2016: A (writing) year in review.

Globally speaking, I’m beyond ready for 2016 to beat a hasty retreat. Seriously.

Professionally, though, I’m still marveling at what a great year it was. Seriously.

I was fortunate to collaborate with a number of longstanding and new clients, broadening and deepening my portfolio of writing about food and wellness. My work fell evenly into two camps: writing for publication and online marketing content. The subjects were inspiring, the teams fun to work with, the finished projects stuff I’m proud of. A few high points:

A visit to one of my top clients. After working together — closely, on lots and lots of projects — for two years, I traveled to connect in person with my colleagues at the Produce Marketing Association. We’ve worked together to promote dozens of global events for growers/suppliers/retailers in the fresh produce and floral industry. It was so neat to meet the PMA team face-to-face. And 2017 looks to hold even greater collaboration.

Giving life to local food coverage. Call me old-fashioned, but I still love reading the local newspaper over my morning coffee. And my recipe file is full of old clippings from newspapers’ food sections. So when editor Amy Wilson asked if I’d regularly contribute to the Cincinnati Enquirer‘s weekly food coverage, I jumped at the chance. I got to write about the pleasures of eating breakfast for dinner, shared delicious ways to enjoy summer tomatoes, and declared that making your own butter is just about the best thing ever. Coolest encounter of the year: Running into an Enquirer reader, toting my recipe for herb and spice cashews that she’d cut from the paper, as she was buying the nuts at Dean’s Mediterranean Market. Local food — and local media — for the win!

Tackling a new medium: recipe videos. You know those 1-minute recipe videos you see in your Facebook feed all the time? Turns out, those take about 2 hours to film and are a whole lot of fun to create. Working with Curiosity Advertising and their client, The Christ Hospital, we’re rolling out a series of quick recipe videos.

Supporting local food producers, farmers and retailers. Serving as editor of Edible Ohio Valley remains a passion and pleasure, as we get to tell the stories of people who are working hard to bring beautiful, healthful food to our tables here in Cincinnati. One of my favorite stories to write this year was a feature on farmers’ markets and their importance to our community, economy and our collective health.

Here’s hoping you had a productive and fulfilling 2016, and that 2017 will bring you more of the same!

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New work: Christ Hospital wellness site.

My food writing work hits the sweet spot when the subject intersects at healthy and local. So my new collaboration with The Christ Hospital and agency Curiosity Advertising is right in my kitchen, so to speak.

We’re working together to spotlight local food — producers, farmers’ markets, seasonal flavors — and encouraging the Christ Hospital community to cook and eat healthful foods. In addition to a new series of recipe videos — SUPER FUN! — I am writing online content around healthy cooking and eating. My subjects so far include a feature on local winter farmers’ markets, strategies for stocking your pantry to make home cooking easier, and ‘locavore’ New Years Eve party ideas. Take a look at some of the work:

New Work: recipe videos.

I’ve just launched a cool new collaboration with the creative team from Curiosity Advertising and their client, The Christ Hospital. We’re working to develop friendly, approachable stories and videos that encourage people in the Greater Cincinnati area to cook healthfully, love local food and pursue their wellness goals.

First up: a video demonstrating how to make an easy recipe for roasted fall vegetables. Click the image below to see the video!

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New work: Edible Ohio Valley Spring issue.

This issue of Edible Ohio Valley magazine celebrates the ways that food can bring people together, lift folks up and make the world a little bit better.

Plus, isn’t the cover gorgeous?

Spring EOV coverFind this issue at your favorite Ohio Valley food purveyors, including the fabulous Dorothy Lane Market and Findlay Market, plus bookstores like Joseph-Beth.

New work: My Magazine for Kroger.

