By Rachel Thomson
Most sixteen year olds are excited about getting their driver’s license and shopping for the perfect prom dress – not trying out a new hand mixer or getting their hands covered in flour and granulated sugar while experimenting with pastry recipes.
But that’s how Sierra Rumble likes to spend most days after school. The junior at North Thurston High School has plans on becoming a pastry chef one day. Though she’s had no professional culinary training, she’s already getting lots of recognition for her sweet treats. She and her mother have started an unofficial business, Sierra’s Baked Goods. They take orders through Rumble’s Facebook page. Rumble makes the pastries in her home kitchen and delivers them to clients in Thurston County. In less than one year, Rumble has received more than 100 orders for her home baked goods.
“I love baking,” Rumble says. “When they pick up their order for the first time, the smile on their face says everything. I love making people happy.”
A quick scroll through her Facebook page shows a gallery of intricately designed and baked confections. Cherry chip cupcakes topped with marshmallow flavored fondant Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. A cream filled pumpkin roll. Red and pink frosted Valentine’s Day cupcakes featuring a hand-sculpted white fondant polar bear. A beautiful “rose” centerpiece made of cupcakes. A purple tiered “Tim Burton” cake featuring Jack Skellington from the director’s films The Nightmare Before Christmas and the dog from Frankenweenie.
Rise of A Baker
Rumble says she never really did a lot of baking growing up, apart from helping her grandmother bake cookies every once in a while. The possibility of baking as a career option didn’t cross her mind until last year. She gives credit to her younger brother, 12-year-old Derek Loniak, for indirectly helping her discover her passion.
Loniak is an aspiring actor and needed some money to cover the travel costs of an audition in Seattle though the International Model and Talent Association. So Rumble decided to help her brother raise the funds by holding bake sales at school. Rumble would bring some of her baked goods to school and quickly sell out. Teachers and other students would see her baked goods and would often compliment her and ask her to make more.
“People started coming up to me and complimenting me and I began to realize, ‘wow I’m actually good at this,’” Rumble said.
She accomplished her goal of raising enough money to get her brother to the audition. He was cast in a local commercial and recently scored an audition for a major motion picture. But after the bake sale, the requests for cupcakes and other treats just kept coming.
“If it wasn’t for him (Loniak), she wouldn’t have found her true passion,” says her mother, Karen Loniak. Karen acts as the secretary for Sierra’s Baked Goods. She keeps track of receipts and helps lead customer consultations for their orders.
She says the experience has created an opportunity to both bond and encourage her daughter.
“I’ve always told my kids to follow their dreams,” Karen said. “If something means a lot to them, I tell them to follow their dreams and don’t let anyone tear you down.”
Rumble is doing everything she can to make the dream of becoming a pastry chef a reality. She is learning everything she can about baking. She combs through book books looking for new recipes to try. She scours websites like Pinterest and Google Images to find inspirations for her baking. She watches episodes of TLC Network’s Cake Boss on Netflix. And she’s even done some job shadowing with a couple local professional bakers.
She says her skills improve with every item she bakes. One of the biggest and challenging jobs she’s had in recent months was a three-tiered wedding cake she completed in March. She says it was complicated because once the fondant is made, you have to wait for it to harden enough to cover a cake and sculpt or cut shapes from it. Then she had to bake the layers of the cake and wait for them to cool enough to cover them in fondant. She said the entire process, including assembly, took about 26 hours to make.
“But it was worth it,” Rumble said. “The groom said it was like seeing the bride the first time. He said ‘It’s amazing and it’s exactly how I pictured it.’”
Rumble leads a busy life. When she’s not creating edible masterpieces in the kitchen, she is the president of her school’s book club and also leads a support group for children of parents in the military. Her stepfather is actively serving in the US Army. She’s also working with students at other schools to plan a conference for children who have parents in the military with social opportunities to talk and support each other.
But at the top of her list has always been baking. Rumble says after she comes home from school she completes her homework as soon as she can so she can spend the rest of the evening baking. She says after she graduates high school she wants to attend South Puget Sound Community College’s Culinary Arts program and then take some business courses at a four-year university so she can one day become the pastry chef at her own bakery one day.
“I’m picturing the entire thing right now,” Rumble said. “I’m so glad I can do this.”
To find out more about Sierrra’s Baked Goods or inquire about ordering by visiting her Facebook page. Prices vary depending on the type of item ordered, but Rumble says she makes an effort to sell her items at less than the cost of what a commercial bakery would typically charge.
Stevie Olson was born with an eye for style. As a Tenino High School student, Stevie can remember looking forward to weekend shopping trips in downtown Olympia where she and her girlfriends would refresh their wardrobes with trendy finds from local boutiques. She remembers with particular fondness Capitol Way, with its tree-lined streets, buildings from a bygone era, and its many clothing and lifestyle shops, and imagined one day having a shop of her own on that stretch of downtown.
After graduating high school with both a diploma and a cosmetology license, the ambitious fashionista decided her next step would be to pursue her love of fashion professionally, and she applied and was accepted to the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) in Los Angeles. Stevie was ready to take her love of fashion to the next level.
