“Still worth a king’s ransom.” So sang the workhouse boys in the Broadway musical “Oliver!” while dreaming and fantasizing about food as they trudged to collect their gruel. Lyrics were written by Lionel Bart for which he won the Tony Award for “Best Original Score” in 1963. The 1968 film version won six Academy Awards including “Best Picture.” The play and movie are based on Charles Dickens’ second novel “Oliver Twist.”
Fortunately for 130 Methow Valley families, The Cove prepared and delivered holiday food baskets on Saturday (Dec. 17) through its annual Neighbors Helping Neighbors program. From lower valley to the tip top of upper valley at the very end of Lost River Road, volunteers cheerily presented grateful recipients with two containers of food, glorious food.
There is a new kid in town for food service in Mazama. Methow Fresh is the brain child of three friends familiar with the food industry in the Methow Valley and the challenges that come with the business. Shane and Gordon are the chefs for newly minted Methow Fresh, both with years of experience — including cheffing (yes, chef can be a verb!) in the professional kitchen at Sun Mountain Lodge. The third partner is Court, who handles logistics and business operations.
Court described how the “germ” of the idea began with one of the chefs making a random comment, a throwaway idea, about an online food order service with delivery and pickup provided. Court exclaimed, “We could do that!”
The trio recognize how hard it is to “do food” in Mazama. Staffing issues are at the top of the list and were exacerbated by the pandemic when many food service workers were out of work and have chosen not to return to the industry. The other major difficulty is the unpredictability of the number of patrons who will go out for a “bite to eat” on any particular day. One day may be super slow and staff are sent home and another day may be busting at the seams and not enough staff to cover. One might say, “It’s a crap shoot!”
The business model for Methow Fresh is one that the team believes will be sustainable in Mazama. Court adds that the key to sustainability is efficiency. This is how it works: A potential customer peruses the mouthwatering online menu (utilizing local products whenever possible), which includes such items as sushi rolls, broccoli quinoa salad, and eggplant parmesan. Overnight French toast is an option for a breakfast bake.
Place an order before 2 p.m. for Mazama and 1 p.m. for Winthrop. Choose delivery or pickup in either Mazama or Winthrop, each with a modest fee. The items are “take and bake” style, created in a commercial kitchen and delivered refrigerated for you to cook in your own oven at your chosen meal time.
Methow Fresh is also implementing a temporary staffing service for other local restaurants who have staffing issues that hurt their business (and sanity); e.g., sick callouts, no call/no show, unexpectedly slammed, chronic understaffing. See methowfresh.com for details.
The Inn at Mazama is hosting a launch event for Methow Fresh on Thursday (Dec. 22) from 5-7 p.m. in the Fireplace Room. This is a perfect opportunity to meet Shane, Gordon and Court and taste their food creations. They will be able to answer any questions about their new venture. Currently, fresh food delivery is available seven days a week.
Speaking of delivery, cheery Mazama Mailman Marcus has been covering his route in a reindeer “sleigh” and a full Santa garb. Merry Christmas to all!