Meet MaryJane Butters & win a copy of her new book Milk Cow Kitchen!


MaryJane Butters  lives in Idaho, where she farms, runs a very successful enterprise MaryJanesFarm and writes about how to do all the things we women long to learn. MaryJane is farmgirl extraordinaire and in her newest book Milk Cow Kitchen is out and you are going to have a chance to win an autographed copy.

I was blessed to meet MaryJane,  her daughter Meg, son in law Lucas and baby Stella back in March of 2007 when she was launching her partnership with Belk.  My first impression of meeting her in person after having talked to her many times over the phone was that MaryJane and family are the real deal.  She has a way of making you feel like you “belong” immediately.  She’s warm and funny and just as genuine as they come.  I knew the first time I ever spoke to her she was probably the most determined, confident woman I had ever met.  She had goals and dreams and she was going to see them through and leave her mark on this world.  And that is exactly what she is doing.   She is THE farmgirl and has taught and encouraged so many who have found her website and forums and Sisterhood.  When I joined the Farmgirl Sisterhood back in December of 2007, I was number 15 and now there are over 6000!

I have sang MaryJane’s praises for many years now and I know I can’t do her justice in a few questions but I am going to give it my best.  And you can’t really get to know her in a few  answers but you will feel like you do.  She’s strong and inspirational and has taken so many women on this journey with her, if you aren’t already in love, you will be.

In doing research for this post, looking back over what has been asked and answered and trying desperately to bring something new to y’all, I finally decided my post is different in that I have met MaryJane Butters. THE MaryJane Butters in the flesh.  Broke bread with MaryJane Butters and I have done business with MaryJane Butters.  So this interview or Q&A if you will, is personal.  Her motto is “Farmgirl is a condition of the heart.”  It really and truly is.  Since that meeting my life has taken a 180 turn…country woman to city woman. However, you can take me to the city, but you can’t take the country out of me.  All the things I loved about MaryJane and all the things she’s about are still near and dear to my heart.   Like her website says “We are Sisters — a sisterhood of farmgirls. We’re country, we’re city, and every texture and stripe in between. It’s not at all about where we live, but how we live.” I know you are going to want to be a part of that if you aren’t already.


Without further ado, meet my friend, MaryJane Butters!

1) NQJC: I find it hard to believe but there might be women out there who haven’t met you through your magazine, website, sisterhood and organic products.  So let’s pretend you are meeting the readers of this for the first time. What is the first thing you would want to tell about yourself?  “Hello, my name is MaryJanes Butters and I am…”

MJB:  I am the conduit for a language that had been archived, not erased, and not entirely forgotten, just mothballed. It’s the language of women who once knew how to speak fluent 4H (home, hearth, hogs, and handmade). The name of the language had been forgotten so I gave it a name, Farmgirl. And in true-blue farmgirl fashion, I got rid of the space between farm and girl and brought them together again, made them one. And the very minute a woman hears it, Farmgirl, she’s flooded with remembrance. Once the memory of it is triggered, it’s a language we speak easily and fluently. We get it!

2) NQJC: Before we get to the business at hand, tell us a little about your childhood and how it shaped you and what you believe to be important in life.

MJB: I grew up in Utah in a self-sufficient family of seven. My parents were enamored with Robert Rodale, the founder of the magazine, Organic Gardening. Consequently, we grew our own food, raised chickens and rabbits for meat, made our own clothes, drank raw milk from my uncle’s dairy farm, and went camping almost every weekend, essentially turning make-do into a religion. Thrift and industry made us tick, well, actually it kept us hopping. Someone who once experienced my family said, “It’s like you’re all in a popcorn popper.”

3) NQJC: Tell us about your home in Palouse, Idaho and all the things you offer there.

MJB: I actually live outside Moscow, Idaho in a region called the Palouse, which refers to a land covered in mounds of topsoil deposited here by ancient winds. In other words, it’s fecund and fertile, the perfect place for someone wanting to meld farm with girl. And with a last name like Butters and the cow in Moscow, wouldn’t you know it, I also have a dairy. Sometimes one’s destiny is a mere donut dunk.

