A decade ago, we were working on a film project in the south of France, and for the first time, we had the chance to be immersed in a culture that truly understands and loves food. In Provence, people take the time to make bread from scratch every day, to grow vegetables the right way — to understand their food and where it comes from.
When we returned to live in New York City, we started shopping local farmers’ markets and discovered a renaissance of traditional food practices here in the States. As we shopped every week, we got to know the fishmongers, the farmers, the bakers and the cheesemakers who set out their products, rain or shine.
Our friends at the Greenmarket introduced us to numerous New York City chefs who, in turn, introduced us to even more food producers. As our connections grew, we realized that what we were observing was happening all over the country.
We understood that, slowly, people were returning to a more traditional approach to how they eat, back to how it was before the industrialization of our food system.
So, we struck out across the country, in search of more folks producing delicious real food. We shared meals around kitchen tables, wandered through pastures with camera in hand and had incredible conversations with some truly devoted people. And, our journey has only just begun.
The time is right to give a voice, a platform to all this energy and passion about good food. We want everyone to have the chance to see what we’re seeing and to meet the people we’re meeting. We can help each other take this exciting real food movement to the next level and shepherd it into a mainstream idea.
The passion, the commitment, the love of food — it’s all here, all around the country. It just needs a place to call home.
Real food is food your grandma would recognize as something good to eat, something offering nourishment. It lives in your farmers’ market, in your garden and at your local CSA. It hugs the exterior walls of your grocery store. It is not filled with additives to preserve its shelf life, if you don’t use it in a timely fashion, it rots. It is not as fast, cheap or convenient as industrial food, but it is better.
We believe there are millions of people who think about food the way we do. Of course, not everyone has to have the same opinions. A healthy discussion about real food is, well, healthy for us all.
HandPicked Nation intends to provide a place for people interested in food to gather, connect and share ideas. We promise to make it easy to meet some fascinating food folks, discover places to eat real food, read opinions from eminent authors, watch a video or two that entertain as much as they educate, buy from a larder of curated tastes and act upon important food issues we face today.
HandPicked Nation is not a catch-all for any and all food related content. It isn’t about food as an elitist concept nor is it about food as a novelty act.
We want HandPicked Nation to be the ‘kitchen table’ of this growing discussion of real, sustainable food. We want to share the stories we have heard and make sure that the people who want better and healthier food know where to go.
You’ll read exclusive articles from award-winning writer Betty Fussell and rancher Nicolette Hahn Niman. You’ll learn about the incredible work Will Allen is doing with his urban farming and be entertained by Chef Zak Pelaccio’s ‘Salad Dressing Stomp’.
We’re serious about food, but we promise we don’t take ourselves too seriously. (Yes, there’s a big difference.)
So pull up a chair and take a look around. We’re pretty sure you’ll like what you see.
Oh, and if you have any questions, a story idea, or if you just want to say hello, our email addresses are: