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The Big Harvest Potluck, come hungry, leave full in every (meaningful) way

The Big Harvest Potluck, come hungry, leave full in every (meaningful) way

The Big Harvest Potluck, come hungry, leave full in every (meaningful) way

From the seeds of the earth, together we picnicked on a selection of fresh picked colorful vegetables from the working home farm of George Ball, CEO of Burpee Company touchingly planted just for us, to reaching up, up, and away in a hot air balloon seemingly symbolic of reaching for the stars, and then, well pretty much everything nourishing in between captured the many special moments shared at the Big Harvest Potluck whose main event was hosted at the Fordhook Farm in Bucks County, Pennsylvania last weekend.

George Ball, Owner, CEO Burpee Company


A theme on this annual food bloggers Big Potluck goes something like ‘come hungry and leave full in every way’ and one truly does leave full in every way especially for that which is most meaningful. I’ve seen it called the un-convention- convention and the event was the furthest thing from a convention I’ve ever attended. Some clues on the uniqueness of the weekend include all participants being addressed as personal individuals rather than their food blogs. Business cards were not busily exchanged, and the un-networking- network tilled the fruitful soil based on building friendships and relationships between those who share many same interests.


 The speaker line-up was designed just as the Potluck for folks to share a common experience together. Following the formalities, we began the daylong series with a talk by author Barry Estabrook on his fascinating book “Pig Tales: An Omnivore’s Quest for Sustainable Meat.” From there, (and before our warm apple cider break) Cheryl Sternman Rule made compelling points on “How To Pivot Without Losing Your Core.”

Before lunch, Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer of the Canal House in Lambertville, New Jersey shared their Culinary Journey which is impressive at least given two women with a very long laundry list of accomplishments in food photography, magazine, and cookbook genres.

I suppose it only fair to mention that despite the casual nature this weekend is created and delivered by seriously accomplished individuals in the food industry all who graciously give their time to mentor in their own way and like good parents remind their children about staying true to those good simple values that give a sense of meaning while always keeping close their embracing.


In the afternoon, we enjoyed the workshops, “Finding Your Point of View-After All It’s All We’ve Really Got” (How about that title?!) also delivered by Christopher and Melissa, before Cheryl’s instructive class, “Beef Up Your Storytelling: How to Write with Purpose, Clarity, Strength.” Then, last but not least, before sharing some personal stories and experiences between the group, Karen Thornton shared “Stacking Up Your Culinary Past: Creating A Culinary Legacy.”


The shared message of inspiration of the weekend fall season event, “change your leaves” but “keep intact your roots” sunk deep into your true and abiding self. What might this mean to you? How many take time to think of that concept today or have you forgotten, or feel like you barely have the time for such a luxury? Like a stone path leading to learning and reflection, we profoundly enjoyed the granted permission to do so. The Big Harvest Potluck offered time away from the world, to learn new things, to look within, to questions one’s self, not only one’s momentary goals, but stopping the clock from the constant distractions of social media, SEO’s, this new thing, that new thing, perhaps even challenges and disappointments, looking within, setting up questions for ongoing reflection, and then, focusing on one’s food blog as it works best for one’s own authentic self. Why do you even write a food blog? The answers are as many as stars in the sky, and unique to each one as well.




Keeping intact old roots was rather a double gift for me over the weekend with the unique opportunity of attending a DSLR Video Workshop with Debra and Rod Smith sponsored by the good folks at Sabra (think very delicious hummus, yes them.) Now Debra, also one of the leaders of the Big Potluck and who also writes the food blog, Smith Bites, is special to me being the big sister of one of my over twenty-five year longtime friends in Arizona, Vicki. Solid roots there. Of course, there were big hugs shared catching up upon this special occasion.


Debra and Rod as it turns out are, beyond their highly talented craft, really, really, good teachers, so good, that believe it or not, even I was able to understand the interesting processes in creating and formulating a video as we worked in small teams using the specialty Sabra products (that we all incidentally could barely wait to enjoy.)

Well OK, my team was so eager we actually made dipping and eating the hummus with varying nibbles part of our video! Admittedly, perhaps we enjoyed the Sabra  products too much- for we forgot to dub in our sound, and hence, even having produced quite a good set, then did not win the grand prize microphones. On the other hand, I wouldn’t ever have traded in my team of talented, awesome gals like Joanne of Fifteen Spatulas in New York who really made the day (and the snacking) so much fun.


Veronica, from OXO products was another among our really super terrific team individuals who then at our picnic lunch on Saturday introduced us to the practical containers shown above that securely hold your salad, and your salad dressing set with a small separate easy snap container.  I found these OXO containers perfect for fitting the  ‘healthy eaters’ size salad, clearly exhibited by all of the fabulous fresh greens, vegetables, and grains we all comfortably stuffed inside before topping them off with flavorful chunks and slice samples of Kerrygold Cheese (another of the days fine sponsors.)


Making lunch even more special was the opportunity to enjoy conversation with one of my favorite food bloggers, Alice Choi of Hip Foodie Mom. Alice and I have some similarities in roots to Korean food. What? What do you mean we don’t resemble each other? Well OK, Alice does have a bit closer resemblance to my youngest daughter, Alex who also met Alice at a conference in Miami last May. Alice really is just terrific with lots of great energy along with being a good writer while providing lots of fun, interesting recipes on her blog. And most importantly, she’s a very lovely person too.


And so, though I could write another Post on this weekend, there really is even so much more to say, so many nice people to share, like Chef Denis Litley from Orlando that so many know through Google +, many really great sponsors each to be grateful for, including Anolon that delivered the beautiful ‘Pot Luck Pot’ to participants before hand. I love that pot! Thank you folks at Anolon! In closing, I thought this photo with Alice was best, it is after all, only a so-long to all, see you next time, as we share new beginnings of all that is meaningful. The Big Harvest Potluck, ‘come hungry and, leave full in every way.’


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