Driving into Eatonville on the 4th of July, my first impression was: what a quaint little All-American town.
Hundreds of people lined both sides of the main street where the Eatonville Parade was to be held. Some people sat on the curb; others were in chairs or sat on the hill in the grass overlooking the street. It reminded me of my childhood days when times were much less stressful and families flocked outdoors for special events.
Although I came to see the parade, I had another agenda. I had wanted to visit the Mountain Community Cooperative for some time but had never gotten around to it. Now was my opportunity.
But first, after the parade it was off to the Eatonville Bakery for an Italian Soda (my favorite being kiwi/lime) and a pastry (which was delicious), then across the street to the cooperative.
One of the volunteers, Sandra Wood, sat on a bench in the shade at the front of the store with her best friend Mick. They were cooling off with the aid of a garden hose, Mick finding it great fun to jump into the water.
I was pleased to find the cooperative open on the 4th of July. Margaret Franich, its founder and a woman referred to by a resident as “the energizer bunny of Eatonville,” was on the premises and was glad to give a tour of the cooperative to this “Newbie.”
Aside from the usual things one would expect to find on the shelves of a food cooperative such as organic spices, flours, snacks, etc., several items really captured my interest:
What’s New at the Co-op?
Earth Café Desserts, in the freezer section, featured a Vegan Raspberry Cheesecake. One slice sells for $6.50, and I questioned whether such an expensive slice of cheesecake could sell. Margaret reported that the company supplied “samples” and when people tasted how delicious this product was, it sold quite well.
Middle Eastern “Fair Trade” items included two olive oils produced from the fruits of ancient trees in Palestine. Both Rumi Tree olive oil, a strong tasting oil, and Mabli Tree olive oil, a sweeter tasting oil, were featured.
What’s really special is the fact that stories about the people who craft these products are included in the display, adding a very personal flavor.
Further, this product line is serviced and supplied by a local representative who goes to the Middle East frequently, and not by a big multi-national corporation.
In a corner, Lone Pine Books occupied a display tree of its own. This Washington-based company publishes a range of beautiful books about the flora of the state – from guide books for edibles in the wild to flower identification – all with water-resistant covers, which will be handy in the field.
Margaret stated: “I’m really pleased with how Lone Pine Books has worked out. We sold $450 worth in the first month. It is an excellent use of space in the store.”
For further information about Lone Pine Books, you can call 1-800-518-3541.
Local honey is available from John Timmons, a highly respected local producer of honey who lives in Graham, while a very local product called Dancing Bee Honey, comes from Alder.
After speaking to Margaret and a new volunteer for the summer, Beth, who is a schoolteacher in her other life, I re-affirmed my previous opinion that it would be worthwhile to become involved with the Mountain Community Cooperative.
I think I’ll volunteer as “official taster of free samples.”
© 2011 Paula Morris
Eatonville’s Mountain Community Cooperative
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