Passion for Pop

November 8, 2009
Frostie-Cap

Frostie cap sign from the 1950s

When I was in the six- to eight-year-old range, one of my favorite treats was to have a Frostie brand root beer. I remember it as being especially smooth and creamy with lots of sassafras flavor. This was the real thing, boys and girls. Finding a soft drink that’s not made with high fructose corn syrup anymore is extremely difficult.

It’s a shame what we’ve done to our food system. And it’s even a greater shame what we’ve allowed government backed big business to do to make small businesses work harder to gain a foothold and survive. But when a small business owner finds a niche and a passion for a service, then a market gets well-served.

In this video of John Nese, the owner of Galco’s Soda Pop Stop in Los Angeles, I believe you’ll find a passion for soda pop and delighting customers that will inspire you to carry that same passion over to the people you serve.

Galco's-Soda-Pop

John Nese, Galco's Soda Pop Stop

I probably don’t drink more than one or two soft drinks a year. Watching this video got me teary-eyed and made me want to hop on a plane for LA.

Now, where can I find a “Frostie”?

Charles Gupton

http://www.charlesguptonphoto.com

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Supporting Local Farms – MAE Farm

November 4, 2009

MAE Farm is the third in a series of local farms I’m profiling for a project I’m working on to promote support of local farms. The project involves photographing, producing video and recording interviews with several farms about why they farm, who their customer base is and, most importantly, how they stay sustainable. I want to encourage folks to buy locally but also to know and have a relationship with farms in one’s area.

Mike and Suzanne Jones started farming because of their desire to raise their children on the land with meaningful work to do. Their primary emphasis is on producing sustainably raised meats, primarily pork. They also raise goats and cattle for meat as well as chickens for eggs. In addition to selling fresh pork, they have also started producing their own barbecue for sale. The pork is all hand-pulled with no soy or other fillers added. You can buy from them directly or at the State Farmers Market in Raleigh.

MaeFarm_collection_web

MAE Farm

More to come…

Charles Gupton

http://www.charlesguptonphoto.com

On LinkedIn

On FaceBook


Supporting Local Farms – Edible Earthscapes

October 2, 2009

Edible Earthscapes farm is the second in a series of local farms I’m profiling for a project I’m working on to promote support of local farms. The project involves photographing, producing video and recording interviews with several farms about why they farm, who their customer base is and, most importantly, how they stay sustainable. I want to encourage folks to buy locally but also to know and have a relationship with farms in one’s area.

Jason and Haruka Otis are also featured in the October issue of Our State magazine in a story titled “Autumn Harvest: Breaking New Ground on North Carolina Farms”. You can connect with Edible Earthscapes at their site: http://edibleearthscape.wordpress.com.

Edible Earthscapes Farm

Edible Earthscapes Farm

More to come…

Charles

http://www.charlesguptonphoto.com

On LinkedIn

On FaceBook


Supporting Local Farms – Double T Farm

September 15, 2009

One of the projects I’ve been able to throw my passion into recently is one promoting the support of local farms, as in, not just buying locally but actually knowing and having a relationships with farms in one’s area. The project involves photographing, producing video and recorded interviews with several farms about why they farm, who their customer base is and, most importantly, how they stay sustainable. It will be several weeks before I have all the material completed to wrap it up. In the meantime, I’ll post some images from each farm with a link so you can check them out further. More to come…

Double T Farm, Garner North Carolina

Double T Farm, Garner North Carolina

BTW, Carolina Farm Stewardship is hosting it’s fourth Eastern NC Farm Tour Sept. 19 & 20. If you’re in the area this weekend, check out the twenty-five farms who’re participating.

Charles

http://www.charlesguptonphoto.com
On Twitter @ http://twitter.com/CharlesGupton


Not Without Hope – Nancy Stolfo-Corti

April 16, 2009

I met Nancy over a dinner shared by a group of disparate but like-minded folks. Everyone was an entrepreneur and an idea-driven individual. Although an introvert by nature, Nancy does not let her need for quiet reflection and thinking keep her from serving and caring for numerous people around her. She has a passion for nourishing people, not just through food but also by listening and showing compassion. We’ve met for coffee and lunch on a couple of occasions and each time my spirit is filled with joy and delight.

