Years before the current farm-to-table trend hit Seattle, Rick and Lora Lea Misterly were carting baskets of their small-batch goat cheese from their farm in Rice, Washington, to the kitchen doors of small, chef-owned restaurants around the city. Today, after the farm’s 25 years of slow but steady growth, cheese isn’t the only thing they transport across the mountains. Their Quillisascut Farm School of the Domestic Arts (Rice, 2409 Pleasant Valley Road; 509.738.2011; quillisascut.com) brings city chefs—both novice and experienced—food lovers, artists, teen cooks and many others to the farm to learn about food systems and experience cooking from the source.
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During farm sessions that run anywhere from one day to one week, students milk the farm’s Alpine and Nubian goat herd, gather eggs from a rainbow of chickens and ducks, visit other local farms, forage watercress from local streams, harvest produce from the garden and fruit from the orchard, make goat cheese, can preserves and bake bread in a wood-fired oven. They learn from beekeepers, artists, chefs, winemakers and others who come to share their knowledge. The weeklong Farm Culinary 101 sessions have Rick leading the group in butchering chickens or a lamb or goat, as he talks about the connections we have to the animals that give us companionship, food and lessons in community.
Spending time at Quillisascut lets you step back from hectic city life and engage with the source of your food, making this getaway more than just a learning vacation, but a chance for self-discovery and transformation.