Winter solstice. Dark skies. Cold temps. No wonder bears and other animals decide to hibernate! Some days that indeed feels like the perfect plan. Today is the shortest day of the year here in the Northern Hemisphere, we get only 9 hours and 4 mins of light here. That’s kind of a bummer until you flip it around and realize the positive, that TOMORROW it immediately starts getting better! The days start getting LONGER! Another positive about the long winter nights is, that if there is a clear night, it can be spectacular star gazing.
North of here there is 18″ of snow and winter for sure…South of here it is no doubt warm and sunny…Either way, there is no uncertainty that this is “The Holiday Season.” There is a very loud hum, almost a world vibration, of messages, products, sounds, scents, and traditions. A never ending fascinating topic to me is the world of advertising and how it plays upon all our senses and how it communicates messages. Communications must have two parts. A sender and a receiver. We, the consumers, are clearly the receivers. The senders, the advertisers, seem to think we are like sponges, waiting for a new liquid to absorb. The messages are so strong, and relentless, that most of us can’t help but soak some in!
The first thought was to find the origin of the word communication.
“communication (n.) late 14c., from Old French comunicacion (14c., Modern French communication), from Latin communicationem (nominative communicatio), noun of action from past participle stem of communicare “to share, divide out; communicate, impart, inform; join, unite, participate in,” literally “to make common,” from communis (see common (adj.))” http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=communication
If we use the above, then, the advertisers create their message to share, to impart upon us, and invite us to participate in the fantasy/reality of their products. Fair enough-that’s their job, and many do it extremely well. As the receivers I would like to think we could be a bit more discriminating, but it gets tougher with the constant bombardments. The bottom line of all the holidays, despite your “given” religion, is a good one. A message of unity, peace, and joy. The candles and lights do indeed brighten up our minds and hearts. The greens are pleasant scents in closed up tight winter homes. Giving to others is encouraged. Advertisers want us to buy, but the bigger message of generosity, and sharing is a good one. The IDEAL is a good message. The world the advertisers are creating is not real, but the underpinnings of those symbols, the signs, the traditions in their purist form, those are good things. Maybe that’s why the advertisers can “get away with it” so blatantly? They know, we all know, what matters are the underpinnings.
The above Botanical Beauties are Vaboom and Julia. Vaboom (left) is the keeper of words. Her favorite words are ones of kindness. She offers you kindness. To the right is Julia. She is the community healthy food chef and baker. Food is an easy way to share, often bringing people together. Food is nourishment for the body, and sometimes the soul. Food goes with the art of communication; i.e., discussion. For those of us up here in the colder parts, a hot beverage is always a welcome treat. When it involves chocolate, it’s a extra delight! Julia has two mugs of hot cocoa to share. You can add whatever you would like to yours! … These two Botanicals join me in my personal communication to you. It is simple. I hope this message finds you with health, happiness, joy, and peace in your lives. May kindness rule, may whatever is causing you trouble find its way to your past, and may your future be bright….Add more kindness, add more hot chocolate, and with a little magic you will be guided through the winds of December. Hang on tight, sometimes it’s a bit blustery and gusty!
This post will begin a new mini series for us.
Last year we tried to help out with the use of Heirloom Charlie. He was introduced to you all in May 2013, and with each sale of an Hieloom Charlie product I stated I (as The Botanical Beauties & Beasties) would donate 15% to Long Life Farm. The hope was to help out a family in need to be able to obtain a CSA farm share within the Long Life CSA program. This translates into the ability for a family to eat fresh organically grown vegetables that has been grown locally without the use of chemical pesticides or herbicides. Well, last weekend I am proud to say I did indeed write a check for the intended purpose. I was not able to raise enough to buy a whole share, but Laura (one of the owners and farmers of Long Life Farm) told me that the Botanical Beauties check brought the total up to the needed $ amount to indeed obtain a share for a lucky family. Other shareholders had also donated monies, and this check just happen to be that last part. I find that wonderful in a strange and magical way. I am thrilled to be able to help out in this small fashion.The website for Long Life Farm is http://www.longlifefarm.com. I find the site engaging and hope you take a minuet to check it out. It is filled with all sorts of good information!
Another cool piece of this story is that Heirloom Charlie is also a main character of our new book! The book is coming along nicely-I think we may do some test marketing at The Hopkinton Farmers Market this summer. (Sundays 1-5 Hopkinton, MA.) If you are interested, and particularly if you know anyone in publishing, please let me know! Heirloom Charlie now has a new nick name- the (working) title of the book is The Food Dude!
