Shonda Palmer

June 20, 2023

Shonda Palmer

In the summer of 2011, I had a dream come true. We found a small hobby farm on just a few acres in San Diego county. A friend in Arizona shared about an urban farm in Scottsdale and I started following The Simple Farm’s blog for inspiration as I planned my own little farm, named Hollyhock Hill.

Over the next few years I enjoyed my piece of land complete with chickens, turkeys, llamas, and a naughty goat. Our family also endured some challenging times with severe health issues for both my husband and youngest daughter. I learned a lot about finding peace, practicing patience, and being in and appreciating the moment to find the joy. So much of that was done outside amidst my animals and flowers- inspired by The Simple Farm.

Well, it just so happens that I have the best family.  For Mother’s Day 2014  I flew to Phoenix, Arizona for a solo retreat with the plan of visiting The Simple Farm and other urban farms participating in a community edible garden tour.

Reading The Simple Farm blog gave me inspiration, encouragement, and just plain filled me with peace and joy and I was going to experience it “in real life” and not just online!! I was over the moon. As an introvert, this was outside my comfort zone but I knew I had to do it! I felt drawn to the farm.

My Mother’s Day Mission was to visit The Simple Farm Thursday Market they had at the time and attend the garden tour in town.

Thursday morning, bright and early I arrived at The Simple Farm Market.  I was so excited to be there!  I walked around in a daze and tried to take everything in. After walking around with a goofy smile on my face, I spotted the owner and farmer, Lylah, just as beautiful and warm as I expected her to be. She buzzed around and made people feel loved and welcome.

I signed up for the outdoor cooking class, The Craft of Cooking, so I headed that way and met three lovely ladies that couldn’t have been nicer. There were just four of us in the class and it was fun sitting outside with them, watching the cooking demo, asking questions, and sampling the french herb omelet and bruchetta. So peaceful. So warm and inviting.

After the class, I planned on really making the most of my visit and staying until the gates closed. I took pictures of everything and looped around the farm a couple of times. Everything was so beautiful.  Hollyhocks, artichokes, pomegranates, flowers of all kinds, and organic fruits and vegetables growing everywhere.

Lylah had cute places to sit and visit all over the property. Her vision to create a gathering place in the community where people could connect to one another and be inspired to grow their own food was manifested.

The farm was all so charming and quaint I didn’t want to leave.  It was like walking around in a gardening magazine.

There was a market area in a small barn where you could shop for fresh picked fruits and veggies, flowers and herbs, eggs, butters, broth...All kinds of good things!  Since I was staying in a hotel, I couldn’t buy all of the things I wanted (which was everything!) but I did buy Lylah’s world famous goats milk sea salt caramels.  So creamy and delicious! I also took back a bag filled with delicious breads from a local artisan, a slice of the best German chocolate cake I have ever had, and super yummy beehive chocolate. Such delicious memories!

I visited the goat girls that provide the wonderful milk for the caramels and they looked so happy and lovingly cared for. I had been following the births of some of them and knew them by name.

The Simple Farm was everything I expected and I so wished I could pop in every week! Lylah has been an inspiration to me. Her kindness, ingenuity, faith, and resiliency truly is inspiring and you can feel it in every step you take at the farm.

What a dear soul she is. I will treasure our conversation while we sat and visited during the garden tour. She has a natural gift for making people feel at home wherever they may be.

I’m grateful for the time I spent at The Simple Farm. Traveling all the way from  San Diego just to attend a market for a few hours was worth every mile. I’ll never forget it.


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