While a chain of romantic events put Stevie’s fashion forward goals on hold, she never left the world of couture. After high school, Stevie would reconnect with her former classmate, Jeff Olson, and the two got married. Because of this, rather than flocking to FIDM, Stevie stayed put in Thurston County where she and Jeff worked together to open Hawks Prairie Home Furnishings.
Even while they worked tirelessly to build their business from the ground up, Stevie would spend her spare minutes perusing fashion blogs and following trends on social media. Fashion was always on her mind.
By 2014, business was good and the time had come for Stevie to invest fully in her dream. As if the stars had aligned, one of Stevie’s favorite downtown Olympia storefronts had become vacant, and on April 3, 2014, LOLA Lifestyle Boutique on Capitol Way opened its doors for the first time. “It was honestly a dream come true for me, “ says Stevie. Her passion is evident the moment you step through the door.
Stevie has taken great care to curate LOLA’s inventory, thoughtfully handpicking every label and piece featured in the shop. With timeless styles from recognizable labels like Vince, Elizabeth & James, Splendid and Toms to more unique brands like Cleobella, Maison Scotch and Austrailian-based Tigerlily and Blesse’d are the Meek, as well as a growing selection of eco-conscious clothing, shoes and accessories, there’s something for everyone.
In the boutique’s first year, LOLA has become a popular high-end fashion destination not only for locals but for out-of-town style savants, too. This is because LOLA is more than just a curated collection of beautiful, quality-made wares, it’s a treat for the senses.
Featuring designer ready-to-wear and contemporary styles from national and international brands, Stevie and her staff have created a shopping experience designed to help women escape everyday stresses and indulge in the finer things in life. LOLA Lifestyle Boutique’s Events/PR Manager, Lauren Rodriguez, says LOLA creates this experience in a few different ways.
From the signature LOLA scent and the expert styling support from LOLA “stylists” to the complimentary beverages and $1.50 beer to make your — and your spouse’s — visit more enjoyable, LOLA offers its customers a premier shopping experience unlike any other, one that offers a true oasis for women, whether shopping solo or with the family. There are even toys from Captain Little for the kiddos and a comfy lounge. LOLA stylists are happy to order a healthy meal in or book a private shopping appointment for any client wanting even more from their experience. “It’s important that we create a real sense of comfort and satisfaction for our clients. We have designed an exceptional environment for an exceptional experience,” says Lauren. And, now that LOLA has started working with an experienced seamstress, the boutique offers both in-store and off-site tailoring service for clients by appointment.
Offering a range of moderately priced contemporary pieces as well as higher end ready-to-wear garments, accessories and home goods, Lauren says LOLA’s intentional and well-rounded selection reinforces what LOLA’s name suggests — it is more than a fashion boutique, it’s a lifestyle boutique. And with a growing array of eco-conscious and ethically sourced clothing and accessories to accompany their solely cruelty-free beauty products, LOLA’s inventory also caters to the eco-conscious shopper. “You don’t have to give up mindfulness to be fashionable,” says Lauren. “We want our clients to get into that type of lifestyle and image we ourselves live and are perpetuating here — that a fashionable woman can also be healthy, active and outdoorsy, and have a big heart.”
Lauren even contributes to a lifestyle blog for LOLA, touching on such topics as fashion for every age, healthy eating, living with gratitude, cruelty-free beauty, and much more. And, the range of apparel and accessories found inside perfectly outfit those living the LOLA Lifestyle. They even have yoga gear and high-end activewear, some of which is made from recycled water bottles.
Being in downtown Olympia, LOLA is also big supporter of the local shopping experience and reinforces this mentality through its many local partnerships. One example of this is LOLA’s Sip-n-Shop series — an evening of wine and shopping in downtown Olympia. Together with Marchetti Wines, Sip-n-Shop offers guests an opportunity to sip on wines while enjoying live music and couture shopping at a special event discount. Lauren says for the community to be successful as a whole it’s important for businesses to work together.
Supporting the community and giving back is important to Stevie, which is why proceeds from many of the events that LOLA hosts go to benefit local non-profits that Stevie and the LOLA gals are passionate about. “My philanthropic passion for animals as well as other charitable causes is a huge motivator for me in business,” says Stevie. “The fact that, with my business, I can give back to our community and create an impact means so much to me. It is important to us with our events to always be raising funds and awareness.”
For Stevie, LOLA Lifestyle Boutique is the realization of her greatest passions neatly packaged and located in the heart of the city that she loves. In celebration of LOLA’s one year anniversary, LOLA will host a ribbon cutting ceremony, reception and shopping event on May 4, 2015, 4:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. The event will include light refreshments and 15 percent off for all who attend. “It’s really to thank Olympia for contributing to our success,” says Lauren.
Have a schedule conflict? Set a private appointment by phone at 844-GET-LOLA or emailing Lauren at email@example.com.
