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After smooth-talking his way into a job restoring a chateau in the south of France, Mark realized there was a flaw in his plans: he lacked experience restoring a barn, much less a chateaux. His many failures and occasional successes are still recalled by villagers today, from cracked ribs to two inches of plaster dust, and from the collapsed roof to the homicidal peacock. Actually, only the failures are recalled, though it is only fair to mention forgotten wins like hunting wild boar, mastering a legendary cassoulet recipe, and falling in love with a salt farm that dated back to medieval times. Read more>>
Landing a job as restoring a chateau in the south of France revealed a flaw in Mark's plans. He had wanted to earn some money and prove himself. The problem was, he had zero experience restoring chateaux. Failures and successes over the years that followed began with carpentry and collapsed roofs, and eventually included hunting wild boar, mastering a legendary cassoulet recipe, and falling in love with a salt farm that dated back to medieval times.
Working hand in hand with stone masons, shepherds, winemakers, loggers, and dozens of others in a rural community taught him something about the traditional ways of life that were rapidly vanishing from Europe. Earning money and proving yourself are fine, but better measures of life are joy, connection, and deliciousness.
His shops, The Meadow, celebrates this belief through the elemental magic of salt, chocolate, bitters, and fresh cut flowers. The Meadow started in Portland, Oregon in 2006, pioneering entirely new categories in food. Back then salt was industrial stuff, chocolate was candy, and nobody but bartenders knew what bitters were. Mark won a James Beard Award for his first book Salted, and went on to write for more books championing the people and places that bring flavor to our lives.
From the beginning The Meadow challenged the notion that business is about profit. Despite having only a handful of employees and the modest sales of a small local shop, it provided pay, healthcare, retirement, vacation time. Donations to causes in Portland and beyond became part of the weekly routine. Advocating for salt that was made sustainably, chocolate that was sourced directly, and products and packaging that are natural and recyclable is baked into the company's DNA.
Social proximity is our reason for being. We have closedour shops