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30-something mother, wife, lawyer, writer, design junkie, craftaholic, cook

likes: clever tools, snazzy colors, working for justice, kid wrangling, Meyer lemons

dislikes: inefficiency, civil discovery, most shades of purple, Tori Amos

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Entries in seasonal food (2)


2011: A Produce Calendar Odyssey 

Happy New Year!

Last year I resolved to eat more locally grown and seasonally appropriate fruits and vegetables. And to aid in that effort, I made some quirky little calendars. And  while I have occasionally snacked on an apple in june or sliced up a hothouse tomato in the doldrums of February, I think I can report that I have mostly lived up to that resolution. I like to think the calendars helped with that.

This year I took a different approach to my seasonal foods calendar. Each month features an illustrated fruit or vegetable, along with reminders of the other goodies that are at their peak in that month. Obviously, growing seasons vary around the globe, but I did my best to approximate what is generally in season in large parts of North America for each month. I'm very happy with the way they turned out, and I hope you are, too.


But it wouldn't be the new year without a new resolution, right? And working through these drawings for the last few weeks has given me a lot of time to think about what I ought to challenge myself to this year. I've decided that 2011 will be my year of taking care of myself. That means, of course, continuing my seasonal produce odyssey. But it also means getting more sleep. Reading more books. Finding more quiet. Getting more exercise. Singing more 80s pop songs at the top of my lungs. And—ahem, this is the hard one—valuing myself. And that starts today.

This website is a labor of love for me. I would be doing it even if you weren't reading. But it's so much more fun because you do. Because you write to me and share your own funny stories, because you are kind enough to tell me, from time to time, that you appreciate what I do. I use the site to promote my tiny side business, and I get the occasional affiliate payment because you buy something from Amazon after visiting my site (I'm looking at you, Kate!), but this is not a money-making endeavor. And that's okay with me. I LOVE sharing my little doodles and flights of fancy with you, and as long as Cottage Industrialist is around I will ALWAYS make those freely available.

But. And there is a but. This is hard work! For this year's calendars, I designed a new font, refreshed my research about the seasons for North American produce, and drew 12 brand-new illustrations. All-told, I put in about 40 hours of work on these. And but for wanting to brain myself while drawing kernel after kernel of corn, I loved doing it. Still, as I labored stroke by stroke over the thistly choke on March's artichoke and the craggy details of October's carrots, I got to thinking about the widely held concern among artists and craftspeople about the danger of giving their work away, especially in the era of Etsy and the internet. If we make something freely available because we take joy in sharing and we enjoyed the work for its own sake, are we saying, "This thing I spent all this time making is really cool, but it's only worth $.00"? Are we, in essence, devaluing ourselves and our work? Are we letting our desire to share our work (which is an eensy bit tied up with ego, but that's a whole other conversation) trump our desire to be respected and valued for it?

I don't know. But here's what I'm going to do about it today. I'm not going to plaster my site with ugly ads. No, I'm going all NPR on you. Yep. If you want to support the stories and projects and designs that you get here, you can show your support (in any amount you choose) with a small PayPal donation.* If that's not your thing or you don't have a dollar to spare, that's a-ok—I love emails, too! I'm happy you're here, no matter what. It's not about the money, it's about reminding myself that my work and my time are valuable.

So, without further ado, here they are, in a single, printable PDF—convenient, yes, but also huge (15MB), so be patient! Each calendar is sized to print on a single sheet of 8.5x11" paper.

Now go eat your vegetables!

*This is different from NPR in at least one very important way, though: my site may not be profitable, but I am not a non-profit, so don't go claiming your donation as a tax deduction, or I'll have to take off my blogger hat and put my criminal defense lawyer hat to keep you out of trouble!


A menu for success?

© 2010 Cameron Blazer // Cottage Industrialist
Ok, so these carrots and asparagus are no longer in season (I took this pic of my farmer's market haul back in April), but OOH! PRETTY! Thackeray Farms Carrots, Kennerty Farms Asparagus, Wadmalaw Island eggs

Last week I brought you photos of my friend Alex's amazing back yard farm. And I mentioned that our visit had inspired me to dig in hard with my ongoing efforts to eat more locally, seasonally available food.

I have long eschewed planning as something that other people—you know, the kind who balance their checkbooks, plan responsibly for retirement, and wear shoes indoors—do, but not me. It's not that I will completely defend my disorganization—let's call it my "organic" approach to life—I am a lifelong scatterbrain, and it's one of the things I dislike most about myself. Important things get forgotten; deadlines get squeezed; projects get buried under other projects never to be finished, or only to be rediscovered hours before a deadline.

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