From today's inbox:
Why are the Sea Stars Dying?
Dr. Lesanna Lahner
Orca Books - 509 East 4th Avenue
7:00 PM, Tuesday, 12 May 2015
Join Dr. Lahner, the veterinarian at the Seattle Aquarium, for an in-depth discussion on Sea Star Wasting Disease (SSWD). SSWD has killed millions of sea stars along the west coast of North America since the summer of 2013 and continues to be one of the largest marine die-offs ever recorded. The disease and what is known will be discussed as well as the Seattle Aquarium's contribution to understanding this unusual mortality event.
Dr. Lesanna Lahner grew up on a farm in Minnesota surrounded by horses, and started working with a local veterinarian and volunteering on wildlife rehabilitation projects before she could even drive. She has two dogs and a horse of her own, but from an early age her professional interests always tended towards more exotic patients. She earned an undergraduate degree in biology from Carleton College and a DVM from the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine. She has pursued externships in such places as the Honolulu wildlife health center and the Tufts wildlife center where she had the opportunity to participate in clinical research as well as conservation medicine with a focus on stress and pain reduction in exotic species including birds, reptiles, and fish. She has been the veterinarian at the Seattle Aquarium since 2011.
Submitted by PCSGA
There’ll be something for just about everyone at the 17th annual Shellfish SLURP on Sunday, May 3 from 4:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. This popular event, which takes place at the Fish Brewing Company, 514 Jefferson Street, in Olympia, highlights our region’s best oysters, clams, mussels and geoducks as well as some of the area’s best brews, wines, and restaurants.
Shellfish lovers will enjoy visiting the Grand Oyster Bar which will offer up fresh local oysters, produced and shucked on-site by the oyster farmers of National Fish and Oyster, Chelsea Farms, Hama Hama Oyster Co, Taylor Shellfish and Brenner’s Oysters. Those who prefer their shellfish cooked will enjoy the creations of local restaurants and can vote for the coveted “Best Shellfish Dish” prize. This year’s restaurants include: Anthony’s HomePort, Beau Legs Fish ‘N’ Chips, Copperleaf Restaurant, Staple & Fancy Mercantile, Fish Tale Brew Pub, Henderson Inlet Community Shellfish Farm, Olympia Golf & Country Club, Oly Rockfish Grill, Smoke & Cedar, Urban Farmer, and Xinh’s Clam and Oyster House. Olympia Mountain Ice Cream and coffee from Olympia Coffee Roasters will be served near the end of the evening.
For the first time, Fish Brewing will unveil their Roister Oyster Stout, made especially for SLURP. The Roister Oyster Stout will be a big beer with 7% alcohol that is characterized by being dark, rich, and creamy. To obtain this brew, whole oysters in the shell are boiled with the beer (note: they are pretty tasty afterwards). The end result is a beer that has a hint of brine and oyster flavor and pairs well with oysters and other seafood. The new stout will be served alongside the restaurant shellfish dishes, along with other Fish Tale Ales, Leavenworth Biers, Spire Mountain Ciders, and wines from around the state. Washington wines from Chateau Ste. Michelle, Hoodsport Winery, Marchetti Wines, Lopez Island Vineyard & Winery, and Terra Blanca will compete for the People’s Choice Best Wine award.
The event also features a no-hands oyster speed-eating SLURP-OFF, a live auction featuring unique Pacific Northwest and international experiences, winery tours, hotel packages, and original art, and the live music of Blues County Sherriff, a local old-school blues band.
Proceeds from the event go to the Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association’s Shellfish Habitat Rejuvenation Fund. The fund is used to support organizations that work on shellfish education and habitat restoration efforts. A partial list of beneficiaries from this year’s SLURP include Northwest Straits Foundation, Pacific Education Institute, Pacific County Museum, Willapa Watershed Restoration Management, and Grassroots Garbage Gang.
Tickets are $60 in advance and can be purchased on-line at slurp.brownpapertickets.com, or in person at Ralph’s Thriftway, Bayview Thriftway or the Fish Tale Brew Pub. Tickets are $70 at the door the day of the event. The price of admission covers all food and beverages. For more information call 360-754-2744.
Submitted by Olympia Area Rowing
Experience the fun of rowing with a free beginners’ taste of rowing during National Learn to Row Day on Saturday, June 6, in Olympia’s Budd Inlet. The event is for high-school age youth and adults.
Thurston County’s local rowing club, Olympia Area Rowing (OAR), will be offering tours of the OAR boathouse, practice on dry land with a cool ergonomic rowing machine, and a 40 minute adventure on the waters of lower Budd Inlet. Participants will be mixed with experienced rowers in a boat of eight people, along with an instructor.
What a great way to kick-off the summer and try something new with this fun exhilarating physical water activity! To participate, visit the OAR boathouse (1022 Marine Dr. NE, 98501) between 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 6, to sign up for a one-hour slot. Time slots are limited and will be filled on a first come first served basis. Participants are encouraged to arrive early to secure their spot.
