Friday, October 18

Friday's Why In Design Column: Good reasons to buy American Made products for our home and table!

photo courtesy Martha Stewart
As we head into this busy fall weekend,
let's contemplate why to buy locally grown and hand made products 
made right here in America...
 There are many trendy topics in interior design and the food industries these days, and it can make our head spin with trying to keep up with the latest fads and jargon that goes along with it.  However, there has been a growing commitment to support locally grown, artisan and handmade products in both the design and food world for years, and it has long-standing value. Many agree, Martha Stewart was one of the very first to rally and celebrate these talents.  

So, my question for today's Why In Design column is why is it important to buy from local artisans for our food and home products?  For starters, I believe it's darn good for the economy to support our artists, craftsmen and farmers in our local communities, and by doing so we are keeping our nation strong.  Secondly, it keeps the emphasis on valuable but waning trades and career choices.  It is difficult for young people to choose artistic careers.  We have all heard the term "starving artist" and probably know someone who has had to struggle to follow an artistic career.  Being an artisan has become an increasingly difficult lifestyle to choose.  However, it is important to note our country was built by people who made things by hand and with entrepreneurial spirits.  And, thirdly, now more than ever we will benefit from bringing balance in our lives and homes.  Because it is easier to find inexpensive fast everything--from fast food to fast, trendy home furnishings--we are now getting used to the inexpensive and sometimes unhealthy or poor quality items.  There is no arguing that sometimes we need that quick fix and a bargain too, but by valuing good quality made products (whether that be pillows or bread) we can bring balance in our bodies and into our homes.    
Created by Martha Stewart, American Made Market was an amazing event in Grand Central Station, bringing together design and food industry artisans from all over the country.  It is no surprise Martha Stewart is involved in championing American Made products and vendors.  Along with many foodies and designers, Martha Stewart is on a campaign to celebrate this cause and just wrapped up this  2-day American Made Market hosted right in the midst of the hustle and bustle of Grand Central Station's Vanderbilt Hall. Vendors from all over the country were invited to join in and showcase their delicious, gorgeous and quality wares.  

Jan's Farmhouse Crisps
My very good friend Jan Gorham, owner and visionary of Jan's Farmhouse Crisps, was invited to showcase samples of her handmade crackers.  
Traveling from her commercial kitchen in Vermont, Jan 
(with her small but growing staff) work daily whipping up batches of these delicious crackers.  Ingredients like flax seed, pistachios, wheat, honey are baked together and cut wafer thin to create these savory little bites, which are a perfect companion to a tangy wedge of cheese.  I have written about Jan's crisps a few times before on Nest and this summer while attending the NYC Fancy Food Show I brought you Nest by Tamara's top foodie favorites Jan was nominated for an award during the prestigious event, and garnered much attention.  Her crackers just keep getting more and more popular! 
 photo I took of Jan and Dave Gorham at NYC's Fancy Food Show
this summer while exhibiting at the Jacob Javits Center.  Pick up a bag of Jan's Farmhouse Crisps in New York City locations--Lucy's Whey; Murray's Cheese; or right in Grand Central Station at Central Market! 
      "The craftspeople and entrepreneurs on these pages 
embody the values of America -- 
creativity, hard work, optimism, and okay, 
maybe an occasional dash of stubborness"
Martha Stewart

More American Made companies 
I admire and were exhibiting at the show:
Beurre and Sel
Dorie Greenspan's cookies are an art form.  I first tasted them this summer after admiring the gorgeous display at Lucy's Whey in East Hampton.  they are sweet, savory and here is what she has to say,
             "made just as Dorie has made them for decades in her
 narrow NYC kitchen using local butter and hand-harvested French sea salt
...the butter and salt that five Buerre & Sel
 its name and its goodness"
North Fork Potato Chips

A big shout out to my favorite potato chip company 
in Eastern Long Island (the best chips in my neck of the woods in the Hamptons).
Family owned and one of the few making their own chips from their own farm!
Salvatore Brooklyn

locally made ricotta cheese from Brooklyn Salvadore --
with Italian roots and sensibilities this Brooklyn artisanal cheese maker utilizes local resources (milk from upstate New York) and products to make delicious, small batches of ricotta daily.  
Cricket Radio
I chatted with the ladies from Cricket Radio (don't you just love that name?).  This Vermont based company brings hometown sensibilities and adds a little bit of sophistication for pretty tabletop accessories and linens including,
dishtowels; pillows; napkins; runners and placemats
They are now in ABC Home in NYC!

 You may remember I custom designed fabric from Spoonflower last spring when I refurbished a flea market chair for a fundraiser to help hurricane victim with the IFDA NY organization.   I used an early 19th Century sea shell print that inspired my transformation of the chair and created fabric with the image of the print then incorporated that image into the lumbar pillow for the chair.  Creating my very own custom fabric for a very reasonable price was a refreshingly easy task.  The possibilities are endless on Spoonflower, and I encourage you to check it out!! Based in Durham, North Carolina this husband and wife team create a valuable service for both designers and consumers.  
seashell fabric I designed at Spoonflower, using an early 19th Century illustration
then created a very pretty pillow combining three fabrics and a trim to add to my nautically-inspired chair auctioned off for charity
Lindsey Adelman Studio
I have been hearing of Lindsey's light kits in design circles for quite some time, and hope to order a kit soon.  She offers a little bit of something for everyone with a great lighting and accessory collection ready made, or for those who want to put a little bit of elbow and creative grease into their own designs, lighting design kits.  
Order one of her design kits to make your own here
Blow light in stock
Mystic Knotwork

for the nautical tabletop enthusiast (which I am) this company is a dream.  Utilizing a sailor's knot and adding a little twist, this company (set near the seaside village of Mystic, Connecticut) offers not only accessories and sailor's bracelets (always a favorite of my son in summer), but creative table setting options with a nautical knot place card holder, trivet and lovely napkin rings.  I hope to use their designs in one my summer Entertaining Posts next summer.  
my summer table last August profiled on Nest by Tamara with tabletop tips--
how fun would it be to incorporate some nautical themes into one of my parties?
custom design your own ceramic pieces for the home from lamp bases to bathroom fixtures, and at reasonable prices, this is genius.  Mudshark offers many designs from sculpture to practical home items and many custom options.  
     "Mudshark Studios can take your original fixture, 
whether it is broken or not, and create an almost exact reproduction. Complete with mounting hardware, if needed."
There were many more vendors and what a fabulous idea to showcase them, so I'm doing my little part to bring you some of my favorites while encouraging to shop and buy locally and American Made!

Happy Nesting 
XO Tamara