Thursday, December 31, 2020

A New Year

 At midnight we begin a new year. What an e ticket ride this year has been BUT even with the trials put before us I have been present to witness a whole lotta Lassen County goodness. 

Fundraising jars on our check stands never fail to shine a light on the generosity of our community. No matter what is happening in their own lives, locals show up. For fire relief, a sick child, Toys for Tots, Humane Society, Boy Scouts, planting forests...whatever the need, you are there. 

This year a woman came in after seeing jars for  child in need of a kidney, not solely to donate money, she wanted to know if she was a match to donate her kidney. That's a beautiful thing. 

Today a customer came in and wandered the aisles twice looking for someone in need to secretly pay for their groceries, paying it forward because their life had been good this year. 

And they always want to remain anonymous. I love that. I know we could all tell a story about of human kindness occurring this very year in our little Ville. Because that is how you roll. This town is, at it's very heart, the best. Locals seem to understand that Love is an action word. 

We wish you all a Happy New Year. Thank you for all you do to make us so very Hometown Proud. 

*photo credit Rick Stewart

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Our fearless leaders...

Such a weird year but we have made it to December. Normally December is a big fat blast at the store: our Susanville Super Christmas Party is attended by darn near everyone that works here, delicious food served at the Historic Elks Lodge, gifts, friends, photos and SO many hugs. That same week a dozen or so of our crew dress up and head to the Symphony with me, enjoying the lights along the way and eating a ton of homemade treats during intermission. We miss those and many other special moments this year. 

If I take just a moment and focus on what's good it's not hard to see. Those same folks that celebrate with me every year have worked with us shoulder to shoulder (albeit 6 feet away) as they always do. Even when people on both sides of the check stand were frightened and tensions were high plus items we never expected to run out of were scarce. My people were amazing. They made me Hometown Proud...again. 

Along those lines I would like to take a beat and give a shout out to a few that really led our team through 2020. Rick didn't get to give all his thanks at our Christmas Party. This year I'm doin it! Cuz I wanna, cuz it is so deserved and cuz I can~ AND cuz I wanna tell you about the folks leading the charge.

Jessica Eid Assistant Store Director, your calm demeanor (at least outwardly), willingness to do whatever it takes and "of course" response to every request never ceases to amaze. You're wise beyond your years. Thanks for all you do. Watching you grow up has been a pleasure.

Todd Eid Store Director, I have to defer back to what Rick says about you "you are the best in the business". The years of knowledge you possess cannot be faked and your ability to connect with customer and coworker makes us the Hometown market we are. When the $#@! hits the fan we know Todd will be there. Thanks for all you do.

Jim Griswold Meat Manager, this guy uses a coach approach to manage/mentoring and nobody does it better. His department is run so smoothly we just take for granted that Jim has got this. Family is everything to Jim and he makes us feel like family. Thank for all you do.

John Whitby Produce Manager, the last few years you have really come into your own. Adding all the responsibilities of Fresh Cut and putting a small kitchen in the department didn't phase John. As a matter of fact he shined. His optimist is a gift to us all. Thanks for all you do. 

Kailie Shoemaker Bakery Manager, our newest department head, you have taken that department from classic to fabulous! Breathing fresh life into not just the product offering but the crew. Everyone has a hand in everything now. All this while raising two littles at home. You're a star. Thanks for all you do. 

Hope Browning Deli Manager, so many challenges. You're ability to change on a dime through- high school lunch on/off, power outages, restaurants open/closed, fire lunches- all with a smile and that LAUGH. You bring smiles on the days we really need them. Thanks for all you do. 

Rick Stewart Owner and my partner in crime, we call you the legal department and always know if you don't have the answer to a question you WILL find it. You're a force to be reckoned with and we are so blessed to have you on our side. Pouring over the nearly daily changes to keep our store in compliance and open has been completely on you meanwhile keeping up with all the regular day to day challenges of running a supermarket. Thanks for all you do. 

We try to take the time to thank and appreciate our staff regularly but sometimes the leaders need a lil extra love too. Maybe taking a beat to tell others what they're doing right is the best gift of all. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Veteran's Day

The day Rick qualified for Submarines aboard the Lee with Captain Butler.

