International Women's Day: Trailblazers

In the spirit of International Women's Day, I wanted to pay homage to a group of women in the local culinary community that have blazed their own trail, and became successes in their respective lanes. 

Jodi Swank / Swank Specialty Produce

Jodi along with her husband Darrin Swank, began a labor of love 15 years ago when they started Swank Farm. Today, their 20-acre swath of land stands as one of the original, area farms to provide specialty organic produce to a plethora local chefs and restaurants. "When we first started, we grew just three crops — lettuce, basil, and arugula," says Jodi. "Fifteen years later, and we've expanded that number to include more than 300 different types of produce, with multiple varieties of many of our most popular crops." In addition, the farm is in it’s fourth year of hosting their Swank Table dinner series, which has become one of the area’s premier dining events. 

Jodi along with her husband Darrin Swank, began a labor of love 15 years ago when they started Swank Farm. Today, their 20-acre swath of land stands as one of the original, area farms to provide specialty organic produce to a plethora local chefs and restaurants. "When we first started, we grew just three crops — lettuce, basil, and arugula," says Jodi. "Fifteen years later, and we've expanded that number to include more than 300 different types of produce, with multiple varieties of many of our most popular crops." In addition, the farm is in it’s fourth year of hosting their Swank Table dinner series, which has become one of the area’s premier dining events. 

Risa Lupardo / Assistant General Manager: Grato, Buccan, Imoto

From bussing tables to toiling away in the kitchens, Risa Lupardo has done it all. Risa is a mother of two young children, who has been making her bones in the restaurant industry since the age of 16. Over the years, Risa has risen through the ranks and currently she is an AGM for the critically acclaimed Buccan/Grato/Imoto Restaurant Group, helmed by 3-time James Beard nominee Chef Clay Conley. Make sure to go visit her at Grato and ask for the Carrot Cake Waffle!

From bussing tables to toiling away in the kitchens, Risa Lupardo has done it all. Risa is a mother of two young children, who has been making her bones in the restaurant industry since the age of 16. Over the years, Risa has risen through the ranks and currently she is an AGM for the critically acclaimed Buccan/Grato/Imoto Restaurant Group, helmed by 3-time James Beard nominee Chef Clay Conley. Make sure to go visit her at Grato and ask for the Carrot Cake Waffle!

Logan Rae, Kimmie Hruda / Bacon Boxes

Founders Logan and Kimmie are women after my own heart. They took their love of bacon, twisted it into the shape of a rosebud, and voila… Bacon Boxes was born! The first bacon rose was created in 2015 as a birthday gift. After being delivered to a busy office, they experienced an unexpected upswell in demand for their bacon roses. Since then, their startup has continued to gain momentum, garnering press coverage nationwide. Bacon Boxes continues to innovate and has expanded their product line to include cookies, brownies, granola, and more!

Founders Logan and Kimmie are women after my own heart. They took their love of bacon, twisted it into the shape of a rosebud, and voila… Bacon Boxes was born! The first bacon rose was created in 2015 as a birthday gift. After being delivered to a busy office, they experienced an unexpected upswell in demand for their bacon roses. Since then, their startup has continued to gain momentum, garnering press coverage nationwide. Bacon Boxes continues to innovate and has expanded their product line to include cookies, brownies, granola, and more!