Workshop Day at the Farm!


Today was a whirlwind of activity, and tons of fun!

Here’s how it went.

The People: Fantastic. The best people in the world are people who read this website. I’m always amazed by your energy, kindness, ideas, and good vibes. It was a very fun day for me.

The Workshops: Soapmaking and Preserving (BWB canning). I’ve done a lot of cheesemaking, breadbaking, and candlemaking workshops now. I’ve never given workshops in soapmaking or preserving. I’ve been doing those things for years, but haven’t taught them. I was worried particularly about giving a good soapmaking workshop, so I prepared heavily in that department. I didn’t spend as much time preparing for the preserving workshop, and that showed. The preserving workshop was last in the day and was a bit rushed. Now that I’ve got my soapmaking workshop skills down, I need to focus on preparing my preserving workshop skills better.

The Food: That worked really well, at least I thought so. I had eggs, bacon, sausage, and biscuits for breakfast, and deli meats and cheeses on Grandmother Bread sandwiches for lunch with some homemade root beer. Later in the afternoon I had some fresh-baked cherry crumble and at the end of the day we had roasted garlic jelly over cream cheese with tortilla chips. (The roasted garlic jelly was one of the preserving activities. That stuff is AWESOME. Everybody loved it. It’s downright addictive.) The food for meals was prepped in advance and just whipped out when needed, so it worked out nicely in a busy day.

The Time: I need to work on balance. Coming to Sassafras Farm is not just about the workshops, it’s about the farm and the animals, too. When balancing two activity-packed workshops in a day, I have to make time to tour the house, the barn, and the fields, plus visits with all the animals. I want coming to Sassafras Farm to not just be a day in a “classroom” but an experience, and I have to learn to work all of that into the day. It worked out okay and I think everyone had fun, but the preserving workshop was rushed as a result so I definitely need to do better with my balance.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to my attendees here today for being experimental subjects! Thank you to Shelley and Don, who also showed me how to band Cookie Doe’s baby boy, and April (Murphala) and company who came all the way from Indiana!

I got so involved in the workshopping that I didn’t take many pics.

If you’re interested in coming to a workshop at the farm, I am scheduling workshop Saturdays for the last three months of the year (October, November, December). These are create-your-own-days for groups of two to eight. You can choose from cheesemaking, candlemaking, soapmaking, preserving, and breadbaking. Right now, the price is $110 per person for a full day (two workshops) which includes the workshops and the “all-farm” tour with breakfast, lunch, snacks, and supplies–plus take home what you make. The price is set low on these workshop days because, honestly, I need the practice! I’ll give you everything I’ve got to make your day special. Where will you stay if you are from out of town? See my Suggested Accommodations page.

I’m planning a very cool series of monthly workshop Saturdays for 2013–the price for those days will be higher (I’m planning to keep these as low as possible) to cover the topics, some of which will involve some special helpers such as my “guide” Adam. Stay tuned for more info coming on those workshops toward the end of the year.

Meanwhile, if you’re interested in a create-your-own-day workshop day this fall, let me know at [email protected] OR if you’re interested in a full-on blast, come to the CITR Retreat! We do have spaces available and have opened more classes. Register here.


  1. CarrieJ says:

    Oh…those pictures brought back memories from last year. Create your own workshops??? Now your talking. I need help with cheese.

  2. Cheryl LeMay says:

    Those workshops sound like a lot of fun. Too bad I live so far away.You made homemade root beer? How do you do that? Sounds like an idea for another workshop.

  3. twiggityNDgoats says:

    Well I’m here to tell you today was a fun fun day even if Suzanne did take me down to the barn BEFORE breakfast to band the buckling 😆 I would heartily recommend the workshops to everyone. We met some wonderful fellow CITR followers who traveled a long way to attend. Two words of advice though: bring a BIG appetite and don’t EVER argue with her about pectin.

  4. whaledancer says:

    I love the picture of your guests feeding the gang. Maybe on the days you have workshops you could have a designated photographer, since you’ll be so busy.

  5. fowlers says:

    O.M.G.::: I’m so going to find out just how long of a drive it would be for me! I want to come and learn learn & learn some more! Looks like everyone had a great time! can’t wait to see more pictures!! I’m sure your all worn out! get some rest, I would love to bring my RV out there! do you have a local area for that?

    • Suzanne McMinn says:

      Sandy, I actually have an RV hookup station on my farm. Electric, water, and sewer. I was here for awhile before I realized I had an RV hookup, LOL. I’ve been thinking of adding it to my Camp & Breakfast page but just hadn’t done it yet. I’m also planning to add horses–not mine, because I’m not sure yet I’m comfortable with other people riding my horses (I need to have these horses longer and know them better…..) but I would be fine with people bringing their own horses to ride the trails here when camping here (or using the RV hookup).

  6. bonita says:

    Looks like fun for all. . . can you id folks in pix so we can have faces to match CITR names?

    Root beer using your own sassafras root?

    • Suzanne McMinn says:

      bonita, yes, root beer made from my own sassafras!

      Shelley and April (Murphala) both have blogs and I think they took more pictures than I did! (Shelley and April, post your links if you put up any pics from yesterday, okay?)

      The top photo is, from left to right, Shelley, April, Jennifer, and Chera (can’t see Don). The second pic is Shelley. The third pic is (L-R) Chera and Jennifer.

  7. CD says:

    The workshop day looks & sounds amazing! I’m sad that California is so far away or I would definitely be signing up!

  8. holstein woman says:

    Yeah, Oregon is far too, or I’d be there also. I could use some learning also. Great job Suzanne.

  9. twiggityNDgoats says:

    Well, I’m Shelley, the one with the goggles and green gloves stirring the yellow lye and milk mixture so you’ll recognize me if I’m ever wearing them while I’m out and about 😀

  10. fowlers says:

    Girl::: You could make so much $$ advertising that!!! people would (I think) for sure come & utalize that option: cheaper to stay in the RV, than have to pay for a hotel, now grant ya:: I love a good hotel better than anyone! (I’m all about the SPA), however, I would rather pay YOU that kind of cash! You I think would benefit more from my dollar than say the Holiday Inn, lol
    I am going to get w/ a few of my girlfriends: & I will DEF. be getting back in touch with you> SUPER EXCITED!
    We had to quit after going for over 10 years:: on our twice a year retreat:: due to bedbugs::: GOD’S BIGEST MISTAKE EVER! Oh my it was so bad! thank God I did not bring any home!!but any who, super stoked:: though my other 1/2 “not so much” hee hee

  11. Barbee says:

    Thank you for your review of your workshop day. It is fun to feel as though we are right in there with you.

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