Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Paper Market--shop local and do a world of good

I am sure many of you have seen the AT&T commercial with Blake, the chief shoe giver for TOMS shoes. Blake founded a shoe company that gives away a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair sold. A couple of weeks ago Blake made an appearance at Villanova University, and local TOMS retail seller the Paper Market was on hand to soak up the advice and vision.

A message from the latest Paper Market newsletter:

Blake Mycoskie, founder and Chief Shoe Giver of TOMS Shoes, was recently at Villanova University giving an inspiring talk. We had the wonderful opportunity to finally meet the Chief, and hang out for a bit after the talk.

We expressed our gratitude to him for following his heart and starting a shoe company that is changing not only the world, but how we do business in the future. We LIVE OUR MISSION here at The Paper Market ~ an eco boutique, and we rocked the TOMS Shoes brand in 2009 and ultimately became their # 1 Advocate for American retailers.

He thanked us for helping TOMS Shoes help the children in need get a free pair of shoes. We invited him to visit Kennett Square and see our store the next time he was in the area.

Some of the key notes of his talk were the importance of sustainability, and how "giving back" is part of the new business model for social responsibility. He also mentioned how if your business has a higher purpose (helping people & planet) instead of just making a profit, that extraordinary people will want to join your team and help you achieve greatness.

Everything he was saying was resonating with me, because we are doing exactly what he is talking about here in Kennett Square. What an inspiring feeling to know that we are not crazy, and indeed creating a sense of community for each and all.

Cheers to melting the snow, because here comes sunshine.

Doug & Co.

Although Blake and his concept of the one for one shoe is deserving of praise and admiration, the real hero in this story is Doug Harris and his lovely wife Susan (long time CSA members and instrumental in the formation of the Kennett Square Farmers Market)--the force behind the Paper Market. They believe in the power and positive change that independent businesses can bring to a community. Walking into the Paper Market is always a unique and uplifting experience. Doug's good energy is legendary. Community at its best. Ultimately it is the Paper Market who tells the story of TOMS and makes Blake's world vision possible. Local independent business owners of all kinds deserve much praise for what they bring to a community. Its Main Street at its best. Click here to read an article of the importance of buying local, and how with our collective support, these pillars of the community can weather the economic down turn.
In honor of Doug's meeting of the "Chief", the paper market is holding a major sale on their TOMS shoe line. A great deal all the way around.

Buy ONE Get ONE GIVE TWO ! It's True!!

We will give you a free pair of TOMS Shoes for every pair you purchase from us ONE for ONE through March 10, 2010.

In other words, it's a 50% off sale on all of the TOMS Shoes we still have in stock, as we get ready for the spring styles to deliver.

The cool thing is that instead of ONE child in need getting a free matching pair of shoes ~ your purchase will enable TWO children in need to get a free matching pair of shoes. That is a double dipper in a shop your values universe.

So come out to Kennett Square and shop & give... ONE for ONE

*offer expires March 10, 2010

Friday, February 26, 2010

A Talula's Taste of the Season to Come

I am not sure about you, but I am about to go a little stir crazy.

Although this winter weather has been dramatic and beautiful, I am more than ready for the snow to melt, the ground to thaw, and get started with spring clean up and growing. Last evening before the snow really hit, I was able to get to Kennett Square and enjoy the delicious taste of Vermont event at Talula's table. What made the evening so special, beside the all the tasty treats, was the opportunity to hang out with a community of folks passionate about food, agriculture, and community. The crowd was full of local cheesemakers, farmers, foodies, farmers market fans, and new friends from the recent pasa conference. Talula's has a brand new blog you can click here and see more pictures from this spirited event.

Those two short hours inspired an excitement for the season to come, an eagerness to connect with customers and friends again at the Kennett Square Farmers Market, and a thankfulness that a place like Talula's exists in our area. Lucky for all of us, the Mugs and Music event coming up on March 13th at the Kennett Flash will provide a similar opportunity to enjoy the camaraderie of food and community.

Kennett Square really does possesses a unique spirit that I feel so blessed to be a part of--the perfect remedy for the winter blues. The breadth of the community extends far beyond the boarders of the borough, as illustrated by the make up of the crowd last night. As I drove home I was reminded of another fantastic event that involved Talula's along with Victory Brewing Company (I will post more about Victory in the very near future)--the Sustainable Feast, a fundraiser for the Stroud Water Research Center. This amazing all local multi-course dinner took place last June, literally out in the middle of my growing fields. Just thinking about this event warms my heart. I have posted a bunch of photos below-a litte reprieve from the winter landscape-a taste of the season to come and the magic of Talula's Table. Enjoy.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Chester County Cheese Lovers Have Reason to Rejoice

The next couple of weeks includes a number of tasty, informative, and spirited events that all feature cheese. First on the cheese calendar is a taste of Vermont "happy hour" at local cheese mecca Talula's Table. The event happening on Thursday, February 25th from 4-6PM will feature special guest Zoe Brickley of the famous Cellars at Jasper Hill in Vermont. Zoe's past employment included managing the cheese caves at Murray's, NYC famous cheese shop. I have to say Murray's doesn't have anything on Talula's--click here to read one of Talula's past newsletters, all about my favorite kind of cheese--local.