Now, on to one last piece of business for this post.
Our helping this summer will come as blog postings and a new character called Diggerfoot. Diggerfoots purpose is to help a friend of mine who’s name is Kirk. He, his wife (Cindy), and a daughter (Charissa) will start hiking the 2,666 mile Pacific Crest Trail in a few days. Cindy has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. In his own words- from his website http://www.humanityhiker.com … “We will use the hike for a mission to spread Hope for Alzheimer’s. The first avenue of hope is with Cindy’s journey, demonstrating that people with Alzheimer’s still can pursue their dreams. The second avenue of hope is through raising awareness for how lifestyle choices can improve Alzheimer’s patients and caregivers. The most important of these lifestyle choices is physical exercise, the only “treatment” show to halt and even reverse brain decay. The third avenue of hope is through Exercise for Brain Health Research, for which we are raising funds.” To see, how you can help us spread Hope for Alzheimer’s please visit his website. Kirk will naturally be writing about their hike, my postings will be an additional outlet to let more people follow their path, and raise awareness of Alzheimer’s. Naturally, my post will link to Kirks site which has a plethora of resources and a place where one can donate if you care to help the cause in that way. So get your hiking shoes tied and get ready for a long distance hike from Canada to the Mexico boarder! Next posting on the trip you will get to meet Diggrfoot and see how the trip is going. These post will be peppered into the “normal” Botanical postings, and DIggerfoot will be acting as an interviewer looking to share a bit of the adventure with you all!
A few weekends ago we (that would be I and the gang of Botanical Beauties) were off again to a pretty special little town called Sharon Springs NY.
First, a heartfelt thanks and a nod to Cobbler & Co. located on Historic Main Street in Sharon Springs. They are now on the list of places you can walk into a brick and mortar store and buy Botanical Beauties & Beasties cards! It is a delightful store filled with wonderful treasures. Straight from their website- “Cobbler & Co. is a twelve-room eclectic gift shop. We offer an ever-changing array of gifts for you, your family, your friends, your home and garden and all of your entertaining needs...Take a look around our store and remember, we can ship anywhere!” (www.cobblerandcompany.com/index.html) If you find yourself in that neck of the country I highly recommend a visit. For that matter, there are quiet a few stops worthy in Sharon Springs and the nearby environs.
Which brings me to Sharon Springs generally. The 2,000 census counted the population as 547! Sharon Springs NY is up in the Mohawk Valley, not too far from Cooperstown for you baseball fans. The countryside is beautiful, the wonderful Adirondack Park and Catskill Mountains are close by borders giving you some idea of its beauty. The ride is about 3 hours for me, the people I meet are always warm and friendly, meaning both the town folks and the fair attendees. Although I am lucky to even get close to breaking even when I am done with gas, lodging, fees etc I find myself returning each time. Why? What draws me to these shows 2x a year? The annual Garden Party (as the spring show is called) and the Harvest Festival (as the Fall show is named)- it seems like a crazy idea to keep going? So, why do I keep returning?
All this brings me to the words of hope, fascination, and charm. I think these may be the hidden charms of Sharon Springs? There is something a bit intangible about it all, but it is contagious. I never know whom I will meet, but they are inevitably interesting people at these festivals. Some of it is plan old small town living, some of it is who these festivals draw in, and some of it Sharon Springs and its community. Granted, The Beekman Boy’s name is behind these fairs, it was fairly predominate, now it is a bit obscured. (Their FB page.) As a matter of fact, ETSY will be running the fair in the fall, so well see how that plays out. Regardless, The Beekman Boys are still a “draw” and fans come out to play! There is a tour their home (a separate but planned extra if you so wish) and a fun array of other scheduled events happening on these weekends. For sure, it is a fun “weekend get-away” for many. I have decided to add to my weekend routine…after the arts fair is over on Saturday, I walk over (about 500 steps) and have a lovely cool cocktail on the amazing front porch of the American Hotel. Totally relaxing after a long day. One never knows who might turn up there to chat with, and I like that! It is what I consider a quintessential front porch, and I met the nicest folks last time.