A sixteen year-old organization with strong traditions, OAR promotes recreational and competitive rowing for adults and youth in the community, fostering sportsmanship, teamwork, athleticism and camaraderie.
For further information, contact OAR member Scott Sawyer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360.480.7743
By Amy Rowley
I am a fierce proponent of shopping local. I grew up in a third generation retail business, listening to my dad and grandfather speak nightly about developing repeat customers through exceptional service, supporting the community through philanthropy and designing a work environment that creates loyal employees.
The part that I think people miss sometimes, myself included, is that “shopping local” doesn’t just end at retail businesses. Supporting local businesses also applies to the banking industry.
Amy Evans and Annie Johns are like-minded business owners (and sisters) with a passion for Thurston County businesses. The duo operate Bon Lemon and Spruce Skin & Wax Shoppe respectively in a freshly renovated space in West Olympia. (Read more about their businesses in this previous ThurstonTalk article.
Annie and Amy recently made the switch to Thurston First Bank, breaking up their previous relationships with national institutions.
“I have been considering the switch for a while. I was at a national bank and wanted to support something with more ties to the local community,” explains Amy, proprietress of Bon Lemon.
She learned about the features of the bank from CEO Jim Haley and two board members – Ralph Munro and Ruthann Goularte – and quickly shared that information with her sister, Annie.
Community Focused Business
“What stands out to me is their flexibility, commitment to the local community, and the integrity and business savvy of the Thurston First board,” explains Amy. “This bank was founded by people who understand business and they have created solutions that make my life easier.”
“When you like and believe in something, you naturally want to share it,” says Ruthann Goularte, owner of Drees and Thurston First Bank board member.
“I choose to do business with people I like and trust,” Ruthann continues. “I have a huge respect for the Bon Lemon and Spruce team and felt that they would benefit from the relationships and attention to detail from Thurston First Bank like I do.”
Downtown Olympia Branch
Annie, Amy and Ruthann are all passionate about space and design. “An old saying I heard many years ago in retail states that you will know how a business feels about their customer by the way they maintain their restrooms. I have never forgotten that and Thurston First Bank knows that too,” describes Ruthann.
“Thurston First Bank tells a lot about themselves through the people they hire, the ambiance they provide and the professionalism of their staff. Not everyone cares about these things but I feel that the business owners who run dedicated businesses do care,” she adds in appreciation.
Amy goes one step further and describes the interiors of Thurston First Bank’s downtown Olympia location as “drop dead gorgeous, feeling much more like a swanky hotel than a boring bank.”
Business Banking Options
Both shop owners rave about the mobile banking option supplied by Thurston First Bank. And this “mobile banking” isn’t an app you access on your phone – it’s a banker who actually drives to your business. “They pick up my deposits! As a small business owner, I don’t often have time to run deposits in during regular banking hours, so my checks pile up. Having someone come get my deposit or bring me change in the middle of the day is a luxury I would gladly switch banks for,” shares Annie with enthusiasm.
Like most small business owners, access to capital can be key. When first starting their businesses, the sisters faced initial push back from institutional banks. This created a sour taste for them both.
“I believe small businesses are what make communities great and banking at a local bank that is willing to take a chance on a new idea matters,” notes Amy. “I haven’t borrowed money from Thurston First, but if I need to, I am confident they will look at my business as more than just a number on a page.”
“The Thurston First Bank board members are forward-thinking, hard-working and long-time community members who I know and respect. I feel that their approach is much more personal – getting to know me as a client and finding true business solutions,” explains Annie.
As more banks merge or are gobbled up, Thurston First Bank is one of the few community banks left in our area.
“When all your smart friends are doing something, it makes you want to do it too,” summarizes Amy when discussing why she switched to Thurston First Bank.
Tomorrow, May 2, is the Upcycled Style Trash Fashion Show at the Schack Art Center in Everett, Washington.
Ruby Re-Usable is the guest curator; she will be joined by our trashionable friends Kitty Center, Lynn Di Nino, Marita Dingus, Selena Eon, Jane Grafton, Monica Ann Guerrero Yocom, Terra Holcomb, Susie Howell, Nancy Judd, Kristie Maxim, Rebecca Maxim, Loran Scruggs, Britni Jade Smith, Robin Worley, Lana Landfill, Lena Landfill, Lova Landfill, and more. This event takes place in the gallery where the Saving the Environment: Sustainable Art exhibit is currently on display. More pics next week!
By Gail Wood
But while she makes it look so easy – Ally is batting over .700 for Yelm High School’s fastpitch team so far this season – there’s nothing effortless about her accomplishments on the fastpitch field or in the classroom. She’s a tireless worker.
She has a batting cage at home, often working on her swing as her dad pitches to her. Before a recent game against Olympia, she took some extra batting practice during spring break and on the first pitch of the game she hit a home run.
“She’s earned every award she’s gotten,” said Dan Choate, Ally’s dad and biggest fan. “She works hard and she deserves every award she gets.”
