Robin McConaughy’s 10 Favorite Things
From prepping Thanksgiving dinner to vacationing in Maine, co-owner of Brick Farm Market, Robin McConaughy reveals the 10 things she can’t live without
By Sarah Emily Gilbert
One look at Robin McConaughy’s list of 10 favorite things reveals a lot about the co-owner of Hopewell’s Brick Farm Market. It tells of her love for the outdoors, great food, family, and her hometown area. It also shows that most of McConaughy’s favorite things make up the foundation of her family businesses, Double Brook Farm, Brick Farm Market, and Brick Farm Tavern. In fact, McConaughy and her husband Jon have been channeling their passions for fresh food and environmentally friendly practices into their work since 2000. As a result, the McConaughys have provided the greater Princeton area with a flourishing chain of businesses that feature local food and vendors. Below, McConaughy explains to Princeton Magazine why her 10 favorite things drive who she is and what she does.
1. Family: I have a huge extended family. First and foremost, my husband, Jon, keeps me grounded and even lets me beat him at tennis. He takes care of macro items and I go micro, whether it be with our businesses, kids or household. My two sons, Finn and Drew, could not be more different yet they are both a source of energy and perspective. They expect the best from people and are almost always optimistic: good things to bring to every day. And my large, multi-generational family of aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews and other various blends numbers up to about 80+. Amazingly, we are all quite close.
2. People who are passionate about food: I love eating food, cooking food, reading about food, shopping for food, planning to serve food to family and friends and hunting for rare food items. You might say I have an obsession. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because it’s my day. Spending all day in the kitchen hovering over the stove and preparing to ‘flip the bird’ is relaxing and therapeutic to me. And the anticipation of being with my family and sharing a meal brings a smile to my face. So those who love food and appreciate the possibilities that food brings to create community, well, they’re my kind of people!
3. Vacationing in Maine: My family spends time in Maine every summer. When I was in elementary school we would leave for Maine in June and come back to NJ in early September. It is a magical place and I feel renewed from the salt water, the conversations with all the generations in my extended brood, the bonfires, BBQs, tennis matches, family Olympics, poker, fishing trips, singing, and camping trips (well, maybe not the camping trips…). There is a lot of history in our neck of the Maine woods as our family has been going there since the 40s. And where else can you dine in a restaurant that also sells paint and antiques?
4. My Princeton peeps: I grew up in this area and have loved moving back and reconnecting with friends and acquaintances I knew from high school, their spouses, children and parents. And there are so many interesting, smart people that I have met through my children’s’ schools, non-profits, and our businesses. It was a soft landing after living in Philadelphia and New York, and I cherish these relationships.
5. Home: Our house in Hopewell is a sanctuary for my family and me. I have always been a homebody and enjoy being able to invite people in, but also being able to shut the door to the world outside. I feel I can always hit the ‘reset’ button at home.
6. Hiking: Getting out into the fresh air and climbing up an incline is another form of therapy for me. Whether it’s here, in Maine, California or in a foreign land, I always feel as though I’m living life to the fullest when I’ve got my pack and boots on. And hiking is always better with good company: my hubby, my sons, good friends or the dogs.
7. Humor: This is really a cornerstone of life. Making people laugh is an art form. I like to be surrounded by these particular ‘artists’.
8. The Weather Channel: I am a weather nerd. My husband will tell you that when a snowstorm is approaching, it’s TWC 24/7. There is something so decadent about watching those TWC anchors talking about ‘whiteout conditions’ and ’emergency vehicles only’, while getting blown around in the driving, freezing pre-dawn snow, with the wind rippling their L.L.Bean parkas…as I sip coffee and make the kids crepes because school is cancelled.
9. Hopewell: My adopted town since moving here in 2007. It is a blend of town and country. I reckon that most of my neighbors know how to drive a tractor and a skid steer, but still appreciate the difference between turmeric and ginger in their fresh-pressed juice. From the Hopewell Elementary School to the Hopewell Library to the St. Michaels preserve, the people of this town are involved and committed to making it a great place to live.
10. Pond hockey, sledding, and cross country skiing on a snow day: I know it’s currently summer, but this past year was a fantastic one for snow days. As hockey is a big part of my family, the shovels would come out and the cleaning of the ice would begin as soon as a vehicle could get to the pond. We had some epic games! And the sledding and cross-country skiing was sensational. All those places that were walking paths, lakes and golf courses get repurposed in the cold and snow – and people come together just for the sheer pleasure of playing around on something that won’t last.