The National Parks Service has a Veteran's Day gift to all Veterans and Gold Star families. And it's a good one. A FREE Lifetime pass to all our National Parks, this pass known as the America the Beautiful pass also waives lots of other public land fees. I teared up a little watching the video put out by the Park service, it is indeed a beautiful thing to honor our Vets this way. 

My heartfelt thanks go out to all that have served our Nation, it is a sacrifice that doesn't go unnoticed 
by my family. We love our Vets and our National Parks.
The fam hiking in Lassen National this year.

I married Rick Stewart in 1978 while he was serving in the United States Navy. We moved to Vallejo where he was stationed at Mare Island, then on to Pearl Harbor where our daughter was born. Three days after she was born Rick had to board the USS Robert E Lee and bid us goodbye for 3 months. This is in no way a huge sacrifice in Military terms but I gained an understanding of the service of our Nation coming before all else. Those that serve put our greater good first every. single. day. God bless em. 
Aboard the USS Robert E Lee, Rick and a very pregnant me :)

Today our town will have a parade at 11am. Ever wonder why Veteran's Day is celebrated on 11/11 with most festivities at 11 am? Here is the official word from the VA:

"World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” - officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of the war to end all wars."

Thank you to all those Hometown Heroes that have served. God bless. Thank you to the National Park Service for recognizing them with this gift. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Lassen, Plumas National Forest reforestation!

Rick in PNF

My husband always says "the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, the second best is now", he probably didn't say it first but that's where I heard it so he gets the credit. The Monticola Club is looking to plant a whole LOTTA trees, acres of trees in Plumas and Lassen National Forest. Each acre will only require a $68 donation. Crazy right? Monticola is collecting donations for a local Penny Pines project, here's a brief description of Penny Pines from the USDA website:

" the plan is this. Under a Conservation Agreement, you or your organization contributes $68 toward the cost of planting seedlings on about one acre of National Forest land in California. Using your donation together with Federal funds, the Forest Service will do the planting on the National Forest nearest you or the forest of your choice." 

Hog Flat LNF

Penny Pines was started by a women's sportsman club in 1941, back then $68 bought 10 acres of trees with the seedlings costing about 10¢ each. And I thought $68 was a bargain.  I read on a National Geographic page that cones are taken from each national forest to harvest the seed, good seeds are put in cold storage until an order comes in, they are sown about a year before being moved by a refrigerated truck to the plantation area. The same article had this:
"Placerville Nursery cold storage room is the only Forest Service seed bank in the state and holds 70,000 pounds of seeds representing every national forest in California."

That's right, Placerville! Who knew. 

Our LoCaL Monticola does so much for the community from pool beautification to scholarships, there's even a book documenting their history in Susanville.  We'd like to thank Monticola for all they do!

Susanville Super currently has jars on the check stands if you'd like to be a part of this wonderful reforestation project. 

Monday, September 28, 2020

Bakery Manager Kailie

Please join me in congratulating Kailie on her promotion to Susanville Supermarket Bakery Manager!

Kailie was hired back in 2007 as a deli counter clerk, at 17 she wasn't even old enough to use the slicer. She was an antsy one. Just to keep her busy enough her manager would schedule her for bakery AND deli. One night Kailie saw the donuts being made from scratch and wanted to learn that also. Our cake decorator chose Kailie to train as a back up decorator, as many of you know, Kailie's cakes are incredible! If she sees it in a magazine (they still have those)  or on Pinterest she can do it. 

Lots of changes going on over there;  Dakota, such an artist when it comes to making the Best Donuts on the Planet, is training a back up for himself so he can spend more time baking. Cortney, formerly a sous chef, is now making scones and breads and anything else we need. Hannah is showing her talents in decorating daily, giving Kailie a little more time to focus on all those new items you see on our table plus instead of only baking at night we now are baking FrEsH all day long! 

We are so Hometown Proud to have another long term team member work their way up to management!

Congratulations Kailie! 

