MEDIA MOMENT––Colleen Stewart – Digital Editor, Edible Hudson Valley

MEDIA MOMENT––Colleen Stewart – Digital Editor, Edible Hudson Valley

As the year comes to a close, it’s a great time to reflect on the last 12 months and the exciting stories we have been able to share but it wouldn’t be possible without the help and fervor of our friends in media.  We couldn’t let the year get away without sitting down with Colleen Stewart of Edible Hudson Valley and getting the inside scoop on why she loves the Hudson Valley and the most rewarding parts of being the digital editor. 

Thanks for being our guest this month. Can you tell us a little bit more about Edible Hudson Valley?

Edible Hudson Valley and our sister publication, Edible Westchester are food-focused lifestyle magazines that cover the local culture of the region. In every issue, we dig deeper to shed light on local restaurateurs, artisans, producers, farmers, cookbook writers etc. who go against the grain.

Our publications are a part of a larger network called Edible Communities. The Edible Communities network consists of over 90 Edible magazines in cities and regions across the United States. We often partner with the various Edible magazines based in the Northeast to not only spread our local stories further, but to support neighboring communities and share their unique content.

What makes Edible Hudson Valley different?

At Edible Hudson Valley and Edible Westchester, we push ourselves to take an unlikely perspective on the culture and happenings in our area. The stories we publish not only cover the new and the popular, but the weird, intriguing, historical, and often unknown people, places, and products.

What led you to this field and your current position?

I have never been that thrilled with traditional hard news journalism. I understand its purpose but I feel it lacks creativity and stifles a writer’s voice. But I have always found myself drawn back to the field by my interest in the stories people have to tell. Post-grad, I set out to find a job that combined both creativity and storytelling. By way of an internship at The Valley Table magazine, I discovered the magazine publishing industry and more specifically lifestyle journalism. After a few years there, I heard about Jennifer Solow’s vision for Edible Hudson Valley and knew immediately that this was the type of publication I wanted to work for.

What topics or stories are you most excited or passionate about?

As an avid cook/eater, I am always drawn to food-centric stories. More generally though, I am inspired by features that showcase someone who is passionate about what they do. It’s refreshing to interview a knowledgeable person about their field and equally rewarding to share their story with our readership. 

What is one of the most memorable stories you’ve worked on?

Tough question! My favorite issues of Edible Hudson Valley and Edible Westchester have been our Women of the Hudson Valley issue (Summer 2017) and our most recent Immigrant Issue (Winter 2018). Both of these issues shed light on people in our community that do exceptional things but are not often celebrated. I was honored and humbled to help tell their stories.

Tell us – we promise not to hold it against you – what is your biggest PR pet peeve?

To be really honest, a lack of organization. If I get a pitch that is clearly written, with eye-catching, appropriately sized photography, and useful links, I will be much more likely to utilize it over a pitch that makes it difficult for me to create content for our readers.

How many hashtags are too many? (All of us at Impact are looking to impose a legal limit)

A legal limit may be a good thing. Whenever I talk hashtags with my team or other people in the media industry, I tend to lean toward quality over quantity. Using hashtags is without a doubt a key to growing your social following. But before you press that hashtag key, you need to know your business goals and do some research into your industry. Then, by all means, have way with the hashtag.

What do you love most about living and working in the Hudson Valley?

It’s hard for me to put my finger on what I love most about living here. I fell for the Hudson Valley while attending SUNY New Paltz and since have not found a good reason to leave. There is something magnetic about this place— from the natural beauty to the diversity of each part of the region— I’m really just so grateful to live here. 

What are your favorite Hudson Valley gems that all locals and visitors alike ought to check out?

Alright. Here’s my no B.S. inside scoop. These are the places I frequent on a regular basis and they deserve serious shout outs. Underground Coffee & Ales in Highland always has a warm cup of coffee ready for me when I run out of beans at home (plus a kickass all day menu). On a Roll Deli in Highland and Russo’s in New Paltz have the best breakfast and deli sandwiches in the Hudson Valley. Rossi’s fans can fight me on it.

I have an unabashed love affair with Saugerties. Alleyway Ice Cream is a must— Julian Hom makes the best ice cream in the biz and I regularly day dream about the ribs at Smokin’ Pony BBQ.

I have the utmost faith in the guys at the The Wine Store in Marlboro  to help me choose a bottle of wine after a long week. And the jury is still out, but I am almost certain that if could live above Brunette Wine Bar in Kingston, my life would drastically improve.

If someone wants to follow you and/or Edible Hudson Valley, how can they connect with you socially?

Connect with me and the rest of the team @ediblehudsonvalley on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter and don’t forget about @ediblewestchester! If you’re the kind of person who enjoys food photos with weird lighting, you can follow me @stewingthpot on Instagram.