When freelancing dried up, food writer discovered the soil

MyOC-PersonalGrowth.jpgKelly von Hemert wrote about food and restaurants in Orange County for more than 14 years before the assignments stopped coming. She took a job as a server in a restaurant that still hung her review on the wall. Out of the fear of not eating, she discovered the joy of growing and bartering your own food. From her piece in Orange Coast magazine:

The more I thought of food as a gift from the land and not as something to be imported, judged, deconstructed, or mercilessly manipulated, the more food I found waiting for me. My back-fence neighbor, Jim, brought to the local pool party juicy bacon-wrapped duck fillets from his recent hunting expedition. My mom brought me figs, persimmons, and though I protested, bags of huge, flying-saucer-like patty pan squash from her Old Towne Orange garden. My green-thumbed friend Lynn didn’t buy lettuce; she grew it, and had enough not only for our family, but for our four tortoises. She also had so many tomatoes that she canned her own sauce. We ate it with pasta and washed it down with wine her brother made in Santa Inez. She even got out her old bread machine and showed me how I could bake a yeasty, delicious loaf for far less than it cost to buy one....

We’re far from living a sustainable lifestyle, and hardly off the grid, but with our new pioneering spirit, we’re getting by. We still have to go to the store, but now I realize how much we can do for ourselves with a little help from our friends. And while I’ve found work again as a freelance food writer, a regular gig is still as elusive as a Saturday night reservation at Marché Moderne. But I’m OK with that.

I assume she means Santa Ynez.

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