Jade Chessman slices Brussels sprouts and root veggies for her oven-roasted vegetables on Nov. 9 at her home in Sanger. Chessman and her husband, Ben, decided to be farmers and started Jubilee Farm in 2011. They grow produce and flowers and raise chickens, turkeys, pigs and lambs with a dedication to sustainable farming and humane treatment of the animals.

SANGER — “One thing at a time.” That’s Jade Chessman’s cooking philosophy, and it extends to every area of her life as a farm owner, home cook and mother.

She and her husband, Ben, decided to become farmers a year into their marriage, and they began an internship on a farm in Pennsylvania soon after. When they moved back to Texas and started Jubilee Farm in 2011, it changed their lives.

“I thought it was going to be like an adventure,” Chessman says in the kitchen of her farmhouse in Sanger. “I didn’t know it was going to become this whole lifestyle change.”

When she first began cooking with seasonal produce from their farm, Chessman found it overwhelming and restrictive. She didn’t enjoy cooking, and on top of that, the only recipes she knew were ones made with out-of-season ingredients or sourced from far away. Now, her love of cooking comes from years of learning to love the thing she once hated.

“This is practice and practice and practice and practice and learning to love it,” Chessman says. “It becomes therapy, and it becomes a way to take care of your body and your family.”


Jade Chessman serves lunch to her son, Elijah, on Nov. 9 at their home in Sanger.

The Chessmans grow produce and flowers, as well as raise chickens, turkeys, pigs and lambs with a dedication to sustainable farming and humane treatment of the animals. They sell their products only at the Denton Community Market because they want to minimize the environmental impact of transporting food across the state for sale.

“I think it’s our honor to tend things carefully,” she says.

Their commitment to sustainability goes beyond the food they produce. Chessman says she tries not to become “addicted to the convenience factor of grocery stores or food that’s available all year-round, even though it shouldn’t be.”

Even when they aren’t selling, they shop for their own groceries at the farmers market and buy from other local farms.

“The more that you do it, the more that you are attuned to what you’re eating and how it’s cared for, the more you start to shift a million other small things in your life to try and accommodate the beliefs you have,” Chessman says.

She believes food tastes better when it’s locally sourced and grown well. This, and her desire to minimize waste in the kitchen, dictates what she cooks and how she cooks it. She has a recipe for zucchini soup that she found one summer when they produced more zucchini than they could sell.

“I only grabbed it because we needed to kill a lot of zucchini,” Chessman says.

Her family of four won’t eat a whole chicken in one meal, so they spread it out over multiple days to minimize waste. The first day, they always serve hot, off-the-bone whole-roasted chicken. The second day, she makes a batch of chicken salad for lunch through the week. The third day, she shreds the remaining chicken and freezes it to add to later meals. Then, letting nothing go to waste, she makes her own bone broth with the cleaned carcass and any leftover greens she saved throughout the week.

“We preserve and freeze what we can,” Chessman says of excess leftovers and produce harvested from the farm. “It’s been a game-changer.”


A spread of chocolate beet cake, challah bread, oven-roasted vegetables and oven-roasted chicken sits on the kitchen table Nov. 9 at the home of Jade and Ben Chessman in Sanger.

After nearly 10 years of trying one thing at a time, Chessman has created a binder full of standby recipes that she and her family enjoy. Along with the recipes, she’s found that cooking has changed her life for the better, helping her narrow her focus on the things that matter most.

“It causes me to love my family in this really tangible way,” Chessman says. “It causes me to slow down and maybe weed out some of the other things that I would otherwise be spending my time on, that aren’t as significant as feeding my family well.”

Follow Jubilee Farm on Instagram at @jubileefarmdenton for updates on produce and meat availability.

Below are five of Jesse Chessman’s favorite recipes.

Cream of Zucchini Soup

1/2 small onion, quartered

2 cloves garlic

3 or more zucchini, skin on, cut in large chunks

32 ounces chicken broth (or substitute vegetable broth)

2 tablespoons sour cream

Combine onion, garlic, zucchini and chicken broth in a large pot over medium heat and bring to a boil.

Lower heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes or until tender.

Remove from heat and puree with an immersion blender, add the sour cream and puree again until smooth.

Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.

SOURCE: Adapted by Jade Chessman from skinnytaste.com.

Chocolate Beet Cake

4 eggs

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup vegetable oil

2 cups whole wheat flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 teaspoons vanilla

3-4 cups shredded, fresh beets

1 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour a Bundt pan.

Beat eggs, sugar and oil in a stand mixer until light and fluffy.

In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon.

Add flour mixture to egg mixture and mix well.

Add vanilla, beets, walnuts and chocolate chips.

Beat for one minute on medium speed.

Pour into Bundt pan, stopping at 3/4 way full. Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

SOURCE: Adapted by Jade Chessman from food.com.

“World’s Best Chicken”

1 (5-6 pound) whole chicken, giblets removed

Kosher salt


Thyme (Any herb will work, Chessman says: “Whatever we have growing at the time, I stick it on the inside.”)

1 lemon, halved

1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise

2 tablespoons butter, melted

Salt the exterior of the chicken generously the night before cooking, 12-24 hours in advance.

Heat oven to 425 F.

Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Place thyme, both halves of lemon and garlic inside the cavity. Generously brush outside of chicken with butter, add salt and pepper again.

Tie legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken.

Roast for 1 1/2 hours or until the juice runs clear when cut between a leg and thigh.

Remove the chicken, cover with aluminum foil and let rest for 20 minutes.

Slice and serve.

SOURCE: Adapted by Jade Chessman from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa (1999)

Roasted Root Veggies

2 pounds farmers market vegetables (turnips, parsnips, beets, sweet potatoes, carrots)

Olive oil



Heat oven to 425 F.

Chop vegetables, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake for roughly 40 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.

SOURCE: Jade Chessman

Challah Bread

1 tablespoon active dry yeast

4 cups bread flour

7 large egg yolks

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon kosher salt

6 tablespoons canola oil

1 large egg, beaten

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

Heat oven to 350 F.

In a small bowl, mix yeast with 1 cup warm water and let stand for 5 minutes until foamy.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the bread flour, egg yolks, sugar, salt and oil. Add the yeast mixture and knead with the hook attachment on medium-high speed until the dough comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 2 minutes. Cover with a towel and let rise until doubled in volume, 1 to 2 hours.

Punch the dough down and then divide it into 3 equal pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece into a rope about 18 inches long. Braid the ropes to form a loaf, place on a parchment or silicone mat-lined baking sheet and cover with a towel. Let rise again until doubled in volume, about 30 minutes.

Brush the loaf with the beaten egg and sprinkle with the sesame seeds. Bake until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool before slicing. Store at room temperature in a plastic bag or wrapped in cellophane.

{span class=”print_trim”}SOURCE: thepantryraid.net

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