After producing a children's educational video about local produce and healthy eating called Earth to Table, ChefShop founders Tim Mar and Mauny Kaseberg capitalized on their passion for locally sourced fare in 1998 with an extensive online database of artisan farmers and food experts. Today, ChefShop connects shoppers with top-shelf ingredients and produce, from free-range turkeys to fruit from central Washington or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese from Italy. Before stocking them on their virtual shelves, the ChefShop team ensures each item is raised and developed using time-honored techniques and is run through a gauntlet of quality-assurance taste tests, meetings with farmers, and food fights with the preeminent experts in food fights: middle-school rebels.
Clients peruse the ever-updated inventory for goodies such as sustainable line-caught seafood, decades-aged balsamic vinegar, or rare Sardinian bottarga, filling their kitchen repertoire with handy recipes along with the top-shelf ingredients. Aspiring cooks master a range of cooking styles under professional chefs in ChefShop's cooking classes, ranging from the creation of rich Italian pastas to fashioning delectable small plates and tapas.
Founded in the Netherlands in 1999, Oil & Vinegar offers customers the chance to experience exciting new tastes. At the Spokane location, recently brought under new management and now veteran-owned, visitors choose from more than 40 “on tap” vinegar and olive-oil flavors that glow from within their suspended glass containers. The staff makes transporting purchases convenient by selling bottles onsite or filling bottles brought from home.
Condiments come in creative flavors, such as blood-orange grapeseed oil and hibiscus vinegar, and include standouts from Italy, Spain, Greece, France, South Africa, Morocco, USA, and even Japan. The list is almost as impressive as the number of Oil & Vinegar stores (more than 90) peppered across 13 countries. Guests can sample the oils and vinegars before committing, and stock their cupboards with the shop’s other offerings—appetizers, herbs and spices, pasta, and even serving dishes.
Perry and Penny grew up together near Prosser, Washington in the 1970s, and were close friends throughout elementary school. More than 20 years later, the two rekindled their friendship but it wasn't all smooth sailing from the start. That year, Penny started making fortified blackberry wine, which Perry described as, "indescribably undrinkable." More than a little annoyed by this harsh judgment, Penny challenged Perry to do better. The result of this winemaking challenge was four cases of merlot that won a second-place ribbon among the amateur entrants at the Puyallup Fair. Stina's Cellars grew from this initial success, and over time production grew and grew, until finally the team was able to move into a small facility and officially open the winery for business in 2006.
At the winery, Perry and Penny—joined by helpful family and friends—make small batches of wine using grapes grown throughout eastern and western Washington. The type of wines they make changes frequently, but past bottles have included a dark and fruity syrah balanced by its bold tannic structure as well as an amber-hued roussane with hints of poached peaches and a pronounced nuttiness reminiscent of sherry. These wines appear on store shelves and restaurant menus throughout the region, but can also be sampled inside Stina's Cellars tasting room. Visitors are encouraged to stop in, try some samples, and attempt to guess which wine bottle contains a wish-granting genie.
When Ken Knight first started Gateway Produce more than 15 years ago, he sold his goods out of a small tent. As demand grew, so did his inventory, which now occupies an expansive indoor space filled with stacks of fresh produce that almost overflow from their displays. Sourced from local farms, merchandise includes fruit such as plums and watermelons, seasonal items, and dairy products. Gateway also has a grocery section that gathers different ethnic foods and everyday edibles such as chicken tenders, energy drinks, and treats for the neighborhood guard lion.
Former bookkeeper Gertrude Popp founded Poppinjay's Cafe more than 20 years ago, eventually recruiting her son and daughter to help oversee the expanding enterprise. Today, chefs at four locations across Bellevue and Kirkland craft creative breakfast and lunch items, mixing pastries from scratch and toasting fresh sandwiches piled with deli meats alongside ample vegetarian fare and healthy smoothies. They also load catering trays with enough snacks, full meals, and desserts to quell the hunger of dozens of revelers or one visiting mastodon.
Poppinjay's Cafe regularly supports its local community by making frequent donations to charities and organizations and hosting monthly meetings for All Women Empowered, an association dedicated to bettering the lives of women and children across the globe.