Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Etsy artist of the week: Gravel Road Goodies

Often, old-fashioned is better. Always, simpler is better. Gravel Road Goodies are both.

One of the greatest frustrations with my new weight-loss program is that I discovered this shop just after I got started with Weight Watchers, so I haven’t gotten to try any of Susan Smith’s fabulous goodies yet. You can bet that they’ll be part of my celebration when I meet my first goal.

Susan’s Etsy shop was a natural outgrowth of her lifestyle.

“We are located in northeast Arkansas on a 75-acre working farm,” she says. “We have horses and cattle. We raise our own chickens for eggs. We grow our own produce and have just finished planting blueberries this spring. We sell our produce and flowers at our local Farmer's Market. We are strong supporters of all local Farmer's Markets and encourage everyone to buy locally from their farmers.”

Gravel Road Goodies include Dirt Clods (seductive-looking truffles), Little Bites of Gravel Road (sumptuous nut clusters), Dirt Dobber Peanut Butter Fudge, skillet cakes, banana bread, chocolate-gravy mix, and much more. And the packaging for these products is irresistibly country.

“Our earth-colored packaging, clothespins, twine, and good home cooking capture an appealing aura of past times of more simple living,” Susan says. “We laugh and yet love the backward ways of southern Arkansas. It is here that the salt-of-the-earth people live and grow. It is through simple southern food that we comfort others. Yet our exposure to gourmet cooking, restaurants, and sophisticated palates has further enhanced our business. I originally designed and hand-screenprinted all the labels on my sacks and boxes, but now I print them from the computer. More orders and more cooking have demanded a more efficient way to print. But we still beat that peanut butter fudge with a wooden spoon!”

Susan’s all-natural products are satisfying to the conscience as well as the sweet tooth.

“We believe that the happiest people are those who balance work, rest, and play,” she says, “supported by healthy eating. We know that when we eat locally grown and raised food without chemicals, we can enjoy occasional sweet treats without fear. A balanced life is what we all desire.”

Susan lives what she believes every day.

“We just came in from the blueberry orchard,” she notes in an e-mail, “where we had to repack the soil and set up the 100 new plants that had blown over after torrential rains and wind again yesterday. It was in the beauty and sensation of dark moist soil between my fingers as I looked up from the ground and saw millions of tiny green buds beginning to form in rows and rows of blueberry plants, that I saw another form of art in process. The magnificent beauty of all of God’s creation is manifested most profoundly for me on the farm.”

Susan is an active member of AREtsy, the Arkansas Etsy street team. She lives in Jonesboro, Arkansas.


TheTwistedPurl said...

All of her stuff looks so very yummy! I have to check her out.

idyll hands said...

Yummmmm - I'm so hungry now!

Julie Anne of Diamondmeenuh Creations said...

FABULOUS interview! And, any morning that begins with homemade goodies and chocolate is going to be a good one :-)

I think I've got a chocolate bar in the freezer, too......