'Farm girl' brings down-home recipes to city
Delaware woman sells her new cookbook, spice blends via online store, local businesses
Deborah Mahon grew up in a farming community, where dinner usually was picked fresh from the garden.
On her family's farm in Bucyrus, fruits and vegetables were eaten in season, and meat was locally raised.
So when Mahon relocated to Delaware County in 2010, she brought those country sensibilities with her.
"When we moved into the neighborhood, our neighbors started taking notice of the tomatoes, peppers and pickles growing in our garden," Mahon said. "I realized that not everyone here knows how to garden or preserve their food or buy local meats to cook.
"My husband called me the gourmet farm girl."
The name stuck. Today, the Gourmet Farm Girl has a new cookbook filled with wholesome recipes, plus a line of signature seasoning blends, flavorful cooking oils and more.
Her products are available at a variety of area businesses and online at thegourmetfarmgirl.com.
Mahon's cookbook features refined recipes for farm-grilled chili, chicken and dumplings and a variety of soups and chowders.
It also includes comfort foods such as grilled pork chops with fried cabbage over mashed potatoes -- not to mention treats such as farm girl peach crumble and mom's strawberry pie.
"These aren't recipes that use a lot of processed foods, but you also don't have to go out and buy numerous things to make them," Mahon said.
Her line of spice blends includes pork and seafood seasonings, a dry barbecue rub and her best-seller, a house seasoning with an Italian flavor.
She also sells specialty oils, including olive oils infused with lime, blood orange and rosemary, plus fig and apple balsamic vinegars.
For the holiday season, she has gift packages that include her cookbook and the seasoning blends.
Those blends factor into many of Mahon's recipes, which are accompanied in the cookbook by anecdotes from her life growing up on the farm in Bucyrus.
"It's not just a cookbook -- it's also a storybook," Mahon said. "It's filled with pictures and stories from my family going clear back to the early 1800s."
It also features educational tidbits, such as a page explaining the differences between summer and winter squash.
Mahon has big plans for the Gourmet Farm Girl brand. In the next year, she hopes to offer "garden-to-table" classes, during which she would walk a small group through the process of creating a delicious meal from scratch.
She also hopes to host regular cooking classes and eventually to open a brick-and-mortar store -- possibly in Delaware -- with a friend who arranges flowers and plans events.
For now, her products can be purchased online and at local stores, including Beehive Books and the Delaware County Community Market in Delaware; Simply Vague at the Mall at Tuttle Crossing; Celebrate Local at Easton; the Ohio Herb Education Center in Gahanna; and the Seiter House in Marion.
During the warm months, she sells at local farmers markets in Delaware, New Albany and elsewhere.