SPRING MAXFIELD, SANTA ROSA
I was connected with Spring when I was in NY. I was told Spring is the spider in the net of Northern California food lovers. Imagine that, a secret food market based on trading (not money) in the most fertile foodie region in the USA.
But Spring is so much more than that. She is the mother of two creative ladies and without doubt one of the warmest people I ever met. She invited me into her house to stay overnight in her garden house – also called the “Honey House”. She shared with me a recipe on how to make Chevre out of raw milk, a recipe with you can find in my book. We shot her cheese in the shower – which is located in the garden and without doubt the prettiest shower I EVER got to use in the whole world.
Djuna, one of Springs daughter, made me this beautiful wrist band out of an old spoon. It says “Flour, Water, Salt”
Q/A WITH SPRING
M: How do you like to eat your bread?
S: Warm, fresh bread is probably one of my favorite things in the world. I love to tear chunks off of a loaf and dip into my coffee in the morning. Mostly this happens in the kitchen as I’m preparing my daughters’ school lunches, but weekends will find us outside on the patio, in good weather. I do love my kitchen because it is the largest room in the house. It has comfortable seating and a lot of work areas for the kids’ homework. It has lots of counter space for chopping up cases of fruit or whatever is in season to be preserved and given to friends.
This weekend we were up very early and drove out to the coast. On the way we stopped in a tiny little town and bought a loaf of olive and cheese fougasse. It was still warm when we scrambled out onto the jetty and watched all the fishing boats go out to sea.
M: Where are you from and what do you love most about this place?
S: I call Sonoma County my home. Before moving here I traveled too much as a child to ever feel connected to a particular place. But here in Sonoma County I feel I know this landscape and people so well that I would truly miss it if I ever left. The proximity to the ocean and amazing mountains to explore are perfect for me.
M: Where would you go to relax in Northern California?
S: To be honest, I love my back yard. It’s messy at times with the plants a bit overgrown and the garden a bit neglected, but it provides the perfect oasis right in the middle of a busy town and a busy life. I do love to escape to Bodega Bay and the surrounding coastal areas whenever I get the chance. The ocean is so much a part of me that I think I have my kids convinced that I am part mermaid.
M: Please tell me about the Farmers Black Market and why this network was founded.
S: The Famers’ Black Market was started (and formally named) online because I really just needed a way to connect with people who loved to create and grow food. I had an abundance of honey from my beehives and didn’t necessarily want to go into the honey business, but had more than I could use and knew there was a value in it. I also had needs that couldn’t be met from my little ¼ acre piece of land. I wanted fresh goat milk to make chevre and didn’t have a source. I put the page up on Facebook and invited a few other people I knew that loved to make food and trade. Within a week there were quite a few other folks and within in a few months over a thousand. I had my goat milk within the first two days!
M: What made you contribute to the Bread Exchange book?
S: I was introduced to Malin through a friend in New York. He has a restaurant here in town and knew about the FBM. He had met her in NY and thought we would have a connection. It was wonderful to meet her and to learn of her journeys and adventures that have come about just because of her love of trading bread. It fit right into my own ideas of nourishment and tradition, but she has taken it to an amazing conceptual level. She is inspirational.
M: You are the mother of two very creative girls. What have you learned from them?
S: Oh goodness, where do I even start! I think first and foremost is the importance of acceptance and perserverance. Contrary as that may seem, it means to me to not get lost in the middle somewhere. When my first daughter was born I was so intent on making sure that she never doubted herself and felt empowered to try anything and realized that I needed to model that behavior myself. That was the hardest. I think I have spent so much of my life being scared and afraid of rocking the boat that I didn’t pursue my own dreams. In fact it felt like that it was too vain to admit that I could even have a dream. But on the other hand I held myself to such a ridiculous standard that I was afraid to be let people too close, I felt like a superficial whisp.
So really, I feel my education has been because of my children and for them.
M: If you could teach a group of people one thing, what would it be?
S: Can you teach gratitude? I am so grateful for everything in my life that I actually believe that good things happen to me because of it. I think that letting people know that by being open and thankful, you will be emotionally ready to accept other gifts.
M: What keeps you going?
S: My family, my husband and daughters. My wonderful community. The excitement of what’s around the next corner.
M: How and where do you relax?
S: I’m not sure I really understand that word. It brings up visions of hammocks on beaches, which might be fun for like… 30 seconds! I think I like to get energized by my surroundings. Though maybe the end result is the same. Hiking and gardening. That would have to be my answer.
Waking up in the middle of the garden.