We had our Grand Reopening last Saturday (Nov 17th)! It was so exciting to see everyone come in and see the new space. After three years of being a tiny little business behind our video store, Succulence has now shed its skin and become a full fledged store of its own! We have so much new stuff and we are adding more daily. Wish we had some things we don't? Let us know! We've also added some new drop-in kids classes on Saturday mornings taught by local kids art teacher, Teresa O'Connor. We've added some talented plant people to the staff and we are just psyched at the response we've had so far. At the core of our mission is our dedication to plants in all of our lives. Have a plant question? Please don't hesitate to ask. See you at the store!
The summer of 2012 has been such an exciting one. It has seen Succulence go through many changes.
In the early days of the summer, my family went on a road trip across the country. Our destination was Mt. Rushmore, with an emphasis on the journey. Huck and Trudy (our intrepid children, 11 and 7), joined me and Amy in one of our favorite pastimes, watching the world go by.
Driving into and through Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, South Dakota, Colorado, Utah and Nevada reminded me of what it might be like to be a small animal wandering through one of my larger terrariums...Beautiful and wild landscapes filled with geography and flora that was breathtaking and reality expanding. We were stunned again and again at the beauty at large and the planning that went into protecting that beauty. Craters of the Moon National Monument! Yellowstone Park! Mt. Rushmore! The Crazy Horse Memorial (wow, and double wow!!). So much thought and consideration by the powers that be to preserve nature's fantasia. I was grateful again and again as I held the wheel and held my breath. Bison gloriously ran by. Moose and deer and pronghorn (the american antelope - read about them!) frolicked. We stood and gaped at a family of bears meandering along a river bank. It was spiritual; believe it.
We returned refreshed, delighted and changed as a family. Unfortunately, we also returned to the first of a humorous group of disasters. Our wonderful neighboring cafe (Progressive Grounds) has a very lovely backyard that is centered by a large Eucalyptus tree. Every summer this tree drops its little seeds all over the adjoining backyards. It is a beautiful tree, and although it is an invasive non-native, I have always had a soft spot for its medicinal qualities. However, this year, the seeds were covering our plants, and our inventory was taking a huge hit. Each summer we have encountered this problem, and I would be remiss not to mention that I have planned each year to build a protective greenhouse in the outdoor space to block these seeds from falling. Ah, the retro-perspective of perfection. As of July, this protective covering had not been built, and we were in a bind. With the help of our good friend and all around handyman Cooper, we went into emergency design mode and by the beginning of August had constructed the beginnings of what will eventually cover our entire backyard area.
It is a startling new world for us outside. The plants are completely protected. We have a foundation and structure up that will enable you to shop in the rain this fall and winter without getting wet. Our amazing array of 2" succulents won't get washed out by the rain, either! Changes that have been needed for the last three years are happening, and happening fast and that is enabling us to continue to grow. To progress. To change. In a small-business environment where people sometimes say it is "grow or die", we are finding a way to grow. If you haven't seen the new changes, come in and take a look. We think you will be pretty excited, too. Now, if we can only get rid of those neighborhood racoons... But that is for another story.
Summer Events are in full bloom at Succulence! Fashion, body products, product creation demonstrations, yummy nuts, sustainable commerce, all have a place within your succulent lifestyle.
Saturday and Sunday, July 10th and 11th, from 12:00pn - 5:00pm, Succulence will host the fabulous Castaneda Twins, them of the multi-faceted community space Twinspace, who in their spare time make incredible soaps and body products (Elizabeth) and daring and dashing clothes and hats (Melissa). They will be selling a variety of their homespun products at their trunk show, and there will be light snacks and beverages.
Saturday, July 17th, from 12:00-1:00pm, Roberto Gastelumendi of Gastboards Kitchen Art, will be here to demonstrate the production of his amazing cutting boards (pictured here), rolling pins and knife racks. His unique style of inlaying multiple woods in inspiration patterns is beautifully conceived and masterfully accomplished. Come see how he does it, and pick up some of his very incredible art. If you value your very unique kitchen items, then this is an event you will not want to miss.
More events to come in August include a special night (4-7pm) with 12 Small Things on Saturday, Aug 7th. 12 Small Things is a collection of fashionable, fair trade products supporting artisans in economically challenged communities around the world. This great business has been conceived and curated by Bernal Heights resident Laurie Kanes. On Saturday, August 21st Mara, of Mara's Maples, will be selling her yummy and insanely delectable nutty concoctions which are guaranteed to creative an immediate need for more! On Saturday, August 28th, we will feature body products by Captain Blankenship. We first encountered her delicious soaps at an Forage SF Underground Market, and we were hooked upon lathering up...we think you will be, too.
Do you make something lovely that you would like to sell at Succulence? Please let us know.
