Summertime is BriarPatch Deli time

by Richard Drace, Board President

Although I began shopping @ the Patch way back at the Washington Street store, I used to think of our co-op as just a special place to buy healthier groceries. Then one summer, while visiting Ashland, we happened into their co-op in search of picnic comestibles. There we came face-to-face with that phenomenon I later learned to call “grab-n-go.” We grabbed and we go’ed – yummy take-out for our picnic in Lithia Park before the theatre matinee.

Some years later, on one of my first visits to our new Sierra College Drive store, I noticed how similar our Deli is to Ashland’s (yes, there’s even a co-op consultant to help with store design). Now, not only is grab-n-go a frequent part of my BriarPatch shopping, but also all things Deli – hot bar, cold case, short order, and – yes, I admit – probably an excess number of croissants.

We get a lot of compliments about our Deli, so I got curious about just how popular it is. Deli sales account for 20% of our total sales volume, and deli employees comprise 36% of our total staff. It also presents some challenges because of its popularity: Henry, our Deli Manager, commented that he previously managed a deli that produced half the output in twice the space. Imagine our Deli kitchen sort of like the way our parking lot used to be.

Our cover photo this month highlights food as part of outdoor adventures, which prompts me to think of the many ways we value food in addition to good ol’ home cookin’. If my cooking muse is indolent, and I consider pizza, Asian take-out, fast-food (insert yuck-face emoji here), or our deli, guess who wins? If I shop close to dinnertime, there’s a good chance I’ll grab something from the hot bar since my own prospective menu is often less enticing. If it’s lunchtime and good weather, I’m likely to knosh something deli out on the patio.

Yet my favorite is still, like in the cover photo, something grab-n-go down by the river – or up in the mountains – or tucked in the dry bag in the kayak — or along the Tribute Trail — or the Buttermilk Bend trail — or maybe just in my own yard to enjoy while I watch the bees enjoy their own grab-n-go.