Ally’s hard work – she’s on a club fastpitch team, the Washington Lady Hawks, and plays year around – has had a mega-lotto payoff. Last year as a freshman, at an age when players are typically cast as watch-and-learn observers, Ally was named the 4A Narrows League’s MVP after hitting a spectacular .625. Freshmen don’t usually end up starting on a 4A team let alone make all-league or league MVP. But Ally did.
“It doesn’t happen very often,” said Lindsay Walton, who is in her 10th season as Yelm’s head fastpitch coach. “She’s well deserving of it. It’s so enjoyable to watch her play. She’s a great athlete and a great person.”
Ally might still only be a sophomore, but she’s a leader despite her youth.
“She’s young, but she’s very mature for her age,” Walton said.
Two things often happen to an all-league player who is exceptional at their sport. One, they become single minded, focusing only on their sport, forgetting about homework. Two, they become so consumed by their sport they’re only concerned about their stats and about their performance. Walton said Ally is neither of these.
“She’s someone who truly cares for others,” Walton said. “She’s also somebody who wants her team to be successful. She wants others to be successful – not just herself. She wants others to do as well as she does.”
And Ally’s commitment to fastpitch hasn’t eclipsed the classroom. She’s an A-student, carrying a 3.996 GPA. The last time she got something other than an A she was in seventh grade taking a high-school level algebra class. She got an A-minus in the class. She’s never gotten a B in a class during middle and high school.
“I think what drives her the most is not fastpitch,” Walton said. “It’s what she’s going to do later in life. Fastpitch – she loves it. She also knows that’s not what she’s going to do the rest of her life.”
But her fastpitch days won’t end when she takes her last swing at the plate for the Tornados her senior year. She’s already accepted a scholarship to play at Seattle University. Besides liking the coach, school and fastpitch program there, Ally is excited about going to Seattle University for one more reason. The school offers the major she wants – ultrasound technology.
“I’m so excited I’m going there,” Ally said. “I want to do ultrasound when I’m older. That’s the only school that offers it in Washington.”
Ally has always excelled in the classroom. Even when she was little, her parents didn’t have to ask her to turn off the television and do her homework.
“I’ve always tried to do the best I can do,” Ally said. “It just takes hard work. I study at least three hours each night.”
There watching every swing as she plays center field for Yelm has been her parents, Dan and Michelle Choate. They never miss a game.
“They’re really supportive,” Ally said. “I wouldn’t be where I’m at without them.”
There’s a genetic appreciation, too. Ally is a second generation Choate on Yelm’s sports team. In the mid 1980s, her mom played volleyball at Yelm and her dad played football and baseball.
“My dad was a football star,” Ally said. “They were high school sweethearts.”
For Ally, she said fastpitch has taught her several life lessons. It’s taught her about discipline, commitment and resiliency.
“I’ve grown so much from this sport,” Ally said when asked what she likes about playing fastpitch. “You have to learn to pick yourself up from mistakes because you’re going to make them all the time in this game.”
And besides learning how to get up and try again, Ally said fastpitch has also taught her how to make friends.
“Also, I’ve learned how to interact with people,” Ally said. “I’ve learned how to make friendships. And I’ve learned about communications, about how to talk with people.”
At a recent game against Stadium, Ally had her regular cheering crew – her parents and grandparents – Tonia and Orville French.
“She’s the hardest working kid I’ve ever seen,” Dan said as he watched his daughter play. “Luckily, she’s mine.”
The calendar flips to May and that means summer weather must be on the horizon. It also equates to a rapid increase of planned (and spontaneous) outdoor activities around Olympia. If you travels take you toward the beach this weekend, stop by the Grays Harbor Shorebird Festival. You can learn more about the weekend festivities in this article.
Here’s what is going on around Olympia this weekend.
Submit an event for our calendar here.
ThurstonTalk aims to be your source for positive information and events happening in Olympia. If you have a suggestion for a post, send us a note at email@example.com. For more events and to learn what’s happening in Olympia and the surrounding area, click here.
Happy Belated Earth Day! You know we have been thinking about Earth Day all month, just never got around to posting about it … well, better late than never … here is Haute Trash Hilo’s BIG TRASH/small world Earth Day trash fashion show:
Kim Miller received her BFA from Cooper Union in New York City and her MFA from Vermont College. Miller has shown videos, performed live and combinations thereof on national tours and international shows, from China to Milwaukee. Kim was awarded the Mary L. Nohl Individual Artist Fellowship 2009-10, Artist-in-Residence at Compeung, Doi Saket, Thailand in 2011 & 2012, Artist-in-Residence at Lynden Sculpture Garden in 2013-14 and a Puffin Foundation, Ltd. Grant in 2014.
She has taught in the humanities and design department at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand; the film and graphic design departments in the United States at UW-Milwaukee; and in the foundations, fine art, liberal studies and design departments of Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design.
By Douglas Scott
For four days in May, the waters of the Hood Canal will become the destination for shrimp lovers from around the region. Shrimp season is allowed on Hood Canal between 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. on May 2, 9, 11 and 13. Get ready to harvest your limit of delicious spot shrimp.
