Raleigh's Hillside Farm is one of those fresh and inspired CSA farms that you hope is around for a very long time. Raleigh's is run by husband and wife team, Kyle and Lauren Rudersdorf, who grow organic vegetables for their community in Brodhead, Wisconsin. Six years strong, the farmers are expanding their production this season--more land, more equipment, more hands.
Do you have any blogs, books, podcasts, or cookbooks that inspire you to keep farming and cooking?
It began with Kristin from The Dirty Life... then I became an avid Molly from My Name is Yeh follower, and now, six years into farm life, I follow a pretty broad array of folks who keep me inspired: Dishing Up the Dirt, Wisconsin from Scratch, Rochelle Billow's memoir: The Call of the Farm. These women bring me immense inspiration. Now I have my own food blog where I cook up seasonal meals, educate people in my local community about healthy eating, and share my personal farm journey with the world (The Leek & The Carrot).
What is Raleigh's Hillside Farm all about?
We are a CSA farm committed to producing high quality, organic vegetables for our local community. Our story is a love story. The two of us met while attending the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at the University of Wisconsin- Madison--studying soil science and rural sociology, respectively. We spent our days learning to cook and our nights discussing the environment, agriculture, local food systems, and a better world. We fell in love quickly. As we approached graduation, we couldn't imagine an existence where we weren't always a team. We decided we wanted to spend our lives building something together. Neither of us ever considered a career in farming separately, but together, it felt right. We wanted to create a small, diverse farm that connected people to their food. We decided to take a chance and rent some family land, and Raleigh’s Hillside Farm was born. Over the past six years we’ve watched our dreams become reality as we have grown our small, diverse farm focused on love, respect, education and healthy soils. We believe the best food is grown with love by people you know and respect on healthy soils filled with life.
What are your hopes and dreams for the future?
As we embark on this new growing season, we're scaling up in a lot of ways and finally learning that to succeed you need to bet on yourself. We took out a sizable loan to expand our well, purchase a tractor, and build a pack shed with some friends. It’s exciting. It’s overwhelming. It’s amazing. It’s terrifying. It’s a lot to digest at one time, but it’s happening, and it feels like a step in the right direction.
What's one way you get people excited about vegetables?
I love to get people excited about vegetables by sharing their simplicity. Some of the best recipes are just vegetables roasted on a sheet pan in the oven for 30-40 minutes. Local produce grown with passion has tremendous flavor and doesn't need to be prepared in elaborate ways. My favorite recipes celebrate this simplicity. Something I bring to every potluck is this caramelized shallot dip made by slowly cooking shallots and then throwing them into a bunch of Greek yogurt--the simplest, most decadent treat. When I want a simple dinner, this sheet pan meal is full of fall classics: leeks, cabbage, garlic and roast chicken never disappoints.
Anything else you'd like to add?
Thank so much for your belief in our little farm!