HandPicked People: Kristy Athens

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As we’ve built up our community here at HandPicked Nation, we have met some truly incredible farmers, ranchers, makers and thinkers in the real food movement. Which prompted the thought, why not share a little more about the real people of real food with our readers?

Welcome to another addition of HandPicked People!

Kristy Athens is a great resource for HandPicked Nation, as she has approached the issue of sustainable food from many sides. In 2003, she and her husband Mike bought seven acres in the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon. There, they planted a huge garden and raised chickens for their own use. They were on their way to acquiring larger animals and raising a specialty crop to sell, when they had to succumb to the recession and give up their land.

Ever resourceful, Kristy turned her incredible agrarian experience into the wonderful book Get Your Pitchfork On! In both her book, and the blog by the same name, Kristy Athens is all about helping you make the most of the land you have. She’s already shared a wonderful tutorial on canning and advice on how to get a little more mileage out of your homegrown bounty – and that’s just the beginning! We’re very excited to have Kristy here at HandPicked Nation.

Now, where did we put our pitchfork…?

Name: Kristy Athens

Occupation: Wordsmith and project manager.

Describe what you do in ten words or less. Explore the urban-to-rural transition in the United States.

Describe real food in one sentence. Real food is grown or raised with compassion and respect, and prepared with love.

What is your first food memory? I was a monster picky eater! I was one of those kids who won’t eat the things on the plate that are touching. I sucked my noodles dry through the marinara, which I then swabbed from my lips with a napkin. I ate nothing but carbohydrates and cheese; it’s a wonder I didn’t die of malnutrition.

If you were a food or a flavor, what would you be? Depends on the day! Let’s go with garlic—intense, doing its own thing, and unable to be mistaken for anything else!

What are the five food things you always have on hand? Eggs, fruit, cheese, bacon and whiskey.

What is the one professional rule you never break? Never stop learning.

What’s going to be your next meal? My husband is the cook in the house, bless him, so I’m not sure. However, we have out-of-town guests so I know the morning brings “Huevos Midleros,” his delicious take on the rancheros classic.

Did we miss anything? Let us know what kinds of questions you want us to ask in the comments below!

Original Photo Credit: Mike Midlo

Editor’s Note: This article was updated to reflect that Kristy no longer lives on her property outside of Portland, Oregon.