MS: What are your favorite parts about what you do?
JB: Love, love, love all the information and inspiration IG provides. Learning new things everyday… whether it is a “new“ medicinal use of an herb, learning another flower that is edible or how many “weeds” are actually nutritious, a different angle or background for taking good pictures and the recipes!!! It’s just so damn interesting!!
MS: What made you want to be what you are now?
JB: My kids “introduced” me to Instagram. It became the perfect “vehicle” to keep in touch and share my love of herbs, flowers, nature and cooking with my girls (who live out of state) keeping them abreast of my daily life and favorite sights. When Sal Gilbertie, owner of Gilbertie’s Organics herb farm saw my Instagram feed, he thought it would be a wonderful way to promote the farm. This basically happened as I was ready to retire from the farm (my husband had retired years before and it was time to spend this time together). It was actually perfect timing because I’ve remained connected to the farm by doing IG. So I consider myself semi-retired!
Conversely, I love it when something I post inspires or educates someone else. What a wonderful feeling! BTW, I don’t like the word “influencer”, “inspirer” should be the goal! Learning new things everyday is POWERFUL!!
MS: What are your short-term and/or long-term goals at the moment?
JB: I’ve never been much of a goal oriented person. I feel everything happens for a reason. Just do your best and roll with it!!
MS: Do you have advice for people interested in the same field?
JB: My only advice is to be true to yourself and do what makes your heart sing!
MS: What is something(s) you wish you knew in the beginning?
JB: The beginning of …? I wish today’s opportunities were available when I was younger. If the food network was on tv 50 years ago I probably would have gone to culinary school. I went to college for dental hygiene which I practiced for 20 years, had a hand painted pottery business and store, had a decorative painting business, but honestly herbs and cooking have always been my first passion. Working at Gilberties has been serendipitous!
MS: Who/what are your biggest inspirations and why?
JB: So many inspirations!! My mother has to be on the top of the list! The most amazing woman I’ve known. She loved cooking, creating and nature. My family went to the Hancock Shaker Village when I was a teen. My fascination with herbs began there. I had an herb garden at the age of 16! The events that influenced me the most were the luncheons at the long gone Caprilands Herb Farm that my mother and I went to every year. The herbal appetizers, salads, desserts and punches were loaded with edible flowers and flavors I had never tasted. The memories of mismatched chairs and table settings in the eclectic and antique laden farmhouse gives me a feeling of excitement to this day! The May Wine Punch at Caprilands served in the largest pottery bowl I had ever seen with sweet woodruff, strawberries and violets floating in it is more than memorable! I have never missed a May without making May Wine, since!
MS: What is your favorite quote(s) and why?
JB: My favorite quote is from Teddy Roosevelt, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are”. This says it all! Frugality and gratitude seem to be lost notions these days.
MS: What is your favorite meal and/or drink to share?
JB: Love sharing herbal cordials, infusions and cocktails! You should always be able to find something to toast and celebrate!!
MS: How do you approach a work life balance?
JB: Work/ life balance is easy now. Previously (with kids) it was a struggle I never overcame.
MS: What is something you wish people learned or knew more about in your industry?
JB: I wish more people would embrace the infinite uses of herbs, not just the dried oregano you put on a pizza! There are so many medicinal uses, beautiful flowers and are so easy to grow! As for microgreens, I love them for how they can liven up any dish, but I wish more people realized how super nutritious they are!
MS: What does supporting local mean to you?
JB: Keeping your local community foremost in your mind and heart is a given. Food wise it’s farm stands, farmers markets and grocery stores that promote local. In general, be aware and always look at where things are made or grown.