mistaken for greatness and blocking the sky…
Being from New York City can make you quite ignorant. When you’re constantly told that there’s nothing else beyond the Big Apple, you end up with this sense of stuck-up pride for the place even though you’re basting in misery.
The steel framed Chrysler Building, One World Trade Center, 30 Rock, and all of the other mirror-windowed high rises add to our obliviousness by presenting us with height mistaken for greatness and blocking the sky, which is bigger than everything else.
Despite having been to and loving cities in other states and other countries, I still had this idea that New York was the only place to be: it’s busy. It’s dazzling. It’s rich. It’s convenient. But truthfully, I wasn’t just basting in misery; I was drowning in it.
I still had this idea that New York was the only place to be: it’s busy. It’s dazzling. It’s rich. It’s convenient.
So I took the plunge to live somewhere else: Hampton Roads in Virginia. And I love it.
This weekend, I explored Selden Market, a decorative little area in Downtown Norfolk dedicated to start-ups and entrepreneurs. It offers booths and storefronts with short leases and affordable rates, giving new business owners the opportunity to showcase their goods in an urban setting. The set-up is reminiscent of home, but without the overpriced bullshit. It’s a wonderful idea and I hope more places like it open up.
I explored Selden Market, a decorative little area in Downtown Norfolk dedicated to start-ups and entrepreneurs.
Knead Fest was going on during my visit, a day of baked goods, treats, and curios. I’m learning to get out more, so I got to converse with four vendors: bottleBOX, Virginia Bee Company, The Neighborhood Harvest, and Kyu◦Si.
bottleBOX is a craft beer shop committed to everything beer from quality local brews to goods made with beer such as pickles and jellies. I made my largest purchase from them, taking home two bags of Soberdough Brew Bread (one Roasted Garlic and one Honey Wheat) and a jar of Vermont Crafted Potlicker Hard Apple Cider Jelly.
Kyu◦Si is owned by local baker Natalie Higgins who had a delicious selection of breads, cupcakes, and chocolate chip cookies. Kyu◦Si is a pop-up for now with aspirations for growth. When I saw the pandesal at her booth, it was an instant buy. Wonderfully delicious, pandesal is essentially the official bread of the Philippines, much like Hamburger Buns to American barbeque. I also bought a sourdough baguette from her, which my fiancé and I tore from when I got home (notice the photo).
The Neighborhood Harvest, a booth manned by an associate named Emily, is a local produce delivery service that grows produce using hydroponic gardening. They cultivate non-GMO seeds to maturity in specialized greenhouses without the use of pesticides. The end result is a truly green product free from pollutants present in the local environment. NASA is improving upon this technology as a way to produce oxygen and nutritious foods for astronauts who will eventually spend more time in space.
Last, I visited Virginia Bee Company manned by Hugh Brydges, an apiarist. His company specializes in Virginia based honey products and, of course, honey! The purchase of the day was a small size of Queen Ann’s Organic Body Butter, a delicious smelling blend of beeswax, shea butter, hemp seed oil, and other botanicals. Five stars already for how soft it made my skin, but I will eventually try it on my hair.
By the end of the day, I had a reusable shopping bag filled with items I felt genuinely pleased with because the purchase wasn’t invisible. I met the owners or operators of these shops, interacted with them, and shared their excitement and passion for what they had to offer. I’ll be trying out their products in creative ways and report back what I come with!
I had a reusable shopping bag filled with items I felt genuinely pleased with because the purchase wasn’t invisible.
That experience of sharing face to face was the highlight of my afternoon, and will leave a soothing aftertaste in my memory. You don’t get those exchanges in large corporate facilities, factories, and skyscrapers where the goal is to drain the life and money out of anything that moves. Now, I plan to seek that experience of sharing and participating in local events whenever and wherever I can. This is just one of many places I need to see in my new town.
The Big Apple is certainly convenient, but I realized that I never needed to nor ever did purchase milk at 3:00 in the morning.
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