For quite awhile now, I’ve been contributing articles and recipes to Kroger’s My Magazine customer publication. It’s a fantastic collaboration with the team at 84.51°, the data and marketing agency that handles shopper communication for Kroger and its subsidiary brands. These guys really know what they’re doing, and it’s a blast to work with their creative team — the editor gives great direction and feedback, and the photo, food styling and design team make the words and recipes look mouthwatering. Take a look at some of our work together:

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New work: Big Game magazine for Meijer.

After working on Meijer’s Taste of Holiday magazine, my client from IN Marketing Services asked, “Wanna work on our “Big Game” magazine? Hmmm … let me think about that: YES!

This was a really fun project, one that required that I haul out every football cliche in the playbook. For this 28-page publication, I drafted copy to support recipes provided by Meijer and their partners. I developed an “Ultimate DIY Nacho Bar” with all the trimmings, along with copy tidbits for each category of recipes.

Now I’m hungry!

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New work: Organic Gardening

Imagine being asked to write a feature article — for a national magazine you’ve long admired — about making candy. Right? Impossible to turn that assignment down. Even more so when the subject of the story is Cincinnati chocolatier Shalini Latour, whose Chocolats Latour are as beautiful as they are delicious. What a fun story to tell!

Shalini, photographer Julie Kramer and I collaborated on the story plus four recipes — for chocolate truffles with fresh mint, raspberry swirl marshmallows, buttery mints like the ones you find in mom-and-pop Italian restaurants and Shalini’s own award-winning almond rosemary brittle.

Find the story out now in the December/January issue of Organic Gardening.

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New work: Organization Horsepower

IOrganization Horsepower covert’s always cool to collaborate on a project and see it come to life. A few months ago, I worked with first-time author Harrison Withers to copyedit the manuscript for his book, Organization Horsepower. An avid motorcycle racer and skilled business consultant, Harrison makes an interesting and engaging case for the wisdom business leaders can glean from a well-oiled motorcycle racing team. From the machine to the rider to the team, he talks about how racers collect and use data to improve — and he shows how businesses can do the same. Organization Horsepower is newly published and available on Amazon.com.

 

New work: Celebrating the design community.

Late last year, the team at San Francisco’s supertalented Hybrid Design called with an assignment: Would I be interested in interviewing Sibella Kraus for one of their client projects?

Um, yeah.

Sibella Kraus is the matriarch of our modern farmers’ market system, and a personal hero of mine. She worked with Alice Waters at Chez Panisse, where the two of them began seeking better quality produce from local farmers. When Sibella left the restaurant business, she went on to found the Center for Urban Education About Sustainable Agriculture, the nonprofit organization behind the Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market, a San Francisco institution that Rob and I never fail to visit when we’re in the City by the Bay. Sibella was wonderful to talk to, and the story ended up in Issue 3 of Mohawk Paper’s Maker Quarterly. (Click on the cover image below to download the PDF.)

Four months later, the Hybrid Design team asked if I’d contribute to Issue 4 of the Quarterly. This time, I had the fun assignment to write about public spaces that foster community: tiny parks, communal apartment buildings, co-working spaces and the like. (Click on the cover below to download the PDF.) I love working with the Hybrid team … it’s a real collaboration.

Cookbook feedback: It’s all good.

I was thrilled to get a note today from my publisher, Michael Turback of Farm Fresh Books, with feedback on my manuscript for “The Findlay Market Cookbook.”

I am delighted to report that editing has been completed, and your manuscript is now in the hands of the designer. Having done this a few times myself, I know what it takes to put it all together. The stories are interesting. The recipes are wide-ranging and home kitchen friendly.  And you’ve truly captured the essence of Findlay Market. I am confident your effort will be applauded and rewarded.

So, what occurred in the editing? Spelling and grammar were nearly perfect throughout (thank you!). A few vendor stories were tweaked for clarification.  Some headnotes repeated information already included in the stories, and a few others seem to need a bit more to say about a particular ingredient. Those changes were made, along with embellishing a dozen or so recipe names in the spirit of fun. Thanks again for making my job so easy.