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MaryJane Butters Serves up Good, Wholesome Living
By Eileen Dolbeare
World Ark
May/June 2004

Food is one of our most basic human needs and pleasures. We should be nourished and fulfilled by what we eat — not confused and scared.

But in a time of mad cow disease, genetically modified organisms and wide-spread uncertainty about the validity of our food pyramid — are you low carb or low fat? — we’re often left wondering how to make the best and safest food choices.

That’s why MaryJane Butters’ solution to all of the confusion is so compelling. Butters, an organic farmer from Moscow, Idaho, with a passion for feeding people well, runs an organic farm with a name as appealing as her own — “Paradise Farm,” where she produces a line of instant or quick-prep organic meals.

Dubbed by some as a possible successor to Martha Stewart for her natural domestic creativity, Butters wants to reconnect rural food producers with consumers. Today, her website, magazine, and product line offer “Simple Solutions for Everyday Organic” that help people access wholesome, organic food “from farm house to your house.” Her first book, “MaryJane’s Gathering Place,” is scheduled to be published in spring 2005.

Her “elegant and easy” products include an array of exclusively organic foods including such appetizing options as sweet corn salsa, garlic pesto fry bread, and Sicilian polenta. Her website includes an online catalog where users can purchase organic food at a reasonable price and read recipes for easy-to-cook one-skillet meals. It’s a solution to eat organically even on a tight budget.

Butters’ products are just the beginning of the “everyday organic” lifestyle she espouses. In a 144-page, full-color magazine that Butters calls “one part catalog and two parts magazine,” she has created a “women’s magazine where we can share solutions and show off our talents and really just a place where we can talk.”

MaryJane Butters is a charismatic figure because she brings us back to the basics of good, wholesome food in a way that’s doable and satisfying. And that’s truly sustainable.

How to Eat Well
MaryJane Butters offers simple tips on how to buy and make healthy, organic food.

  1. Find food with a face on it. Put a face to food. Know the farmer; know who handled the food and where it came from. There is all this faceless food in the grocery stores, and we have faceless corporations who feed us.
  2. Support a local farmer. Go to your farmers market religiously. Even in your grocery store, if you see they’re trying to support a local person, really make an effort not only to buy what they’re producing, but communicate with them and thank them. Think of them as national heroes because we don’t have enough.
  3. Throw out your salad forks. What do you do with a rutabaga or beets? I’ve created a solution for how to eat vegetables — eat salad with a spoon. Put all your greens and vegetables on a cutting board in a big mound and chop it up. It’s a great way to eat more diverse food. Throw out your salad forks!
  4. Focus and do little things. The world needs so much that it gets overwhelming. Do smaller things that make you feel good, and go on to the next thing. Change grows organically.