Women’s History & Galifon

Courtesy Boingboing.net

March is a month to appreciate and celebrate our women

Califon, NJ, is an interesting little town– not just for its storied town name history and connection to It’s a Wonderful Life, but one of its nicknames is “Galifon.” 


The Etymology

“It’s funny that in a small town off the beaten path, there is a little cluster of women-owned businesses and female leadership,” Chef Becky says. She is referring to downtown Califon, where there is Bex, The Acropolis spa building run by Jen Cusmano, Carol at the consignment store, Lindsey at Shannon’s Fly Shop, Sioban at the keto bakery (in the former bookstore building), Emily at the florist, and Drew’s daughters who work at the hardware store. “It’s a town of female entrepreneurs” the Chef notes. And there’s its history to it, as well, as we’ve written about. 


And the List Goes On 

And the list goes on! Bex is pleased to have incorporated Peace by Kate into its offerings, as well as yoga offerings by Lauren Theis, poetry readings curated by Julie Goetz, and the artists at The Gallery at Bex have all been, so far, female. 


A Chef’s Experience Diana Kennedy Food Writer and Chef Becky Geisel

“It’s an uphill battle, sometimes, being a female small business owner,” Chef Becky reveals. “But it’s also empowering to have started this business in a home kitchen and to see it grow and take root and go through ups and downs.” Chef Becky has hired all kinds of people over the years, including female teens who are often getting their first job experience. “Kitchens can be male-dominated, so I offer a chance for people to work for a female chef. It’s just a different dynamic.”


A Storied History

It was the 726-page (!) tome Mastering the Art of French Cooking that led to one of its three authors, Julia Child, getting her cooking show, one of the earliest cooking shows on TV. “One of my mentors was Diana Kennedy,” Chef Becky explains. “I grew up in the food industry – specifically dairy products, milk, ice cream – but Diana helped me refine my cooking and rethink how I ran a kitchen.” 

We thank women this March in celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8, 2024  – and all year long!