My friend, Michelle Tam of Nom Nom Paleo was invited to the inaugural Women’s Meat Camp hosted by the Belcampo Meat Company and brought me along as her tent-mate and photographer. It was a four-day all-girls’ extravaganza featuring butchery and open-fire cooking of some fine cuts of meat, accompanied by: copious amounts of rosé, cocktails, yoga on the lawn, hands-on sausage-making, farm walks, hair-braiding, story-telling, grilled peaches and hand-churned ice-cream. My Instagram feed offered a preview of the fun we got into, but here’s a “proper” (ie, larger) selection of images from the weekend. Don’t forget to turn up the volume!

One of our camp mates worked on Belcampo’s brand strategy prior to its launch, and as she tells it, the search for the right name faced numerous parameters that diminished the prospects of an eventual selection the more it grew. They finally settled on the coupling of two Italian words: Bel Campo. Beautiful Land. The choice speaks for itself and for the values that this company holds dear: doing meat right, at scale, on large swathes of farmland in the Shasta Valley. I hope they stay around for a while.

The next Meat Camp happens October 16-18, head over to the Belcampo website for more details and to register.

Other Meat Camp reflections:

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This is my favorite quote from ‘Wild’ the movie, because any opportunity to seek out and be in the presence of beauty is an opportunity not to be missed. We took this to heart on a recent jaunt up north to Sebastopol, the heart of the Russian River Valley. Inventive food, spectacular Pinots and all around us, Nature in her lush Spring glory.

Highway 1, Marshall CA Underwood Bar, Graton CA Heritage Pie, Noble Folk, Healdsburg CA Pie, Noble Folk, Healdsburg CA Underwood Bar, Graton CA Handmade pasta, Chalk Board, Healdsburg CA Creamed Kale, Chalk Board, Healdsburg, CA Nick Fish & Chips, Nick Nick Tomales Bay, Marshall Iron Horse Vineyards, Russian River Valley

Downtown Graton, CA

EAT + DRINK:

Underwood Bar & Bistro (good selection of tapas-style bites and wonderful cocktails)
9113, Graton Road
Graton, CA
707-823-7023

Peter Lowell’s (went for breakfast, they make their own hot sauce which is great with eggs)
7385 Healdsburg Ave
Sebastopol, CA, 95472
707.829.1077

Chalk Board (seasonal house-made pastas, will return for their happy hour selection)
29 North St
Healdsburg, CA 95448
707.473.8030

Noble Folk (forego dessert anywhere else. Unique ice-cream flavors: juniper + honey! Black sesame + coconut! and a wonderful selection of Heritage Pies.)
381 Healdsburg Ave
Healdsburg, CA 95448
707.395.4426

Nick’s Cove (comforting clam chowder and fish and chips, plus great views of Tomales Bay)
23240 CA-1
Marshall, CA 94940
415.663.1033

Dutton-Goldfield Winery (exquisite Russian River Pinots. Extensive menu of ‘tasting experiences’ on offer, you could spend all day here!)
3100 Gravenstein Highway North
Sebastopol, CA 95472
707.827.3600

Merry Edwards Winery (delicious Sauvignon Blancs and her Pinots age well)
2959 Gravenstein Highway North
Sebastopol, CA 95472
707.823.7466

Iron Horse Vineyards (spectacular views, known for their sparkling wines, skip the reds)
9786 Ross Station Road
Sebastopol, CA 95472
707.887.1507

  • Great photographs. Glad you were able to get outside and have some fun. Hope you’re doing well!ReplyCancel

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Salt&Straw-162

In September 2011 the brilliant marketing folks at Travel Oregon put together a media trip that was truly one-of-a-kind. They gathered about 40-50 food and travel bloggers from North America for a weekend designed to showcase the best activities that Oregon had to offer, from river rafting to salmon-fishing, and kept us well-fed and libated by the amazing community of food artisans and restaurateurs in Portland. I spent a morning hanging out with one of these businesses, Salt & Straw – the ground zero of innovative ice-cream flavors like Pear and Blue Cheese or Strawberry Honey Balsamic with Black Pepper – and you can read about my chat with Kim and Tyler over on the Etsy blog. It was fun to hypothesize ice-cream flavors (there’s a Basil Mojito sorbet idea I have yet to play with), and seek out perfect photo opportunities on my visit. I’m especially fond of this one as it best encapsulates my motivations in photography: to explore the relationships forged over food experiences and waiting for the right moment to express it all.

Read more about that Travel Oregon weekend here, and of course, a visit to one of Salt & Straw’s many scoop shops is a must-do if you’re ever in Portland.

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Steadiness-&-Ease_BtP

Besides photography, the Ashtanga yoga practice has, over time, grown to be the other big interest in my life, and for a long time I’ve been looking for the best way to bridge the two in a personal project. The opportunity arrived last November when I had the idea to photograph a group of yoga friends in silhouette, to capture the forms that we make with our bodies every morning.

I took my first Ashtanga yoga class in November 2009 in Palo Alto, and five years (and a few months) later, the ritual of rolling out my mat and moving along with the breath is now a permanent fixture of my daily routine. That in itself is remarkable, given that I’m really good at giving excuses for avoiding things that make me uncomfortable. This practice has taught me tons about courage, discipline and the value of effort in any undertaking worth doing. But most of all, it’s taught (and is still teaching) me the art of remaining at ease in uncomfortable situations, and how to hold that ease with a certain degree of equanimity.

And so it was that I got to spend a Saturday afternoon with friends making these portraits which I’m excited to share here and on my portfolio. Enjoy.

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We do our fair share of travel over here, and in this TSA world, it’s pretty exhausting, stressful and ridden with bad food. Having access to a quiet space to recharge and breathe before or in-between flights, makes a huge difference to the travel experience. Try taking a shower on a layover between two 10-hour flights and notice how it counters the discombobulating nature of plane travel. As an American Express card member, I was pretty excited to take a sneak peak at their newest Centurion Lounge at SFO, opening November 6. It’s the first time I’m hearing of a card company having its own lounge at an airport, and in typical Amex fashion, they know a thing or two about service. I don’t usually augment Instagram snaps from a media event with a blog post, but last night’s experience was so darn fine I really had to tell you about it.

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