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About Me (Dorothy Stainbrook)

About Me (Dorothy Stainbrook)

How Caring for a Sick Child made me an Entrepreneur

Home » Dorothy Stainbrook

Thank you so much for checking out my labor of love. It’s been a journey for sure, filled with the ups and downs that life hands out.

Dorothy Stainbrook in front of large boulder.

I certainly didn’t start out loving to cook, and as far as gardening went…..well my first experience with gardening was to buy a 6-pack of tomatoes, plant them whole as the 6-pack and then watch them die, lol.

That all changed when my daughter was born. She was born with only one working ventricle in her heart and was going to require indefinite hands-on care. We assessed our financial situation and decided it would make more sense for me to quit my state job rather than my husband quit his job, as his salary was higher and was going to be needed to get through what laid before us.

Well, that was all fine and good, but I found I needed something of my own to aspire to as I tended to my daughter’s various surgeries and health issues. We happened to live on 23 acres of weed-infested rural land so I decided to roll up my sleeves and become a farmer! That way I could stay home and take care of her, but still have a personal ”career”.

I knew I was really a farmer when I had the conversation with my young son on what he wanted to be when he grew up. After posing the question to him, he sat there in deep thought. I then said ”Do you want to be a farmer?” He looked at me incredulously and said ”No way! That’s a girl’s job”

Dorothy and son after a hike in Colrado.
My son (all grown up now) and I after a hike in Colorado

Over time, I did learn how to grow tomatoes from seed rather than a 6-pack, and turned the acreage into a nice little farm. I sold my fruits and veggies at the larger farmers’ markets in the Twin Cities (still do as a matter of fact), and built a commercial kitchen on the farm to turn the produce into fresh preserves, spices and herbal teas.

My daughter got to grow up with a parent at her side, and although she is not ”cured”, she is leading a very productive life as a social worker in the Colorado school system.

Me (mom) and my daughter in Tucson, Arizona.
Tesla (my daughter) and I on vacation in 2019

I, on the other hand have never returned to an office job, but have evolved and pivoted in a number of directions that all started with the farm.

Had to learn to cook all that fresh produce right? So these days I share and publish my experiences with food, diet and gardening on my blog, “Farm to Jar”. I also sell the herbal teas from this online site, as well as at the farmers’ markets.

Oh, and I visit both kids in Colorado every chance I get. Neither one of them wanted to take on that girly work of farming!

The best way to connect with me is through my Sunday newsletter, where I share exclusive recipes and gardening guides.

Questions on a recipe? Just ask the question in the comment area at the end of the specific article (not here). I usually answer all questions within hours if I receive them there.

My social profiles are yet another way to connect with me, and I do share information on our Facebook page, our You Tube channel, on instagram, and occasionally on tik tok.

Specific gardening information is shared at our facebook gardening group, called Grow Your Own Food at Home.

For a long time (too long) I did the gardening and recipe sharing alone. These days I do have a small but critical team that helps me bring the information to you quicker. Check out the team that helps make it happen!

Cheers! Ciao! Happy Trails!

Explore the site, comment if you want to start a conversation, and remember…..

“You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces — just good food from fresh ingredients.” ——Julia Child

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  1. Frank says:

    where do you post your suggestions on Hardening Off tomato plant seedlings prior to planting in the garden?

  2. Judy says:

    I love seeing you all, even if it’s remotely from a long distance. What a healthy, happy life together you have created. Vegetarian yes, Keto? Not so sure it’s for me, but it sure looks great on you! Be well, my friends.

    • Hi Judy, Just a note to say it’s totally possible to be vegetarian and keto, it’s called Ketotarian. Personally however I think a strict keto diet is helpful to people with illness around inflammation and joint issues, and it is helpful to those with insulin resistance.

      For the average person, just eating a diet of low sugar and no processed foods is probably the healthiest way to go. For weight loss on top of a healthy diet, it ends up being about the calorie intake.

      So….most of my recipes are designed to be whole foods and low sugar for me. Cutting out processed foods generally gets you to low carb.

      I love hearing from you also btw, and hope to see you again someday after this is all over!

  3. Cindy Lou Robinson says:

    Good job on the videos, Dorothy. Also nice to see the inclusion of your family on the web page, It looks like your ‘best man’ is in a little community pub much like one myself and friends would haunt for an after-work Friday pint (or two;) – usually an amber ale – even in the summer! Stout…not so much. Always feels so lush at the front of the mouth but just can’t get into the back end taste. Good in recipes though! Perhaps a BBQ sauce made with your heirloom tomatoes and Guinness 🙂 I too am fond of heirloom to-maters. I just started a farmer’s market herb and spice blends, infusions, and extracts biz in Alberta. Super fun and a LOT of work. Keep up the farm and blog/vlog gig, Dorothy, and thanks so much for your contributions.

