P. Allen Smith Talks About His Moss Mountain Farm in Arkansas
On a recent trip to Little Rock, I had the opportunity to visit Moss Mountain Farm, P. Allen Smith’s working 600+ acre farm 30 miles outside of the city.
Smith is the host of two public television programs, P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home, P. Allen Smith’s Garden to Table and the syndicated 30-minute show P. Allen Smith Gardens.
He’s also authored the bestselling Garden Home series of books, as well as cookbooks.
We had a wonderful lunch at the farm, toured his magnificent energy efficient home and I interviewed the home, garden and cooking guru.
Read through the Q&A and at the end, you’ll have a chance to win one of Smith’s cookbooks!
1). Tell me a little about your career, how did you get your start?
Smith: I attended Hendrix College, majoring in biology and history and then studied garden history and design in England. My family owned a garden center in Little Rock and I helped run that business. I started doing workshops through the garden center and then became a regular on a radio show and then television. In 1993, I started a production company and began producing news inserts about gardening and cooking. I was on the Weather Channel for a time and then we started doing 30 minute programs. This is our 13th season of shows on PBS.
2). Tell us about Moss Mountain Farm.
Smith: It is a model farm for weekend farmers and sustainable living. We have a flock of sheep and heritage chickens. There are vegetable and flower gardens and we cut hay off of the farm. We raise food organically and I think people are interested in seeing how our food is raised. The house is five years old and I do live there. It’s in the Greek Revival style and I went to great lengths to make sure it is energy efficient.
3). Tell us about some of the highlights of energy efficiency in the house.
We have an energy efficient heating and cooling system and we have a rain water collection system. There almost is nothing about the house that isn’t constructed with energy efficiency in mind. The house is the highest rated in energy efficiency, we built the house with LEEDs certification standards in mind, but we could not gain that certification because it is not available to rural homes.
4). What do you think of the GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) controversy?
I try to stay away from it – not the controversy – but GMOs. Look, I think all consumers want choices and they don’t want their food raised just one way. I think some people care about how their food is raised. I want my food grown organically and that’s why we have heirloom vegetables and poultry at the farm. I’m not opposed to trying new hybrid tomatoes, but I’m not interested in GMO. I think GMO is a different approach to agriculture, but I think if it is GMO, it should be disclosed on the label. I understand why people want to know and I think we have the right to know.
5). What does that P. stand for in your name?
If you are interested in visiting the P. Allen Smith farm, you can find a schedule of tours at the website.
Tell us why you would like to win a cookbook authored by P. Allen Smith by leaving a comment in the section below before 5 p.m. U.S. CST on Thursday August 15 and you will be entered to win a book. You must provide your email address so we can notify you of your win. Entries without this information will be disqualified. We will draw a winner and announce it on this blog, as well as our Facebook page on Friday, August 16. If you win, you must send your snail mail address to us within 48 hours or another winner will be pulled.