What else is going on at Succulence? We are diving headfirst into weddings and other events...Ask us about our ideas, maybe we can add some succulence to your event. Of course, we are still obsessed with vertical gardens, home-made jams and pickles, vintage kitchen supplies, Tilandsia, all varieties of Succulents, locally crafted ceramics, utilitarian wooden art, fountains, outdoor furniture and 3-D metal art from Roma. As always, Succulence has you covered...in succulence. See you soon. xo Frauke, Amy, Ken and Daniel
Often, especially in summer as a counterpoint to my longing for the deep heat that is not available, I am grateful for the fresh air in San Francisco. Moistened by fog and directed by the mighty pacific ocean, the air here is rich and full of momentum. Truly wonderful things to inhale and incorporate on a daily basis: abundance and movement.
How lucky are we, to have this healthy place? You don't have to drive to L.A., or even close, or even its direction, to experience how much less enjoyable life is when the air is full of crap. As soil is to a plant - i.e. EVERYTHING - so is air to us.
There are certainly other places to find fresh air, but how many of them are big cities? Most of the places that give you air this sweet are out of the way. Such as the beauteous, remote mountains in Idaho where Ken played music this weekend as part of RanchFest 2010. Thinking of Ken, in this place, with all of the trees and rich greenery, I could almost taste this air, and it prompted me to send him a text message that said, simply, "Breathe." Of course that message works on so many levels.
Getting to these remote places, where the majestic trees so generously share their oxygen, requires many of us to burn an amount of fossil fuel that seems preposterous, given that the goal is to get to an unspoiled place. There's a Catch 22 in there, or at least a great irony, driving miles to escape the smog from cars.
As the unspeakable horror continues in the Gulf of Mexico, and the urge is to focus on the forces and parties with greater responsibility for this incomprehensible mess, lets all take a few moments to think both about what is not yet spoiled (as well as to affirm our commitment to its preservation), and to recognize what we do in our appreciation of nature that might be ultimately counterproductive.
Today I open my arms to the wind. I forgive the chilly fog for ruining my summer swims. I thank my lucky stars for the clean air right outside my door.
Right now I am in a bit of a cooking funk. Actually, its part funk and part cook's block: I can't for the life of me figure out what to make for dinner. Its been like this for weeks.
Its not that I lack resources to figure out what to make, or that I lack an interest in food. There's plenty that I want to have placed in front of me. Of course, I DO lack time, energy and a properly stocked fridge, but that is standard, and plenty of times I make amazing meals under these conditions. For days on end even.
I generally love to cook, so the contrast between now and the rest of the time is severe - for me, it is a bit of an identity crisis. Who knows what brings about the disconnect between what I want to eat and having the urge to make it for myself. Usually one naturally and joyfully leads to the other. But not right now.
In any event, successfully getting through one of these funk-block periods - we all have them, I know, and this one will end, I know - requires a) admitting defeat and making your standbys, even though you don't want them, and b) good condiments.
That is what I did tonight - I made a super unimaginative and (to me) totally uninteresting meal. I have made this meal so many times, on so many weeknights. Breaded and fried chicken pieces, rice, cooked carrots. (Speaking of admitting defeat, I really do just end up calling them nuggets and if I try to refer to them as "breaded and fried chicken pieces" or, worse, "chicken strips" my kids look at me like someone who, on principle, would rather not use a wheel than use one.)
Not willing to have my one sit-down, relatively calm meal of the day be totally unremarkable, I turned to condiments. As we were sitting down to eat, I rummaged through the top shelf of the fridge, home to a sea of condiments. Many of the condiments on the top shelf have been made by me. As a result they are largely delicious, but all in unmarked mason jars, so they are also largely indistinguishable from one another, at least before they've been pulled out and inspected.
Part of making the condiments in your fridge work for you, and enjoying them rather that looking at them when you get the milk out and thinking to yourself, "god, that shit is good - I never remember to take that out!" is banishing your own ideas about what tastes good together, and just plopping some of what tastes good onto your plate. Tonight, my meal was taken to the next level by the addition of my own, homemade saurkraut, which I cannot stop putting on everything, and lemon chutney.
The lemon chutney, which I made, and which is for sale at succulence, is styled from a recipe by Laurie Colwin. If you love to cook and you have never read Laurie Colwin's collections of essays, Home Cooking and More Home Cooking, you are in for a treat. Her recipe for lemon chutney instructs you to let the chutney sit for a month to ripen. Laurie then says, "After six months of ripening, it enters another realm, and no words do justice to the flavor."
(Thanks for pointing out that line, Stephanie!)
My chutney is a bit different than Laurie's, and I have not made it to the 6 month mark, but tonight the chutney was a spirit-lifter. The chutney - saurkraut combination was perfect. As I made my way through the evening - putting the kids to bed, washing the dishes, paging through the new New Yorker, trying not to think about work - I kept getting these delicate waves of sweet, tangy, lemony, aftertaste - the kind that is equally in your nose and your mouth. The aftertaste was divine, with just the most subtle hint of cardamom, which can put anyone in another realm if added in the proper dosage.
Instead of tonight's meal being insignificant and immemorable sustenance, it was something that gave me all of these wonderful sensory experiences, lingered for hours and erased any sense of drudgery around feeding myself. All because of a little condiment.