Friday, August 7, 2020

Constantia. Mom. Bacon. Trust me it will all make sense.

Photo credit Tim Purdy's Blog

If you follow local historian Tim Purdy you know Lassen County used to move a whole lotta buildings. Homes, churches, barns, businesses have been relocated.. I was surprised to learn in Tim's recent blog that the adorable little chapel in Doyle was moved there in 1904. It had previously been in Constantia since being built in 1898 ish. How the heck do you move an entire building? No idea. BUT I do know that the previous generations really understood reduce, reuse, recycle. Nothing that could be used went to waste. We used to roll our eyes at our parents and grandparents using the cottage cheese container instead of the perfectly matched tupperware that was in the cupboard. Now my husband and I discuss, actually discuss, how we might 
use the empty container. It happens.

I promise you this will all come together in the end.... I can absolutely say, without fear of contradiction, my Mom made the best Potatoes O'brien EVER. I have spent years trying to replicate the perfectly caramelized onions and peppers, the tender yet golden crispness of the potatoes. Mom used cast iron, got the oil hot then would salt and pepper the bottom of the pan (liberally) before adding her ingredients. I did ALL that. So what's the problem? I have even pre baked the potatoes so they just needed to be diced and browned. Still... not as good as Mom's.  Until now. 

Yukons OBrien

One Saturday morning I filled a sheet pan with bacon to cook in the oven, it's a super clean way to cook it. I like to cook a full pan, that way after breakfast the rest goes in the fridge to crumble over salads, make BLTs and such. Then it came to me! That old coffee can that was always on the counter, filled with her personally curated blend of bacon grease. Like I said nothing went to waste.  THIS was the secret. I did a little google search so I could create my own amber deliciousness. I poured the oil from my bacon through a sieve right into a canning jar and popped it in the fridge. Momma would be proud. It has been used to sear everything from eggs to halibut (that halibut was heavenly). A tablespoon of bacon drippings is like a 1/4 cup oil, no idea why, plus it adds a smoky/saltiness that you can't get any other way. I highly recommend ALWAYS having it on hand. Just. Like. Mom. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. NOTHING went to waste!

Oh bacon, how I love thee.
See I told you it would come together :) 

THE SECRET. That wasn't so secret.

Thanks to Tim Purdy for all the Hometown History. Thanks to all those Moms out there for all the good food~

Wednesday, July 1, 2020


I remember like it was yesterday. 20 years ago this adorable girl in her cute little glasses walked into the front office, was interviewed by Rick and hired on the spot. Little did we know. She has brought so much fun and enthusiasm and friendship to our lives. Crohns walks, Cancer walks, Search and Rescue, Bunco, IGA girls dinners, Patti shows up. You can count on her. Plus you never know what she'll do next!

A few of my favorite 'Patti moments' have been posted on our social media:
  • I just walked out of my office to see Patti telling the customer in front of her "Just remember, I've got a jar of pickles in my hand and I'm not afraid to use them".
  • It makes me nervous when I hear Patti in Express say things like "I can't get my leg up there". 
  • Todd told her to "take 10" once, she misunderstood and dropped to give him 10 push ups!
Thank you Patti for 20 years of bringing the Hometown Proud to Susanville Super <3

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Curried Chicken Salad

Boost your immune system! Reduce inflammation! Fight cancer! Reduce your heart disease risk! Battle Alzheimers! Plus ease digestion, lower cholesterol annnnnd kick up your metabolism!  It sounds like I'm pedaling snake oil here but these are some of the health benefits (claims) of curry. Even if only a wee bit of it's true I'll take it cuz the stuff is delicious.
I figure I can add to those claims by eating it outside where my outlook is better, mood elevated and I'm absorbing a bit of vitamin D from the sun. So yeah. Heathful and yummy. Curried Chicken Salad is pretty versatile too. Excellent in a wrap or on crackers but especially good on the Cheesecake Factory Brown bread we carry in the bread aisle. SOOOOOO good. 

