Q & A With Georganne Sader, Executive Vice President and Co-founder
To go way back, my grandparents immigrated to Oregon from the Ukraine as farmers, so my dad grew up on a farm in Eugene. Like Don, farming is a part of my heritage.
Then my dad moved to Arizona for work and that’s where I was born. I grew up in Arizona with fruit trees in our yard, so I always had that connection with the earth. We would go out to the farms and get fresh produce. Dad moved us back to Oregon in the late ‘60s and my mom was very excited because we had berries, peaches and tomatoes. We always had a large garden, and every summer I would go work in the berry fields and my mother and I would can.
Don and I met at a Portland natural foods conference in the 70’s. When we got married, we moved to Seattle and lived just a few blocks from Pike Place Market. We shopped there every few days for fresh produce.
I knew how to cook but Don was a vegetarian, and I was not, so I had to learn all over again. I just taught myself —I still do this, if I want to make something, I read every recipe I can and then I do my own thing. I never measure anything. A lot of my recipes are just a list of ingredients.
In the market, I’ve been working closely with our kitchen staff, to develop recipes (of mine) that will be offered in our deli. Some of it’s going to be family recipes – ones that I’ve made for years. A couple of them are from Don’s mother Ruby. We’re working very closely to set high standards and delicious food.
When you lived in Italy, what was inspiring to you, both personally and professionally?
It took me back to my roots again, learning to cook with what I had. It was great cooking with what was in season and not necessarily cooking what I had in mind. I would go to the market to get inspired for what I’d make for dinner.
What differentiates Local Choice?
The experience when you walk in. I’m also responsible for the building design – the look and feel of the market. We’ve got a beautiful, 1931 art deco building so we’re not going to have your regular grocery shelving. Our products are going to be displayed differently. I’m looking for old pieces of furniture and crates. In Italy, when we would go into the produce stands and markets, they sold some grocery items too, but they were just displayed on old crates or their grandma’s old hutch. So you’re not going to feel like you’re walking into a grocery store. It’s going to be a different feel at Local Choice.
What made you decide to focus on the Pearl District for the market’s location?
Well, we’re a neighborhood market, and this is where we live.
Do you have a favorite food season?
Fall is my favorite season. It’s all about cooking at home. It’s just cozier.