Teri Edwards, 45, and Serena Thompson, 38, are stay-at-home moms in Spokane, Wash., with a penchant for antiques, handmade goods and homemade foods. They’re also known nationally as The Farm Chicks, putting on an annual antique show and writing a monthly column in Country Living. Just as their first book, The Farm Chicks in the Kitchen (Hearst Books), hits bookstores, the Farm Chicks talked to PW about junking, branding and writing a book.
PW: How did you two meet?
Teri: Serena and I have been friends for the past 13 years or so. We went to the same church, and things evolved. We both enjoyed junking, so we started an antique show.
PW: And now you have an annual antique show, and sell a line of jewelry, soaps, lotions, gifts and apparel. How’d that happen?
Serena: For the very first show, we had we had little t-shirts made up with our logo. People were crazy about it. They embraced the brand. We thought, ‘Gosh, we should try selling branded merchandise.’ It’s been a really natural extension of our business.
Teri.: It’s not a huge offering of items. But wow that we’ve gotten to be known nationwide from our Country Living column, we have people who want the products. That was a real blessing for us. There’s something about our name, the Farm Chicks. It’s interesting to watch people respond to that name. They smile and laugh.
PW: What was your vision for the book?
Serena: It took a lot of twists and turns. I think it’s not exactly how we envisioned it. But as things kind of evolved it ended up being better than we imagined. We really have a passion for baking and simple things, and I think that comes through in the book. We were in Seattle a couple of days ago, and I was listening to this couple. The woman said, ‘I’m tired of all this fancy food, fancy stuff. Everything’s too fancy. I just want food like my mom used to make.’
Teri: [laughing]: Did you pull the cookbook out of your purse?
PW: What are your backgrounds?
Serena: We’re complete hacks.
Teri: Total newbies. One or both of us said to our publisher, ‘You do realize that we’re just home cooks?’ We just bake for our families. Neither of us have ever worked in a restaurant. We have no experience whatsoever—which is probably part of the reason the book’s simple, with easy, basic family recipes. Nothing’s too far out there.
PW: Which cookbook authors do you admire?
Teri: I love the Barefoot Contessa. I know she can border on being a real foodie, but she also has a really great family comfort food feel to her. I go to her cookbooks a lot. There’s something about her that translates through her cookbooks. She feels like somebody you could be friends with.
Serena: I love Giada’s recipes, but I really feel warm and fuzzy about Ina [Garten, a.k.a. The Barefoot Contessa]. I just feel like, ‘Oh gosh, I really like her, I want to cook her food!’