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Artists in Aprons

box of vegetables I love magazines. While waiting for the other knitters in our group to arrive, I relish the opportunity to browse magazine offerings in the Home & Gardens, Food, or Handcraft sections at our cafe bookstore. There’s something special and delicious about discovering a new publication. Rather than exhausting my new-found treat in a single cover-to-cover reading, I prefer to saver the joy of discovery, one article at a time. And so it’s taken me quite a while to make my way through MaryJanesFarm.

I feel as though I’ve found a kindred eclectic soul sister in Mary Jane Butters. She is not only an organic farmer, but a writer (her first book is titled “MaryJane’s Ideabook, Cookbook, Lifebook—for the Farmgirl in All of Us“), magazine editor and publisher, environmental activist, photographer, lover of healthy food, product developer, problem-solver, visionary. Her magazine is ad-free, which means there’s something meaningful to read on every single page. The graphics and photography are beautiful and inspiring.

I discovered MaryJanesFarm with her “Artist in Aprons” issue. I’ve ruined more than a few good outfits by working in the kitchen without donning an apron. It’s not that I am without — because I love to cook, I’ve been given a number of them as gifts. MaryJane puts a whole new spin on this article of clothing that may one day be more relic than staple for most. The enthusiasm and creativity with which she embraces this one-time kitchen standard is delightful. And could I just say one more time, “Inspiring”?!

“Farm diversification for me, a modern-day farmer, has come to mean ‘selling’ a new root crop—writing about my rural rootedness and old-style community,” she says. And diverse she is: a producing organic farm, a ‘fast food’ product line of organic meals, apron patterns, her book, a B&B, a beautiful web site, the impressive mag. The list goes on and on.

I may be a city gal now, but my New Hampshire days began on one of the last area dairy farms. My husband was the hired hand and we lived in a farmhouse just beyond the hens’ quarters, across the dirt road from the cow barn. Most afternoons my son and I would visit during evening milking. He saw his first calf being born when he was only 10 months old. I had a vegetable and flower garden. Our laundry was always air-dried. We heated with wood alone. Nightly bedtime stories followed the adventures of a little boy and the corn field next door. And we were the designated adoptive parents for assorted homeless pets.

That’s all a long time ago now. So I think I’ll kick back and live vicariously through the folks on MaryJane’s farm in Moscow, Idaho.

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