Long Table Grocery – Exploring Our Roots

By Amy Quarry, Owner –

I have always been fascinated by history and stories from the past. When we started Long Table Grocery, I spent a bit of time looking into our own family history of entrepreneurship. The scale we have on the table in our shop is from our great-grandmother Anne Stella’s grocery store in Chicago, which she owned with her father Frank Stella in 1907 when she was just 17. Frank Stella was an Italian immigrant who also owned a milk delivery business. Anne managed her grocery store until the late 20s when, as the family legend goes, she refused to pay protection to the Mob after her father died, eventually standing up to Al Capone himself in her shop with my grandfather watching from the back. She left everything behind and moved to California on her own with two small children. There she opened a deli in Oakland and ran it successfully through the Depression without going bankrupt. This deli happened to be next door to our other great-grandmother’s bakery, which led to the meeting of our paternal grandparents.

One set of great-grandparents went on to buy a ranch and develop one of the commercial trout farms in California, and our maternal great-grandfather also owned a famous butcher shop called Butcher Boy in Laguna Beach for many years. One of our great-grandmothers paid her way through school by baking cupcakes and bread and taking them to a neighbouring campground to sell during the summers. As well, both my parents have been entrepreneurial throughout their lives, setting an example for us of what is possible through small business.

Photo: Anne Maria Stella (left) stands in front the grocery store she co-owned with her father Frank Stella in Chicago 1907-1917. Photo submitted by Amy Quarry.

I find this history and the many stories I have heard of Cariboo pioneers, farmers, and entrepreneurs full of inspiring examples of the grit, ingenuity, creativity, and commitment that entrepreneurship demands. Though the times were different, the belief is the same—building a business can be a path forward to prosperity for our families and for our communities, and using our gifts and talents to contribute what we can to our local economies is the right thing to do to. It is this same belief that inspires the farmers we purchase from and that inspires the entrepreneurs who produce coffee and jam and bread, and that inspires our business.

At Long Table our motto is “Growing Community Through Food” and we strive to do this in all of our business activities, honouring the efforts of the agricultural and business pioneers and advocates who have worked tirelessly for many years in the field of local food, while also dreaming of new paths forward into a future that fully lives out the permaculture ethics of “Earth Care, People Care, and Fair Share”. We look forward to sharing a bit of the behind-the-scenes in our business with you over the coming issues of The Green Gazette, and we wish you a bountiful harvest season full of long tables laden with good food, surrounded by laughter and love.

Amy Quarry is an entrepreneur, community-builder, maker, graphic designer, and localist. She loves her small town and strongly believes in the resilience of a community built together.

Long Table Grocery is a locally owned, independent food hub that provides good food sustainably sourced and rooted in the Cariboo region of BC. As well as bi-weekly subscription Harvest Boxes, it operates a fresh food grocery and no-waste cafe and hosts cooking workshops and community-based food events throughout the year. It is our goal that shopping at Long Table Local is easy, convenient, and a meaningful way to make your purchasing dollars count towards building a more food-secure community for all of us. We currently work with over 40 North Cariboo farmers and food producers, growing community through food. Visit us at 141 Marsh Drive, Quesnel, BC or Follow us on Facebook at Long Table Grocery.


Turkey Pumpkin Chili, From the Long Table Grocery Kitchen

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp coconut oil
20g onion, chopped
20g garlic, minced
2 chard stems, chopped
2 Tbsp cumin
200g navy beans, soaked and cooked
578g ground turkey, cooked
1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree
500 ml chicken stock
2 bay leaves
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
55g jalapeno pepper, minced
1 tsp oregano
180g button mushrooms
300g zucchini, medium diced
grated parmesan, for garnish

Method:

  • Sautee onion, garlic, and chard stems in coconut oil until tender.
  • Add cumin and sauté another two minutes.
  • Place this mixture in a crock pot and add navy beans, ground turkey, pumpkin, chicken stock, bay leaves, chili powder, salt, pepper, jalapeno, and oregano.
  • Cook on high for two hours.
  • Add mushrooms and zucchini and cook for two more hours
    on high.
  • Garnish with grated parmesan and serve.

Recipe by Jessica Golden, Registered Holistic Nutritionist

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