Chris Eardley, a shellfish biologist with the Skokomish Tribe is excited about this year’s shrimp season. “It is looking to be a strong year. Catch rates in test fisheries are comparable to last year, which was a strong year. Recent years have been very good, with this year shaping up to continue that trend. The shrimp fishery continues to give, with good management, enough shrimp for everyone.”
Spot shrimp are a historical source of food for the Skokomish, as well as the settlers who homesteaded in the region. The spot shrimp are unique to the region, and are some of the most popular shrimp to eat, largely due to the fact that they are sweet in taste and generally don’t need any seasoning to be a tasty treat. Easy to catch and large in size (around nine inches in length), the spot shrimp are usually safe to eat in the protected waters of the Hood Canal.
Shrimping is huge business for the local economy and an opportunity for residents and visitors to celebrate the return of the warm weather to the region. The season opener is held on the same weekend each year and makes for a timeless tradition on Hood Canal. Thanks to the great management, by both the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Skokomish Tribe, fishing and shrimping is stable year after year, ensuring that folks who visit the region can eat some incredible self-caught seafood at home. Shrimp can be caught throughout the canal, but spot shrimp tend to enjoy the deeper waters so set your pots at depths between 125 – 200 feet.
While there may be many places known for getting good shrimp, one of the best bets for easy boat access is the boat launch, owned and operated by the Skokomish Tribe. The Potlatch boat launch is located three miles south of Hoodsport, just north of the Potlatch State Park. The launch is fairly steep, meaning it is usable during most tides.
During opening day on Saturday, the morning tide will be perfect for launching, and the afternoon tide will be great for returning after a successful day catching shrimp. Be aware that the south end of the park is currently under construction while a sockeye hatchery is being built on the premises. Please remember to be respectful to the construction crew and their equipment, as well as making sure all garbage ends up in trash cans. The local crows and gulls can be messy. Also be aware that there will be a small fee to launch.
Shrimping season for the Skokomish is an important event. “For the Tribe, the shrimp season helps kick off a very productive stretch of the year for fishing. It comes shortly after the geoduck opener and before crab and salmon,” explains Eardley. “Many tribal folks look forward to annual gatherings with family to share a shrimp feast and to stock the freezer, and others have regular customers that look forward to buying from the Tribe.”
“The shrimp fishery creates a palpable buzz locally and is a good mix of fun, tradition, and business for the Skokomish Tribe,” adds Eardley.
The Hood Canal shrimp and fishing seasons are also extremely important for the entire region, serving as the official opening for many local businesses that close during the off-season. Considered one of the biggest boating days on Hood Canal, the shrimp season opener brings in plenty of visitors to the area.
“The communities around the Canal seem to ‘wake up’ from a winter slumber the first weekend of May,” Eardley sums up. “Spot shrimp are part of the seafood cornucopia that has sustained the Tribe for generations and remains important today. The Tribe traditionally (and today) followed resources around the Canal throughout the year—harvesting whatever was in season. Shrimp have always been, and remain, an important ceremonial and subsistence item, once caught with weaved cedar traps and popular potlatch fare. They continue to be the seasonal centerpiece of special gatherings and family affairs, and when shrimp season approaches, there is a tangible buzz in the air.”
The start of the shrimping season marks the return of outdoor activities in warm weather with long daylight hours, perfect to explore the many wonders and scenic destinations around the canal. Stop by stores, buy some oysters, shrimp and salmon, and reconnect with the wilderness and deliciousness of our corner of the Pacific Northwest.
During the May shrimping season, a daily limit of only 80 shrimp is allowed, a small amount compared to the June to October limit of 10 pounds a day, but still limited to 80 spot shrimp. For more information on daily limits and rules on shrimping season, check out the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s website.
By Kelli Samson
While I do consider myself a decent baker, bread and I have only become acquainted during recent years. I am an amateur bread baker, at best. And loaves take time, though they’re always worth it. After a certain bakery closed last year, I no longer had a place to buy freshly baked sandwich bread with local, organic ingredients. I turned to my own oven and developed some skills, but it sure took a lot of time each week.
Enter Julie Robinson, the proprietess and sole baker at Olympia Honey Baker. She sells the most delicious loaves of multigrain bread for a price I can live with. Because they contain honey instead of sugar, they also keep longer. And I can’t ignore the fact that less time in my kitchen fighting this battle equates to money in a local owner’s pocket.
Supporting local businesses is very important to the viability and growth of our local economy. Years ago, I made a commitment to source my food locally when I have a choice, and buying my bread from the Olympia Honey Baker fits right into this philosophy.
Owner Julie Robinson takes it one step further by making it her own priority to shop locally for her ingredients. The raw wildflower honey that she currently bakes with comes from Robbins Honey Farm in Lakewood. The fruit she uses is from the northwest. She buys organic ingredients whenever she can, and her flour is sourced from Shepherd’s Grain in Spokane. This company’s flour has a tracking number on each package that enables the consumer to see exactly which farms grew the wheat.