  4. Jim says:

    Thanks Dorothy. Congratulations on your lifestyle and accomplishments. I have some tomato growing questions. I will email them to you and if you have time perhaps you can pen a response. Best wishes.

  5. Angelbeth says:

    Hi Dorothy
    is it very challenging to start tomato farming at commercial scale.

    • Hi Angelbeth, tomato farming on a commercial scale will depend on many, many different factors for success. If you are going to make money selling at farmers markets you need to be near a large city with an active market. Then you need to look at the saturation of the market. In terms of physical variations, the challenge might come in your knowledge base, your soil type, and the scale you want to grow at. It’s pretty impossible to answer that question on a broad scale, and would require specific information on your goals, your growing situation, your investment capability, your equipment, team, zone, variety of tomatoes, etc. etc.

      I would suggest you start with your local extension service and gather information and then lay out your specific goals and timeline. My situation is going to be very different than yours.

  6. Annette Lynch says:

    Happened to stumble upon your website recently. I come from a long line of small farmers and home gardeners, and heirloom tomatoes are one of my passions. I live in NW Pennsylvania, which is sometimes a difficult area for gardening – short growing season, humid, etc. Your advice is spot on! My second passion is genealogy, so I was amused to see the name Stainbrook. We have been overrun with Stainbrooks here since the late 1790’s, including some of my direct ancestors. Maybe the urge to grow things is in the genes!

    Annette Lynch, Meadville, PA

    • Ah, that is so interesting Annette! I don’t hear of that many Stainbrooks here in Minnesota. Heirloom tomatoes are a good passion to have aren’t they? Thank you for the comment and letting me know that my advice works in NW Pennsylvania also!


  7. Loretta Ottinger says:

    I found your scallop and spinach recipe and going to try it tonight. When I look at the photo in the recipe it appears to show pasta underneath the spinach. Curious if the only two items you serve for this meal are the scallops and spinach or do you add pasta? I just lost six pounds by watching my carbs (I was about 10 pounds overweight) and trying to keep meals simple and low-carb. BTW, I love your bio, great journey.

    • Anonymous says:

      @Loretta Ottinger, I think what you are seeing is onions in the cream sauce. It looks a bit like pasta but I didn’t serve these with pasta when on the slow carb diet.

  8. Duane says:

    Kudos on your how-to’s for heirloom tomatoes. It is the best!

    • Anonymous says:

      @Duane, Thank you so much. I’m planning on getting deeper into heirloom tomato growing in 2023 so stay tuned.

  9. Beth says:

    What a nice write up on what you do and how you got there! I admire your discipline and dedication. I have learned a LOT from you over the years and I really appreciate you.
    Keep up the good work!

    • Thank you Beth. It’s so important to me to know that someone is benefitting in any way from the things I share. Truly appreciate the comment and I hope to keep on swimming for quite a while.

  10. Kay says:

    Very inspiring and informative site. I just found you but will carefully peruse your content. I’m very interested in growing strawberries at this time. I’m on 5 acres and currently farming only indoors (mushrooms & microgreens, that I sell at the farmers market). The mention of your commercial kitchen really piqued my interest. Could you write a post/photos about the process of how you built this? I’d love to make some products with my produce and have been wondering what the requirements for such a kitchen are.

    • Hi Kay, Selling at farmers’ markets is a lot of work isn’t it? Thankfully it is fun. Writing a post with photos about my commercial kitchen process and the farrmers markets would be a website unto itself. I thought about doing that once, but I am not in a place right now where I could take on that level of work. It’s all I can do to deal with the farm, the ecommerce site, the blog and the farmers’ market.

      The requirements are very locally specific and you would need to contact the state and local agencies involved in your area for the requirements. In my case I had to work with the state Dept of Ag, the state Dept of Health and all the various local agencies. It took a couple of years before I was fully licensed.

      Start with using google search and find the agencies particular to your area. Requirements vary vastly area to area.

      Best of luck!!

  11. Kennedy says:

    Hello Dorothy- so excited to read about your amazing wonderful farm life. Next time in town/ let’s for sure meet up.
    What part of ARIZONA are you in?

  12. Daphne says:

    Your story is touching and inspiring. I look forward to trying the thumbprint pepper jam cookie. You rock girl!

  13. Arthur says:

    I am 82 YO, retired in Costa Rica. There are several vegetables that we like that we cannot get here. What I am doing is setting up a shelving unit, 6’x4’x2′, with Barrina LED grow lights, which I will try and grow those things we want. Any help, suggestions would be very much appreciated.

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