Introducing Longview's Hidden Treasure...Longview Produce! - Life in an RV Blog at - 172848

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Introducing Longview's Hidden Treasure...Longview Produce! 
May 2, 2010 7:47 am 
Updated: May 21, 2010 10:53 am
I have fiddled around with idea of writing a different kind of blog for quite some time now. I've been curious as to what gives some of our local craftspeople their inspiration for doing what they do. I recently discovered a hidden treasure right under my nose here in town that I felt needed to be "discovered". I don't know if this idea of mine will pan out or not, but I enjoy learning about people anyway and thought I would pass that on to all of you. This is a first for me! I've never interviewed anyone before and went into this very nervous! But I found Mr. Ted Westby, the owner of Longview Produce to be extremely gracious and very open about his new business. And I found myself completely at ease with him by the end of our visit.

So without further ado, I would like to introduce Ted Westby, the owner of Longview's hidden treasure of a store, Longview Produce! His son makes the tye-dye shirts that you can see a glimpse of to the side of the photo! I asked Ted what gave him the inspiration to open this produce store. He said that he used to own quite a few Subway restaurants (11 at one time) and was also in Izzy's and Taco del Mar...he found himself down to just 2 Subways and with the economy the way it was, he decided to go to work for someone else. That lasted just 6 months. Longview Produce was previously started by 2 partners and it was doomed from the start. The partnership dissoved and the store closed. Ted got the idea to re-open the produce stand and I, for one, am sure glad he did!
I love the fact that Ted features mostly locally grown produce in his store. I'm all for supporting our local economy. I asked him, "Where your market is located, there will be a super Walmart going in, basically across the you think you'll be able to compete with them price-wise?" His answer was that he's not even going to try to! What he plans on doing is concentrating his main focus on all-local, organic produce that Walmart won't feature. Such as the spinach pictured below...Washington grown...all the way!

Ted doesn't just sell produce here either! His small refrigerator case has 6-packs of duck eggs, hand-crafted local chocolates (which are wonderful, by-the-way), organic coffee, organic honey, and a locally crafted cheeses. Now, those of you who know me, know that I can't stand the way goat cheese tastes! Someone put it on the Recipe Exchange once that goat cheese tastes like a goat smells and that analysis pretty well sums it up for me! Mr. Westby pulled 3 types of goat cheese out of his case and cut a piece off of each one for me to sample. I went into this sampling with a closed mind...I wasn't going to like it!! The first bite of the pepper jack goat cheese completely gave me a new outlook! It was some kind of hint of that musky, goaty taste...I had to ask again if that was goat cheese...and Ted assured me it was! He can ship these wonderful cheese via mail if anyone is interested. I'll leave his email at the end of this blog if any of you are interested in contacting him about that.

Ted said one reason he was drawn to this location (it's off the beaten path, just heading down into Longview's industrial area) was because of the wet case and I can see why this would be! It's fantastic! And the windows that run across the front of the store just really highlight this display!! What's not to like?

Another product that can be shipped is this wonderful pasta sauce. It comes in zesty or mild and with or without tuna. I sampled this yesterday when Bob and I went to the farmer's market...I had it over a sausage dog and I was in heaven! I am hoping to interview the makers of this sauce sometime in the future. I give this sauce 20 thumbs up, it's to die for!!

These are those windows that I was talking about above. I asked Ted if he planned on having people come in to give cooking demonstrations using this produce and he said he thought would be something he'd like to do. I added that would be a great idea on getting people into the store to buy his products and he emphasized that he was more interested in the social aspect of it all. I like his thinking!

I noticed that a lot of his products for sale were definately grown in the Pacific Northwest and, as a foodie, that is what I'm looking for...locally grown and organic! Ted explained to me that he uses the supplier that the old owners used and so far, they have been working out great for him. He also explained how he went about pricing the produce so he can make a profit. Mind you, I saw the paperwork, so I can tell you that he is NOT making a huge profit here! But his clientel is growing steadily and that's great!

Longview Produce sells organic coffees from around the world and these can be shipped via mail, as well...I'll be trying these, definately.

I, jokingly, asked if I could come and work here and he said that he would rather employ someone like me, who understands that there is a romance to food. That made me stop and think...and he's absolutely right...there IS a romance to food. If there wasn't, we wouldn't be as passionate as we are about it. Ted explained that he sees the romance in setting up the displays and also in promoting his inventory. If you're not a foodie, you wouldn't understand that, at all...but I completely get it! Look at the beauty and romance of this pepper display!