Not only is Robinson conscious of where her ingredients come from and of supporting local and regional businesses, but she is passionate about what does not go into the bodies of those who consume her baked goods: white sugar. Not one item in her bakery contains this increasingly controversial ingredient that many attribute to our nation’s obesity epidemic.
Robinson began baking at a young age with her mother and in her home economics class at school on New York’s Long Island. “My mother made bread twice a week. She was actually a terrible a cook, but the one thing she could do extremely well was bake bread.” Robinson entered many cooking competitions in junior high school, and she won numerous awards.
When her own children were young, Robinson began substituting honey for sugar in her own baking “to get the sugar out of their diet. People need to have a better, healthier option.”
When it became clear that her medical transcription business in Olympia was becoming obsolete, Robinson decided she wanted to start “a little neighborhood bakery.” She and her husband converted part of her office space into a commercial kitchen. He built some bakery cases, they painted the space a sunny yellow, and, before she knew it, they had opened in 2012.
Robinson takes special orders for just about any baked good, as long as she’s given at least 24 hours notice. She has a slew of regular customers. During our interview, one of her regulars came in for her weekly brownie fix.
Her best customers, however, are those that are gluten-free. Each Wednesday night after closing, she cleans and sanitizes her kitchen to meet gluten-free standards. She commences with her gluten-free baking day each Thursday. Locals who have a gluten-free diet can count on the Olympia Honey Baker to offer many fresh, gluten-free baked goods one day a week.
Ironically, Robinson has “no sweet tooth whatsoever. If something tastes yucky-sweet to me, I know it’s just right for everybody else. My burger buns are my favorite things I make,” she says. Though sweets are a big part of her business, her meat pies are the most popular items with customers.
The Olympia Honey Baker is moving to a new location near west Olympia’s West Central Park in September of this year. A host of renovations have to take place at the new space between now and then, but it will boast a much bigger kitchen and have more seating for customers.
Robinson will be hiring her first employees in anticipation for this move. If you enjoy working in the kitchen, she is currently taking resumes. “It would be fabulous to find the right person with at least some basic kitchen skills. The last vacation I had was four years ago,” she laughs.
The Olympia Honey Baker is open Tuesdays from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
You can see what Robinson’s been baking by following the Olympia Honey Baker on Facebook.
Olympia Honey Baker
1713 State Ave. NE in Olympia
By Alyssa Ramsfield
Some of the greatest villains are poised and ready to take over Thurston County. The only way to stop them is to call upon some of the greatest super heroes ever created. This isn’t the plot to a blockbuster movie, this is what you can expect on May 2 during the annual Free Comic Book Day.
Created initially to spread the discovery of amazing comics to people of all ages, this event boasts comic book stores from across the country giving out comics to anyone willing to read. Different shops will have different comics available. Below you can find out about participating shops and what they will have to offer.
Gabi’s Olympic Cards and Comics – 4230 Pacific Ave SE in Lacey
One of the largest comic book stores in our area is Gabi’s Olympic Cards and Comics. Nationally, Free Comic Book Day takes place on Saturday, May 2, but Olympic Cards and Comics has expanded the event to have 600 pounds of free comic books available all weekend. Everyone who attends the celebration will receive as many as three free comics. Some of the titles available this year include Avengers #1, DC’s Divergence, Avatar the Last Airbender, and Pokemon.
Along with free comic books, Olympic Cards and Comics will also be holding a weekend sale. Additionally, comic creator and novelist, Greg Rucka, will be in the story on Saturday from 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. for a special signing. Be sure to come early to catch Rucka’s signature. The Free Comic Book Day festivities begin at 10:00 a.m. and end at midnight on both Saturday and Sunday.
Danger Room Comics – 201 4th Ave West in downtown Olympia
Downtown Olympia’s Danger Room Comics will be opening at 10:00 a.m. (one hour early) to pass out as many comics as possible during the event. Casey Bruce and Frank Hussey have co-owned this downtown business since September 2010. Their passion for comics and graphic novels is obvious when you enter the doors. They can be found at the front counter on any given day willing to share their wealth of comic book knowledge.
Free Comic Book Day for Danger Room isn’t limited to their storefront. Danger Room staff will also be passing out comics at the Hands On Children’s Museum from 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. and Olympia’s Timberland Regional Library from 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Some of the titles Casey is most excited to hand out include Hip Hop Family Tree, Comics Festival, Fight Club, Secret Wars, and Avatar.
Both the Shelton and Olympia Timberland Regional Library branches will be handing out free comics to patrons thanks to Danger Room Comics and Olympic Cards & Comics. Comics are limited to one per person during regular library hours 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
The Tumwater branch will be taking readers places beyond the library. From 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. join cartoonist Megan Kelso to tap into your sense of memory, time, and place. This presentation is suitable for teens and adults. This event is co-sponsored by Humanities Washington and the Friends of the Tumwater Timberland Library.
