This week we take you to the desert of Santa Fe, New Mexico to step behind the walls of Marjory Sweet’s casa. Marjory is a farmer, cook, and author of her inspiring cook book, Farm Lunch. She walks us through her connection to the desert, the native plants, and her days in the Summer sun amongst the farm.
The Pampa pieces displayed against the simplicity of her home connect you to the earthy desert tones of the foothills that surround Santa Fe in New Mexico and adds a warm feeling of connection to her living spaces. Enjoy getting to know Marjory through these questions below and scroll for the minimal yet warm interiors.
Photography: Krysta Jabczenski
SHOP THE LOOK
Tell us about the landscape in Santa Fe, where are some of your favourite places to go?
Sante Fe is nestled in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo mountains in the northern Rio Grande valley. Although it is considered “high desert,” Santa Fe has much more vegetation (and moisture, if we’re lucky) than other parts of New Mexico. To me, that means we get the best of all worlds. Hot summers with monsoons; dry, radiant autumns; snowy winters, and full sun nearly every day of the year. The abundant sunshine and surrounding wilderness are the best features of life here. My pup, Finn, and I always start the day with an early morning hike and each trail feels like it’s own world: sandy arroyos, craggy badlands, lush alpine meadows, juniper scrub forests. The outdoor opportunities here are endless. I really can’t imagine living anywhere else.
How would you describe the style of your home?
Words that come to mind when I reflect on my home: orderly, peaceful, utilitarian, personal. I’ve always been heavily influenced by Donald Judd’s iconic living spaces in New York and West Texas, and I suppose I generally adhere to a “less is more” philosophy. Intentional colour palettes and simple forms are repeated throughout my house in various ways. I strongly believe that any object or piece of furniture you put in your home is going to carry a certain presence, and I think I’m particularly sensitive to that. Everything in my house has personal significance to me, and a specific use or purpose. I could tell you exactly why I’ve chosen each lamp, mug, chair, speaker, candle, etc.
We love the Pampa pieces you have chosen for your home, what drew you to Pampa?
An ongoing search for the perfect rug (no easy task!) first led me to Pampa. I needed something sturdy enough for a dog to lay on it for hours, but soft enough for bare feet. I wanted natural materials and a simple weave. Neutral, but not bland- and the size had to be just right. Pampa fit all of my criteria. Plus, the Pampa ethos and narrative further convinced me. Each piece is unique and has its own origin story, which I love. I’ve recently added a couple of Pampa wool pillows to complement my rug; so cozy.
Tell us about your love for cooking, when did it begin?
How -or when- exactly I learned to cook is somewhat elusive to me, as the process has unfolded slowly over time. My mother is a natural cook and I’ve always felt at home in the kitchen and at ease around food thanks to her. I grew up on the Maine coast, where seafood and rich farmland are plentiful, and many of my earliest sense memories involve food and eating. In my early 20’s, I lived in Bologna Italy, which was a transformative experience for me in every way. It was there that I first developed a personal ritual around ingredient-driven home cooking. Ultimately though, growing my own food on a large scale is what inspired my intense love for cooking and a professional interest in feeding people in a meaningful way.
As a farmer, how has this experience and way with the land inspired your connection to food?
For 10 years I farmed full-time. First, as the field manager of a large, Organic vegetable operation; and then on my own land where I raised animals and tended a fruit orchard in addition to growing annual vegetables. That experience heavily influenced my perspective on eating, work, and life on earth in general. Farming also established a seasonal rhythm in my schedule and mid-winter is always a quieter time for me. Right now, I’m starting on a second cookbook, preparing for spring work at a community farm, embarking on a small grocery project, and cooking as much as possible with all of the exquisite winter produce: citrus, chicories, storage onions, spinach.
Tell us about your book, Farm Lunch, is there a favourite recipe you would like to share?
The book is based around the concept of “farm lunch,” a template anyone can use to prepare a different, locally-sourced meal every day using an accessible set of ingredients. The point is not to replicate my lunch or lifestyle exactly, but to cultivate your own routine around market shopping, cooking, and eating. My hope is that the book makes people feel inspired and capable. The book has a very particular look and feel thanks to my friend Eva Claycomb, who did all of the design elements. I knew from the start that I didn’t want to use photographs or any obvious depictions of food and Eva came up with a unique set of illustrations (all of which are abstract, but suggest food and farming) that I like to think of as a kind of vocabulary for the recipe templates. My favorite recipe from the book is for cooked greens. It will change your life (or at least the way you cook kale!) – I promise.
What is inspiring you right now?
Newly appointed Secretary of The Interior Deb Haaland; Getrude Abercrombie paintings; citrus cakes, the current NBA season; the longer, lighter days; and my dear friend Halley – a mother and clinical herbalist from whom I am constantly learning.
More on Marjory here
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