This picture was taken on October 18, 2003, at Coleman Family Farm in Carpinteria, California. In the lower left corner, you can see the beaming face of Evan Kleiman, who with her small and dedicated crew from Angeli Caffe in Los Angeles, had just prepared the most delightful al fresco dinner for the crowd you see. Across the table, peeking out from the profile of the man in the blue shirt—and unbeknownst to me at the time—is Tracey Ryder, publisher of what was then a small quarterly local newsletter known as Edible Ojai.
Little did I know that six months later, in one of a steady stream of e-mails pertaining to food and farms and beauty like the kind you see here, one of my oldest (as in "long-lived friendships") friends in the world, Maria Nation, would send an e-mail about Edible Ojai and her friends, who published it.
You MUST meet my friends Carole (Topalian) and Tracey (Ryder). They live in Ojai near my sister and are major foodies (Carol is also a professional photog AND they do web designs and corp designs as a living - you have much in common - AND they are cool and wonderful.) Anyway - they launched what has become a very successful magazine: Edible Ojai—and here in its 2nd year it was voted one of the best food magazines by Saveur or something. It was very impressive. It's all about local people writing about local
food/farms/ideas etc. Very cool and might give you some ideas on putting Santa Cruz on the map.
Well, of course I was gobsmacked when I saw Carole's photographs, and double gobsmacked to find out that Tracey had attended the dinner I was photographing at the recommendation of a mutual friend of hers and Maria's.
Edible Ojai had drawn national attention to itself—two months before Maria e-mailed me, Saveur magazine named Edible Ojai in their Top 100. Edible Ojai at the time was a singular publication: 8000 copies of each issue were distributed locally, and one of the outlets was the Ojai Inn. Visitors from all over the country would take the magazine home, and soon a chorus of voices sprung up, over the phone and via e-mails: "Can you make one of these in our town, too, please?"
And because there is something extraordinary about Carole and Tracey, the path cleared and the light shone down, and, as often the case when a vision is so clear, the Universe said YES. They amassed a team of amazing talent, and got guidance from some of the best minds out there. I don't mean "best" in a way that implies exclusively intellectual brilliance, which is part of the definition, but people think inclusively instead of competitively. The business plans they drafted are, in my mind, like the most democratic franchise you could imagine, and they provide just about every single resource a publisher could need: photography, website, graphics—everything but the legwork and local research needed to make any community's issue fly. Collectively, the publications are called "Edible Communities."
I've kept abreast of their growth, experiencing exhiliration when they chose Bruce Cole as the editor for Edible San Francisco, for instance; he also edits the EdibleNation weblog. And discovering that Deborah Kane, editor of Edible Portland, belongs to one of the food groups I do (LocalFoodNetworks.com). Not to mention the exhiliration of having my photos used in both publications—not out yet.
And late last night, a big hit of exhiliration came when Bruce e-mailed out a link to a piece in the New York Times, written by Marian Burros, called "How to Eat (and Read) Close to Home."
Contrary to what the public might perceive, I would much rather rave than rant, no matter how thorough I am at ranting. And unfortunately, my ranting has been provoked lately—though thank goodness the marketers are leaving me alone.
I'm just taking the opportunity to spread the REALLY good word, that Edible Communities is doing the finest kind of work, and I'm proud of them for all their success.
(Just curious if anyone knows of anyone besides Bruce and Deborah who are blogging with their Edible publications?)
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That's all for today. It's nice to shine light on what's good.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: "Success is simple. Do what's right, the right way, at the right time." — Arnold H. Glasow
Thanks for visiting.