Meet Our Publishers: Jennifer Solow of Edible Hudson Valley
We talked to Jennifer Solow, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of edible Hudson Valley, about the food scene in New York, her favorite edible Hudson Valley story, the legends in her community, and more.
Before you started Edible Hudson Valley, what were you doing professionally?
Jennifer: I had been a creative director in advertising for two decades, but after getting stuck in downtown Manhattan on 9/11, I decided to switch gears. I left my job, took my first writing class, worked on an assignment until it was done, got an agent and sold what was, by then, an entire manuscript. That first writing assignment went onto become a bestselling novel and the start of a second career.
What inspired you to start Edible Hudson Valley?
Jennifer: I always procrastinated my ‘real work’ by working in my beloved kitchen garden and writing my food blog. Coincidentally, I’d met Gibson Thomas, the publisher of Edible Marin & Wine Country, around the same time my youngest was graduating high school. I was suddenly facing a new life and a whole mess o’ free time to put to good use. Gibson’s publication was so beautiful and inspiring and I knew that with my background as a creative director and writer and my personal love of food and gardening in the Hudson Valley, that this was beginning of my third chapter.
What has surprised you the most about the Hudson Valley food culture?
Jennifer: I spent years writing about the people and places that I personally knew for my blog. It seemed to me like it would take a lifetime to visit every farm that was on my list, to harvest every vegetable, to talk to every neighbor, to make jam with every bucket of fruit. Publishing the magazine amplified my list a thousand-fold. The infinite nature of the bounty of the Hudson Valley is constantly surprising and inspiring.
If you could interview one person for your magazine, who would it be and why?
Jennifer: My neighbor Wayne is my gardening guru. His garden flourishes every year even though he has no fence around it, no ‘insider’ resources, and no real explanation for its success. All I get from Wayne is a shrug here and there as he’s delivering a flat of surplus strawberry runners, a bucket of shelled peas, or a vat of heirloom tomatoes. The Hudson Valley is filled with a million stories like Wayne’s, small legends told on the front stoop or looking up into the night sky.
Tell us one of your all-time favorite stories you've published in Edible Hudson Valley.
Jennifer: There’s a patch of land in Orange County with 26,000 acres of some of the country’s most fertile soil. Dark as Oreos, the Black Dirt Region grows the world’s most pungent onions. Writer, Anisse Gross, and photographer, Damon Jacoby, beautifully capture the spirit of the area and the moxie of its people. I can’t believe I was able to work with such a talented writer and photographer on the story. My three greatest privileges in this lifetime: falling in love, having children, collaborating with people whose talents I admire. Not necessarily in that order.