Williams-Sonoma Launches Agrarian Line

When Williams-Sonoma told us they’d be launching a new line this April to help customers take their food from seed to table, we couldn’t have been more pleased.

At Edible nothing warms our hearts like somebody learning to grow their own tomatoes or make their own ricotta. We’re all about empowering home cooks to take control of their food, both where it comes from and how it’s made. So when Williams-Sonoma told us they’d be launching a new line this April to help customers take their food from seed to table, we couldn’t have been more pleased. The new line, Agrarian, will launch this Thursday, April 5th online and then on April 9th in a few stores across the country (none in New York just yet). We got a sneak peak at the products included in the new line and thought we’d share a few.

For home gardeners, or wannabe urban farmers, there are raised bed planters, heirloom seeds, live plants, slate garden markers from our own Brooklyn Slate and even chicken coops! Kitchen enthusiasts will love the home canning tools, DIY cheesemaking kits and kombucha kits. Our personal fave? The shiitake mushroom log. Wouldn’t it be nice to pluck a few homegrown shiitakes off your window sill when you’re making dinner?

“There’s a wide range of people who live in the suburbs or in the city who maybe aren’t growing their own herbs or food and here’s a way for them to get started,” said Shannon Gomes, public relations manager for Williams-Sonoma. “We’ve got a DIY cheese kit that only takes a gallon of milk and one hour and you’ll have your own mozzarella and ricotta cheese.”

In addition to the 275 products being featured in the new Agrarian line, for the past year or so Williams-Sonoma has been experimenting with something called “Artisan Market” — an initiative to highlight and bring local food purveyors into its stores. On the first Saturday of each month at six locations around the country, including our Columbus Circle store, local food and drink makers are invited to show off their goods. The selection of vendors changes quarterly, but some of the folks that have turned out so far include: Brooklyn Seeds, Brooklyn Slate, Kombucha Brooklyn, Brooklyn Brine, Early Bird Granola, Rough Confections, Saucy Sauce, Emily’s Homemade, One Girl Cookies, Dulce Nona, Crown Maple and Kyotofu. The program has been a big hit so far, resulting in robust sales, according to Allison O’Connor, Williams-Sonoma’s vice president of merchandising. So far there are Artisan Markets in New York, Chicago, Atlanta, San Francisco, Austin and Portland, Oregon.

Photo credit: Williams-Sonoma




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  • Anonymous

    One on hand this is great news since Williams-Sonoma must see a market for these products. The disturbing part of it is that for the people who will purchase products like this from Williams-Sonoma this will just be a fad and not the real change in lifestyle we are hoping and working to achieve. I am doing all these things, and trying to make them look just as nice, but I building them myself. I buy tools, not finished products.

  • Mundo

    Not everyone has the inclination or ability to build their own stuff, especially those that are likely to be shopping at high end stores like WS. Every piece of gear sold means more people thinking about where their food comes from and wanting to do more themselves. That is nothing but a positive trend. Fad, or not.

  • Guest

    “Not everyone has the inclination or ability to build their own stuff.” Well stated, because most people are too lazy to put the time and effort into learning how to build a chicken coop (there are plenty of  DIY books on how to build coops). However, WS is not the answer, all this corporation is doing is reinforcing the public’s gullibility and ignorance. Knowledge about food can most definitely be spread without WS profiting off their overpriced and harmful products (harmful to the environment and to the economy). The problem with just selling a piece of “gear” is this gear has no knowledge attached to it and just because you purchased it, doesn’t mean you know what you’re doing. Start spreading the cause (food awareness) and not the garbage, because this coop is only going to end up in a land fill.

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  • perspective

    “start spreading the cause” does not begin with calling people lazy, gullible, and ignorant. nothing is empowering or inspiring when you are condescending.

    just like some folks’ enthusiastic curiosity begins by planting starters
    in their garden one season, moves to growing their own veggies from
    seeds the next, and later evolves to sourcing heirloom varieties on a
    local seed exchange the following season, this will provide people a
    place to start.

    instead of “one-uping” people’s efforts with the superiority complex/attitude of the comment below, “i buy tools, not
    finished products” give people with busy lives and resources (the WS
    customer) credit as a fellow human to be worthy of inspiration and
    capacity to make changes that connect them more closely to the values
    and practices of the handmade ethos. give them support and encouragement instead of tearing them down. share information and knowledge in a positive way (rather than a nasty anonymous comment on the internet) …teach classes, start a blog, and reach out to the outliers of this movement, the least likely to participate.

    whether you get fresh eggs from your backyard chicken for free, or pay $7 for a dozen of local, pastured eggs at whole foods. if you are a crabby human, you are still a crabby human.

  • I agree with both points of view: WS is not the solution (have you seen the prices! The coop+run is $1050 without shipping), but that doesn’t mean buying a coop or whatever is bad. You can get one made much cheaper for you by a local handyman, I’m sure. 
    As for education, here’s my article on how to avoid buying their $70 kombucha kit: a roughly $55 saving http://www.realfermenting.com/2012/06/kombucha.html