4) NQJC: Having just introduced your 5th book and publishing a magazine that is of the highest quality, tell us a little about that journey and how you landed a multi-book deal and what you think has made you so successful.

MJB: The next issue of my magazine, MaryJanesFarm, is a “celebration of 15 years, 50 issues.” My vision of it, well before digital anything, was cut and pasted onto paper, put into a three-ring binder, and mailed to a woman in Chicago who I’d read about in a magazine. She was a “connector” type as mentioned in Malcolm Gladwell’s book, “The Tipping Point.” She wrote me back! Next, her NYC book agent called me. “You’ve had such an interesting life, you should write an autobiography.” That idea wasn’t of interest to me, but the idea of an ideabook was. So eight months after he first contacted me, I called him one day, “Okay, how does one go about writing a book proposal?” He sent me their standard format. I called him back, “This doesn’t fit who I am .How on earth would I know how to do a market analysis?” He said, “You know, I’m getting tired of those proposals myself. Why don’t you write something from your heart?” That ended up being 64 pages long, the proposal for MaryJane’s Ideabook, Lifebook, and Cookbook.” He shopped my proposal around and landed me a book deal with Random House for 1.35 millions dollars. “Fine then,” I said. “Looks like I’ll be writing a book.” Hubby (in disbelief) lent a hand by fixing me breakfast every morning. What made me successful? Bacon and eggs. Cream. And butter.

5) NQJC:  I have been a fan of yours for so many years and have met so many women who YOU are what we first have in common what do you consider your biggest accomplishment in the business world?

MJB: I am most proud of the fact that two of my adult children and their spouses work here at my farm full-time. I especially love it that my husband and I get to work together, at home, on the land, at the end of a dirt road. Yesterday, he surprised me by showing up in my milking parlor just in time to entertain my girls, Miss Daisy and Maizy, while I milked them. He gave them music lessons and then he gave them a long-overdue lecture on table manners. Maizy rewarded him with a slobbery kiss that smelled like fresh-cut grass and molasses. Life is good. And full of Jersey kisses.

6) NQJC: I am always watching to see what is next from you.  I am constantly amazed at the wealth of knowledge you have on so many different things.  What is next?  More books?

MJB: Yes! My daughter and I just finished a children’s book. She called a few minutes ago with a couple of last minute changes. “Moo-n Over Main Street Metropolis” will be out next year. After that, “Bread the MaryJane Way.” After that, “How to Run a FarmStay B&B.” After that, more cows, more milk, more adorable calves. My long-term goal is to see backyard milk cows dotting the landscape again. Don’t you need a moo too?

7) NQJC: I was so thrilled to get my copy of Milk Cow Kitchen.  My granny whom I called Mama Tom (my grandpa’s name was Tom so – makes sense right?) always had a milk cow.  I have drank many a glass of milk right out of the cow.  This book brought back such warm memories for me. Fig preserves on a piece of “light” bread with a glass of fresh milk…ahhhh sweet memories.  MaryJane, as I have said,  to me you are an endless source of ideas and ideals but what specifically brought you to this book?

MJB: Why, my last name of course!

8) NQJC: This book truly has something for everyone – real “cow”girls or those who dream of it.  For some of us, actually owning a milk cow and becoming a “cow” girl is not a reality at the moment and for some sadly, might never be. The recipes are just amazing!  You really need your own show on the food network!  I know you do have videos up on your website but would you entertain the idea of moving what you share to TV?

MJB: Probably not. I don’t even have time to watch TV let alone BE on TV. It’s not my medium. Besides, I’m “booked.”

9) NQJC: I have heard and read you compared to Martha Stewart but to me you are more of a Tasha Tudor type woman. Martha built and empire, Tasha built a life.  Who are women you looked up to when starting what is now an amazing resource for women in all walks of life?

