Manny Beads: I’m Manny and I live in beautiful Vermont where the colors of Summer in bloom, and Fall happening inspire me. Some years ago I found myself really wanting to breath some fresh air into my creative lungs. I learned how to knit, took some pottery courses and dove into making jewelry. I had been creating jewelry for myself and others for many years, drawn to the challenge of making a reality what my imagination cooks up.
I have a passion for unrefined stones and other elements that inspire me to create jewelry that is designed with an organic feeling to it: a bit unrefined, beautifully irregular and suggestive of the spiritual. Some of the elements I am most drawn to are organic and unrefined stones, ancient pieces, vintage buttons, Tibetan mala beads, and ethnic additions. I prefer to use creative elements that are not too many steps removed from the earth…imperfectly perfect. The stones and beads are often hand-cut and unrefined, left to speak for themselves, reminding us that they are of the Earth.
Earth Day is here again and what better way to celebrate than by winning some low-impact, earth-friendly, handmade goods? The eco-marketplace Cosa Verde has teamed up with Modish to bring you a giveaway of beautiful handmade goods by 39 environmentally-friendly artists. $1375 in prizes will be split among four lucky winners. Click over to Modish to enter!
Prizes include the organic handbag above by Zelaya, with hand-carved wooden handles, this circle fawn pendant made from recycled silver by Figs & Ginger, and this adorable screenprinted organic pillow by Chakra Pennywhistle, along with lots of other organic, recycled, repurposed and reusable earth-friendly wares!
Potentially shaping up as one for the record books — and not in a good way — the 2009 tomato season is upon us. Here, the season is just winding up, but already I’ve had my first few mouthfuls of flavor-packed, garden-fresh goodness.
Unfortunately, the first few mouthfuls may prove half the crop. While we’re not being hammered by the late blight that has been relentlessly claiming crops on the east coast, Mother Nature has not been our friend here either. The summer has been cool and in our region dry — even despite what seems like every third day rains.
I read something recently at zenhabits that has stuck with me. I’m more than a bit ashamed to admit, lately, much of my online reading has come to an abrupt halt. I suppose this is why coming across a gem like this — so simple and yet so true — meant all the more to me. It was discovered in one of those rare moments where I was just being with me; myself. It was written, not about food, but about wanting very little in life. Yet it applies so beautifully to the journey we often travel in finding artisan food that I had to share.
Don’t be meaninglessly minimalist. Be purposeful and deliberate in your quest…
In the weeks leading up to The New Year holiday I thought extensively about where I wanted to go with this column; what I wanted to accomplish in 2010. All I was able to come up with was to ‘Have Direction’, but struggled as to what that really meant. I knew that in 2009, in its very infancy, I had felt pulled this way and that; I had wondered if anything good was actually being done with the words I was writing here. I struggled in December to know how to fix that until I was confronted with the direction of meaning.
In seeking an artisan or handmade existence, especially in the food industry, being meaningful is a complex and oft times misdirected effort in an of itself. There are so many camps of foodies out there. Local, organic, artisan, simple, slow, complex and fanciful — knowing which is right, which is meaningful for your individual situation is never clear cut or easy.
In 2010 I hope not just to ‘have direction’ but to be meaningful and to promote the importance of meaningful decisions in the food industry. That means uniting for the cause. Whether local or organic, simple or complex it means understanding and accepting that meaningful food choices come in many colors; under many schools of thought.
Here’s to meaningful food in the New Year — for one, for all!
Mmmm, this looks fabulous. Making your own cheese? Delicious!
Choices from Urban Cheesecraft include mozzarella, ricotta, goat cheese, paneer and queso blanco. They’re also a source for cheese making supplies like vegetarian rennet, cheese salt, citric acid, and butter muslin.
A little about cost comparison:
If you choose organic milk for your cheesemaking, compare the price to organic cheese. If you buy regular milk, compare the price to regular cheese. Keep in mind however that if you spend $5 on milk, you will make twice as much cheese as you would buy for $5- organic or not! So for $5 you get two typical logs of chevre.
A little about milk:
You do not need raw milk to make cheese. You can use regular pasteurized milk from the grocery store as long as it is not ultra pasteurized or ultra-heat pasteurized. Even some of the large organic brands now do this to milk. Its only benefit is a long shelf life. They use high heat and kill the microbes that help cheese happen so it won’t work. So, find a milk that you like and works, then stick with it. Oh and this kit works with cow’s or sheep’s milk too (or you can be like Europeans and combine them to play with different tangy flavors). You can also use lowfat milk or nonfat milk (yield and creaminess will be noticeable with nonfat).
I think I’m going to have to give this a try!