Inspired by Farmers, Flavor & Fun
By Amy Myrdal Miller, MS, RDN, FAND
CA GROWN Retail Nutrition & Foodservice Partnership Specialist
Influenced by agriculture –
My life has been profoundly influenced by early experiences I shared with my parents as I was
growing up on a farm in northeast North Dakota. Picking Concord grapes and plums from the
vines and trees my dad had planted in a shelter belt north of our farm showed me the joy of
growing and harvesting your own food. Spitting out grape seeds with my dad as we walked back
to the house seemed so naughty and adventurous to my six-year-old self.
My mom always invited me to join her in her garden to harvest rhubarb, baby lettuces,
raspberries, beets, and many other crops. She’d also send me out to cut some chives for
scrambled eggs, mint for lemonade, or rosemary for roast chicken. I was proud she trusted me
with her paring knife during these important culinary missions.
Respecting other farmers, and beloved California citrus.
Both my parents not only loved what they grew, they also had a deep respect for foods grown by other farmers across this country. Every February my dad would fly to Fort Lauderdale to visit his favorite uncle. He’d always bring back a big bag of grapefruit and talk endlessly about how the quality was so exceptional. My mom traveled to Northern California each spring to visit her younger brother and bring back navel oranges for my dad. Both my parents had grown up during the Great Depression when oranges were a rare treat, something that would occasionally fill a Christmas stocking. That reverence for the simple gift of a piece of citrus fruit stayed with them throughout their lives.
Discovering a love for kiwi in Davis –
On one of my mom’s California adventures she discovered kiwi fruit at the Davis Farmers Market.
She brought back a bag for me to share with my classmates who were as amazed as I was by
the beautiful interior of the very exotic fruit. It was so fun to see their reactions as they cut into
the fruit with plastic knives, an experience that has led to many other opportunities to share new
food experiences with people through the work I do.
Today, I am beyond delighted to have the opportunity to work with the CA GROWN team to
share information and inspiration about California agriculture and all the amazing crops farmers
and growers across the Golden State produce for the rest of us to enjoy. I’m also very proud to
have three citrus trees in my backyard—a seedless lime, Minneola tangelo, and navel orange
tree—trees planted to honor my parents’ legacy of loving citrus fruit and a deep respect for the
people who care for and harvest the fruit.
Meet Amy Myrdal Miller:
Amy is a farmer’s daughter from North Dakota, award-winning dietitian, culinary nutrition expert, and founder and president of Farmer’s Daughter Consulting, Inc. She is the retail nutrition marketing and foodservice partnership specialist for CA GROWN, a member of the Texas A&M Institute for Advancing Health Through Agriculture AgriLife External Advisory Board, a member of the Bayer Vegetable Seeds Horticultural Advisory Council, and co-author of Cooking á la Heart, a 500-recipe cookbook based on plant-forward eating cultures from around the world. You can learn more about her business at farmersdaughterconsulting.com and follow her insights on food and flavor on social: @alaheartamy