MJB: Too many to list. Women like my unassuming bank teller who moonlights in a blues band. Women like my grandmother who was an outspoken suffragist. Women like Susan Dahlem who isn’t afraid to stand up for what she believes in, a true humanist. Women like Carol Hill, my magazine editor, who I’ve had the privilege of working with five days/week for close to 15 years. Women, period inspire me. How about the member of our Sisterhood last week who earned a merit badge for learning to drive her husband’s front end loader? And then to earn the expert level of her automechanics badge, she figured out how to change the oil in it.

10) NQJC: Now that you are so very well known (and loved) do you ever say “What have I gotten myself into?” Do you long for your privacy?

MJB: I’ve struck a balance. I’m okay with … (and loved). But I’ve learned to ask for what I need when it comes to my alone time. I know this will seem highly unbelievable but a week alone in NYC is awesome for me. Or three days on the Selway River. Or a weekend alone in my Airstream camped next to a bubbling brook. Alone isn’t lonely for me. It recharges my well. The result? Bring it on!

Thank you so much for your time.  You are too kind and ONE OF A KIND!  And a special thanks to Meg (MaryJane’s daughter) for your help in making this possible

Over the next week I will be sharing recipes I have made out of Milk Cow Kitchen. It has been a thrill to do this Q&A and I know everyone who reads it will enjoy.

Now everyone here is how to enter to win an autographed copy of Milk Cow Kitchen:

Super simple! Leave a comment at the end of this Q &A and the other posts that will follow this week (recipes! YAY!!) and consider yourself entered for each comment.  So the more you have to say, the more chances you have to win!  This book is beautiful!  You will love it!  And chock-full of not only information but wonderful recipes for you to try.  At the end of this week a winner will be randomly chosen to receive a signed copy of Milk Cow Kitchen! Woot!


You can find out more about MaryJane Butters by visiting:

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Robin Crittenden

How awesome to meet Mary Jane. Love the look of the new cookbook.

This is the BEST interview I’ve read with MaryJane. I think my favorite thing was what she said about getting rid of the space between “farm” and “girl”. My computer can never stand it when I type farmgirl. It always inserts a space there and a few times I’ve just been like, “oh well, whatever”. NEVER again. No space between “farm” and “girl”!!! That is just the coolest thing. Thanks for writing this. Thanks for the giveaway. I have the book (and LOVE it) but will gift it to my daughter if I win! 🙂 – Dori – P.S. Anxious to read your next posts on the recipes you’re sharing!

If this one is as wonderful as all of her other books, the winner will not be disappointed!!

June G

I really enjoy your blog, and am also a longtime fan of MaryJane Butters. I have her other books, and go back to them again and again, immersing mysef in their lovely pictures, and practical tips, projects and recipes. As a newlywed to a dairy farmer, (love our Jerseys!) I’m certain I’ll enjoy Milk Cow Kitchen! So excited about your giveaway–thank you, ladies! 🙂

rhonda brooks

I love all of the Mary Jane books!! I have all of her magazines and enjoy re-reading them!! My 8 year old has her first Jersey cow right now
Her name is Peaches and has been a wonderful 4-h show cow!!

Norma Horner

A friend of mine has been a subscriber to Mary Jane’s Farm magazine for a long time. While visiting her one day I picked up a copy she had sitting there. When I got to the article about making diapers for chickens I was immediately hooked. I am now a subscriber. I pass on my subscriptions of the other magazines I receive but tend to hang on to all of my Mary Jane’s Farm editions. Mary Jane is an inspiration to many women today.

Norma Horner

I also came from a large famiy (10 of us including parents ) and we also drank raw milk from uncle’s farm and had a large garden, and mother canned everything-good memories!!!

Brittany M.

Such a neat lady!

I love all things MaryJane!! And would love to add this book to my library!


great article! great ladies! I am so inspired and delighted with this wonderful way of life. Thank you!

Pamela Polk (Lokteff)

I So very much would love to win this! love every receipe i’ve cooked from her!

Susan Quimby

love the magazine and would love to have the book!

I so enjoyed this post! It was a good interview. I would so love to win a copy of this book! I also want a cow. Love MaryJane and am one of your FarmGirl Sisters, #3883..

