Tell us a bit about yourself and your background.
A – I was born in Romania and still travel back every summer, as my parents run a non-profit. I grew up in the ‘burbs north of Chicago and then moved to NYC after I got married (I studied International Relations and Diplomacy, go figure) and then volunteered overseas at an orphanage with my husband for a year. I got pregnant while we were there and we moved back to NYC. Had another baby 2 years later. I finally wanted to work, but didn’t know what I wanted to do, so I tried PR. Nope, not for me. Huckle & Goose was born right after, and it felt like home.
C – I’m a Chicago girl who moved to DC after get married (to Anca’s brother. We’re sisters-in-law and business partners and we still love each other.) I worked in the hedge fund world, then had my son (now 3) and worked from home, pursuing my love of calligraphy and paper design. Huckle & Goose was born a couple years later, then my daughter was born (now 12 months), and now I live between the rolling hills in the Virginia countryside, where the cows and alpaca roam.
Was there a moment when you realized that you needed to start Huckle & Goose? What clicked for you?
While we both cooked at home on a regular basis, and went to the farmers’ market occasionally, eating seasonally wasn’t something we really thought about. But a shift began when we realized how differently we cooked with farmer’s market ingredients. They were a precious commodity and we didn’t want things doused in sauce, we wanted to actually taste the veggie. The most frustrating part in all of this was finding recipes that used these newly discovered vegetable – rutabaga, celery root, turnip. So many times we either forgot we had them in the fridge and it spoiled, or we kept cooking it the same way, over and over.
We asked each other, “why isn’t there a site where you can figure out what to do with all this stuff? I want to support the farmers but this is way too time consuming” And just like that, Huckle & Goose was born.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
A: “Your children will see you as you truly are, so make sure you’re proud of what they see.” My grandmother, who always made it a point to give me reality checks with love.
C: Does the internet count? I saw a quote years ago: “Every day do something that scares you just a little bit. Get your heart racing.” And I try to live by it every day.
How has motherhood transformed your career? What’s your secret to integrating work and family?
A: If you’re not intentional with your time, things will be much harder. I’m not a type A person, but when I had my boys and was away from family, I realized that I had to make it work. Scheduling my daily routine was crucial. This routine has changed as the boys have grown and are in school, but it allows me to work smarter so that when they’re home I can focus on them while also running a business. Perks of my job, I know what I am making for dinner every night.
Make fun routine too:
Fridays are always for family movie night – kids pick the menu and Sundays are for no computers, tvs, or phones. It’s a time to live in the moment and figure out new things to do or even playing board games.
C: My little ones have motivated and inspired me more than I ever thought possible. I want them to know where our food comes from, to respect it, to understand that it sustains us. It shouldn’t be an afterthought, but it also shouldn’t take up all our time. This favorite Tamar Adler quote says it best: “Cooking is both simpler and more necessary than we imagine. It has in recent years come to seem a complication to juggle against other complications, instead of what it can be — a clear path through them.” Taking the time to slow down around 5:30 every day, allowing little hands to help snip the ends off green beans or mix a batter and then eating what we made on the porch is just what the doctor ordered after a nonstop day.
What keeps you inspired and excited every day?
A- I live in an amazing city (NYC) and every where I go it’s bursting with inspiration and energy. It’s the perfect city to day dream in and I do that all the time. Usually it’s finding some gorgeous greens at the farmers’ market, sitting on a bench and watching people eat their lunch, or waking up early and walking the streets because it’s like a different world (quiet with a sort of muffled excitement for a new day to start).
C: Living #thathucklegooselife is pretty amazing. Going to shake the farmer’s hands that feeds us, picking out heirloom produce you can’t get anywhere but the market, eating everything in its time grown in ways that’s good for us and the earth, paying attention to life’s ordinary extraordinary moments, and gathering with loved ones often… I want everyone to experience this… to my very core. Even on the days when we have recipes upon recipes to tackle, and I’m tempted to stay in bed, in the fetal position, this is what keeps me inspired and motivated. Recipe testing cocktails also keeps me excited. 😉
What are your words of wisdom for other mothers wanting to turn their passion into a business?
A- You hear it all the time, but the hardest part is just getting started. And embrace the unknown, because if you knew every obstacle that will arise you will never get started. Looking back on our journey, I knew it would be hard – but never this hard. Ignorance is bliss for the budding entrepreneur. Take it one day, one task, and one margarita at a time. It’s so so worth it. Basically, like having a child. You can read all the books you want and think you are so prepared, then the baby comes and it’s sleepless nights and baby bottles. But it’s a stage – that baby grows and with it so do you.
C: Yes to everything Anca said. And to really do some soul searching before getting started, because you have to believe in what you’re doing deep, deep down, then even deeper still.
What are your big dreams for Huckle & Goose?
In a nutshell: when someone has a question about a farmers market, that their first thought is Huckle & Goose. We envision a brand that spans retail, cooking classes, videos, and the number one source for information about sourcing local and seasonal produce. Causing a shift in how Americans choose to spent their grocery money.
Who is your #momcrush?
A: Jessica Alba – she’s built an empire in the mommy world. I love that she has that entrepreneur fire even though she was already a successful actor.
What does “Motherly” mean to you?
A: That awesome friend who always has it together, but not in a snobby way. She always knows how to pick the perfect outfit, which new book you should read, or what exercise to do.
C: The mom who can be honest without judging.
Anca Toderic is the co-founder, along with Christine Lucaciu, of Huckle & Goose, a new farm-to-table meal planning website on a mission to change the story of frustrated home cooks everywhere looking to cook seasonally, consciously and effortlessly.