me with experience and knowledge in preparation for the next step; acquiring our own property large enough for sheep and a much larger preservation garden. In the meantime, I am raising my own flock of nine natural colored (black and moorit) merino sheep at the Foster’s, alongside Carole’s flock of long wool sheep. When I decided to show my sheep, I needed to come up with a farm name. My mom had the idea for Brown Betty, and it stuck. It fits because I am a daily tea drinker (no coffee for me!) and use my Brown Betty teapot all the time, my breeding goal is for moorit (brown) sheep, and Betty is a version of my name, Elizabeth. Unfortunately, my mom’s desire to name my first ewe lamb “Joanne” did not stick. Daphne sounded much better to me!

{Daegan & Daphne}

Although Carole says I graduated from ‘intern’ when I learned to back up the sheep trailer I still think I have a tremendous amount to learn! Raising sheep for fiber is my primary interest but my time at the farm has also fueled my desire to raise our own meat. We continue to keep our laying hens at home and have also had the opportunity to raise our own meat chickens at the farm and help to raise steers for beef. This summer we will also be raising a batch of meat chickens at home.

{a few of our feathered flock}

Aside from my jobs as mama, consultant and farmer, I love to sew/knit/create with fiber and textiles, and of course, cook. For me, it goes without saying that food is central to my life. I grew up with a huge extended family – eight of my mom’s nine siblings within a few miles, LOTS of kids – that gathered and ate together frequently. I have many memories of cooking with both my parents as a child. My mom has a “little of this, little of that” throw it together method, while my dad would whip out his original Moosewood cookbook or Diet for a Small Planet and we’d follow recipes to the letter. My own cooking style takes on a bit of each approach. I think it is definitely my parent’s influence that makes gives me a “no big deal” attitude toward eating locally and organically since it’s been important to them, especially my dad, for as long as I can remember. I love trying new things and usually reference a few sources or recipes before I make my own version. Admittedly, I rarely make the same thing twice and don’t always document my culinary creations in writing but I will do my best going forward so that I may share some with you. I do hope you enjoy my additions to this awesome group of contributors and hope you join me in savoring each delicious bite and moment life offers you!

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7 Comments Add yours

  1. Erika T. says:

    I can’t wait to spin wool with you and have our chicken date!

  2. Alexis says:

    It’s great to see you on this blog!

  3. Sarah Courtemanche says:

    Liz…this is awesome! And such a good fit for you. I’d love to visit your place sometime with Corinne (14 months now). Ben and I bought a house outside of Burlington in May, and are settling in well. We have a few chickens of our own. They are funny – and Corinne loves them. Anyways, I’d love to catch up sometime.

    Congrats again on all this. Reading your thoughts and seeing your pictures makes me excited for you.

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