2 12.5 oz cans chicken, drained
1/2 cup golden raisins 
1/3 cup diced onion
1/3 cup chopped cashews
5 or 6 oz plain Greek yogurt 
1/4 cup chutney 
2 tbs mayonnaise
1tsp curry powder

Mix well and enjoy!

Great traveling food, whether your headed to the chair on the porch or much much further. 

I encourage you to pack up a pic-a-nic basket and head out to discover and enjoy all that Lassen County has to offer. Check out one of the lookouts or petroglyphs, desert, mountains, lakes, we got it all. 

The photos are from the foundation of Dow Butte Lookout, described by many as 'Million Dollar' views, I think that is a huge understatement. The structure itself was moved to  Eagle Lake Marina for display in like '94. To see the foundation you're gonna need to navigate the backwoods. That just happens to be one of my favorite pastimes. 

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

High School Graduation 2020

My grand daughter is graduating from High School this year.  I know many kids are, we even have several working in the store. Whether they are the kids that would showboat across the stage or the ones with sweaty palms and a fear of tripping, I'm sorry they won't get to walk. Celebrations will likely have fewer people but that doesn't mean the accomplishment will go unnoticed. One of our team members received a special commendation on the recommendation of a customer and it was worded so beautifully;

"You were born when the world was grieving 9/11 and you are graduating as the world grieves a pandemic, although your two biggest launches into freedom have taken place in the midst of tragedy just know that the world is an amazing place and it is waiting for you with open arms. We grieve with you that your senior year is ending this way but we can't wait to see how you overcome and soar. YOU WERE MADE FOR THIS!" 

Indeed. You got this. This is the culmination of years of hard work, commitment and challenges met, both social and academic. Let me take this time to focus just on YOU. You deserve that. We are all so very Hometown Proud  and though we will miss seeing you walk I promise to keep you in my thoughts and prayers as you embark on the next stage of your life. 

To the graduating Class of 2020, Thanks for making us Hometown Proud, God Bless. 

Friday, May 22, 2020


Ken Loflin pictured with his draft orders
"I got lucky I guess. Somebody was looking out for me." Kenny Loflin. 

On May 9th 1968 Eagle Thrifty opened a brand new store in the building that is today Susanville Supermarket. 19 year old Ken Loflin was one of the first employees and would only work for a week before being drafted into the US Army. After completing Basic Training in Fort Lewis Washington and Artillery School in Fort Sill Oklahoma, Ken volunteered for Vietnam. The Army had other plans. Ken was a pole vaulter for the United States Army (he says this with a smile), that's what he means when he says "someone was looking out". Absolutely. Ken had been an athlete in High School so the Army had him pole vaulting and playing fast pitch softball competitively all up and down the East Coast. Ken did indeed get lucky. And so did we. 

Ken returned to Susanville 2 years later and with only a couple of interruptions has worked at this store ever since. That is 52 years of service to his community. He retired many years ago but still works in the store a couple days a week. We are fortunate to have Ken and several of our retirees still working in the store one or two days a week. Ken Loflin, Tom Berger and Debbie Oschner bring so much experience and knowledge to the table, we definitely got lucky too. 

Thank you to Ken for your service to our Country! Thank you to all our still working retirees for your continued service to our community! 

Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend everyone. God bless. 

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Mother's Day

I received the nicest gift from customer Beverly Clark. A signed copy of Joe Carcione's book, The Greengrocer. I grew up watching him on the evening news and was inspired to call my blog The Green Grocerette from that experience. This gift really touched my heart and brought back fond memories. Thank you so much Beverly!

As a tribute to Mr Carcione I'll give you a little grocery report. Then, cuz I like to, I'll throw in a recipe~

Berries~ BAM! They are outstanding right now, all of them. Fresh from the fields all varieties are holding up well in my fridge at home. Strawberries are on ad 2/$3 this week. Win. Win. Our Bakery will be whipping up some of their light as a feather Angel Food cake, pair that with berries and you're sure to be Mom's favorite!

Corn. Whoda thought it would be so sweet and juice this early? It is. And the pieces I've had didn't have a trace of starchiness. I add a smidge of sugar to the boiling water, someone told me once if you salt the water the corn can get tough. Boil for just a couple minutes then let set with the lid on while I get everything else ready. I like it crisp.

