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Heart of the Neighborhood
by Wendi Bernau

The Heart of the Neighborhood event at The Mix on September 16 was filled with great energy, centered around the Grand Opening of the newly renovated commercial kitchen. People of all ages came to sample locally produced foods, experience food-based art pieces, and purchase foods of all kinds from granola and salsa to ice cream and coffee. Even the artwork was based on food: “I designed and made these utensil pieces especially for this event,” said Terri Thoman, a block print artist.

In addition to tempting tastes, the room was buzzing with lively conversation. With just a little ask, one might learn a lot about the stories behind these small businesses. The spaghetti sauce maker couldn’t find sauce in the store her diabetic family member could eat, so she began making her own. The rum cake baker uses an old recipe from a long-past magazine. The ceramics artist has a daughter who also makes beautiful things. The young pre-teens run their own cookie party catering business with three different sets of menu possibilities, depending on the type of event. 

That’s the beauty of The Mix and the community that develops here: it’s not just about having a nice time and sampling some tasty treats. These are our neighbors. This is our community. The commercial kitchen is a preparation place for these relationships to grow, as our neighborhood entrepreneurs share space to produce their specialty products and artistic creations. As we invest in the success of our neighbors, we grow a stronger, more vibrant community for all. We hope to see you in The Mix