Charles

http://www.charlesguptonphoto.com
On Twitter @ http://twitter.com/CharlesGupton

Nancy Stolfo-Corti in her kitchen

Nancy Stolfo-Corti in her kitchen

If we waited for the perfect time to have children, to get married or to buy a house, there would be very few homes and/or children created. In times of crisis, you must take what you have and move forward- there is never going to be a better time to do anything- so why should difficult times be any different? Take inventory of what is right in your world and use that to carry you through. In the words of Winston Churchill, “If you are going through Hell, just keep going.”  I have.

Living most of my adult life in Tuscany, I learned a valuable lesson- the less people had the more they were willing to give. Of all the locals that I met while living there, the most noble of beings were the country folk that gave generously of their larders and their knowledge. They brought me fresh cheeses, eggs and tomatoes for my small children. They showed me how to find edible wild greens in the fields, and mushrooms, asparagus and berries in the woods. They taught me about dried beans and grains and how to make my own bread with just flour, water and a small piece of old dough as a starter. They taught me that the richness I had was in my parents who taught me to be imaginative and generous. The generosity of these people was not in what they gave as much as what they taught me and how they made me feel.

I have never been hungry and have always been able to make a feast even when I was unemployed and down on my luck. One year, when I was particularly homesick and wanted a jack-o-lantern for Halloween, my husband made me feel guilty about the expense – pumpkins in Italy, in the fall, can run over $100 apiece – because it was something he didn’t think we needed. I got my jack-o-lantern but also used the flesh to create pies, ravioli, lasagna, velvety soups, breads and jams. Better yet, I was able to share my feasts with friends, family and perfect strangers who were struggling even more than we were.

With kindness and creativity, we can make the dreariest of times magical.

When people dwell on the negative aspects of life they seem to multiply. I know people who complain that their life is ‘crap’. My suggestion is to take their bag of  ‘manure’ and find a garden to fertilize. There’s always something you can do, no matter how small – give your time to help a neighbor, write letters to or for an elderly person, bring someone flowers, or commit any act of kindness. You have the ability to make your world right. And, when you have righted your world, the rest of the world will follow. You can always have hope. ~ Nancy Stolfo-Corti


A Plump Red One

December 29, 2008
My Christmas evening repast

My Christmas evening repast

I am a foodie. So much so that Linda and I bought a farm property several years ago so that we could grow the quality of food we wanted. Every year it’s been my goal to keep some tomatoes going through the occasional freezing nights so that I could have a fresh grown tomato sandwich on Christmas Day. Well this year we did it!

I am a major proponent of eating ‘in season,’ the principal of eating produce that is raised in one’s area in that season. A strawberry eaten in the northeast in December had to have been shipped in from far away. It won’t have the taste of a berry enjoyed in it’s season, in it’s prime. Even more so with a tomato.

Keeping our ‘maters going has taken a lot of care to cover them from the cold most nights since October. But the payoff has been great! We’ve been giving away vine-ripened tomatoes to a number of friends over the past couple of months. Many of them have been suspect about whether they would have the flavor of a summer grown fruit. So our delightful response when they’ve called back to ask for more has been to give them more! I can’t think of anything that gives more satisfaction than to give away something that brings priceless pleasure to another person’s life.

But as I’ve thought about it, another component of the satisfaction we derive from the process is the process itself. The investment of care we put into anything worth doing is compounded by the joy of sharing and the work itself. The more challenging the work, the more rewarding the outcome when it succeeds.

Whatever the reason, my Christmas Day tomato sandwich was a delicious, juicy, wonderful delight. Can I lightly toast some bread for you?

Charles

www.charlesguptonphoto.com