Maybe We Should All Make Stuff By
A friend of ours has been strumming away on his guitar for so long that he’s beginning to wear a groove in the sound hole. He plays and sings for Strummer, and his gang has played here at The Urban Farmhouse a time or two. If we can get him off of his porch we may have them back.
Scott plays a beautiful Taylor guitar that conveys a perfect tone and is butter to strum. It’s quite an instrument. But he has a new baby coming soon – a Paul Reed Smith. He has, for quite some time, had a nice PRS electric. Like the Taylor, it is a beautiful piece of craftsmanship and plays like a dream. His new one is the SE Angelus, and it will no doubt pick itself into beautiful acoustic heaven.
And what’s so danged special about a Paul Reed Smith guitar? Paul Smith started the company out of an apartment in Annapolis, made all of his first guitars by hand, himself, he still owns the company, and they still pretty much make every guitar by hand, in Maryland. Scott placed his order several months ago, and keeps getting little notes from the guys in Maryland saying, “Patience, friend. Not just yet. We’re building it.”
That’s really the clincher, though, isn’t it? They make stuff. Isn’t that what made America great? The fact that we make stuff? Sure, PRS has computers and lasers and machines, but each of their luthiers is a craftsman, and quite often a player. They build things that they would like to play.
That’s kind of what we look for when we search out vendors for our foodstuffs here at The Urban Farmhouse. People who make things. Like the Veggie Sausage that we get from Twin Oaks in Louisa. It’s good, because the people out at Twin Oaks like veggie sausage, and they make it themselves. Or the baked goods that we get from the Flour Garden. These guys wake up early every morning and bake stuff. They load up their ovens with breads that they’ve kneaded by hand. People.
We like to liven up our breads with products from Family Fruit Basket. James and Betty Hershberger make jams and preserves in small batches and sell them under the “Tastes Like Grandma’s” label. No preservatives or funky chemicals or assembly line. They just make it.
Or Sweet Leaf Teas. Those guys started brewing tea with pillow cases and crab pots. They’ve graduated to machines that put the caps on their bottles, but are faithful to their love of music, family and friends, and bringing their dogs to work. Not a huge company, but doing quite well by peddling stuff that they make.
That’s what we like. Like the guys making Scott’s guitar, these people are artisans. They’re practicing a craft. They’re making things. And unlike the manufacturers who squeeze unthinkable things into tubes and jars, these people are looking at ingredients, caring about where they came from, and carefully crafting them into wonderful products for us to enjoy.