Quiet Creek Herb Farm & School of Country Living is a beautiful sustainable herb farm located only two hours outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The stewards of Quiet Creek, Rusty and Claire, use this wonderful place to teach sustainable living methods, conservation, and practical skills such as soap making. It seems like the knowledge in these areas they have to share is nearly limitless and I was thrilled to learn about all of the other classes they teach. Soap making? Yes, please! Earthen building? Yes, please! Everything else? Yes, please! Take a look at their classes here or find out more about building your own class.
The farm is perched on gently rolling green hills and the only sound to be heard is birdsong. It's quite the change from the city and the serene stillness immediately calms and welcomes visitors. You can feel yourself slowing down, breathing deep, and relaxing.
My friend Jen who told me about Quiet Creek and I visited the farm for their 15th Annual Spring Festival. There were quite a few things on the schedule but each thing took place in its own time and none of it was rushed.
Quiet Creek Farm Shop is open year round on Fridays and Saturdays from 9 am to 5 pm or by appointment at other times. It sells a wide variety of things from books and educational pamphlets to handmade soaps, grains, tintures, teas, essential oils and salves. Many of the things sold in the shop are grown or made right there on the farm.
Jen and I wanted to browse the shop right away but it had been a long trip and we needed to ask to use the facilities. We were given two choices--the 'regular' bathroom across the driveway in the farmhouse or the sawdust toilet. Jen peeked into the room with the sawdust toilet, whispered to me that it looked like a human litter box, and opted for the regular one but my interest was piqued. My curiosity can be strange at times.
It seems I'm a little strange enough to take a picture and share it with everyone. The concept behind the sawdust toilet is that business is conducted as usual but instead of water in the bowl there is sawdust in a bucket under the seat. Then, when you are finished, you take a big scoop of clean sawdust and sprinkle it over the um....soiled sawdust in the bucket. When the bucket fills, it is covered and swapped out for an empty bucket. The contents of the filled buckets is used to make compost. Yes, I said compost. Humanure specifically. You can learn more about it at the Humanure Handbook website or any other various books and websites.
There's a lot of good information about this process and its benefits. I know a lot of people would be disgusted at this concept but I think that that's because people nowadays are far removed from not only the production of food but also the realities of everyday life. I know that the majority of people would never consider having (or even using!) a sawdust toilet but I'd encourage everyone to at least learn about the process.
And guess what? There was absolutely no smell in the bathroom except for the scent of sawdust which is a rather pleasant smell. That certainly smells better than the scent of Lysol we are usually accustomed to smelling in bathrooms!
Educate yourself before you talk negatively about something!
This oven gave me immense emotions of envy not unlike when I had mixer envy. I'd love to have one of these in my backyard! Jen and I headed inside the farmhouse to help make pizzas for lunch.
The pizza crust was made from sprouted wheat, ground flax and sunflower seeds, and a few other things to make a crisp, chewy crust. Nearly every ingredient for the toppings came from the farm or from another local farm. The sauce was made from tomatoes and herbs grown at Quiet Creek, the onions and garlic were grown on site as well, and even the mushrooms were foraged in the nearby woods just the night before!
That oven. Sigh.
Jen and I tucked an almost embarrassing amount of mushrooms under the locally made mozzarella. Yum!
The pizza luncheon was a group effort. Everyone made their 'own' pizzas but then in the nearby pavilion they were sliced into generous squares so everyone could sample one another's and that way get to taste all the various combinations of toppings.
There was also a leafy green salad and a housemade dressing grown and made entirely from lettuce and herbs grown at Quiet Creek. At the nutrition class Jen and I attended after, Claire talked more about which herbs were used in the dressing and I'm rather sorry I didn't think to jot them down at the time because it was deliciously light and tasty.
We almost didn't get to try one of the famous Chocolate No Bakes but then a new plate was brought out. Boy, was I glad! They were hands down the best no bakes I've ever eaten and I've eaten a lot because these are one of my husband's favorite cookies. These ones were deeply chocolate and oaty but did not have the overly sweet taste that all of the other No Bake cookies I've ever tasted have. Claire told us at the nutrition class that she uses cane juice as the sweetner in these cookies. I sure would love to have her recipe and be able to share it here because they were that good.
Lunch was lovely and how could it not be when edible flowers are on the plate?
Everywhere we looked there were things growing or just peeking their heads up from the freshly turned soil.
Imagine being able to go outside and pick your cup of tea!
The yurt is also used to hold some classes. On this day, there was an afternoon yoga class held in the yurt and I nearly got caught up in the class but I wanted to explore some of the nature trails before Jen and I had to leave.
Quiet Creek Farm & School of Country Living is truly a treasure that I hope to be able to visit again and again over the years. I would love to be able to attend the upcoming Medicinal Herbs or Earthen Building Intensive Workshops that are coming up this Summer and I'm hoping that I'll be able to make at least one of those happen.
Quiet Creek Herb Farm & School of Country Living
93 Quiet Creek Lane
Brookville, PA 15825