In our house, family and food are synonymous.

Growing up, gatherings were a huge part of my family life. We ate dinner together every night and Sunday's after church we piled into my dad's little roadster and would explore the countryside around us, stopping at small country inns and family-owned restaurants along the way.

Food is the constant that binds us together: from weekend oyster roasts to pig pickins, to special occasions in fancy restaurants, and later, Thanksgiving gatherings with my husbands family. Travel was and still is often influenced by the food culture of a particular city, region or country.

Raised in a rural community, we were surrounded by a local dairy, fruit stands, butcher and specialty shops.

Small producers and artisan makers, sharing what was in season influenced what my mother cooked and that seasonal devotion influences my cooking today. I was always the first to offer to set the table and family traditions led to professional choices. Party and menu planning became my way of honoring my family's legacy of hospitality.

"You have to try this!" something you hear often in our house. I love to curate and combine unexpected flavors and textures such as Blueberry Bourbon Jam slathered over lamb with grits or Lady Edison Fancy Country Ham with a dab of Lusty Monk Mustard on a Moravian Ginger Spice cookie. These are just a few of the mouth-watering pairings that await you with my signature Dogwood & Cardinal gift boxes. 

The inspiration for Dogwood & Cardinal arose during the COVID pandemic.

The unexpected loss of our beloved family dog, Sophie, forced us to slow down and reexamine the importance of "being present" despite not being able to be together with family and friends. Sophie could often be found lounging beneath our Dogwood tree while we gathered in our yard for many barbeques, feasts and family events.

The cardinal is not only the state bird of North Carolina, it is also said to represent the presence of a missing loved one. During the pandemic, we all missed so many special moments with our loved ones, sending gifts with special meaning from the heart became more important than ever. We witnessed an overwhelming demand in our retail shop for local food gifts, from customers near and far, unable to share special moments in person. Thus, the birth of Dogwood and Cardinal.

From individual customized boxes to large quantities of corporate gifts, Dogwood & Cardinal brings the very best of the South from my cupboard to your table.

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