Hand Knit Beanie Portrait

Liz LaBrocca

My love of food and cooking goes way back. Way back like my first sentence was, “Can we eat at the restaurant?”

I started cooking seriously when I was old enough to use the stove unsupervised. My high school girlfriends looked forward to sleepovers at my house because I made some killer pancakes on Sunday mornings. By my senior year at Vassar College I was devouring America's Test Kitchen videos and annoying my friends with critiques of their college apartment cooking.

A deep interest in the food I ate evolved into an equally passionate interest in where my food comes from. I spent that spring growing herbs and tomatoes in buckets on my small square of cement outside my first apartment. I must have thrown a record number of dinner parties as my love of food and the preparation rituals surrounding it eclipsed my interest in political science and sociology.

After I graduated I lived out on the North Fork of Long Island (think vineyards and spillover from the Hamptons). I worked at Borders and then managed marketing part-time for a hot tub and sauna company, but my day job(s) wasn’t doing it for me. Then one day on my drive home from work, there was a “Help Wanted” sign outside the organic farm and garden center I passed every day. It was a a farm with a hand-painted sign, a barn cat named Cashew, and the support of a wonderful manager. I spent an amazing season working there. I learned how to drive a tractor, I got really strong from hauling plants around, and I found a pull towards another life gently tugging my heart strings. I was made to be in the sun with dirt underneath my fingernails, between my toes, and in the creases of my iPhone.

I took it to the next level: I earned a second bachelor’s degree in Sustainable Food & Farming from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. From there I explored the world of growing even more: I was a field hand on a wholesale and market mixed vegetable farm. I took care of dahlias and picked bouquets on a small flower farm. I helped restart a student-led, one-credit course called GardenShare at UMass where I co-taught non-majors about small-scale farming. I interned with a local herbalist and helped her layout garden beds and make tinctures. Now I grow vegetables and herbs every summer in my community garden plot.

Now I live in Easthampton, Massachusetts. I may not be a farmer by trade anymore, but I spend every summer growing veggies and herbs for myself and my husband. Craft and DIY is also a huge part of my life and you can check out my knitwear and textile company Knitprint!

Interested in chatting more or working together? Contact me here!

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