Last weekend I went to the Big Summer Potluck, which is basically all about food, inspiration, and community. When I first heard about it I thought it was going to be like other conferences I've attended. I'm happy to report it was so much better! Special thanks to our hosts Maggy, Erika, and Pam for a fabulous weekend.
Many of the other conferences are crowded, talk a lot about ads, how to make money, and SEO. These are all important but with the limited time each speaker has I either feel stressed out or overwhelmed after hearing them speak. After hearing the speakers at BSP4 (Big Summer Potluck 4) I felt so inspired.
The three featured speakers all shared great stories about their lives and their work. We heard from Jessamyn Rodriguez who is the founder of Hot Bread Kitchen in New York. Hot Bread Kitchen's mission is to increase economic security for foreign-born and low-income women and men by opening access to the specialty food industry. Then we heard from Jeni Britton Bauer, the owner of Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams. Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams is a successful business that makes every ice cream, sorbet, and frozen yogurt from the ground up with grass-grazed Ohio cream, local produce, and carefully sourced ingredients including rare, fair-trade vanilla and bean-to-bar chocolate. Finally we heard from Joe Yonan, the food editor for the Washington Post. He spoke about his year off from the post where he lived with his sister and brother-in-law on their Homestead in Maine. While there he was inspired to write his new vegetarian cookbook and has since returned back to the Washington Post.
Then we heard from Jessica Powers at WhyHunger. She spoke about WhyHinger and how they help to develop capacity building resources for emergency food providers. Next Robyn Hillman-Harrigan talked about the ShoreSoup Project which has helped deliver food to those affected by Hurricane sandy in the Rockaway peninsula.
Other speakers included Coach Mark Smallman from The Rodale Institute who talked about honey bees and the problems they are facing today. Then Abby Dodge, cookbook author and food writer, demonstrated how to make shortbread cookies and spoke about recipe development. Finally we heard from Brian Samuels who showed us how to make a shrub which is a combination of fruit, sugar, and vinegar that is mixed with liquor and tonic water.
Then there was the actual potluck. Most of the attendees actually made and brought food to the potluck. How fun is that? I loved trying foods from the people who write the blogs that I love to read! Plus, when you have a huge group of food bloggers doing the cooking you know the food is going to be amazing!
Lastly was the sense of community. Every aspect of the Big Potluck was set up for people to mingle, chat, and share their thoughts. I'm a fairly shy person but I can honestly say I met and talked to so many new people and I felt like I have known some of them forever! Everyone was so nice and friendly and since we all shared a love for food there was always something to talk about.
I met many of the food bloggers I chat with online and some food bloggers that I follow and feel like I've known. Some that I got to really chat with are Coleen from The Red Headed Baker, Carla from Chocolate Moosey, Annie from Annie's Eats, Betty Ann & Elpi from Asian In America, Kristina from BetterRecipes, Colleen from Souffle Bombay, Dennis from A Culinary Journey with Chef Dennis, Elizabeth from Beezus Kiddo, Shanon from The Curvy Carrot, Cara from Big Girls Small Kitchen, and Erin from Eat Bake Drink Cook. If you haven't checked out their blogs you need to visit soon!
I also had the chance to speak with many of the wonderful sponsors of the Big Summer Potluck 4 and found that they were as down to earth and wonderful as everyone else in attendance. I want to say a HUGE thank you to all the sponsors for donating time, prizes, swag for the welcome bags, and a few incredible representatives that I got to know a little bit better this weekend. I spent some time with Margaret and Shannon from Gourmet Gardens, Stephanie from Sabra, Mairead from Kerrygold, Shanon from Philips, and Rachel from Kitchen-Aid. The other fabulous sponsors included Musselman's, OXO, Attune Foods, Middle Sister Wines.
|Look at this swag! Thanks to all the sponsors!|
The one sit down dinner was on Saturday night. The food was from Joe Yonan's new vegetarian cookbook, Eat Your Vegetables: Bold Recipes for the Single Cook, and each course was paired with a different wine. The food and wine were incredible. There was even live music by Martha Redbone.
|The incredible dinner and wine pairings.|
I'm so glad I had the chance to attend this amazing weekend filled with food, friendship, and community. I can't wait for next year!