Friday, May 27, 2011

Friday Night Photos: Farmer's Market Envy and Thoughts on BlogHer Food 2011

Atlanta sweet potatoes were enormous compared to the ones I see at home!

Last weekend I attended BlogHerFood 11 in Atlanta, where I developed a serious case of farmer's market envy after seeing the gorgeous produce the DeKalb Farmer's Market and the Sweet Auburn Curb Market had to offer.  The Salt Lake City Farmer's Market doesn't start until mid-June and our produce is rather puny in comparison.  My "real" camera is still in the shop (sigh) but I did take a few photos of the veggies with my old camera (and some with the iPhone when I was too lazy to carry the camera around!)   I don't know if it was the lack of my favorite camera but I didn't take any photos at the conference this year.   But But even without photos, I'm sharing thoughts about BlogHerFood and links to the official "liveblogging" of the sessions, plus how to find other bloggers who wrote about it.  (Edit:  Thanks to Susie from Eat Little, Eat Big who later sent me a photo of a dinner we shared with a few bloggers, so I do have at least one conference photo!)

Beautiful beans and yellow summer squash.  In Utah my squash are tiny plants and the beans are barely coming up.

Enormous radishes!  If I lived in Atlanta I'd buy these all the time.

I've never seen collard greens this big in Utah.  They'd be fun to use for a dish like stuffed cabbage!

I rarely buy beets because they're so high in sugar, but these beets were gorgeous.

I didn't notice what type of onions these were, but I was intrigued.

Red potatoes that were so dark, they almost looked purple.

Beautiful corn ready to take home and put in the fridge.

Of course if you're in the South there's going to be watermelon!

And very large turnips, sold with the turnip greens still attached!


(Edit - Thanks to Susie from Eat Little, Eat Big who sent me this photo of dinner at Urban Pl8 with (from left) Susie, Kellypea, Kathy, Jeanette, Lydia, me, Andrea, and Liz. The photo was taken by our server, who really could have used a tripod and maybe a reflector or two!  We highly recommend Urban Pl8.)


My Thoughts on BlogHerFood 11:
I've attended a lot of BlogHer Conferences in the past, so I'm well past the giddy stage about it.   Obviously I really enjoy the holy trinity of information+people+food that's so much a part of the whole blogging conference experience, or I wouldn't keep going.  I had a great time at BlogHerFood, learned a lot, and just as I've found at past conferences, the best part  for me was finding long time friends I hadn't seen for a while or finally meeting bloggers I've known online, some for many years, but hadn't met in person.   (There were so many people I enjoyed hanging out with or finally meeting that I'm not even going to try to name them, but you know who you are!  And smooches to all of you!)

But, and for a whole variety of reasons, this year's BlogHerFood felt a little overwhelming to me. There were so many new bloggers I'd never heard of (and most of them hadn't heard of me either.)  And even though I enjoy meeting new people, I quickly start to get them confused, and sometimes I found myself thinking of the early days when most food bloggers at least knew about each other, even if they hadn't met.  Some people may not like me saying it, but when I went to my first BlogHer conference in 2006, things definitely seemed less frantic, less competitive, less cliquish, and definitely less product-oriented, and I kind of miss "the good old days."  And now that I've crossed right over into old fogey-ness by saying that, I guess I'll stop and send you to some spots on the web where you can find out more about BlogHerFood11.


What Did We Learn at BlogHerFood 11?
If you want to know about what we learned at the conference, every session has a "live blogger" who takes notes and you can read the liveblogs at BlogHer.com.


