Life with Flavor


Lovefood began long long ago in a land not so very far away. I, David, planted my first solo plant at age 21 on the fire escape of an apartment I was living in. It was a sungold cherry tomato in a five gallon bucket of potting soil and every morning I would wake up and walk out to the fire escape and pick those delicious droplets of sweetness. It was pure heaven and kindled a lifelong passion.

Over the next few years, we, David and Abby, would start gardens wherever they lived. One garden was in the backyard of a neighbor under a black walnut tree which is poisonous to many plants. We were so dedicated to getting the garden going that even though there was no water, we would fill buckets of water in our bathtub and walk them across the street to water the plants regularly.

Eventually, we found community gardens in Madison. I was in awe of the varied cultures and techniques that came together at the Eagle Heights Community Garden where over 60 languages are spoken. We watched our Russian, Hmong, Chinese and American neighbors grow their different varieties with different techniques and started realizing the obvious - this farming thing has been going on for a LONG time! I started reading voraciously on all kinds of techniques.

Later, we bought a house in Madison. The south facing backyard was shaded by garages and other buildings so we decided to take out some of the grass on our front yard and plant the garden there. Slowly but surely, all of the grass disappeared until we were left with just vegetables from our porch to the street. We prided ourselves on growing a ton of varieties everywhere but learned quickly that we needed to plant a thick hedge of flowers around the garden to make sure dogs didn’t pee on the vegetables! Urban gardening at its finest.

As our interest grew, so did our family. Soleia was born in 2009 and we were, of course, absolutely smitten. Soleia loved being in the garden and played there all the time. As this period of our lives progressed, we realized that we just might want to do more than garden, we might want to FARM! We wanted to experiment in a noncommittal way for as long as possible so we joined with a friend and rented 1/4 acre of organic farm land at a neighbor’s farm. We grew insane amounts of vegetables there! So many that we had no idea what to do with them all. And all of the work was happening on the edges of our lives. In the early morning before going to work, a little bit of time on the weekend and so on. This is also the time where we learned more about pests and disease. We lost an entire potato crop in just a couple of days as potato beetles took over. It was definitely… educational.

After that experience, we realized that we wanted to focus on our family and not launch a brand new business with an infant. So, instead we took some years to learn and explore and continue gardening. Finally in 2014, we decided it was time to get the business going and Lovefood was born. We had taken classes and workshops and field days and nothing could compare to the learning curve of starting the farm itself.

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Photos featuring Aro Hā