Thursday, October 6, 2016

Food Blogging for Native Son Farm

Native Son Farm Food Blog
April 2016-present

Since April of 2016, I have written, photographed, and produced a food blog for Native Son Farm, a certified naturally grown vegetable farm in Tupelo, Mississippi. This is a project near and dear to my heart because I love food—and photographing food—and am passionate about supporting sustainable local agriculture. Native Son Farm is real asset to north Mississippi, where fresh, locally grown, pesticide-free produce options are scarce. But I am also particularly proud of this project because it was an idea I pitched and built from the ground up, and it has really taken off.

In the blog's three farm seasons, I have shepherded it through a redesign and help grow readership into the thousands. It serves as a clearinghouse for information about the farm's community-supported agriculture (CSA) program as well as a way for CSA members to share their favorite tips and recipes. I have also solicited, edited, and produced several guests posts from area members, chefs, and restauranteurs. My fourth season as editor of this blog begins tomorrow, and I am really excited about where this blog is going, as well as some bigger longer-term projects I have planned with Native Son Farm.  Here is a sample of recent posts:

Monday, June 15, 2015

Beer Nuts

Beer Nuts
Hendrix magazine
Spring 2015

Meet the growing number of alumni who are tapping into the craft beer movement

The first thing I notice about Lost Forty Brewing is its size. Although technically a microbrewery, everything about the operation is big. Towering over its entrance, in a former warehouse district just east of Little Rock’s River Market, is an enormous grain silo that holds the 48,000 pounds of malt that will be used to produce some 3,000 barrels of beer this year. The day it opened last December, Lost Forty because one of the biggest breweries in the state and one of the most talked-about dining venues in the city.

Although new to brewing, co-owner John Beachboard ’01 has been a big name in central Arkansas food and business circles for years. He and partners Scott McGehee and Russ McDonough would seem to have a Midas touch, having rolled out one hit restaurant after another: ZaZa in 2008, Big Orange in 2011, followed by Local Lime in 2012. Now the trio, who joined with businessman and “serial entrepreneur” Albert Braunfisch ’86 on this venture, are making a big splash on Arkansas’s burgeoning brew scene.

But Beachboard and Braunfisch are just the latest among a growing number of Hendrix College grads who are ridding the tidal wave of craft beer that is washing over the state: including Evan McDonald ’03 in Fayetteville, and Ian Beard ’02, Patrick Cowan ’03, and Ida Mehdizadegan Cowan ’05 in Little Rock. So what’s causing all this brew-ha-ha?

[Read more … ]

Monday, June 1, 2015

The Expert: What I Know About ... Body Odour

The Expert: What I Know About … Body Odour
Avenue Edmonton
June 2015

Who: Rachel McQueen

Age: 40

Job: Assistant Professor of Textiles Science at the University of Alberta

Experience: Rachel McQueen grew up on the South Island in New Zealand, where her father ranched about 1,500 Perendale sheep on 300 acres of land, which may explain her love of wool. As an undergrad at the University of Otago, she got turned on to textiles science. “What I liked about clothing was the science, but also the social aspects as well.”

In 2007, she moved to Edmonton to take up her current position as a professor in the Department of Human Ecology at the University of Alberta, one of the only university in Canada with such a program. In addition to teaching, she studies the retention of odor in textiles—“Why does this T-shirt stink and the other not?” is a question she often finds herself asking—and works with several manufacturers of sports apparel.

Her research involves a lot of “wear trials,” where volunteers sniff the sweaty underarms of other people’s clothing, and her findings on stinky garments have generated interest, from Scientific American to Cosmopolitan.

[Read more…]

Monday, March 16, 2015

A New Swamp Fire

A New Swamp Fire
The Oxford American
March 15, 2015

Since their inception more than a decade ago as a band of teenage musical wunderkinds, Feufollet has been leading a revival in Cajun music and bringing the traditional tunes of Acadiana to a wider audience. Their last album, En Coulouers (2010), earned a Grammy nomination and a nod from Elvis Costello, who called it “the most beautifully melodic album I’ve heard all year.”