Who Else Wrote About BlogHerFood 11?
(I love reading the highly varied reports from other blogs.  I'm sure I've missed a lot of posts, so if  I didn't find your yours feel free to leave your link in the comments and I'll add it to this list.)
From David Lebovitz ~ BlogHerFood 11 - Atlanta
From The Merry Gourmet ! ~ The Good and The Bad of Food Blogging Conferences
From Eating Rules ~ How to Change the World (even if you're not a food blogger)
From Fed Up with Lunch ~ A Basic Guide to Blogging Food Politics
From Sticky Gooey Creamy Chewy ~ 45 Stories High
From Completely Delicious ~ BlogHer Food 2011
From Home with Mandy ~ BlogHer Food, Arrival and RockHer Party
From Katy She Cooks ~ 27 Things I Learned at My First Food-Blogging Conference
From Bon Vivant ~ I Came, I Saw, I Conquered - BlogHerFood 11 Conference
From Fun Girl Cooks ~ Ode to BlogHerFood 2011
From We Are Not Martha ~ BlogHer Food 2011
From Kevin and Amanda ~ BlogHer Food 2011
From Sass and Veracity ~ BlogHerFood 2011 - Observations on a Conference
From Simple Bites ~ My BlogHerFood 11 Recap
From OMG Yummy ~ Bloggers as Agents of Change for Our Own Community 
From Jeanette's Healthy Living ~ Blogging Friends and BlogHer Food Atlanta 2011
From Bibberche ~ Gone with the Wine 
From Dianne Jacob ~ 5 Notes to Self for Coping with Conference Anxiety 
From Picky Palate ~ Oreo Stuffed Cookie Jars and BlogHerFood Atlanta 
From Meet Us in the Kitchen ~ Sweet Auburn Curb Market 
From Eat the Love ~ BlogHer Food 2011 in Atlanta Recap (with many more links!)

Have you ever been to a food blogging conference?  If so, let us know what you thought about the experience in the comments. 
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34 comments:

  1. Kalyn, I wasn't able to attend this year's BlogHer Food, and haven't had the opportunity to read many of the write-ups, but want to let you know how warm and fuzzy I feel after meeting bloggers "in real life"--- in particular you and Lydia. The fact that I truly knew nothing about food (still don't in comparison to most!) and didn't even consider myself a food blogger yet you and Lydia reached out to me in the very early stages of my writing, then sought me out at the conferences warms my heart to this day.

    Thank you for your generosity of spirit, and hand-holding along the way. xoxo

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  2. Stephanie, you are very sweet, and I have fond memories of meeting you!

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  3. You captured some great photos of the market considering your "real" camera is in the shop. I couldn't believe the size of those collards! I had fun meeting you and spending time with you after many years of knowing you through this website. I'm jealous that you were in on the first BlogHer, because that did sound like a special time as much often is before it gets big. I wrote my take on the conference, but my perspective was more about jest than anything else. Well, almost!
    http://sassandveracity.com/2011/05/26/blogher-food-2011-observations-on-a-conference/

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  4. I live and Atlanta and absolutely love the Dekalb's Farmer's Market. It's a cook's dream. I hate that I live on the other side of the city which makes it difficult to frequent. However, you just gave me a great appreciation for the farmer's market. I'm going to make an effort to go more often.

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  5. Hi Kalyn, I spent the weekend at Eat, Write, Retreat in Washington DC this past weekend which happened to be the same weekend as BlogHer. I have been to both and must say I prefered the intimate atmosphere of Washington where you are able to attend every event, workshop and culinary experience. Have a read and tell me if this is what you remember from back when.I am sure BlogHer food does a bang up job but it can be overwhelming and I just like it when you can spend the weeeknd with everyone including sponsors and every one seemed on the same playing level.

    http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com/2011/05/4-days-4-airports-time-spent-at-eat.html

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  6. Old camera or not your pictures are terrific! Excellent review of this conference.

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  7. Kelly, it was great to meet you too. Looking forward to spending more time with you soon!

    KinkyCurlSoul, lucky you to live so close to that. If I live nearby I'd shop there all the time!

    Val, sounds like you had a great exerpience!

    Maris, thanks. Of course it was fun, even if a bit overwhelming.

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  8. Hi Kalyn, We met briefly at BlogHerFood and I remember you asked some good questions in a photo session and also had a good comment/question for the panel in the final keynote. It's nice to have someone as experienced as you there with the knowledge of the full evolution of blogging to give us all some perspective on how much things are changing and what perhaps isn't changing fast enough.

    I also intend to send my mom a link to your blog - she was recently diagnosed pre-diabetic and needs to adjust her eating a bit. I know your blog will help.