Baby Back Ribs! What more do I need to say, right? I have finally perfected my technique. First I sprinkle Spade-L seasoning for Pork on both sides, grill at about 425* on indirect heat. Start bone side down, turn after 35 minutes. Grill another 20. Slather bone side with sauce (I like KC Masterpiece), flip and slather meaty side, cook 9 minutes, slather that side again, cook 9 more minutes. Now they should be good and gooey. NOMMMMMM. Rick said he has traveled all over the States looking for the best bbq ribs and FINALLY had them right here at home. *Caution. You're gonna need to wash up and brush your teeth after, that's how you know it's goooooooood. 

Have a wonderful Mother's Day everyone. God bless all those Mommas out there. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Normal stuff

"Sometimes, when you don't feel normal, doing a normal thing makes you feel normal."~ George Burns, Oh God 1997. SUCH a great movie. Highly recommend for just a little escapism fun. This quote seems like sound advice right now so I'm gonna write about what I know and love, FOOD. Not just any food but my specialty, comfort food. 

I learned to cook in the 70s and still have a fondness for those one dish casseroles but without the heavy sauces, too much cheese (it can be a thing) and now I add a ton of bright fresh veggies. Chicken Pilau is an old southern favorite, chicken thighs, collards (don't be afraid), carrots, celery, onions and Aidells Mango Jalapeño sausage simmered with basmati rice.... so comforting and flavorful! If you use basmati the rice won't get sticky, just fluffy. 
Chicken Pilau
2 tbs olive oil 
1 1/2 lbs skinless boneless chicken thighs cut in chunks
6 oz smoked sausage, I like Aidells Spicy Mango Jalapeño, diced
1 cup diced onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrot 
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups chopped collard greens
3 cups chicken broth
2 cups uncooked basmati rice
red pepper flakes

Salt and pepper chicken cubes, saute in hot olive oil until done. Add sausage, onion, celery, carrot and garlic. Cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes. Stir in broth, rice and collard greens, bring to a boil. Season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste. Remove from heat and cover, bake in 350* oven for 25 minutes. 

This makes plenty to share. I'm sure someone you know could use a little comfort too~

Maybe doing the normal everyday things is just what we need. 

Stay well. Stay kind. Stay Hometown Proud. ❤️

Friday, April 17, 2020

Jim and Susie

Some people make friends for life. Once you’re in, you’re in. Jim and Marilyn Chapman are like that and our friendship began in a most unlikely way. 

More than a couple of decades ago Rick received a 3 page letter from a customer outlining a shopping trip to our store. On this trip a couple of things had gone wrong, one of the wrongs had to do with orange juice. It was so long ago I don't think any of us remember all the details but we do have what is lovingly/laughingly known as the ‘orange juice letter’ somewhere :) . The letter was from Jim Chapman. When Rick called him to work it all out, they just hit it off. Rick and I would bike ride with Jim and a bunch of locals, some would ask how Marilyn was or tell Jim to say Hi to her, then he would talk about Susie... I could not figure out which one was his wife and who the heck the other one was! Then I met Marilyn SUE and it all made sense.  We’ve all been friends ever since. You never know when great things will come from those little challenges. 

So let me tell you a about the wonderful friend I found. Marilyn Sue (Susie) is a retired 3rd grade teacher, she has also taught other grades including college but 3rd grade was her favorite and fits her perfectly. There are an awful lot of adults with children of their own that still think of her as Mrs Chapman. She is also an AVID quilter, sooo many beautiful quilts, last year Susie gave me one from her private stock and I will treasure it forever. When I found myself in need of masks for our entire crew I called her wondering if she knew anyone currently making them. She asked a few questions and a little bit later let me know she and Jim would be making them. The next several days they worked night and day to crank these out just as fast as possible. These masks are beyond anything I could have expected. 3 layers of cotton, the middle is muslin to aid in filtration, wonderful prints, each sealed in a baggie with a personal note including a thank up to all of US. This gift was made with love not just for us but for the community the Chapmans have spent their lives in service of. 

