Debra Prinzing

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How do you define “Intentional”?

Friday, December 28th, 2012

Zoe Bartlett, creator and partner of Intentional Table

Living a life guided by intentional choices is something we advocate in The 50 Mile Bouquet.

In the introduction, I wrote:

Faced with concerns about our food supply, the materials with which our homes are built and furnished, and the energy sources we consume, more people than ever are asking questions about the environmental impact of everything they use, drive, eat and even wear.

And yet, until recently, conscious consumers were largely unaware of the decidedly non-green attributes of their floral purchases. They bought bouquets without questioning the source, or the manner in which those flowers were grown (not to mention the environmental costs of shipping a perishable, luxury commodity around the globe). . . .

Whether or not they consider themselves environmentalists, consumers are beginning to exercise their choices at the flower stand, asking whether the beautiful roses, lilies or tulips they purchase at the local supermarket were grown domestically or were imported.

The message is that making intentional choices, especially as consumers, allows us to be conscious and holistic about using our resources wisely.

Of course, the Slow Food movement is way ahead of the floral world in this respect. And when our mutual friend Lois Pendleton introduced me to Zoe Bartlett, creator of Intentional Table, I instantly understood that we spoke the same language.

The message of Intentional Table is one that resonates:

Over the past 18 months, Zoe has been developing her business concept with a vision for creating community around the table, connecting purveyors with diners, educating and inspiring, and sharing local resources with like-minded customers. She has teamed up with Linda Brandt and the two recently debuted the Bainbridge Island flagship store of Intentional Table. The storefront is located on the pedestrian-friendly Madrone Lane, just off of Winslow Way. Here’s what the island’s community newspaper had to say about Intentional Table.

They opened the doors of their beautiful emporium-culinary studio on November 24th, Thanksgiving weekend.

I’ve been trying to make it over to Bainbridge Island ever since. Today was one of those magical, non-scheduled days (made even more special because our December temperatures reached a high of 48-degrees). I took the ferry from downtown Seattle, not worrying about the schedule, but just paying for my ticket and getting in line to calmly wait for the next departure. As the ferry-boat pushed away from the downtown Seattle waterfront, I snapped a few touristy photos, which I’d love to share with you here:

The SEATTLE GREAT WHEEL - a new icon on the waterfront

The new Seattle Great Wheel is quite stunning. Read more about it here.

The Space Needle is a classic work of architecture that turned 50 this year.

Read more about the Space Needle here.

After a 35-minute crossing, we arrived on Bainbridge Island and I headed a short distance to downtown Winslow. I have a lot of friends living on the island, including the amazing garden owners featured in The Abundant Garden, the book I wrote to accompany Barbara J. Denk’s beautiful photography (Cool Springs Press, 2005).

But today, my goal was to visit Zoe’s new venture. It was so great to walk inside and see her there, bustling about to help customers, share samples of gourmet chocolate, demonstrate cool products like wine decanters and unique vases.

Thanks, Zoe, for a spontaneously fun visit!

Because it’s a holiday week, lots of out-of-towners wandered in, including a young sommelier from New York City and a gourmet nut entrepreneur who took a specialty food business development class from Zoe a few years ago. Lots and lots of people arrived, in search of hostess gifts. Conversations among strangers wove together.

There was no huge effort to *explain* what Intentional Table meant. People understood. Everyone expressed curiosity about the upcoming cooking class schedule that Zoe and Linda will soon announce. Then, by summer, there will be food-centric educational dining experiences, staged all around the Northwest. I can’t wait!

One of the reasons Zoe’s vision resonates so much with me is that she views the Intentional Table as not just about food. To her, anything that we put on our tables – from the food and wine to the flowers in the vase – needs to reflect the place we live. I love that!

So you can definitely look for my participation in future events at this wonderful destination.

Together, we’re hoping to create several hands-on, seasonal floral design workshops that celebrate local flower farms and engage customers with the growers in their own community.

To sign up for Intentional Table announcements/newsletters, please click here.

Here are more photographs of this beautiful food & wine studio:

Love the chalk-board motif - especially this witty sign!

The 50 Mile Bouquet, spotted on the book table! Thanks, Zoe!

The professional kitchen, where cooking classes will soon commence.

The central book table, filled with inspiring titles from Northwest food and wine experts.

Clever "I. T." motifs are everywhere, including these ceramic balls in a bird's nest.

"I. T." playing pieces...

Industrial "I. T." letters on the Christmas wreath!

A foodie's crossword puzzle, just for fun!