Whether it’s a rhinestone necklace circa 1950, a bug eating Indian Runner duck, or a basket of rare orange cauliflower, Luther Mayor Jenni White has a penchant for old things. When she isn’t tending to town business, Mayor White lets her passions take root raising a variety of heirloom vegetables, flowers, and herbs that she markets through her company, Whitehouse Herbs. She also designs a line of handmade jewelry via Marshall’s Memories, a venture she created to honor her son who died in utero in 2003. White says making jewelry became a form of therapy for her. It also tapped her innate creativity and appreciation for well-made jewelry.
“I like designing jewelry. I like wearing jewelry,” says a matter of fact White.
Her eclectic necklaces, earrings, and bracelets feature odd pieces of castoff jewelry given to her by friends and family, vintage trinkets she locates online and at second-hand stores, plus other materials including sterling silver, brass, leather, turquoise, and coral. She prefers natural materials to “cheap, shiny stuff,” and insists on creating unique, quality jewelry that is made to last.
“You won’t have to worry about going out somewhere and discovering someone else is wearing the same piece,” White says. “My jewelry is really different.”
The same could be said of her homegrown vegetables. From her quarter-acre garden, White raises eight varieties of peppers, seven to ten types of tomatoes, five varieties of eggplant, plus assorted asparagus, lettuce, broccoli, potatoes, and more.
“People who buy from me know they can get fun, heirloom veggies that you don’t see in grocery stores,” White points out.
She appreciates heirloom plants for their hardiness, and because they tend to remain true to their parent varieties. Committed to gardening without harsh chemicals, she relies on her ducks to cull unwanted garden pests.
From squash bugs to raccoon bandits and red dirt, White admits that gardening in rural Oklahoma can be a challenge, but she takes it all in stride. She’s a diehard gardener, after all. Digging, planting and growing come naturally for her.
“I’ve grown stuff in the dirt since I was 20 years old,” White says. “My grandmother always had a garden. I’ve always had a garden. It’s a legacy for me.”
Stop by the Whitehouse Herbs booth at the Luther Pecan Festival for a selection of dried organic herbs, dehydrated vegetables, and matted photography, as well as beaded and metal jewelry from Marshall’s Memories. Find White’s jewelry online at Etsy.com/shop/Marshall’sMemories or check out Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter or Instagram. Find Whitehouse Herbs on Instagram and Facebook.