The Tuesday Thirteen: Heather Scholten Tells Us All About Farmgirl Gourmet
The Tuesday Thirteen
Heather Scholten, Farmgirl Gourmet
Local, sustainable, delicious food is the name of the game here. There’s not a lot of things about Heather’s blog you won’t like. Get to know her and all about Farmgirl Gourmet.
I love the name of your blog. Do you actually live on a farm?
Heather When I started Farmgirl Gourmet in 2006, we were living on a 20 acre farm. I loved cooking and was (and still am) a Farmgirl at heart, so it seemed like a great blog name.
You’ve been at this for about 6 years now, can you tell us a little about the start of Farmgirl Gourmet? What are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen to your blog since the beginning, and what is one change you think everyone could make to their blog to make it better?
Heather The start of Farmgirl Gourmet was mostly out of necessity. Family and friends were all curious about us city slickers living on the farm and always wanted us to send photos. I decided it was easier to have a central place to post them where they could check it out whenever they wanted. The recipes back then were few and far between. One of the biggest changes to FG happened in October 2010. I had quit my job and was taking the winter off when I decided to throw myself into my blog. I revamped the look of it and it has grown leaps and bounds in readership ever since. One change I’d recommend – always be current. Whether its aesthetically or the relevance of your content. People want to see what’s new and exciting and look at it on a pretty blog/website.
Tell us about your tagline: Homegrown, Local, Sustainable, Delicious. How does this represent you and what your blog stands for?
Heather I came up with my tagline several years ago. I’m an advocate for loving your local farmers. Make friends with them and help support them by buying their products. I also grow a very large organic garden myself and try to inspire others to do the same. Square foot gardening is much easier than most people think. The delicious part – that’s my ultimate goal with any meal I prepare. I want the first bite to encourage moans of joy.
With the experience and knowledge you have gained through the years, if you had advice for a food blogger trying to “make it” what would it be?
Heather Well to be quite honest, I’m still waiting to “make it”. If I had to say how I’ve gotten where I am, it’s 1) Loving what I do, 2) Social Media. That’s it.
Can you let us in on some of your photography secrets and tips? Have you taken a class or do the beautiful pictures just come naturally?
Heather I love this question. No I have never taken a photography class. Wait, I stand corrected. I did take a class recently but knew more than the instructor. Everything is self-taught. I am fortunate to have a Dad who loves me and gifted me a beautiful DSLR camera. Don’t get me wrong, gorgeous photos can be taken with a point and shoot as well. As for tips and secrets, I really don’t have any. I use my big living room window as my natural light source and a silver platter my grandmother gave me to bounce light. That’s it. No swanky light boxes or reflectors.
Take us through your editorial calendar process. How does the Farmgirl decide what makes it to the big screen?
Heather People ask me this question a lot. The thing that drives recipes on my blog is my stomach. I will jot down holiday ideas on my calendar but the rest of the year, it’s just hunger pangs that determine what will be on my blog.
What is your favorite kitchen tool that you use everyday in your 100 year old kitchen?
Heather Probably my 8 inch cast iron pan. I love that darned thing. It is incredibly versatile and makes everything taste better.
If I had to make something from your blog right now, I don’t think I could choose. What would you make?
Heather Gosh, that’s a hard one. That’s like asking me to pick which kid I like best. I definitely love the Chocolate Lovers Cheesecake. It holds a special place in my heart as it’s my Mothers recipe. She loved making it and always received kudos for it’s deliciousness.
You have a small group of bloggers that do a Virtual Potluck. Could you give advice on how to reach out to similar niche bloggers and the best way to reach out to brands?
Heather The VP group started after 20 of us did a promotion for Emeril Lagasse’s new cookbook in September 2011. We enjoyed collaborating with each other so much that 13 of us stayed together and formed Virtual Potluck. If I was to advise someone on how to start a group of their own, I’d say find bloggers that think like you do. That you have excellent report with and just go for it. You may hit bumps, but in the long run, it’s a heck of a lot of fun. Funny thing about Brands…they tend to contact us. As food bloggers, we all get offers from here and there, sometimes we pitch doing a collaboration with Virtual Potluck and the Brand will latch on, other times they prefer the 1 on 1.
You are on social networks everywhere! What is your favorite way to connect with your fellow bloggers and readers and how do you decide what to post on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc? Do they all connect or do you put different updates everywhere?
Heather I use TweetDeck a lot. It allows me to update multiple social media platforms at one time. Being everywhere takes work, but it pays off in the long run.
Farmgirl Gourmet has been featured all over the web and in various media formats. What do you think is the biggest part of your success?
Heather I think it’s staying true to me. I won’t sacrifice who I am or what I cook. I think people like that and can connect with food bloggers who have a good voice. I also think Social Media is a great way to build report and readership and has opened a lot of doors for me.
Are there any cookbooks in the works? If not, have you thought about doing one?
Heather I wish! Someone just asked me today what my plans were for FG. Cookbook is #1 on my list of “want to’s”. Now to find a publisher who feels the same way.
What are the future plans for you and ‘Farmgirl Gourmet’?
Heather World Domination. Oh sorry, I mean…continuing to do what I love. Make delicious food. If that means book deal(s) or ecookbooks, I don’t know. I’m just riding this fantastic roller-coaster and I don’t want to get off.
Heather’s blog is Farmgirl Gourmet. You can also catch her around the social network water cooler at Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and others.
The Tuesday Thirteen is an interview series that asks thirteen questions to your favorite people in food. If you have questions you are curious to ask food bloggers, cookbook authors, publicists, food photographers, etc., please send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.