Tag Archives: Medford Food Coop

For Dee: A Very Special Teacher

2 Jul

About two weeks ago my husband, Emile, and I attended the SOREDI 25th Anniversary Annual Dinner.  At the dinner, some people were recognized for helping SOREDI get its start, while others were honored for creating businesses that have prospered in southern Oregon.

Emile is the General Manager of the Medford Coop and since 2012 was declared the International Year of Cooperatives by the United Nations,  one of the groups that was honored that night were the representatives of the cooperatives in the Rogue Valley.  Those four coops are: The Ashland Food Coop, The Medford Food Coop, The Grange Coop, and the Rogue Federal Credit Union.

All of the coop representatives sat at one table and it was quite a nice group.  I sat next to Barry Robino,  the CEO of the Grange Coop.  It seems that Emile had told Barry about my pie adventure and he asked me about it.  When I told him that most of my children’s teachers had received pies, Barry mentioned that his wife, Dee, was a kindergarten teacher.  And then he told me a story.

First some background:  Every year, Barry’s wife, Dee, creates a book for each and every one of her students.  This book is for the children to keep and it is all about them.  That is an amazing feat when you consider that Dee has two kindergarten classes and upwards of 42 students to do this for!

Now for the story: It happened that one night, one of Dee’s students was getting ready for bed and while most of the time his Mom was the one who read to him, on this particular night, his Dad was the one reading to him. The young boy had selected the book Dee had created and his Dad began to read it to him.  At one point in the book the Dad noticed that his son was crying and he stopped reading and asked him what was wrong.  The son replied, “Oh it’s okay Dad.  I always cry at this part of the story.”

I thought, “What a wonderful thing Dee has done!  She created a book that really touched this child… what a gift.  He will treasure that book and remember it forever.”  And since I have been thinking about that story for the last few weeks, I finally realized that I needed to make a pie for Dee… to thank her for her love and commitment to her students and for going the extra mile to make their kindergarten experience so special.  I only wish that all children could have such a wonderful start to their educational career.

raspberry Rhubarb Pie

Teaching is leaving a vestige of one self in the development of another.  And surely the student is a bank where you can deposit your most precious treasures.  ~Eugene P. Bertin


Day 294: International Year of Cooperatives

25 Jan

 International Year of Cooperatives is intended to raise public awareness of the invaluable contributions of cooperative enterprises to poverty reduction, employment generation and social integration. The Year will also highlight the strengths of the cooperative business model as an alternative means of doing business and furthering socioeconomic development. From Argentina to Zambia, the 1.4 million co-operatives across the globe will be celebrating and showing how they build a better world. (from the UN website

On October 31 of last year, the United Nations General Assembly launched the International Year of Cooperatives.  Cooperatives are businesses that are owned and managed by their members.  In southern Oregon, there are several cooperatives that you might have noticed: Rogue Federal Credit Union (RFCU), the Grange Coop, Ashland Food Coop, and the Medford Food Coop.  Recently, Bill Meyer of KMED, interviewed managers of those coops on RFCU’s Living Local Blog (hosted by Gene Pelham).  You can link to that interview here.   Two things that I learned from that interview are that those four cooperatives provide jobs for more than 600 people in southern Oregon and they have combined gross sales of $113 million.

Tonight my husband, who manages the Medford Food Coop, was at a coop meeting. I thought I would surprise him and his team with dessert. Shortly after their meeting began, I walked in with a Chocolate Pecan Pie (still warm from the oven) to help them keep up their strength for the tasks at hand.

As I drove home, the aroma of that pie was still present and smelled so delicious, it’s a wonder I was able to give it away at all!

Day 267: Richard

29 Dec

For the past year and a half my husband, Emile, has been working for the Medford Food Coop. This coop opened in August after a long process and it seems to be gaining ground each day. There is an amazing group of people working to make sure that this venture succeeds and we are so very happy that they we have them on our team.

In addition to the great management team, Emile and I are both thankful for the encouragement and support from the Ashland Food Coop, and especially from the manager of the Ashland Coop, Richard Katz. Richard has been a friend and mentor for years but in this last year he has been an incredible source of support. He has shared his expertise and willingly offered his time whenever needed. That support has been invaluable to Emile and his team in Medford.

Today a young lady, Laurel, began interviewing me about this “pie project.” She filmed me as I made my pie and asked questions about various aspects of the whole process. I told Laurel that I wanted to give today’s pie to Richard and she agreed to meet me at the Ashland coop to film the delivery of the pie. And with all that going on I forgot to take a picture of today’s pie! It was a lovely Apple Crumb Crust pie… and I am embarrassed that I forgot to capture a photo of it.

But on the up side, it was fun to have someone film the “delivery” of a pie, for that has not been done before. And to see Richard’s smile when he saw the pie was great… the icing on the cake as it were. The gift of a pie is a small gesture but I hope he knows how much his support has meant and how grateful we are for his continued friendship.