HUGE thanks to Jim and Susie, we are blessed to have such wonderful friends that are also Hometown Heroes. 

Apart together

Can you imagine what the isolation must have been like quarantined in 1918 during the Spanish Flu pandemic? Mistrust and fear permeated communities, when people did emerge it wasn't the same. Many felt the friendliness and sense of community was gone. No one talked about it, the fear was so great. Tough to resolve things you're afraid to mention. 

So here we are today. Driven apart by circumstances yet it certainly has brought our community and families together. Text, FaceTime, phone calls keep us in touch with family and friends. What truly matters is in the foreground again. Everywhere I look I see a helping hand, new ideas and a commitment to our overall health. You all make me so Hometown Proud. As I write this my friend Marilyn "Susie" Chapman and her minion/hubby are busy making masks for my WHOLE team which they are donating. This humbles me. David Teeter of Margie's Book Nook has set up a table in our store filled with activities for young and old alike, he is also going through his store and putting together donations for various agencies. Social media is humming with shared ideas and humor regarding our current situation. Barriers are being built to keep the germs away and the people together. Senior Center, Salvation Army, Churches, Schools and individuals all pitching in to help one another with an eye especially toward those that would be gravely affected by this virus. Everyone thinking outside the box to keep our local small businesses operating. Curbside delivery available for salons, restaurants and stores. Mountain Yoga is renting out their spin bikes and taking all classes online, which I signed up for right away. Weight Watchers, churches, support groups all online too. The best part is it's our locals, online or at the curb or in the store. People we know and trust. People we want to protect. The same smiling faces that get us through the tougher days greet us on the easy ones. 

Maybe this general concern for one another isn't always evident, today it is everything.

Meredith Emmot

I have Rheumatoid Arthritis, it feels strange to say that since it is so well controlled on a disease modifying drug. I realize I'm one of the lucky ones. RA is an autoimmune disorder and when it attacked me I knew something was systemically wrong. It wasn't just my joints but anything and everything was going wrong with my body. At the time Rick and I were doing a lot of bike riding and racing, we moved all of our riding to our tandem bike because sometimes the pain in my hands, wrist, shoulder was too severe to steer and brake for myself. After a few years we were invited to be on a tandem team on the Race Across America, by then my body had become so unpredictable I didn't think it was possible. Dr Meadows told me "time is our friend", he was right, a series of events led me to (rheumatologist) Dr Naguwa at UC Davis Medical Center and in January of 2011 after a few visits I asked Naguwa if he thought I would be able to do RAAM in June, he said "that shouldn't be a problem"! Sure enough, I did get to race with Team JDRF. 

Both my autoimmune and the medication I take require monitoring through lab test every 6 months. Enter Meredith Emmot at Banner Lassen Draw Station, What a resource. The location is convenient, open at 6:30 am, park right out front, friendly, clean, fast and it's like having your own personal Phlebotomist. Meredith has to draw like a gallon (perhaps a slight exaggeration) of blood from me for all the tests and I never feel a thing as she moves from one vial to another. The best. Meredith has been at Banner for 19 years of a career she began in 1992. Last year the Draw Station was closed for 6 weeks while she had shoulder surgery, I can't be the only one that felt some panic wondering why it was closed. I love that I don't have to walk through the hospital (where sick people have to go) to get labs PLUS if you have to fast you can get it over with at 6:30 am, for some folks mobility is an issue there are 2 spots right by the door and if someone needs, Meredith gets all of her things and (in her cute little Chuck Taylor's) goes out to the lot to do the lab right from their car. She's like that. So much experience, so much caring, as Meredith says "it's the little things". Truly it matters. There are locals that won't have their labs done unless Meredith can do them!

Lab results are posted to My Banner usually within 24 hours, I can sign in and click on any number to compare it to my past results. Dr Naguwa has a sign in his office, something about getting well won't happen without your participation. Banner Lassen and Meredith Emmot make it easy!

Meredith thanks for all you do to keep us Hometown Healthy!

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