Robin Blitchok

i drive to a local farm for my fresh, raw Jersey milk each week. I love it and enjoy all the things we can make with it. I dream of one day owning my very own Jersey girl. Thanks for the inspiration Mary Jane!

Becky giesselmann

I have enjoyed her magazine for five years. Many of the ideas and recipes have been incorporated into family time and time spent with granddaughter. My father was an outdoorsman and I have encouraged my four sons along the same path. Their wives love reading the magazine to country-fy their homes. Thank you Mary Jane.

I love Mary Jane. Every time my magazine comes I read from cover to cover. I would absolutely love to win this book. I have loved cows all my life. I’ve always wanted a cow. I now live in a 55 or over park so I guess I’ll never have my cow. A girl can dream.

Ever since I discovered the magazine a few years ago, I have found so many awesome ideas and love the lifestyle it supports and promotes! Thank you Mary Jane for printing a magazine with substance! I dream of the rural simple life and I am fortunate enough to get to live it a few months of the year, but otherwise I am stuck in the city with my husband still making a living. It’s ironic in a way because he grew up around cattle and nothing he likes more than riding around on his tractor and talking about the bootsies (Hungarian slang word for calves). Someday…

Nancy Ravise-Noel

Awesome interview! Thanks for giving us a chance to win the book!

Great post and interview Susan……hugs to you. Please enter me in this most generous give away!


I have been wanting to take a look at this book!

Landsong Farm

Kris Price

I have saved all of my copies of her magazine. I love her! Thanks for sharing this with us!

Kim Campbell

Love this! Great job!

What an interesting interview! I just discovered MaryJane and have been a bit obsessed ever since:) I too live in Idaho and find MaryJane such an inspiration in so many ways. It was fun to learn some new things about her.


Great interview. I am so excited to be a new farmgirl sister. I love being a farmgirl. I don’t have a dairy cow yet but it is one of my goals to own one. I am excited as my sister who lives in Rathdrum Idaho bought me a subscription to Mary Jane’s magazine and I absolutly love it. I then bought a subscription for my daughter and 6 year old granddaughter. It is so rewarding and special to share the farmgirl sisterhood with my family. Thank you Mary Jane for your inspiration and wisdom.

MS Barb

I discovered Mary Jane’s magazine in a quilt shop i Minnesota–now a subscriber! Would love to read this book!


Best and prettiest magazine ever.

Donna Timms

I loved this interview. I grew up with 3 brothers and 1 sister in a home with only 1 bathroom (7 of us in all). It was not a farm but I had an aunt and uncle who did have one. I loved going to visit. She canned alot of the vegetables they grew and had a milk cow. I was not fond of the milk but I loved the buttermilk and butter. These are fond memories.


what a wonderful interview! I have loved her for years as well but foolishly did not join up till 6 years back. 🙂

Amy McIntire

I LOVE Mary Jane…so much I am one of the original FG sisters that signed up when the Sisterhood came into being! I love the idea of cheese and yogurt making.

Karen(old cowgirl) Montoya

I see you have met our MaryJane Butters. We love her and all her children and animals. Which are just part of farm life.
As for you, I love your slogan. Who ever really was June Cleaver? I was too busy to be so spotless. My two Daughters always came first.
I would love the book as I have packed up almost my entire house and need something to keep me from all the puzzles. So can you please take pitty on a women living out of box’s?
Love what MaryJane said about her life. I am one of her big admirers.

jenny simpson

I’ve read all the other books. Can’t wait to read this one!


What a wonderful interview! Thank you so much for doing it and for the opportunity to be in the drawing for her book. Would love to learn more about keeping a milk cow. Mary Jane is such a wonderful inspiration to so many of us. Love reading your blog Susan.

Joyce Hein

I thoroughly enjoyed the interview! I love my MJF Magazine, and also enjoy the chatroom and sisterhood 🙂 I would also love to win the book!

