I’ve always been a big fan of food.  Eating it.  Making it.  Daydreaming about it.

Food is such an important life experience.  Not only does it sustain us, but it’s what brings people together.

As a photographer, I hoped that someday I might be able to combine my two passions into something I could share with the world.  In 2011, Summer In The Garden was born.  It’s a true labor of love that serves as a creative avenue to share my passion for food and sustainable living.

When I was a little girl, my mother made me a very special desk.  It was an old desk that she stripped down to bare wood and made new again with white paint and beautifully hand-painted flowers along the edges.  Intertwined with those flowers, she painted this quote:

“Il faut cultiver notre jardin.”

Written by Voltaire in his famous play, Candide, it reads, “We must cultivate our garden.”  I’ve always interpreted this to mean we’re responsible for creating what we want out of life and making it beautiful.

Several years ago, I realized what would make me truly happy was to have a little garden, some chickens running around, and be surrounded by the people I care about; sharing love, life and food together.  Ever since then, I’ve been cultivating that vision.  And this blog is my journey.

Thanks for stopping by!

Ashley Summer

. . .

First Culinary Creation: Age 7. Wonder bread, Kraft cheese slice, honey, and Lays potato chip sandwich.  Thanks Grandpa for eating it and saying it was the best thing you had ever tasted, even though years later I realized you were faking it.  (In my defense, it really wasn’t so bad.  It was the perfect combination of salty, sweet and crunch!)  I still make it when I really miss him.

Worst Kitchen Ouchie: Age 5. Reaching behind the waffle maker to nab a little dot of delicious batter that had fallen onto the counter.  I was so concerned with getting this smidgen of heaven down my gullet that I wasn’t paying attention and horribly burned my wrist on the side of the hot metal.  It was bad.  Needless to say, the dot of batter remained on the counter.  Dangit!

First Real Kitchen Gift: Age 12. After months of hoping, my parents surprised me with the best Christmas gift ever – a white, free-standing KitchenAid mixer (which is still my workhorse today.)  I could barely believe my eyes!  I was the luckiest kid around.  While all my friends were excited about their new bicycles and Roller Blades, I was off daydreaming about the incredible meringue cookies I could now whip up with ease!

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