In Our Spring 2016 Edition
Grist for the Mill
When I was a little kid, on rare and—to me—very special occasions, my family and I would stop at an old-fashioned general store near my great-aunt’s house that sold penny candy. I still remember the wide-board floors and the old-fashioned glass case filled with confections. For some reason I would go right for the lollipops every time. They were homemade and I can still remember their translucent, gem-like colors, their molded shapes and clean pure flavors. So it’s with a touch of nostalgia that hand-crafted lollipops ended up on the cover of our spring issue.
It wasn’t just the swirly designs, the pop of color, the natural and locally sourced ingredients of these modern-day lollipops that won me over, it was also the entrepreneurial spirit with which they have been created. (Read about them on page 4.) Entrepreneurship is not unique to Rhode Island, though I would argue it’s a tie that binds our state together. With so many small businesses making up our state’s economy, food-driven enterprises are a central part of the bigger economic picture.
Threaded throughout this issue are stories of local entrepreneurship that I know you will find compelling. Maybe it’s the history of food trucks in Rhodeside Diaries that details how one simple idea sparked a movement and even some lawlessness in old-time downcity Providence. Perhaps it’s quahogger Dave Andrade, who started his own business with his wife and raised a family around it. Or maybe it’s the high-tech agricultural entrepreneurs who are forging a new model for year-round access to affordable, sustainably raised produce.
Whether you’re into bread or have an allergy or aversion to wheat, the story profiling baker Jim Williams and the movement among artisan bakers will whet your appetite for ancient grains. And since this is Rhode Island after all, it happened to be Jim’s wife, Lynn, who first introduced me to the food rescue organization suitably named We Share Hope, also profiled in this issue. Entrepreneurs in their own right, the food heroes at We Share Hope are self-styled missionaries turning our state’s food waste into meals for the food insecure.
We have other heroes to celebrate in this issue too—our Local Hero Award winners. We offer up our heartiest congratulations to each one of them! You can read about this year’s winners beginning on page 9. We extend our thanks to you too, our readers, for taking the time to vote. We’ll begin voting for next year’s Local Heroes this coming autumn—and, who knows, it might be the most fun you have voting this year!
From the first stalk of bright green asparagus to the last juicy red strawberry, I hope you have a delicious and inspiring spring season.
Genie McPherson Trevor, Editor