Ella Faire House of Monroe County says she’s spent her whole life on a farm and can’t see any reason she won’t spend the rest of her days in the same way.
“Farming is a hard life, but it’s the best life I know,” she says.
From her young days in her mother’s kitchen to the lunches she now prepares for her sons and grandson who work on the farm, Ella Faire has spent much of her farm life in the kitchen.
“I remember the first thing I learned to make was blackberry pie, and not long after that, cornbread — not from a mix in a box, but real, old-fashioned cornbread from corn we’d shelled and took to the mill to have ground,” she recalls.
Today, she may take advantage of a cornbread mix now and then, but Ella Faire is proud to cook for her family whether it’s the weekday lunch for three or four or holiday meals for the whole family.
“Easter Sunday I had about 30 people for lunch. That’s just family, and a few of them couldn’t come,” she said.
“I make it easy for myself though with paper plates. If people have enough good food to eat, they can eat off anything,” she says, giving the impression that preparing lunch for 30 people before she left for church was no more trouble for her than boiling water.
She has three sons, Mike, Robin and Gary, and a daughter, Judy Rodenberry, as well as nine grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. The family farm where they raise beef cattle and plant soybeans, wheat, cotton and peanuts is maintained by her three sons and her grandson, Kevin.
“As tough as farming can be, it’s a blessing in these times to be a farmer because at least farmers can be sure they’ll have a job,” she says.
This time of year, Ella Faire says she looks forward to vegetables fresh from her garden.
“It’s not a big garden, but I’ll have squash, peas and butter beans. I want just enough for nice big pots of vegetable beef soup through the winter,” she says.
She says most of her recipes are the result of trial and error, and the two cake recipes are family favorites.
“The Applesauce Cake is the easiest thing to make, and it’s just delicious. I usually don’t share my mother’s Red Velvet Cake recipe, but it is a good one, too,” she says.