Robert has always loved growing and taking care of animals and plants. As a youngster Robert’s Dad read him Farmer Boy, by Laura Ingalls Wilder, and in that story Almanzo grows a monster pumpkin by feeding it fresh milk injected into the vine. That's all it took for Robert to become obsessed with gardening, particularly growing monster pumpkins. Robert ended up growing some very large pumpkins but he never was able to get the milk IV to properly function.
Robert ended up going to school for Environmental Science, and shortly after Jillian and Robert were married, he took a job in Parker, Arizona running a remote research/ grow-out facility for the endangered fishes of the Colorado River. Robert became an expert on the Native fishes of the Colorado River and was very successful in rearing hundreds of thousands of threatened and endangered Bonytail Chub while figuring out how to garden in the extreme heat of Arizona.
These last 15 years Robert has been a Smokejumper with the United States Department of Agriculture, traveling all over the western U.S. and parachuting into remote wildfires in order to put them out. It was while on a Smokejumper assignment in New Mexico that Robert first became intrigued with growing garlic. Robert was looking into how to better utilize Sundries Farm and was looking into plants that could be grown around his busy summer fire season: garlic is planted in the late fall. Robert learned that garlic is like grape vines, garlic seed begins to adapt to its environment and takes on its own terroir, unique to where it is propagated which intrigued him. After Six years of planting and replanting his own seed garlic , always holding back the very best to replant, Robert has found his adult “giant, milk fed pumpkin” by growing the biggest and best garlic available! Sundries Farm Garlic!
Jillian grew up in the Canadian bush. She and Robert met in New Zealand and after writing each other a thousand letters they eloped and began their life together in Alaska which is where they also began their gardening career by growing a good many things but most notably, prize worthy bell peppers in an outhouse — work with what you have!
Jillian gladly immigrated to the United States of America and invented herself as an independent, full-time, working artist — she is a silversmith, photographer and published writer. Her life and work revolve around a core set of values: independence, food sovereignty, creativity, sustainability, freedom and personal responsibility. She believes our health and wellness are rooted in the quality of our food, our connection to that food, our gratitude for that food, and stewardship of the land that brings that food forth.