Part of what is fascinating about Sharon Springs NY is its history. Here is a brief glimpse. At one point, about 1836-1860, Sharon Springs was well know for its mineral water spa, with multiple large grand hotels and boardinghouses. “By 1841, the village had become world-famous as the social elite came to take the waters. Magnificent large hotels and forest-like parks graced the village landscape. During the second half of the 19th Century, Sharon Springs was home to over sixty hotels and rooming houses accommodating over 10,000 visitors each summer. By the early 1900s… the summer clientele with the influx of European visitors (had become) primarily from Judaic tradition.” (more info.) “Thanks to its sulfur, magnesium, and chalybeate mineral springs, Sharon Springs grew into a bustling spa during the 19th century. At the peak of its popularity, Sharon Springs hosted 10,000 visitors each summer, including members of theVanderbilt family and Oscar Wilde (who gave a lecture at the now-demolished Pavilion Hotel on 11 August 1882).” (more info) Sharon Springs also had a great location – in the 1800s two major paths (turnpikes and canals) were constructed and Sharon was connected to Albany as well as larger cities like NYC easily. Farmers with cash crops of wheat and hops were now well positioned to thrive. To add to the good fortune of Sharon, the Delaware and Hudson Railroad open a spur thru Sharon, and the age of the spa was pretty well golden! Eventually, as family (and so spa and hotel proprietors) aged, fires, a hops blight, Prohibition, plus a few more national factors, Sharon Springs thriving success was brought to a halt. Here’s an interesting tidbit According to a NYT article (26 August 2000) “After World War II, Sharon Springs got a second wind from the West German government, which paid medical care reparations to Holocaust survivors, holding that therapeutic spa vacations.” More info.)“ In 1994 Sharon Springs, and its Spa-related structures were added to the National Register of Historic Places and Sharon Springs became a Historic District. The walking tour and the accompanying plaques were created to guide visitors through our history. The plaques showcase the many buildings, some still remaining, some long gone and put them in their historical context.” (Here is a link to a brief, but complete story of the fascinating history of Sharon Springs. More info.
In todays, world Sharon Springs is again picking its self up and seems to be a story of revitalization. There are charming stores and delicious restaurants to peruse and enjoy. It appears that growing communities of artisans (both material and culinary) are living, and moving to the area…and don’t forget-I always seem to meet nice people there! Need a break? Try out a visit during the Fall Festival Sept. 20 & 21, 2014: Arts, countryside, amazing food, fun, frolic, and pretty much guaranteed a pleasant time.
Although it’s dogmatic I still like this (No farms – No food) bummer sticker/slogan a lot. It’s all to easy to forget WHERE our food comes from. Do our kids know where food comes from other than the grocery store? Some yes, some no.
A farmers’ market (also farmers market) is a physical retail market featuring foods sold directly by farmers to consumers. Farmers’ markets typically consist of booths, tables or stands, outdoors or indoors, where farmers sell fruits, vegetables, meats, and sometimes prepared foods and beverages. Farmers’ markets add value to communities. (Wikipedia)
There are all kinds of Farmers Markets in the warmer seasons. They exist world-wide, reflecting each areas culture and flavors. When you stop to think about it Farmers Markets are about as old a tradition as they come. A gathering of a few locals, selling food and wares, pretty much happening since sharing food began!. Time marched on and Trading Post came to be, then The General Store…take a million steps forward and we transferred that into mega grocery stores. There are now some Markets attempting to bring us back to better health and making the shopping experience more connected-such as Whole Foods Markets.
Local Farmers Markets are a better ‘carbon footprint’ than any grocery store. Here’s why – The items are primarily all from LOCAL people, driving/transport is kept to a minimum due to the local factor. Now days you usually have an ‘organic‘ or ‘natural‘ element you can choose from, thus keeping pesticides and chemicals uses down. With small local markets the refrigeration is often coolers with ice, not those giant walk in cooler (which certainly DO have their place but also do take a LOT of energy to run.) Farmers Market food pretty much has to be fresh, and have had less time in storage. This equals a healthier food. Markets are generally outdoors, no energy needed for that solar lighting! Not to be left out is that the profit go directly to the farmer/grower/vendor. These are ALL bonus points for the individual, the community and the planet. . Recently a more sophisticated consumer is seeking out these factors/qualities more and more. The last really nice part is, if you attend your local Farmers Market regularly you will inevitably start-up a conversation, have fun food shopping, get to know a local farmer, and maybe a new neighbor! A local conversation and communication in-person, face to face. Now there’s a good old fashion true value!
We will be at The Hopkinton Farmers Market this sunday 1-5 pm. BUY LOCAL, BUY FRESH!
Open every Sunday, June 16 through October 20 for the 2013 season.
1 pm to 5 pm.
Hopkinton Town Common
Come get your produce, cheese, honey, meat, bread and wine (wine not every week), and ARTs, and/or some other special visiting vendor each week!!