I asked Ted if he considers himself a good cook and his answer was yes and no...his favorite things to cook are pastas of all types. He also likes to make steak...medium-rare to rare. I think these tomatoes here would be awesome in a pasta sauce!

As you can see, there is a lot of room in this store for expansion...and I can't wait for that to happen! So, when you all read the Japan blog, just know that the carrots, the cabbage, the green onions...they all came from this wonderful hidden treasure of a store here in Longview.

So, if any of you are interested in getting any products from this lovely little store through the mail, Ted's email is

Thank you, Mr. Ted Westby, for sharing a little of your life with us and I really appreciate that!!

May 2, 2010 8:08 am
Very nice blog! It's nice to see that you are all about the local economy. I am too and truly believe in it. Way to go.
May 2, 2010 8:09 am
very nice ww....lovely store...i would love to shop there, wish we had something like that here....
May 2, 2010 8:11 am
Awe, I got chills on the "romance" part. So true! I haven't always been a foodie but am becoming one more and more each day. Great blog WW! You have a great talent.
May 2, 2010 8:12 am
WOW.. what a great place. I wish we had something like that around here. If he put in a little buthcer shop it would be heaven. I don't think Wal-Mart will be a problem for that gentleman. BTW, good interview. You come from the right perspective! I think you're on to something there.
May 2, 2010 8:18 am
Another great blog...Thanks, Witchy, for sharing your world with us. The produce market looks interesting, and I definitely understand the romantic appeal of fresh food artisticly displayed. I am hoping to visit your area in August. Maybe I will swing through and stop by Ted Westby's produce market. It would be fun to let him know that your blog drew people all the way from Texas to his store in Washington!
May 2, 2010 8:21 am
Very nice! Good job WW. Thanks for sharing :) You could maybe submit this to a local newspaper ?
May 2, 2010 8:23 am
I don't think he will have much 'produce' competition from Walmart, their produce sucks! I never buy it or meat from there. Krogers here has wonderful meat and I get it on sale. We have several produce markets like this owned by a couple of brothers or cousins. I think they have 4 stores between them. That's where I go from my produce. Fresh, reasonable price, locally grown when in season.
May 2, 2010 8:39 am
WW, this is a beautiful blog. We have a little produce store here in Highland Park that I like to shop in. It does no claim to have organic or locally grown produce, but I love to shop there because it is so nice and peaceful. There is no crowd, etc. This place must be like shopping in Heaven.
May 2, 2010 8:48 am
What a wonderful little window onto your world. Truly inspiring and I am SO glad there are other foodie romantics around. My congratulations to you for your interviewing techniques, and my congratulations also to Mr. W. Long may he prosper.
May 2, 2010 8:49 am
I would SOOO shop there! He must have so much fun with that store! I agree with the idea of food:romance. If you ever go to Tucson, you should be sure to visit 17th Street Market--you'd love it!
May 2, 2010 8:52 am
Very nice WW. I totally get this too. My ex-inlaws owned a produce market that they opened in the early 80's and were on the cutting edge of the buy local/ buy organic movement. They too had everything from eggs, honey, peanut butter (all bulk), many bulk items like flour, oats, carob, everything imaginable that was grown around here or Washington. During the Christmas season since tree farms are everywhere around here, they would sell those too. They finally retired and sold the business in 2005 and are resting now, but I miss those days of going to "the Barn" and helping myself to anything, and working there during the peak season. I learned to can and make my jams & jellys with all the daily local deliveries, no wonder my kids loved all that stuff.
May 2, 2010 8:53 am
ww...your blogs are so great. and you have a talent for sure. have you thought about writing for magazines or the newspaper..submitting articles such as this one as well as your weekly ones to the different countries. You are so good at it and definitely will be a success. You have such passion and are a great photographer.
May 2, 2010 8:53 am
Really interesting blog, WW! You are such a great writer...Keep Blogging! ♥
May 2, 2010 9:14 am
Great blog! Makes me what to find one here....
May 2, 2010 9:27 am
Wow...what a cool place. I love the local aspect. I agree that you might want to see if your local paper would be interested in your work...I was a newspaper feature writer for several years and these kinds of local articles are often welcomed.
May 2, 2010 9:27 am
And if you don't do that, I'm thrilled that you'll share them here at AR!!
May 2, 2010 9:34 am