Day 213: Amey

5 Nov

When I am preparing a pie for someone I try to consider what their dietary restrictions might be. Sometimes I know that a person is gluten-intolerant or that they are a vegetarian. This information helps to guide my choice of pie (or quiche) and I do my best to meet or exceed their needs.

Occasionally a person’s needs challenge me to create something that I have not made before. Such was the case today when I needed to make a pie that was both gluten and sugar free. It took a little bit of thought but this is how I went about it. First I needed to make a crust without flour… and so I chose to grind up almonds and add a bit of butter and pressed that into my tart pan.

Next, I added a mixture of cream cheese, egg, and apple juice concentrate to the crust.

Finally, I arranged sliced apples on top of the cream cheese mixture. The apples had been tossed in a syrup made from apple juice concentrate and cornstarch.

The tart baked for about 45 minutes and when it was done it had a lovely golden brown tint on the apples. It looked and smelled quite nice… if I do say so myself.

Today’s pie was made for Amey, one of the department managers at the new Medford Food Coop. Amey was one of the first managers hired, and she has been an incredible asset to the Coop. I know I speak for everyone involved when I say that we are very lucky to have her on our team.

Day 179: Preston

2 Oct

My husband met Preston Mitchell last winter when he volunteered to be the photographer for the Medford Food Coop and I met him at the grand opening celebration for the coop in August. Earlier this week, my husband had lunch with Preston and when he came home he suggested that I make a pie for him.

This afternoon we made an appointment to meet Preston in Medford. We enjoyed an exhibition of his photographs on display at the Rogue Valley Manor. One photo showed a very young Preston with his family having a picnic on the side of the road with their vintage 1916 car parked nearby. There were also photos of his daughters, kittens, and the Yosemite half dome.

In addition to being an accomplished photographer, Preston is a very active man. He plays in several bands in the valley ( he plays tuba, flute, recorder and bass), is an avid swimmer, and until a few years ago he could be found hiking the trails of southern Oregon. Preston is a wonderful example of a person with “joie de vivre.”

This afternoon as I was preparing to make a pie for Preston I considered the beautiful figs that I bought at the Ashland Food Coop and the gorgeous apples in the bowl on my table. Having never made a fig-apple pie I googled a recipe and found this one. I made few changes to the recipe. Here is what I started with:

About an hour later, this is the pie that I pulled from the oven:

After our tour, Preston walked us to our car where I presented him with his pie and explained my project. When I told him that his pie was made with apples, figs and walnuts his blue eyes lit up and he exclaimed how much he loves fresh figs. And though it might have been just a lucky coincidence to have made a pie with his favorite ingredients… I believe that there’s more to it than that. And it’s one of the best things about this pie journey… those moments when everything seems to come together perfectly.

Day 127: Steve and Kay

11 Aug

This week has been a momentous week for the Meford Food Co-op. There was a “soft” opening for co-op members only earlier in the week and the grand opening is scheduled for this Saturday.

So many details had to be dealt with before this opening could occur and we are very lucky that Steve was a part of the team. We are all familiar with the saying “It takes a village to raise a child.” Well, before the Medford Food Co-op could open, a lot of work needed to be done. And Steve was one of those people who helped transform the lovely space that was created into the store that it has become.

I am so grateful that Steve (and his wife Kay) became a part of the team that made the dream of the Medford Food Co-op into a reality. What it took was many long hours of hard work. How do you thank someone for that? Surely a salary alone cannot adequately express our gratitude.

Tonight, Steve stopped at our house on his way home. I don’t know if he knew that I had a pie waiting for him but when he saw it he said, “You didn’t have to do that.” And while that is true, I hope he knows that it is just a small attempt to express our sincerest thanks for his (and Kay’s) dedication to this wonderful project.

Some Days are Harder than Others

17 Apr

It seems as if I have been going all day.  There was so much to do today… My first (self-imposed) task was to make a delicious treat for the volunteers who were working on the grounds at the soon-to-be open Medford Food Co-op.  I was unable to participate in the cleanup day but I wanted to share my gratitude to the folks that are working to make this dream a reality.   Fortunately, I was able to connect with someone who was able to take my offerings to the work party.  (Thank you Amy!!!)

My next priority was to make a treat for the Rotary Garden volunteers.  At first I thought that I would have time to work in the garden, but soon it became clear that I would not have time to go there today…. my dance card was overflowing.  I called around and found that Tim was able to pick up the bagels I made for the gardeners.   I hope that he conveyed my sincere desire to be there among them!

Later in the day, I spent time with friends helping another family during a most difficult time.  I brought sweets (that is my favorite thing to make) and it seems that they were appreciated.   We visited and shared a few laughs as well as many tears.   It seems that this is what loved ones do.  We help each other through life’s challenges.

And just so you know, I also made a pie today.  It was a simple gesture of reconciliation.  Fresh fruit, lovely pastry, butter and brown sugar.  What could be more wonderful?

I hope that you all had a lovely day and I look forward to sharing a delicious pie with you tomorrow.

Hugs, and many thanks for joining me on this journey,