Lifting the Fork: Meet youngest vendor at Farmers' Market
Have you met the youngest vendor at the Lake Oswego Farmers' Market?
Let me introduce you to Mac Shaw Ryan. Though he is only 11, he's been training for this position his entire life.
Mac is the friendly face at Mac's Coffee booth at the farmer's market, serving up the same great tasting Illy coffee sold at his parents' company, Chuck's Place, the coffee shop/breakfast/lunch place where friends and family gather to get a great start to the day. He has obviously paid close attention to the customer service skills of his parents, Chuck and Lisa Shaw Ryan, and brother Jackson.
He greets customers with the same relaxed and genuine friendliness we've grown accustomed to at Chuck's Place over the past 20 years, and at Chuckie Pies since 2013.
"He's been hearing us talk about the business at the dinner table all his life," said Lisa. Whether you are enjoying a cup of coffee or an authentic Neapolitan pizza from Chuckie Pies, the family treats the experience as if you were dining at their home. "We put our heart out on a plate, and demonstrate that love with a sense of fun and consistency," said Lisa. She says she never wants choices to be complicated, just "tried and true with a few surprises thrown in."
While Mac has been indoctrinated in Shaw Ryan hospitality since birth, brother Jackson had almost as early a start. He was just two days old when he first came to the farmers' market.
"He was born just two days before the first market we served coffee," said Lisa. "We didn't want to let Kathy (Kerns Schilling, the farmers' market organizer at the time) down. The baby was a good draw for business, people were so excited to see him. Jennifer of Baird's Peach Orchards had a baby that summer, too."
That was 18 years ago; Jackson graduated from Lake Oswego High this year and heads to University of Oregon next fall. He plans to study business and continue in the food industry.
"It's been a great learning environment," said Jackson. "When things come up you can see how you might handle them differently next time."
Mac says he has already learned a ton, and is enjoying meeting the other vendors as well as the shoppers each week.
He is a natural at conversation and good-natured banter.
"They both have their dad's sense of humor," Lisa said.
Mac's Coffee is located by the steps on the south side of Millennium Plaza Park. Mac's typical shift runs from market open at 8:30 a.m. until about 11 a.m. Stop by, buy a cup of coffee and say hello.
Chuck noticed that many of produce stands at the market are selling rhubarb right now, but he doubted people knew what to do with it.
Rhubarb stalks, called petioles, are tart when eaten raw, but when cooked mellow out somewhat. For that reason many recipes pair rhubarb with strawberries.
This recipe for Grilled Rhubarb Brown Betty can be made on your barbecue grill, so you don't have to heat up the house by baking in the oven. You can prepare this dessert when out camping or picnicking, too.
And it will go perfectly with a cup of coffee from Mac's Coffee.
Bon Appetit! Make eating an adventure!
Grilled Rhubarb Brown Betty
A brown betty is a traditional American dessert made from fruit and sweetened crumbs. Similar to a cobbler or apple crisp, the fruit is baked, and, in this case, the sweetened crumbs are placed in layers between the fruit. It is usually served with lemon sauce or whipped cream. I suggest serving this with a scoop of vanilla or strawberry ice cream.
1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)*
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
2/3 cup plus ¼ cup granulated sugar
1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch of ground cloves
5 stalks rhubarb, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 4 cups)
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
½ cup roughly chopped almonds with skins
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, plus more for the skillet
Preheat a grill to medium low. Whisk panko, brown sugar, ¼ cup granulated sugar, cinnamon, allspice, ginger and cloves in a medium bowl until combined. In another bowl toss the rhubarb with the remaining 2/3 cup granulated sugar and the lemon juice to coat.
Butter a shallow 8-inch ovenproof skillet or flameproof baking dish. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of the breadcrumb mixture in the bottom of the skillet. Top with rhubarb, then sprinkle with the remaining crumbs and the almonds. Dot with the cut-up butter.
Put the skillet on the center of the grill; close the lid or place a disposable roasting pan over the skillet. Grill until the filling is bubbly and the topping is golden brown and crisp, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool slightly; about 10 minutes. Serve warm, topped with ice cream.
*Cook's note: You can use oatmeal if you wish instead of panko.
Recipe courtesy of the FoodNetwork.com.
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