I have been MIA in September as I have been busy with travel and events revolving around my new olive oil cookbook. It’s good to be busy, but it certainly is challenging as my three kids are used to me being around when they are home. I have done my best to balance blogging and personal life, but sometimes, like this past month, blogging took precedence. Although you may not hear from me as regularly as I used to write, I am here. I am busy working on cookbook sales, figuring out recipes, collaborating and tinkering with my and the countless other back-end issues that pop up (especially when Google updates their algorithms).
One part of my daily routine is surfing the net and catching up on food/blogging news. This past month there was a lot of chatter in the blogosphere about bloggers running sponsored posts, blogs dripping with advertising and whether or not bloggers charge enough (or too much) for brand work. It can bring out the worst in some people, pitting blogger against blogger.
I started a food blog because of my love and passion for good food. As my blog has evolved and my audience has grown, I happily turned my blogging hobby into a business. I suppose I make enough to support my photography obsession and to pay for the backend tune-ups that are necessary in keeping my site happy and thriving.
When I first started receiving produce in the mail, I had no qualms about using them because I never accepted product that I didn’t like. Writing a post was my way of saying thank you to the company that sent me their lovely gift. Many bloggers are against working for product, but I suppose I believe in karma.
One good deed deserves another.
Don’t get me wrong. I have been screwed by brands. Like when I ran a giveaway and the PR rep mysteriously disappeared when it came time to ship the gift to my winner. I ended up paying for the gift and shipping it myself.
But overall, the companies that I have worked with, many times just for produce, have been a wonderful experience and have developed into amazing relationships and friendships. I love receiving boxes of amazing, stunning fruits and vegetables all year long. When I get stumped or unmotivated in the kitchen, there’s nothing more inspirational than a box of purple artichokes to get my creative juices flowing – in the kitchen and behind the lens.
Never would I ever had experienced dragon fruit, Buddha’s hand or finger limes if my friends in the produce world hadn’t shipped them out to me to sample.
Finger limes – OMG! They are friggin’ FABULOUS!!
If it weren’t for the years that I have nurtured my relationship with companies like Melissa’s Produce or Frieda’s Produce, I would never have received their sweet support with my cookbook adventures.
A couple weeks ago, Melissa’s Produce hosted this AMAZING lunch and press event for Mary and I and our olive oil cookbook. Everyone who attended received an olive lesson and cookbook from us, an exquisite bottle of Greek extra virgin olive oil from Arianna Trading Company, and armloads of gorgeous, fresh produce to take home for continued inspiration.
Their chef and kitchen staff recreated recipes from our cookbook for the luncheon. The room was decorated with flawless Mediterranean herbs and vegetables. All through the air you could smell basil, roasted carrots, feta and of course, olive oil.
Mary and I left the event feeling so proud of what we have accomplished. It’s not easy self-publishing your own cookbook, let alone remain enthusiastic and energetic through the sales, distribution and marketing phases. Our friends at Melissa’s Produce were gracious with their generosity, and we were all delighted with the turnout and interest the bloggers and media had as they learned all about extra virgin olive oil. The two hours flew by fast, as Mary and I answered question after question, signed numerous cookbooks and posed for the camera. I hate to be in the spotlight, but this was different. Many of our foodie friends were kind enough to drive through Los Angeles gridlock to support us and participate in our event.
I was among friends.
As many bloggers have written about our cookbook and the event at Melissa’s (read them here), I have truly enjoyed reading their kind words and olive oil epiphanies. And that’s when I came to my own epiphany.
I work for produce. I love produce. We should all eat more produce.
There are countless unique fruits and vegetables in our world and I want to experience them all. And I enjoy sharing them with you, so I hope you enjoy reading my stories.
Thank you Melissa’s Produce for you support, for hosting such an amazing event and for the beautiful produce you share with me and my foodie friends.