Today's Women in Food interview is perfectly timed to coincide with our SECOND Women in Food Roof Top Dinner at The New Bridge Restaurant in Warrenton Virginia! That's right. You can get tickets to the second roof top event here for this coming Sunday and you can see what Chef Ryan (read her interview) made us last time in this recap post. Or scroll through these pictures I shot back in Spring!
But back to the interview... I'm excited for you to meet Elizabeth Melson who is the marketing coordinator and head of local sourcing and green projects at The New Bridge. She also runs her own business that helps her local food economy with marketing which, despite the fact that we've met before, I had no clue she did! I have to go on a line or two more and just emphasize how important that passion and work is. If we want amazing small local food sources to thrive, having someone like Elizabeth who can handle marketing and get the word out is essential so the businesses can focus on making and growing food.
1. Tell us about yourself and your business.
Most of my professional time is spent managing The New Bridge Wine Bar & Restaurant with my husband. I am responsible for coordinating marketing, sourcing from local farms producers, green projects and collaborating with like-minded professionals and farmers to organize spectacular dinner events. I manage the roof-top garden where we grow herbs, greens, edible flowers and more for use in the menu and cocktails.
Additionally, I offer freelance administrative and marketing services for our local food economy through my business Farm-to-Table Solutions. That means everything from writing newsletters, managing farmers’ market booths, creating consistent online presence for clients across multiple platforms, social media and review management. In my second year, I was able to bring on other women passionate about food; two part-time team members and a contributing writer.
At home I am mother to an amazing threenager (sweet and sassy 3 year old) who LOVES her school, enjoys collecting eggs from our homestead poultry and tending to our vegetable garden. I also volunteer for The Partnership for Warrenton Foundation and as the Co-Chair of the Piedmont Green Party.
2. If you could define your food philosophy in one sentence it would be...
Grow what you can, source local if you can’t, buy organic when it is convenient and don’t beat yourself when you deviate from the philosophy.
3. What are your 3 must have foods in your kitchen?
Coconut oil, home-made bone-broth and Bragg’s apple cider vinegar.
4. It’s your birthday. What are you eating
Authentic sushi and sashimi, please!
5. Signature cocktail
I prefer to only taste for the purpose of pairing, but I highly recommend The New Bridge’s Roof-Top Martini made with Sorrel grown onsite and Belle vodka or Chef Ryan Ross’ Green Garden Mary.
6. Food you can’t like no matter how hard you try?
Liver. I try. I really try. I loosely follow Weston A. Price Foundation recommendations and when I was pregnant I followed the Brewer diet. Liver meat from sustainable raised livestock is an amazingly nutrient-dense and cost-effective super food.
7. What are your go-to resources for all things food (websites/magazines/groceries etc)?
I recently found a book at a local sustainable gift shop called The Forest Feast for Kids: Colorful Vegetarian Recipes That Are Simple to Make. (Erin Gleeson if you are reading this, I would love to collaborate!) Easy recipes to get more veggies into my family’s diet. We may even incorporate a dish into the restaurant’s fall menu that is inspired by a recipe in this book!
Heritage Hollow Farms, Whiffletree Farm, and Cibola Farms are my first stops for local meats and value-added products. Moving Meadows Farms and Great Harvest Bread Company for baked goods. I also highly recommend Ula Tortilla Company.
8. Food fad you wish would die a horrible death?
For some reason I have struggled with this question. What keeps coming to mind is chicken and waffles. I really don’t have anything against either and I think there is quite a cult following of it. For some reason it just annoys me. I really can’t explain it.
9. Must have kitchen tool?
A good sharp, sturdy 7” Santuko knife. Need I say more? Well, and a coffee mill. Must. Have. Good. Coffee.
10. What’s the one thing you learned this year that changed the way you think about food?
Something planted, can be moved.
This occurred to me when visiting Sylvie Rowand’s magical Laughing Duck Gardens & Cookery in Washington, Virginia. Referring to something planted in her garden, Sylvie casually explained in her pleasant and friendly French accent, if it doesn’t work there she will just dig it up and move it.
It doesn’t sound revolutionary or particularly innovative, but the realization has given me more flexibility in how I grow food.
Dietitian Nutritionist. My husband Chris and I create food and beverage photos, videos, stopmotions and recipes. And they're really cool.