Comic Book Fun will also be hosted by the Tumwater library branch from 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Stop by to get a free comic book, play games, and take part in superhero activities. There will also be a cosplay contest with prizes from local merchants.
Finally, the Lacey branch will have an event called We Make Comics: a Community Comic Jam. From 2:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m., explore comic illustration and meet with local illustrators Chelsea Baker, Zoey Hogan, and Ryan Buck. Materials for illustrating activities are provided and this event is open to all ages.
Thrifty Thurston highlights inexpensive family fun in Thurston County. The weekly series focuses on family-friendly activities throughout our community. If you have a suggestion for a post, send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more events and to learn what’s happening in Olympia and the surrounding area, click here.
Submitted City of Lacey
Lacey’s S.T.E.M. Fair and annual Electric Car Rally will be held Saturday, May 2, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Huntamer Park in Lacey. The free, award winning, event will showcase school clubs, teams, and businesses from all over Thurston County.
S.T.E.M. stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, all of which are vital fields that shape our future. The S.T.E.M. Fair is a great way for students and the community to learn more about how S.T.E.M. subjects are used in real world applications in a fun and exciting atmosphere.
Highlights from this year’s event include the robotics demonstrations, air powered rocket launches, a solar powered ducky dash, interactive Lego activities, and a demonstration by the Physics Phactory’s very own Professor Fickelstein at 12:00pm. Your kid’s won’t want to miss the Discovery Quest, where they can learn more about S.T.E.M while competing for a chance to win great prizes, including a school-wide assembly featuring Professor Fickelstein!
The crowd favorite, the Lacey Grand Prix, is an electric car rally where high school teams and hobbyists race their custom made electric cars in an effort to drive the most laps around the quarter-mile course in one hour. Teams are from the Pacific Northwest and include River Ridge High School’s Electric Vehicle Club. Races begin at 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Why S.T.E.M.? The Washington State S.T.E.M. Organization website states “S.T.E.M isn’t just for scientists and engineers. Washington’s economy is rooted in S.T.E.M. It’s simple: in the 21st century, STEM opens doors for every student to succeed.” For more information about this event, visit the city’s website at www.ci.lacey.wa.us/events or call the Lacey Parks and Recreation Department at (360) 491-0857.
By Kathryn Millhorn
No matter your financial situation, taste, or style, finding that perfect addition to your collection is always a delight. Whether it’s shoes, antiques, furniture, vintage items, or books, we all have our favorite hunting grounds for those special treats.
On Saturday, May 2, the Thurston County Fairgrounds will host their annual Secondhand Safari. More than 75 vendors are expected to show up to sell to more than 1,500 attendees. The event runs from 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. and admission is only $1.
Booth space is allotted on a first-come, first-served basis to anyone wanting to sell their goods. Fair Administrative Assistant Kari Bodnar explains that individuals and groups sign up to sell “their own handcrafted items and also new items” with the most popular being “children’s clothing, toys, furniture, antiques, books, tools, and holiday items.”
While wandering, visitors can replenish their energy with hot dogs, chips, and soda sold by the Kiwanis Club and coffee sold to benefit Olympia’s Feline Friends pet rescue.
The National Association of Resale Professionals recently reported that “resale shopping attracts consumers from all economic levels. There is no typical resale shopper, just as there is no typical resale shop. No one is immune to the excitement of finding a treasure and saving money. Shrewd shoppers take advantage of the opportunity resale offers to save money on apparel, furniture and other consumer goods. These savings can add quality to life when used for vacations, entertainment, funding college and retirement accounts, and expanding family activities.”
Bodnar echoes that sentiment. “This event is all about recycling, uniting the community and family fun. It also gives our community a safe place to hold their garage sale instead of at their private homes. And you get more customers in one day than the typical two days of a home sale.”
For sellers who don’t want to haul their unsold merchandise home, Goodwill will be on-site with two large trailers to accept the items as donations. Not only will the tax-deductible donations benefit local families who shop their neighborhood stores, but last year alone donations helped “more than 9.8 million people access the career, family and financial support services they needed to succeed. Your impact doesn’t end there—the planet also benefits when you choose to ditch the dumpster and drop your items at Goodwill. Over the past few years alone, you’ve helped keep billions of pounds of clothing and household items out of landfills.”
Families or community groups interested in hosting a booth at future Secondhand Safari events can contact Kari Bodnar via the Thurston County Fair office at 360-786-5453 or via email at BodnarK@co.thurston.wa.us.
Shoppers are encouraged to arrive early for prime selection and bring plenty of reusable shopping bags for your finds. Directions to the Thurston County Fairgrounds are available here. Many vendors will be cash only, so hit the cash machine before you stop in.
Everyone loves one-stop-shopping and events like the community-wide Secondhand Safari provide amazing opportunities to stock up on school clothes, birthday and Christmas presents, holiday decorations, and tools you didn’t even know you needed. Why not save a few dollars and support your friends, neighbors, and local charities all at one location? Helping couldn’t be any easier.
Thurston County Fairgrounds
Saturday, May 2
8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.