Good Food Awards 2015: I am exhausted but that was awesome. January 12 2015, 0 Comments

I'd like to tell you all about the Good Food Awards 2015, but they were 100% killer and I am 100% exhausted. The big news is that I WON!! And of course, as usual, by "I" I mean we! The award is really shared with farmers who grow these incredible berries that make my jam what it is, my mother, who has been a lifelong supporter of my dreams and flights of fancy, my dad, who is thrilled to find that he's not the only small businessperson in the family after all, and my fiancé David, who has been a longtime supporter of me and who has very kindly (and much to my delight) signed up to become a lifelong supporter. 

I was awarded this amazingly large and self-defense-worthy medal (see above) for my Tayberry Jam—the first jam I made after becoming an official jam maker (as opposed to an enthusiastic hobbyist). It was a huge honor, particularly when I looked up and down the line of my fellow "Preserves" category winners and saw nothing but incredible people. Alice Waters herself placed it around my neck and I basically can die now. 

But seriously, the awards ceremony was such a pure pleasure to just be at. The thoughtful, inimitable Mark Bittman gave an inspiring (and inspired) opening address on the idea of good food—the kind that the Good Food Awards celebrates—as protest. As revolution! He spoke to the food system in this country and to its brokenness, and reminded me why I am doing what I am doing. He talked about supporting farmers, and paying fair prices. Respecting food and its provenance—producing incredibly delicious food in a responsible way, food that people can trust, and in doing so cultivating a culture that reveres good food. Sometimes, alone in the kitchen at the end of a long day over the hot jam pots, it is easy to forget—if momentarily—why I am doing this. Mark Bittman reminded me. I could not wait to get back in the jam kitchen! 

A lot of fellow Portland people were there to accept awards, which was a thrill, too! The wonderful David Briggs of Xocolatl de David was there to accept for his (deliciously Crunch-bar-like) Sourdough & Olive Oil bar. The Olympic Provisions guys—who, incidentally are doing my wedding rehearsal dinner in just about 2 weeks!—were there to accept an award for their Salami Etna. They graced us with a little GFA-themed song, which was exactly what we needed well into hour #2 of speeches and not a drop of alcohol in sight. Catch a look & a listen here. In that teeny part that cuts out he's singing "Good Food, good friends, let's fight the good fight 'til the end." I mean, come on—inspiring stuff! Seriously, how am I lucky enough to be amongst these shiny, passionate, heart-driven people? 

Sitting next with my fellow preserves winners was a treat, too. I got to talk with Lemon Bird Preserves (as well as her adorable parents, who are adorable) whose pickles & preserves I have loved since my days at (her pickled cocktail tomatoes are unreal), and I also got to chat with the very lovely Dafna from bay area-based INNA jam, who is sort of a small batch jam mogul as far as I'm concerned. Also, she makes shrubs and those are just crazy good. John from Ohio's Black Radish Creamery gave the acceptance speech on behalf of all of us crazy jammers and pretty much just nailed it right off the bat by opening with a little jam-maker humor and playing "Jammin'". The jam jokes Do. Not. Get. Old. 

After the ceremony, my fiancé and I partied it up with my mom and her lovely gentlemen friend, and my picture was on this big screen with all the other winners and it was totally insane and it went to my head even though I tried not to let it. Tip toeing on the clouds! When our coaches became pumpkins once again, we headed home on the trolley through the balmy SF night and giggled our way to sleep. Needless to say it was a memorable night. 

Saturday was the bustling and crazy-busy GFA Winners Marketplace at the Ferry Buildling and if you came by I probably explained to you what tayberries are and hopefully I didn't sound like a zombie. I was a zombie, but I think my table—my first ever!—was sort of adorable! I spruced it up with a lovely piece of fabric from Bolt Fabric, a shop just down the street from me here in Portland and it looked like this:

I had such fun watching people enjoy the Tayberry jam—a rare treat for me as I usually just pop the jar in the mail and hope that whoever's mouth it ends up in is a happy one. We celebrated with good cocktails and great friends and now it's back to the kitchen! 

Thank you all for being awesome and for loving jam and good food! 

Warm-fuzzies and all the best,