    I also wrote a blogherfood recap:
    http://omgyummy.wordpress.com/2011/05/25/bloggers-as-agents-of-change-for-our-own-community/

    Dianne Jacobs wrote a good one as well.

    Love your photos - even with your less-favorite camera.

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  9. OMG Yummy, thank you! I'm glad I wasn't getting too intense with the questions. I can be very bad about pinning people down if something rubs me wrong, lol! I had to go look at your photo on your blog, but I definitely remember meeting you! Thanks for sharing your post.

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  10. Beautiful photos from the farmer's market - I love these kinds of photos. Wish I'd been able to join you at the market but at least we got to make it to the very pinnacle of Atlanta for a great view!

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  11. Tom, so true! The view and the company were both outstanding!

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  12. I appreciate your honesty. I've only been to one blogger conference and I still felt overwhelmed by the number of bloggers I didn't know. I can imagine how good the old days must have been.

    Have a lovely weekend!

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  13. Nisrine, it was really nice in the days when most everyone knew each other. (Of course, even then I bet some people felt overwhelmed!) Not much we can do about it though. Hope I get to meet you some day!

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  14. Kalyn,
    I agree, blogging conferences can be overwhelming, but I am thankful that I was able to connect with a few bloggers (like you!) that I have met in the blogosphere over the past year. It makes such a big difference when you can connect a real person to a blog!

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  15. Lovely looking produce Kalyn. I'm joining you in the old fogey group. I miss the old days of blogging too. There is still a community of food bloggers but it has a very different feel about it these days.

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  16. I think FM's are such a good idea as the they give the growers an outlet for their goods and provide great local food for the buyers.

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  17. Kalyn, thanks for linking up all the BHF posts!

    This was my first conference, and while I had a great time, it did feel a bit overwhelming. I think most of that is simply my personality -- I am an introvert, and while not shy, constant interaction with people is a thing that drains me of energy. I was wiped out by lunch the first day!

    It was wonderful meeting all kinds of bloggers -- seasoned, newbies, unknown, and famous. But -- like you suggest in your post -- part of the catch for a conference newbie could be the fact that the field is now so large (as opposed to the good ol' days -- wish I'd been around then!). It might feel more daunting, in 2011, to walk up to a well-known blogger and introduce yourself, knowing that 200 other people have already done the very same thing that day. There seems more pressure to stand-out, or sell yourself, which might go against the personalities of most food bloggers (we love to be in our kitchen cooking, which is often times a solitary activity).

    That being said, I still think conferences are something you have to do if you want to connect with the community. Maybe next time I'll try a more regional or intimate venue, and make notes of comparison.

    Lastly, I loved your pointed questions to panels. I appreciate when a person is willing to openly challenge or disagree in a session like this -- it seems that's where the best discussions are born!

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  18. Jeanette, I was so glad we got to know each other better too (and I agree, it's even more fun reading the blog when you have met the blogger.)

    Barbara, it makes me feel almost sad, but what can we do? I'm glad there are a lot of us from the old days that are still staying in touch at least!

    Big Dude, if I lived there I would visit these markets every week!

    KatySheCooks, I feel the same way after a day of interacting at full speed; just want to be by myself for a while! Glad you didn't think my questions were *too* pointed; sometimes things get me going and I just have to react. And I hate it when I am in a session with a lot of people who I can tell are newish bloggers and I feel like they're getting inaccurate or slanted information!

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  19. Our farmer's market isn't open until June so I'm experiencing Farmer's Market envy right now.

    When perusing the photos, those radishes caught my eye too. One thing I love about summer radishes they are like two vegetables in one. Delicious, leafy greens for a quick sautee and crunchy radishes for munching, roasting or tossing into a stir fry. Still, my favorite way to eat them is raw.

    Hope your camera is ready soon!

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  20. CJ, the produce in Atlanta was really quite amazing. They told me 2-3 weeks for the camera, and it's been more than 2 weeks. I'm hoping it won't be much longer!

