Nourish began in early 2019 when Douglas and David had recently moved to Illinois for David's work at Elgin Community College. At that time, Douglas was still figuring out how to morph his work at a new environment. He tried to restart his catering business, Gastronomia, but in Chicagoland, nobody knew his work, and virtually every restaurant offered catering as well. He would drive for Uber during the day, and make cold calls for catering gigs hoping something would come up. It didn't. At that was for the best since he felt his heart wasn't in catering either.
During that Winter, he pick up the book Sourdough, by Sarah Owens, that David had gifted him a couple of years before, determined to finally learn the seemingly complicated art of sourdough baking. After some sweat, tears, hours of video watching, and several batches of bad bread, he managed to concoct some decent sourdough loaves for the first time!
Close to his home in Algonquin, IL, a pasture farm nestled in a Nature Preserve, would showcase their free-ranging cows and chickens by the road. They offered the most delicious raw milk, pastured raised chickens and eggs, and grass-fed beef. As he would see (and taste) the importance of raising practices quality for foods' flavor and nutrition, he decided to go back on the food chain and learn how food grows.
When Spring came, he applied for the Organic and Regenerative Farm Apprenticeship at that same All-Grass Farms. Douglas had the energy, the excitement, and the willingness to learn and work. He could see that his path threaded through those same tall grasses that the cows and chickens lived upon. And... he wasn't chosen for the limited spots.
That crushed him a bit. He thought that a skinny Brazilian didn't look like the Midwestern farm type. But perseverance wins the race! He would still stop by to buy the products and check for a job opportunity.
During this time he practiced more sourdough bread making and started to sell to friends. One day when he stopped by the farm, they told him an apprentice suddenly gave up on her planting plans and they needed someone right away to pick up the slack. He jumped right in!
For the next two years, Douglas would wake up before dawn to milk the Guernsey cows, feed laying hens, move chickens and beef cows to new paddocks, plant vegetables, and whatever else a regenerative farm needed.
He learned a lot about the soil, the non-human life that nourishes the people. Developing appreciation for everyone's work: Mother Nature, Father Time, the grasses, the rain, the cows, the chickens, and also for humans sweating on the fields.
He made friends that last till this day. Cliff, the nicest boss. Curt, the no bad weather, no bullshit, does all guy. Mike, a great shiftmate, someone Douglas would love to argue and work with. Ania, the most beautifully energetic person. To them all Douglas sends love and good wishes!
Douglas would bake bread for him, David and his friends, while also bringing some for lunch and sharing with the farm crew. They loved it and asked if he could start making some to sell at the store. The dream was becoming reality!
From then on, Nourish grow organically alongside the farm work. Douglas would finish the 9-hour farm shift, go back home and start working again on his bread. He can tell you: IT WASN'T EASY! Most of the time it wasn't fun either. A sense of pursuit and accomplishment was there though, in the dough.
He had to keep grinding, the grain and himself, on the hard stone of two jobs and a husband to care for, who had his own big challenges to face. Now he sees that time as the hardest and most difficult of his personal and professional life. So much was happening to David and Douglas both. So much learning, growth, and change.
Health, money, and relationship needing so much attention, so much work, so much care at the same time.
All were hanging by a thread. At times things didn't seem to have hope. And at times, everything seemed to right as it was meant to be. This was also the happiest moment of both their lives until then.
Those three aspects of our lives David and I were trying to keep stable, together, and strong makes me think of an album cover from my favorite musician, Gilberto Gil, and one of my favorite songs: Tempo rei (Time, king).
DOUGLAS IS STILL BUILDING THIS WEBSITE. MORE CONTENT IS BEING FERMENTED!