Linda Olivera

What a great interview. I love the magazine and the chatroom/forum. I am a glutton for punishment when it comes to participating in the Swaps! Then again, I love getting the mail that comes to me! I quilt and make aprons and love the MJF organic cotton bedsheets. I’d love to win this book. The fabric in this collection (and the glamping fabrics) are WONderful!

We have enjoyed this pizza many times over! And, we’ve added all kinds of other goodies to the topping such as kalamata olives, onion, poblano pepper, lunchmeat or salami, etc., etc. We love it!
I have the book, but would very happily share another one with someone else just to spread the joy!
Thank you!

Theresa Atkinson

Great interview. Would love to win the book!

Katy Rugg

Mary Janes Farm is my favorite magazine!!! I literally run into the house to read it after it arrives in my mailbox each month. Thanks for the insight of such a neat lady!!!!!

Ginger Louden

I really enjoyed the interview – learning all about the ‘real’ MaryJane! I have been a fan of this magazine for many years. I was raised on a farm/ranch and I love to go visit my brothers and their families on the home place. Things are so different from my younger days when we had one car, one bathroom, shared bedrooms, planted gardens, canned vegetables, and only had to be at school, church, 4-H, and family gatherings. I enjoy reading about all of the things I miss and I am anxious to start my projects for the sisterhood badges!

Mary Jo Boyd

What a wonderful interview! Mary Jane is so down to earth and a truly beautiful lady inside and out. I would love to win a copy of milk cow kitchen! Then to convince my hubbie we could own a backyard cow…lol thanks for the opportunity!!

Gaynelle Rose

As a long time MaryJane’s Farm magazine reader/subscriber and sister, I look forward to each new issue and book. Long ago I had some lovely milk goats and some chickens, and currently have two little chicks nearing a month old. A cow? MaryJane’s book would be a start!

Sally Davis

I love being a FarmGirl!!!! It is so nice to connect with other Farmgirls and know the true spirit of farm life is still alive and well! It is a pleasure to stop the craziness of daily life to escape to a little “farm” time to enjoy the pictures, articles and blogs of my sister FarmGirls. Thank you for sharing your heart and love for the “simple life”.
Farmgirl Sister #6075

Ginny Zombek

Hi – so glad to have found your blog through the sisterhood newsletter. In fact, I always spend so much time looking through the newsletter because of all the great links and interesting articles. I’m enamored of all things rural and I’d love to have my own milk cow one day (and the Milk Cow Kitchen book, as well!) Thank you for introducing Mary Jane to more kindred spirits!

Ginny – Farm Girl Sister #2697

Nan Roberts

Thank you so much for this information about Jimmy Carter. It comes at a good time for me. I get discouraged about the ills of the world and feel like nothing can be done. But here is this one man (admittedly with a lot of influence) who has made huge changes in many, many lives. The reduction of Guinea worm, for instance, that’s amazing. So I am very encouraged. Yes, we can make a difference. It isn’t all terrible, and I will find my job in improving the lives of others. (Because I can’t fix the world.)

So thank you. Plus I love MaryJanes Sisterhood and all its good works, too.

Ginger Booth

Enjoyed the interview !
Very glad to have found your blog through our sisterhood newsletter.
I’m always amazed at who and what I learn about.

Donna Timms

Loved this interview. I learned alot.

beki hancox

I honestly love this magazine and love being a part of something bigger than myself. I am talking about farming and my dreams of owning a mini-farm one day.
My dream: 100 to 50 acres, white farmhouse, brown cow, chickens, goat and cats and farm dog. Oh a my horse appaloosa. I see this in my head and heart.
This may never happen, but every time I read your magazine I am on my farm taking care of my chickens and cow and growing my crops.
I never laugh at anyone’s dreams because dreams should always be bigger than themselves. Dreams can be shared or not. Dreams can be drawn, sketched, modeled, or just resting in the right hemisphere of the brain.
Thank you for sharing your life with others; it can’t be easy at times.
I would love win your signed book because I feel I might….just might be a little closer to my dream because your book occupied my space. Thanks!

[…] recently read an interview with our very favorite Farmgirl, MaryJane.  Her definition of Farmgirl is spot on perfect. What […]