SB Note: We are saddened to learn that Freshfully will be closing its doors on Wednesday, January 29th and wish Jen all the best in her future endeavors.
Today we welcome Jen Barnett, owner of Freshfully Market and Cafe in Avondale as our FACE of Birmingham. Jen opened Freshfully in 2011 with her partner, Sam Brasseale, as a way of bridging the gap between local farmers and urban dwellers. With farmers delivering six days a week to the market, an online store and a downtown location, Jen makes it easy to find farm-fresh, locally produced food!
Where did you grow up? And what brought you to Birmingham?
I lived in Birmingham (North Roebuck) and then in Trussville. Even though we were in the suburbs, my mom would take me shopping at Pizitz and Parisian downtown or to lunch at Cobb Lane in Southside. I idolized Southside and downtown, and I still do.
Tell us about Freshfully.
Freshfully sells food from local farmers and food producers. Our mission is to make more local food more accessible to more people. You can shop Freshfully online at Freshfully.com, as well as our markets in Avondale at 200 41st St. S. and downtown at 1914 Third Ave. N. We benefit customers by making a large variety of local food available during traditional shopping hours, and we benefit farmers by putting lots of marketing muscle into promoting their foods.
If you could have lunch with any woman in the world, who would it be and what would you order?
Jessica Lange, and dirty martinis.
What did your bedroom look like as a teenage girl?
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Don’t plan for A while rewarding for B. Here’s a link to an article that explains what I mean by this: www.ou.edu/russell/UGcomp/Kerr.pdf. Another way of saying this is that you reap what you sow. The article talks about motivating others, but it applies to yourself, too. Be honest with yourself about the things you want most, and then pursue them relentlessly.
What advice would you give to others?
Know when you’re outgunned. Know when you’re not.
What is your favorite thing to do to relax?
Work harder. Just kidding. (Not really).
Favorite thing to do on a Saturday night?
Sit by the fire with my husband and cats and watch an episode of Downton Abbey.
Favorite local restaurant?
What are you listening to these days?
I like it when we play funk music in the store. I also like the the Trombone Shorty song where he rhymes “trombone” with “brimstone.” (“Fire and Brimstone,” on Say That to Say This.)
What books are you reading?
This is hard to admit, because I think people judge you for it, but I don’t read books right now. I can read books when I’m in planning mode, but not when I’m in doing mode. When I’m in doing mode, I can’t lose myself in fiction, and nonfiction reminds me of all the things I should be doing instead of reading.
Do you have any personality quirks or irrational fears?
I have a slight fear of dying ironically, like being hit by a truck full of local produce. Of course, admitting that I’m afraid of dying ironically makes any way I die ultimately ironic. So now I guess I have to embrace it.
If your house was on fire, what’s the one nonliving thing you would grab?
My MacBook Pro with solid state drive — you can edit huge photo files and spreadsheets at the same time. I love it.
Name three things you can’t live without (excluding friends, family and God).
Nicorette, Burt’s Bees hand salve and “unsweet” tea.
Thanks for sharing, Jen! To find out more about Freshfully visit the website at www.freshfully.com.
And a big thanks to Catherine Mayo for today’s fabulous photos! Find out more about Catherine and check out her amazing photography at www.catherinemayo.com.