Love Local with the Local Guy

Throughout September, we will be celebrating all things local. And no one loves local or is more local than our Temporary Demo Coordinator, Brighton Litjens. He was basically raised at the Co-op, has a strong passion for local farmers and producers and loves delighting shoppers with delicious samples and great deals. Who better to tell us about loving local than the "Local Guy" himself?

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Happy day! My name is Brighton Summer Litjens. Lots of light in that name huh? Yes, it’s a lot to live up to. I was born at home and sustainably pasture raised here in eccentric Ashlandia. I am 20 years old yet my friends joke that I live like a 58 year old. I am very involved in the local community doing as much as I can to learn, grow and have an absolute blast! I work three different jobs that keep me nice and busy and with all of them I get to educate and share nourishing food with the best people. Joni Mitchell is my favorite artist. (See I AM 58)

Rumor has it you're what they call a "co-op baby." Can you tell us more about that and if it's true?

Well I’m currently not a baby anymore but yes! The Co-op is my stomping ground. It’s my church, community center, education center, and the place where I end up being part of an Om circle around some loose chickens in the courtyard... I have been coming to the Co-op everyday since I was in my BabyBjorn. It was (and is) the only store my mom shopped when I was a kid and instead of going to the park we would come to the Co-op and I would eat yummy snacks, play and be incredibly entertained. My parents actually met here! My dad had a room for rent and posted it on the flyer board; my mom saw it and they met at the juice bar and supposedly “fell in love”. So cute! I am passionate about healthy foods and I thank the Co-op for offering such an abundance of nurturing products. We are so so lucky to have access to amazing produce, wellness items and herbs that better our lives.

In your position, you work a lot with local producers and vendors. What's your favorite part about about working with them?

I absolutely adore working with all of our amazing local vendors in the area. It is such a pleasant experience every time I see and talk with the owners. It is so special to hear their stories and learn about what they create. It’s their art and passion. My favorite part is helping them get their product known and exposed. A lot of the time we are their first account and it’s so rewarding for them to demo their product and interact with customers in the store. Creating, sustaining and nourishing our community is something that we strongly believe in here at the Co-op. It all comes together here.


Tell us about what the Co-op and the Demo Department have planned for Love Local Month in September.

When you come in the store, you can look forward to tasting the local products you love. Come and meet our region's awesome vendors. We put a good amount of local products on a super sale all month long! Here’s some product tastings we have lined up throughout the month: Rogue Creamery, Wilderness Poets, Quady North, Caldera, Dagoba Chocolate, local body care/soap companies and wellness brands as well as wonderful local produce samples happening every week.

If you were stranded on a desert island and could only take three local products/foods with you, what would they be and why?

Oh goodness, that’s a tough one. I would choose the crispy and perfect Barking Moon carrots that we just got in, Blue Lotus Chai Golden Masala tea and Pickled Planet’s I-Boost Sauerkraut. Mmmm… throw me on that dang island, I want to start eating these great treats!


More Co-op News

4 Ways to Reduce Your Food Waste

It’s the New Year, our favorite time for goal-setting, making positive resolutions, and shifting our impact. One of the Co-op’s goals is to become a Zero Waste facility. Our staff works to divert as much food waste as we can - and we hope our member-owners will join us in this goal too.

Understanding CBD

The world of CBDs is continuing to grow, adding to our already vast assortment of medicine available, and sometimes adding to the questions we have about it. We asked our Wellness team to answer the five most common questions about CBD here at the Ashland Food Co-op.

How is CBD different from what I might find in a dispensary?

Meet Cooking Class Instructor Charlie Douglass

Many talented local chefs share their expertise in the Co-op Kitchen. Charlie Douglass is no exception. As the former Master Chocolatier at Harry and David, Charlie knows a thing or two about chocolate and candy making. 

Tell us how your love of cooking and food began.

Meet Cooking Class Instructor Tiazza Rose

From bread baking to Moroccan cooking, many talented local chefs share their expertise in the Co-op Kitchen. We'd like you to meet a few of them. Tiazza Rose has been teaching the Ashland community the art of Moroccan cooking for years. If you haven't taken a class from Tiazza yet, you should. Here's why.


Tell us how your love of cooking and food began.

We'll cook. You feast.

Spend more time relaxing with friends and family this holiday. Order the Deli’s ready-to-heat and serve Thanksgiving meal without all the fuss. We make everything from scratch and all recipes use the highest quality ingredients.

Choose from three options:

Give the Gift of Good Food

During the month of November, Co-op shoppers can nourish their own families and help fight hunger in the Rogue Valley. We’ve teamed up once again with Smart Chicken® for the Smart Giving Holiday Challenge.

Here’s how it works.

  • For every 10 pounds of Smart Chicken® you purchase from the Meat Department or the Deli, Smart Chicken® will donate one pound of chicken to a local non profit

We're All Turtles

By Dean Williamson, Board of Director

My grandmother loved to talk. Oh, could she talk! And she had one expression that I’ve always really liked. “If you come across a turtle on top of a fence post, you can be pretty sure it didn’t get there by itself.”

Meet Board of Director Trine Ostergaard

Trine Ostergaard is a newly elected Ashland Food Co-op Board of Director. She brings a world, literally, of experience to the table and has a sincere passion and love for the Co-op. We are thrilled to have her aboard and asked her to answer a few questions.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Meet Board of Director Dean Williamson

Dean Williamson is a newly elected Ashland Food Co-op Board of Director. He brings to the table a plethora of co-op experience and a love of chocolate chip cookies. We are thrilled to have him aboard and asked him to answer a few questions.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Staff Picks: Favorite Local Products

September is Love Local Month!  All month long we’re celebrating our local farmers and vendors with demos, events and more. Here are some of our staff's favorite local products.


How Can I Reduce My Plastic Use at the Co-op?

By Rianna Koppel, Sustainability Coordinator

Plastic pollution today is a global dilemma. Did you know that more than 40% of plastic is used once, then tossed? In 2015, 79% of total plastic waste ended up in landfills or the environment. How can our co-op help reduce the amount of single-use plastics? Luckily, we offer a variety of options for owners.

Stainless Steel Straws

Meet Pachamama Coffee Cooperative

By Lauren Taber, Pachamama Coffee Cooperative

Pachamama Coffee Cooperative started in 2001 with a few simple questions in mind: what would it look like to take Fair Trade a step further? How can coffee farmers be in direct relationship with end consumers in the United States?

We found that the answer was even simpler: cooperative ownership. Pachamama Coffee has been 100% farmer-owned since day one, and is currently owned by 140,000 small scale family farmers across the coffee producing regions of the world.