Who’s Cooking

Josh Ratza

Kraut Pleasers, Setsunai Noodle Bar

I’ve been a potter for over ten years, and it was my love of making beautiful, practical things that led me to making clay weights for fermenting in jars. I was looking for a niche in the clay world and making weights and fermenting crocks, led me to learning more about sauerkraut-making.

The more kimchi, curtido, and dill kraut I made, the better I got at it, and it turns out, other people loved my fermented goods as well.

My small-batch kraut sells out at local markets, and I’m struggling to meet the demand. The hang-up is that there isn’t commercial kitchen space available for me to make this leap and building my own is just not feasible. That’s why I’m part of the group making Lopez Community Kitchen happen. Sharing space and resources makes sense when you’re a small local business. The Taproot Kitchen can be a place were we all grow together, building up our collective knowledge about business, distribution, packaging, and just sharing ideas about food!”

Visit his website at: Kraut Pleasers

Jim Birkemeier

The commercial food dehydrator that Jim bought and donated to Taproot A Lopez Kitchen can hold up to 80 pounds of fresh fruit! These dried fruits are wonderful ingredients for many others’ products, including desserts and snack mixes. Plums, berries, apples, pears…. the list goes on and on.  You too could get abundant dried fruit from Lopez Island if only we get our Taproot shared-use commercial kitchen going!




Jean Perry & Wendy Westervelt

Vortex Juice Bar

With decades of growing, harvesting, preserving, preparing, serving, and selling food between us, we now have turned our attention to providing fresh, sustaining, ready to eat foods that directly reflect our island food culture. We are making salads, wraps, sandwiches, dressings, sauces, and spreads that make use of the beautiful produce grown on Lopez Island, and that also incorporate Lopez made products like Barn Owl Bakery bread, Chicaoji sauce, and World Curries spices. We hope to feed people in an uncommonly nourishing and satisfying way that both reinforces their connection to the island and supports the livelihoods of our island food producers.

Our business embraces the idea that local foods are an honest investment in our island and economy. Promoting locally grown foods also represents an investment in the small farms and farmers that produce food with a minimal use of fossil fuels, and with respect for, and conservation of our irreplaceable topsoil and water. We celebrate the idea of eating seasonally, and of making good use of what grows well here. We want to offer foods that are beautiful, clean, vital, and delicious.

We are currently preparing our line in the Vortex kitchen, which is notably small and is also dedicated to running a restaurant. A shared commercial kitchen will allow us the space to expand our offerings and meet summer demand, and also to consider requests for our food from other vendors and on other islands.

We look forward to having the space to produce our goods efficiently, and we also relish the idea of entering into a shared kitchen community. There is much to be gained by mutual support, and much to be learned from a cooperative endeavor like Taproot.

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