(across from 11 Ash Street, Hopkinton MA)
Finally – you get to see the whole Botanical Beauty! You read his story the other day… and now you get to see him as well. In case you are wondering about his less obvious ‘parts’ – His hair is dill, chest is a Cheromoya, thighs are star fruit, feet are small onions, pitch fork is Rhubarb, and he is walking on ginger root! Hope he makes you smile, and think about sustainability across all the parts of your day.
In case you missed his story – it was friday’s posting! http://botanicalbeautiesbeasties.com/off-to-a-garden-party/
Not one but TWO chances to greet, meet, see, say hi, enjoy, buy cool art things, do good, and smile this weekend!
April 27 – Celebrate Earth day: See over 75 exhibitors including local artisans, green products, alternative energy, community groups, health+fitness, home improvement, food, music and more! Click here for the full listing! ( You can even do some ‘big time’ recycling at the event! Check it out! ) 11 AM -3 PM Framingham Centre Village Green on the Common, Framingham MA.
April 28 -Art In The Garden is this Sunday! 11am-4pm at Weston Nurseries is Hopkinton. In its 6th year, Art In The Garden will host 50 local artisans exhibiting their handmade wares on the beautiful grounds of Weston Nurseries.
You will find stained glass, pottery, jewelry, etched slates, bath & body products, candles, handbags, tote bags, furniture, clothing, garden art, paintings, note cards, birdhouses, winds chimes, pillows, dog collars and leashes, pet clothing, blown glass infusion jars, beaded belt buckles, scarves, honey, pickles, chocolates, pizza and more! $3 admission will benefit One Fund Boston, Mazie Memorial Foundation and Project Just Because.
OMG – can’t believe “show season” is here -we are off and running!
This weekend we are headed to what I expect to be grand at The Garden Symposium in the even grander location of The Equinox Resort in Manchester VT.Their will be wonderful nationally known speakers and a related vendor marketplace. Naturally, we fit in the second. We will leave all the words off about how great it will be and what an exciting season we are working on (check and watch the schedule grow on our calender page) In the mean time, we will just say WE ARE EXCITED TO BE “On the road again” –off to meet new friends and spread our motto of “Live Kind, Live Green, Live Creatively“
Our hope is that on Sunday we can connect up somehow and have a little magic with The Beekman Brothers. They run a company called Beekman 1802-from their own website words “Two NYC guys who bought a farm and are sharing their experiment in living better lives, season by season, neighbor by neighbor.” The Botanical Beauties & Beasties love that statement/mission. We want to chat with them!
Right now they are promoting THE SAUCE THAT COULD CHANGE THINGS (click on name) Below is the page for this cool idea and product. Please help if you can. It helps all the small local American Farmers stay alive and that’s truly a wonderful thing. The Power of Tomatoes, people and good ideas!
We are really excited about our new pasta sauce. ‘Cuz it’s gonna change the world.
No. Seriously. Not hyperbole.
Remember when we won that little show called The Amazing Race? Let us refresh your memory:
Wasn’t that awesome?
Here’s why. It allowed us to pay off the mortgage on our farm so that we could both devote ourselves full-time to growing Beekman 1802 and our community.
So what does The Amazing Race have to do with pasta sauce? A lot, it turns out. And it has even more to do with raising money for other American farmers.
It’s a little round-about-story, but first you need to know a little Race trivia:
Even though you didn’t see the finish till December, the race actually ended in June. Which meant we already knew we would be able to pay off our mortgage with the prize money early last summer. (We’re good secret-keepers, right? Keep that in mind next time you have juicy gossip.)
However, we also had a field full of tomatoes growing on the farm in June. Some of these tomatoes were a variety called “Mortgage Lifter” heirloom tomatoes. They’re giant, delicious tomatoes.
Why are they called “Mortgage Lifter?”
Well, in 1929 a man named Marshall Cletis Byles owned an auto repair garage in Logan, West Virginia. When his business began suffering during the Great Depression, Marshall (who went by the nickname “Radiator Charlie,”) decided to earn extra money by selling the best tasting tomato variety he could breed.
It took a few years, but Charlie finally bred his perfect tomato. He advertised that one single plant, with its 1-2lb fruits, could feed a family of six. And he wound up selling enough seedlings in four years to pay off his mortgage. In full.
Hence “Radiator Charlie’s Mortgage Lifter Tomato” was born.
Those of you who’ve followed our story know that before we won The Amazing Race, one of our primary goals was to pay off the Beekman Farm mortgage. So when we planted our garden in early 2012, we planted a ton of Mortgage Lifter tomatoes, in hopes of developing a pasta sauce that would help us do just that.
