July 15, 2014

back to the land workshop

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Hello lovelies! I’m back from my trip to the forest, attending the Three Lily Farm Back to the Land workshop and I couldn’t feel more rejuvenated. Frank and Camille Rose Giglio, the hosts of the event, live in a solar powered home in central Maine and focus on living close to the land via organic farming, permaculture, and wild food harvesting. The event spanned over three days with this juicy promise:

It’s time to reconnect with the land and learn to live simply, eat properly, and work with nature’s most valuable resources. The event will have a strong focus on understanding traditional diets, and merging the forest & the farm for optimal health and wellness.

I was the first to arrive, out of a group of about 18 people, and set myself up in this cute little cabin (it actually had wi-fi, but I resisted all urges to connect!).

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Once I settled in, and with tons of fresh air in my lungs, sun shining on my bare face and birds chirping alongside me I set out barefoot to explore this little patch of heaven.

Swimming in a spring-fed pond, journaling and finding my zen in their hammock made for a very good start to this getaway …

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… and thanks to Frank and Camille’s adorable 3 year old son Wilder, I found a mulberry tree.

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And then proceeded to munch on my share of sweet berries, while Wilder would giggle “it’s so delicious!”. You got that right my friend.

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The vegetable garden ….

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Wandering on the path less traveled ….

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Realizing I’m not the only one making new friends this weekend …

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Our culinary line-up for the weekend!


  • dinner: fish chowder, nettle pesto, sourdough, mixed greens with honey/lemon vinaigrette


  • breakfast: yerba mate, bulletproof coffee, blueberry smoothies, eggs (frittata, omelet & poached)
  • lunch: spiced meatballs, socca, whole roasted carrots, herbed ricotta
  • dinner: chipotle chicken tacos, wild rice & veggies, milkweed fritters, herb butter
  • dessert: chocolate-covered maca balls, flourless chocolate cake with coconut whip cream and fruit, chocolate cups


  • breakfast: yerba mate, bulletproof coffee, blueberry smoothies; cured salmon, scallion pancakes & cultured cream
  • lunch: ginger chicken collard wraps, jungle peanut sauce, sesame noodles

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Learning how to make the perfect frittata on Saturday morning …

(Each morning, before doing stretches with Daniel Vitalis, everyone would jump in the pond and then fuel up with blueberry smoothies and bulleproof coffee blended with chaga tea. Why can’t I start every day like that?!)

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Lunch and dinner prep …

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Quick break to juice …

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Dessert prep … (this was my work station and I was trying hard to fight against my sweet tooth and not eat them as I made them)

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Harvesting wild milkweed for dinner …

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… to go along with chipotle chicken tacos, wild rice and veggies, herb butter and a salad.

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Saturday night ushered in July’s super moon as we sat around a camp fire listening to Daniel give a talk on rewilding …

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Sunday morning we learned how to make cured salmon and as I was furiously scribbling notes I suddenly realized just how bloody easy it is -and is now the perfect excuse for me to plan a brunch for my friends.

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Rounding out the weekend was a quick class on how to make an immune-boosting elixir (let this baby sit for a month and then take a tbsp a day, or a shot of it whenever you’re feeling under the weather), and how to harvest chaga and reishi mushrooms to make superfoods out of them, like tea and tinctures.

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(left: reishi; right; chaga)

This retreat was absolutely the experience I was seeking. I was able to unplug for a few days and really focus on how to eat, live and think for the optimal health and wellness this workshop astutely promised to deliver.

Their event in August is sold out, but they’re planning to have four more next year. To stay in the loop you can sign up for their newsletter or follow them on Facebook or Twitter.

How did everyone else spend the supermoon weekend? Catch me up!


  • Reading this post just made me feel so calm and inspired! What a beautiful, beautiful time it sounds like you had. Such magical photos, too! You just reminded me I need to try bulletproof coffee, and also, ummm can we talk about your menu!? every meal sounds like such a decadent dish. I’m hungry now! How were the chocolate covered maca balls!?

    • Yaay! I’m glad it inspired the same feelings I had when I was actually in that environment 🙂 The menu was incredible! I definitely gorged myself on delicious food all weekend and I can’t even begin to describe how yummy the maca balls were. I need to get a food processor stat! Thanks for saying hi Britanie! xo

  • Greg

    The pictures and the layout of this post are stunning. You made use of the technology we have at our fingertips to capture the wonderful off-the-grid weekend we all shared, and you did a damn good job doing so. Thank you for this Sonya!

    • thanks Greg! It really was the perfect weekend surrounded by some pretty spectacular nature. Completely missing swimming in that pond right now!

  • Rob Wolfe

    Looks like a blast, thanks for documenting with photos! Just fyi, the medicinal mushrooms are opposite (chaga is on the right).

    • ahhh I can’t believe I mixed them up! thanks for bringing that to my attention and thanks for being the first guy to leave a comment on my site! 😀

  • Kat

    Oh good lawd’ that sounds divine! Everything sounds so “on purpose” even the knives were beautiful. I would love to do this. That hammock is calling my name!! Happy for your to have experienced that, thank you for sharing a piece 🙂 x Kat

    • aren’t the knives exquisite?! I really wanted the one that had the carvings…and of course a forest in which to use it 😉 The hammock totally wrapped its arms around me and I think I even fell asleep for a bit! Thanks for stopping by love! xo

  • Frank Giglio

    Sonja! Awesome post, So glad to meet and host you last weekend!

    • thanks for hosting such a great event!!! I definitely want to try and return next year 🙂

  • Wow, what a fun getaway! This sounds like it was an amazing experience. All the food pictures had me gasping, how beautiful! Thanks for sharing, hope I can go in the future! 🙂

    • it was as if I was living in a postcard for the weekend – such bliss! I hope you can make it next year 🙂 xx

  • Margie

    Love the photos, they are all exquisitely presented and make your time there look so inviting. Glad the weekend was a success in every way!

    • it was! couldn’t have asked for a better retreat experience 🙂

  • SO excited for you. This sounds so awesome, I drank up this post- so glad it was such a positive experience. Sounds like a dream, truly! I want to go so bad next year- I love their newsletters and recipes/ideas. What a charmed life they have— ah! :0) – Kathryne

    • they totally do have that sought-after charmed life, I kept thinking all weekend ‘how can I make this a small part of my reality?!’ Maybe next year the two of us can go! Thanks for saying hi Kathryne, hope you had a great day! xx

      • TOTALLY! Talk about a dream vacation! Great pics! :0)