In the years since, the members of Feufollet—which means “swamp fire”—have been pursuing diverse musical careers and retooling the band after the departure of former lead singer Anna Laura Edmiston, who ran off to join the circus, literally. (Edmiston left the group under amicable terms in 2012 to tour with Cavalia: Odysseo, a theatrical circus created by one of the founders of Cirque du Soleil.)

Next week, Feufollet will release Two Universes, their first album in five years. The album debuts vocalist and fiddler Kelli Jones-Savoy, as well as a strikingly different sound: less accordion and more honky-tonk. It signals a radical departure from the Cajun music tradition on which Feufollet built their identity and is the first of their albums not sung entirely in French. Although Jones-Savoy displays a brilliant bilingualism, her roots are in the old-time music of North Carolina, and this translates into her songwriting.

And Two Universes is a showcase for songwriting. Feufollet’s earlier albums relied heavily on the band’s arrangements of traditional Louisiana tunes, while this album features their own songs almost exclusively. For those of us who have enjoyed their music without ever comprehending a word of the French, it is a pleasure to finally be able to appreciate their talents as lyricists, as in the duet “Red Light,” where Jones-Savoy and Feufollet co-founder and frontman Chris Stafford trade off harmony and opposing viewpoints:

I saw an end, but you saw a start
I declared it over, thought I had played it smart
But you built a castle from all that fell apart
I saw an end, but you saw a start

I was curious about the story behind this new project, so last month I spoke by phone with Jones-Savoy and Stafford. I caught them at Stafford’s music studio in Lafayette, getting ready for a spring tour.

[Read more…]

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Ingredient: Rum

The Ingredient: Rum
Avenue Edmonton
January 2015

Rum is experiencing a spike in popularity, not just in the glass but on the plate as well. But whether you sip it, marinate your chicken with it or bake it in a cake, there is so much more to this liquor than tiki drinks and pirates.

[Read more … ]

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Wendy Posts It

Wendy Posts It


Autumn 2014

The Wellesley network went into high gear when it moved onto Facebook. On “community,” alumnae dole out advice, provide support through crises, and form lasting bonds. And then there are the stories that are the stuff of legend.  

Alice Kunce ’05 had never been so scared. Her younger sister lay in a hospital bed with the deathly pallor of a wax figure. Ellen, then 21, had been born with a malformed heart and had undergone numerous surgeries, including the installation of a mechanical valve when she was 10. Because of her sister’s condition, Kunce and her family were no strangers to hospitals. But this time was different because the doctors didn’t have a plan.

A bacterial infection had sent Ellen to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia with sudden congestive heart failure. In such cases, antibiotics would typically kill the infection, but Ellen had proved allergic to the standard class of medicines. The physicians said that if left untreated, the infection would slowly kill her.

Ellen’s doctor, a young, bleary-eyed resident, had given her the hospital’s last dose of streptomycin, an older antibiotic normally used to treat tuberculosis in the developing world, and it seemed to be working. However, as the doctor informed Kunce and her family, he was unable to get any more.
“What do you mean you can’t get any more?” screeched Kunce. “This is one of the top cardiac-care facilities in the world.”

“I mean, this drug is not available,” the doctor told her. “We don’t have it. We can’t get it. You can even put it on Facebook, but this medicine does not exist.”

But “put it on Facebook” is just what Kunce did. On the group called Community for Wellesley Alums in Withdrawal, which had been started a few months before, Kunce posted a message that began: “***Who has drug connections??***” After explaining her sister’s situation, she closed, “I am reaching out and activating the Wellesley Network!! Please, crosspost as necessary!!! Streptomycin. 1 gram per vial. 1 vial per day.”

Then she went to sleep.

[Read more...]

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Expert: What I know about ... Diamonds

The Expert: What I know about ... Diamonds
Avenue Edmonton
May 2014

If you've never seen a diamond in the flesh, Graham Pearson can describe them in detail

Who: Graham Pearson
Age: 48
Job: Geologist

Experience: He has been chased by polar bears in the Northwest Territories, ostriches in South Africa and a nine-foot-long cobra in Namibia — all while in pursuit of diamonds. As the Canada Excellence Research Chair in Arctic Resources at the University of Alberta, he routinely travels the world gathering samples from deep inside the earth’s crust that tell him how diamonds form, where they come from and how old they are.

[Read more...]