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  21. I'll echo Stephanies sentiment about the warm and fuzzy feeling one gets when meeting "genuine" fellow bloggers at a big meeting like this (dinner with you, Lydia, Jeannette, Liz, Andrea, Kathy, and Kelly was a highlight of the conference for me).
    My BS meter was going off during some of the sessions lead by "top" bloggers which was disappointing. I didn't feel like they had a clue what the majority of the audience experiences day to day as bloggers. Having said that, there were great presenters who were down to earth and genuinely interested in connecting with the audience. I'd attend again.

    Hopefully your camera will be ready for you soon!

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  22. Susie, that dinner was definitely a highlight for me too! (And I know what you mean about the BS meter too! So disapointing.) But of course, I would attend again (as often as I could!)

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  23. Kalyn, the dinner that last night was definitely the highlight of my trip - wish I could have stayed longer - you ladies are all so genuinely nice! I just finished my recap post - a bit late. Hope you have a chance to read it: http://www.jeanetteshealthyliving.com/2011/05/blogging-friends-and-blogher-food.html

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  24. Jeanette, it was great to meet you too, after being impressed with your blog ever since I found it. I agree that the dinner was definitely a highlight. (And BTW, I couldn't leave a comment on your blog; the submit comment part of the comment form wasn't showing.)

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  25. Oh how I miss the Dekalb Farmers Market. I moved from Atlanta almost five years ago and have yet to go to anything comperable. Also, if you're ever back in Atlanta, go to the Chamblee asian area to the asian grocery stores, you could spend all day in those, they are wonderful.

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  26. Mrs. Ed, I can certainly see why you'd miss it! I will try to remember the Asian markets if I get to go there again.

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  27. Your farmer's market photos turned out great! I had a wonderful time with you and everyone last weekend. Makes me wish there were more events to get to throughout the year and more chances to catch up. Have fun in San Diego!

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  28. Thanks Andrea. And wouldn't it be fun if we all lived a bit closer to each other?

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  29. I attended Camp Blogaway in April (it is in my neighborhood, and it was much more intimate affair, with about 90 bloggers) and BlogHer Food in Atlanta. I have learned a lot both times, but meeting people is definitely the highlight for me.
    My roommate Beth from www.OMG!YUMMY and I hit it off from the moment we met on Thursday night.
    I spent Saturday night talking Lydia, Andrea, and Kelly, and went to bed smiling.
    I met many bloggers I knew from Twitter and their blogs, and also some completely new to me.
    I enjoyed meeting you face to face, after reading your blog for years. And I really appreciated your straight-forward approach and willingness to get up and ask questions that might stir some questions:)

    I also wrote a recap:) http://bibberche.com/2011/05/blogher-food-conference-2011/

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  30. Hi Lana,
    It was fun meeting you after I've enjoyed your comments on Twitter! I knew I should have tried harder to stay up on Saturday night, but my bed was calling me! Thanks for sharing your link; will add it right now.

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  31. Perhaps because the conference this year was over twice as large as previous years, it may have seemed a little more overwhelming, and harder to get to meet people. But that's the nature of conferences and I've been to some that were 10x the size and you just have to carve out your own experience to get what you want from the conference. The presenters make an agenda and folks should feel free to customize their time to make the best of it.

    (I was glad I went a day early, for example, to get a jump on seeing a few people that I would have missed.)

    Nonetheless, it was nice to meet a lot of new people, especially the younger folks who are 17-20 years old and have food blogs. They are so cool! But even though folks (like myself..) never look forward to "conference food" at the hotel, I think communal meals do help foster a feeling of community and gets people to interact with those they might not otherwise get to meet. But then, being in a beige conference room when we could be at the market eating bbq like we did, isn't especially appealing...

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  32. David, I was glad to be there a day early too, and I agree that no matter how large and overwhelming the conference is, it's the personal connections you make that you will remember most.

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  33. Kalyn,
    It was wonderful to meet you at BlogHer Food in ATL. I enjoyed our quick conversation and the insights you shared in the SEO session along with closing session. Time will help us all get clarity on all-things SEO and paying-it forward and backward keeps the food-chain alive. My Blogher Recap focused on our visit to the Sweet Auburn Curb Market: http://mamasays.us/blog/2011/05/26/sweet-auburn-curb-market/

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  34. Lynn, wasn't it such a great market. I'm glad I got to meet you too.

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