Gathering from Scratch | A Workshop Retreat in the Shenandoah Valley

gathering from scratch: a workshop retreat

gathering from scratch: a workshop retreat

gathering from scratch: a workshop retreat

gathering from scratch: a workshop retreat

gathering from scratch: a workshop retreat

gathering from scratch: a workshop retreat

Telling the story of your table from field to fork. The table as love language. The table as relationship. The table as nourishment of every sort. The table as ephemeral art. This is the heart of so much of my work. Finding & creating sustenance where you are, when you’re there & embracing the perfect imperfection of things as they are. Of the season, of the region. Of the table. Of people. Of yourself. That’s all I stand for. All I do. And that’s what we lived, explored, and created together at the workshop retreat I hosted with Rebecca Gallop of A Daily Something a few weeks ago, Gathering From Scratch. Here’s the first installment of the photos (there are just too many gorgeous moments to limit myself to one post) and more about our workshop.

gathering from scratch: a workshop retreat

gathering from scratch: a workshop retreat

gathering from scratch: a workshop retreat

gathering from scratch: a workshop retreat

gathering from scratch: a workshop retreat

gathering from scratch: a workshop retreat

Rebecca and I wanted to explore each aspect of putting together a small gathering from sourcing your tableware, flowers, and food to cooking & laying the table to the moment it all comes together and you share in it and in each other. She found the perfect location, Oldstone Farm, a pre-colonial farmhouse in the Shenandoah Valley built in 1734. A working farm. A gorgeous, eccentric space where a family of trash-hungry labrador puppies roved, baby chicks peeped, and all manner of livestock milled in the pasture. Towering sunflowers nodded in the garden like lazy sentinels and one wily cat slinked around, lounging impudent as cats are wont to lounge. It was some sort of heaven. And the light, my God, the light was unreal. And so were the tables we laid together.

gathering from scratch: a workshop retreat

gathering from scratch: a workshop retreat

gathering from scratch: a workshop retreat

gathering from scratch: a workshop retreat

gathering from scratch: a workshop retreat

gathering from scratch: a workshop retreat

gathering from scratch: a workshop retreat

gathering from scratch: a workshop retreat

Styling isn’t about unnecessary fussing with things. It’s about telling a story, laying a table with attention to detail as an act of service, and creating beauty in every nook & cranny of life you can manage. It lifts up the mundane. Styling with Rebecca was pure synergy. And I can barely write her name without tearing up I miss her so much. Rebecca, working with you was an honor, a pleasure, and everything I hoped it would be and so much more. You are one funny, glowing soul, and anyone who can take my eccentric self is high on my list! I cannot wait until we tackle that madness again next year.

gathering from scratch: a workshop retreat

gathering from scratch: a workshop retreat

gathering from scratch: a workshop retreat

gathering from scratch: a workshop retreat

gathering from scratch: a workshop retreat

gathering from scratch: a workshop retreat

We started off with one big farm to table welcome dinner that went well into the bonfire hours during which The Great American Canyon Band played while people lingered over wine and clafoutis. Over the course of that languid weekend in late August we, along with our guests, spent the days baking, styling, photographing, and just spending time with one another around the table. We wanted each and every meal to be memorable, each moment to be beautiful, each bite delicious and local.

And so many people made that possible. We had two of the best interns I’ve ever known, Anna & Bekah, who worked like bees, and in the kitchen we had the indispensable help & salvation of Melinda of Knead and Know, a genius artisan bread baker, instructor, and cook. Not to mention cheerful in the face of boatloads of work, which is truly invaluable in any kitchen. Friends & family (the moms! Rebecca’s mother and mother-in-law helped so, so much!) pitched in and we couldn’t have done it without a single one of them.

gathering from scratch: a workshop retreat

gathering from scratch: a workshop retreat

gathering from scratch: a workshop retreat

gathering from scratch: a workshop retreat

gathering from scratch: a workshop retreat

gathering from scratch: a workshop retreat