Speaking of local cheese, on Saturday, March 6th the PASA is hosting an informative guided tasting "Cheeses from Chester County: Then and Now". This event with feature famous local food historian William Woys Weaver and cheese makers from Birchrun Hills, Highland Farm, and Yellow Springs. I am sure this event will sell out so make sure you register asap.

The final event I would like to highlight is one very near and dear to my heart--The Down to Earth Mugs and Music. I have been involved in planning this event for the last three years. I will provide much more details in a future posting--however I just want to alert you to fact that tickets are now available through the Kennett Flash where the event will take place (I have a feeling this event will sell out as well) and also that local food reception will feature the cheeses of Birchrun Hills, Highland Farm, and Amazing Acres. Enjoy the cheeses of (on in) Chester County! Great posting from the Kennett Market blog also on these events--more links, more info.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

An Activist Side to Mardi Gras and Lent

Today is a big day in the world of culinary traditions--whether you celebrate Shrove Tuesday, Mardi Gras,Fastnacht,or Carnival--its a time for a little indulgence, a cleaning out of the pantry before Lent. Then the fasting is suppose to begin, a way to repent for our sins. This year instead of giving up foods like chocolate, coffee, meat, or beer--I purpose that you try and make culinary choices that impact the world in a good way--rather than simply getting rid of the supposedly sinful food. Use these traditions as means to contemplate the very important impact our food choices can have on our lives. Make a commitment to humanely raised meats, join a CSA, plan a garden of your own. I love this recent article by Grass-Fed Gourmet Cookbook author Shannon Hayes on Radical Homemakers. Making these sort of changes can be as challenging as giving something up for Lent, but well worth the difference it can make in your life and community. In the meantime if you want to enjoy the flavor of the holiday right here in Chester County check out WC Dish's recommendations on places to eat out. You can support the local ecomony and enjoy the party! p.s. since I never got a chance to mention Valentines Day--I found the perfect recipe that combines the recent holiday with the unofficial donut holiday of today (fastnacht)--check out this recipe for heart shaped spelt donuts.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Jamie Oliver wins 2010 TED Award

Jamie Oliver is the winner of the 2010 TEDPrize Award. Click here to watch Jamie's inspirational speech addressing the problem of obesity in America. For another great resource related to changing school lunch policy check out Slow Food USA's Time for Lunch campaign and/or read this article from YES! magazine about revolutionary school lunch lady Ann Cooper. The delicious revolution for a healthy country.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Enjoying the Snow Day

I must say it is breathtakingly beautiful today, so bright and sunny. However, the deep snow and still dangerous road conditions make it yet another day for inside activities. Thanks to Lisa at Earth Mama 101 blog I have discovered the Garden Mama craft blog filled with inspirational photos and instructions--perfect activities for a day like today when children are home from school. And for those who perfer to read or cook, you have to check out this fun post from Gherkins and Tomatoes filled with poetry,photos, recipes and the writer's reflections about being snowed in. Enjoy the snow, the sunshine, and another forced break from the routine.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Power of PASA--thoughts of spring

With feet of snow on the ground and the current blizzard conditions swirling outside my window, you would hardly guess that I would be inspired to think about farming. Believe it or not I am currently in a farming state of mind--in large part due to my attendance of the informational and inspirational PASA Farm for the Future conference. An amazing opportunity to network, learn, and just enjoy with over 2,400 other farming enthusiast--the Farming for the Future conference has garnered the much deserved reputation of providing farmers with what they need to refill the wellspring of passion and knowledge necessary to get through another farming season.

This year's conference did not disappoint. The slightly caustic but genius keynote speaker Michael Reynolds provided a model for this year's theme-- The Sustainable Challenge: Providing for a Livable Tomorrow -- through his rebellious yet ecologically logical architectural models. I attended a range of workshops with topics that included high tunnels, fermented foods, dealing with melon/cucumber/squash pests,transition towns and more--all with the underlying theme of providing for a more sustainable future. One of the highlights of this year's conference was to have Chester County natives Hoots and Hellmouth provide musical entertainment at the kick off winter picnic (with the giant turkey image staring down on them while they performed). In fact we got snowed in up at the conference, resulting in the opportunity to enjoy Hoots and Hellmouth a second time at a wonderful local food and ale house venue the Elk Creek Cafe--a restaurant started by former PASA executive director Tim Bowser. If you are ever in the State College area I strongly recommend the Elk Creek Cafe.

But on to farming--despite the weather outside, this is the perfect time to be picking out seeds, thinking about potting soil, and planning out your garden. Luckily PASA can be a resource for all of us in the Southeast region. This weekend PASA is hosting a great double header workshop on backyard chickens and succession planting click here for the complete details. Two PASA members are also great resources for seeds and potting soil-- Happy Cat Organics and Organic Mechanic potting soil. Check out Organic Mechanic at the PASA conference in the picture below. Another great resource, especially while you are stuck inside, is the Johnny Selected Seed Company (they too were at the PASA conference, even though the company is based in Maine). I basically could not survive without the help of Johnny's--their catalog is a fantastic reference as is their website and my new obsession their blog. So as the snow continues to pile up--I hope you can enjoy thoughts of spring and all the wonderful local resources PASA has to offer.