And then we won The Amazing Race. Let’s revisit again. ‘Cuz it was awesome:
(Did we really make that face on national television? There are “ugly cry” faces and “ugly win” faces, apparently. This was both at once.)
Anyway, last year was a really good year for tomatoes. Here’s one afternoon’s haul:
So, since we’d paid off our mortgage…what were we going to do with all these tomatoes?!??!
Then it hit us.
We’ll use these tomatoes pay off another small farm’s mortgage! Pay it forward.
So we went ahead and kept developing the pasta sauce. We used the best tomatoes from our farm and other farms, fresh garlic and spices, and other summer vegetables. And we went ahead and stuck with the name: “Mortgage Lifter Heirloom Tomato Pasta Sauce.”
Looks amazeballs, right?
The only difference is that now we’ll use 25% of the profits from this sauce to help aid another farmer.We’re teaming up with an agricultural 501c3 so make that happen.
The other 75% of the profits will go right back into the business to hopefully develop a whole range of “Mortgage Lifter” food products that will not only help support American small farms with profits, but also by growing a sustainable food brand for small farms to supply.
But, like Radiator Charlie…we’re starting with the basics. The most perfect pasta sauce we could make.
We hope you love it. Please give it a try. The more you buy, the more you’re directly helping American farmers. If you purchase enough, it will also help catch the eye of a few larger grocery chains. (Any grocery moguls out there? Wanna chat? Email us! )
Stay tuned for a recipe contest and progress of sales….
PLEASE CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE BEEKMAN 1802 MORTGAGE LIFTER HEIRLOOM PASTA SAUCE. SAVE SIGNIFICANTLY ON PRICE & SHIPPING WITH ORDERS OF MULTIPLE JARS.”
Ok – we have not been batting 100 on sunny weather and glorious crisp clean air..BUT we are hopeful! Right NOW – the Weather Channel says- Saturday Dec 15, Providence RI – 43 and Mostly SUNNY!!!!! chance of rain is only 10% and even the wind is almost nonexistent. That would be GREAT !
As always this week too has entertainment. Naturally Santa and Mrs Claus will be there wandering the area 12-4. The offer is still out for a prize for the best /most imaginative/cute photo of you, Santa and the Mrs. … yes, I am the deciding judge but I will ask the other vendors for their opinions too! The Eighteen Wheelers are to be serenading the Providence Holiday Market this Saturday.
I believe these folks will be at the Market this Saturday:
- Peter Zuerner and his beautiful hand-made wooden cutting boards
- Robin Hollow Farm – beautiful Greens and Floral delights
- Fraggles and Friggles– wonderful things to dazzle yourself with
- Seven Acre Toys– safe imaginative toys for the little ones
- The Reynolds Farm– beautiful Goat Milk soap and scrub
- Tallulahs Tacos – yummmmmmm (not sure if they will be there?)
- Bravo Wood Fired Pizza – and more yummmmmm
- The Providence Granola Project – Yum with a great cause too!
- Oh, and of course US ! The Botanical Beauties & Beasties! – Amazing creations to enrich your day! Art with a message and a story. We are beginning to sell out of some items… so scurry on down for the best selection of the “Easy Peasy Ready to Go, marvelous Mug set” , note pads and holiday cards!
Tomorrow ( Saturday 12/8) – May be a tad soggy in the morning but the afternoon is looking good! Planing on giving it a try if the weather cooperates. Come down and see us at The Providence Holiday Market 11 (weather permitting) to 4pm.
A great day/place to bring your family Downtown and visit us at the Providence Holiday Market. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be roaming the area beginning at 12:00. The Ladies of the Rolling Pin will be dancing at 12:30. And Princess Rapunzel will be visiting the market all afternoon. Bring the kids and come on out. Bring your Camera and have some fun. If any one takes an amazing photo at the Market/of the Market (ahem, I am the judge) you will get a prize from The Botanical Beauties and Beasties!
At the Holiday Market this week….Providence Granola, Fraggles and Friggles, Botanical Beauties and Beasties, Reynolds Barn, WIllywaw, Light Forge Studio, Jewelry from the Heart, Robin Hollow Farm, and Accounting for Taste
Bravo Wood Fired pizza will be feeding us this week. The Ladies of the Rolling Pin will be dancing at 12:30. Princess Rapunzel will be visiting the market and Santa and Mrs Claus will be out as well. It’s a great day to bring the family downtown. Hope to see you there.
TOMORROW!!!!! Saturday, Nov 24, 11-4 pm
Hard to lose on this one, local art including wearable art, local yummy foods, Santa, wreath making, and Carolers!