Tag Archives: agriculture

Events and New Work – September 2013

29 Aug

As a busy summer draws to a close and Labor day nears, I wanted to take a minute to share some upcoming events and also new work from the past month or so.

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As many of you already know I recently launched Black Swamp in June. Black Swamp is a naturally inspired accessories line that features my jewelry creations using recycled wood shavings from our furniture designs for Joseph Thompson Woodworks, as well as copper, sterling silver, brass and other fine materials. As of now my designs are available through my online store, blackswamp.co.

Photo by Jen Ray for Black Swamp.

Photo by Jen Ray for Black Swamp.

Black Swamp received some great press over the summer with an inclusion in Charleston Magazine’s print issue for August 2013 as well as a divine feature by Elizabeth Bowers for CHARLIE Magazine in July.

I also had the opportunity to shoot this amazing portrait for Black Swamp with Joseph Nienstedt of JWNPhoto a few weeks ago!

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I told you it was a busy summer! And I’m just getting started.

Next weekend, I am thrilled for Black Swamp and Joseph Thompson Woodworks to team up with Gris Galerie for the OPEN Arts Expo at the College of Charleston Cistern Sunday September 8th from 12 p.m. – 4 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

This will be Black Swamp’s first event ever! I am so pleased for my designs to be making their official debut in Charleston. In addition to Black Swamp baubles, we’ll be bringing a few furniture, decor and wall hanging pieces for Joseph Thompson Woodworks. Click over to our Current Work page on our website or our Etsy shop to get a sneak peek at a few items that might make an appearance.

Again, I couldn’t be happier to hang out with our hometown crowd and show some new designs for the very first time! The support we’ve received from our home base has been incredible, and we can’t wait to celebrate in gratitude with you!

In other news, for those that do not know I am also the Membership Coordinator for a local SC Community Supported Agriculture program, Pinckney’s Produce. We’re gearing up to start our fall harvest season Tuesday, September 17th. If you’re in the Lowcountry or Midlands of SC and are interested in having over 45 different varieties of fresh, local SC grown produce delivered to a convenient location once a week for three months, then definitely give Pinckney’s a look! We have a great food community growing across the state, come be a part of something fun and tasty with me.

Phew! Okay. Just looking at what lies ahead this month has got me tired! I am looking forward to an exciting and busy month ahead. Thanks for all of the support, and I hope to see a few of you out and about over the next few weeks!

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“Farm-to-table heirloom pork belly aioli froyo”

26 Apr

Sounds delicious, right?

I must thank my Twitter colleague @SamWithans for that gem of a title. It was some witty Twitter banter about another foodie/restaurant “trend” popping up in Charleston that produced that tweet. And while at first I laughed so hard I nearly snorted my coffee out of my nose, I suddenly realized that some of these foodie “trends” have been with us for quite a while. I then began to think of what the permanent effects these trends might have on their particular veins of the food and beverage as well as agricultural industries.

What do you think when you read the term “Farm to table?” Do you think of trendy, high society dinners set in mystical fields with Spanish moss floating among the oak trees? There may even be mason jar lamps on the table. Rest assured there is bacon on everything too.

What do I think of when I hear “farm to table?” I think of dinner in my kitchen tonight. And tomorrow night. I think of how my family, neighbors and I live our lives day in and day out. Farm to table dining is nothing new for us. It’s how we live. And it used to be how we all lived. And now only the “cool kids” are doing it, or at least, that is what is being marketed.

My main issue with romanticizing the term “farm to table” is that it partly creates a notion that eating fresh from the farm is unapproachable and expensive, when actually, it can be much more cost effective and convenient than the alternative.

Perhaps I am little overly sensitive considering I have worked both in marketing and the local SC agricultural industries since 2008. I currently serve as a Marketing and Membership Coordinator for a CSA program that my husband’s family started. My nephews have grown up eating broccoli out of their front yard.

I see day in and day out the struggles and triumphs of our local food industry from the ground up, and I firmly believe that there are two things that keep our communities as a whole from eating locally sourced, farm fresh foods: cost and convenience. I spend entire days trying to show folks that participating in our local agricultural food community can be something easy and beneficial to all parties involved. That eating food grown by your neighbor isn’t some new, radical concept with a high price tag.

I also spend my time showing our CSA members just how easy it is to incorporate fresh local produce into their every day lives. No need to spend $60 a plate on dinner when you can easily whip up something fresh and nutritious right in your kitchen every day.

I’ll admit, when the demand for Farmer’s Markets exploded in 2009 I was thrilled to be a part of it and was ecstatic at the attention my hard working neighbors were finally receiving for their years of backbreaking work. But here we are a few years later and the farm-to-table dinners are still happening, schmoozing is at an all time high and yet there is still minimal information given to the public at large about how they, too, can participate in the farm-to-table lifestyle.

Farm to table shouldn’t be an option only for those who can afford it. So let’s cut the elitism and find another way to build an agricultural community instead of dividing it at the same time.