Loved reading this, Yes, I bet you would love working or cooking there & I think your interview was great& loved the pictures. You really should think about writing some books-you are into so many things! Maybe Ted would want to buy some of your harvest? Can't wait to see what you write about next!
May 2, 2010 9:46 am
As I was reading your blog, I pictured you, standing in his store with your hat on, stir frying something for the customers to try. Williams Sonoma does cooking demos, Costco gives out samples, some of the local food markets have info sheets about veggies. It might help him also. There are so many veggies I've never tried, and many more that I've bought after tasting them. You did a great job on your interview and photos. I'm looking forward to the next one.
May 2, 2010 9:49 am
LOL! Daiseyland...I bought that hat last summer when I was invited to compete in a country music singing competition (3rd place...$50 for a 4 minute song!) and haven't wore it since...I'm not a country music fan! I think it's squished up somewhere in my miniscule closet!
May 2, 2010 9:52 am
Wow, I would shop there if I lived in Washington, nice place!
May 2, 2010 10:00 am
MSC...he does mail order, that's why I left you all his email address...that pasta sauce is the schizz!!
May 2, 2010 10:04 am
I know he said he can ship that wonderful goat cheese (it made a believer out of me!), the tye-dye T-shirts, pasta sauce, duck eggs, candies, honey, and coffee just name a few products...just shoot him an email for more info!
May 2, 2010 10:17 am
What an awseome store witchy. I SO miss local markets and their "feel". They have mostly been replaced by giants supermarkets. I hope they get recognition and business from your blog. I always support local (non Walmart) businesses. Thanks for the blog.
May 2, 2010 11:10 am
What a wonderful blog!! I am so jealous that you live near such a cool place. I'd love to see more blogs like this :)
May 2, 2010 11:24 am
Wow! Great blog and like so many above have said - this should be submitted to your local paper. That is a great store - I love to buy local, fresh produce! Thanks for sharing!
May 2, 2010 12:49 pm
You've outdone yourself WW!!! Great story. I agree with the person who said you should submit this to your local newspaper. It would increase his business!! You have a real talent girlie! Keep it up! I really liked this type of blog from you in addition to your County blogs as well! (I think you should do his cooking demos too!! )
May 2, 2010 3:55 pm
What an enchanting, quirky store! I love the way he uses old furniture and packing crates along with modern chillers. We have a similar store here, but the prices are nowhere near as good as there. Our farmers market prices aren't even that good. I agree with the others, turn this blog into a press release and send it to your local papers. Well done!
May 2, 2010 5:13 pm
That was amazing!I totally get the passion of produce.I worked produce for 10 years and loved everything about it.We have a nice in door produce market here as well with local produce.It definitely gets me through the winter.We go to the farmers market every Sat.We've become good friends with a lot of the venders.It was so good seeing everyone last weekend.Everyone looked healthy and happy to be there.I dream of having my own store/resturant but know what hard work it is.I'm not getting any younger.LOL Thanks again for the greT BLOG.Have a great week.
May 2, 2010 5:22 pm
What a cool place! Walmart's produce has nothing on that gentleman's. Glad you tried the goat cheese. I knew the neatest lady who raised everything organically, she only bought cleaning and disinfectant supplies. She said you had to have the right kind of goat & you had to feed & treat them properly(she meant humanely). Her lemon flavored goat cheese was to die for. So was most everything she served. We need more people like her and Mr. Westby!
May 2, 2010 5:31 pm
What a great blog!! You have such a talent for writing, you should be published by now!! When I saw the price of those artichokes I about died!!! They are over $3.00 each here, and that's in the commisary!! One lucky girl to live in such a great place. Keep up the good work and writing!
May 2, 2010 6:00 pm
Thank You. I felt as if I was there.Mag
May 2, 2010 6:24 pm
Witchy, what a wonderufl blog! I definately think you are on to something here! Please do keep writing about local craftsmen. I love Mr. Ted's market ans so wish we had him here where I live! Frest produce is truly wonderful.
May 2, 2010 6:25 pm
Oh! so many typos!! so sorry!
May 2, 2010 6:29 pm
Great blog WW. I'm very jealous that you have a store like that. If we had one here I would probably be there daily if I could. :)
May 2, 2010 6:51 pm
Well just about everybody beat me to the punch-you should have your own column in a newspaper or magazine. Try submitting some articles. Great practice for when you get around to publishing your cookbook!
May 2, 2010 7:05 pm
Wow, it seems you all like this type of blog...I will see what I can do about writing some more like this! I don't know about the newspaper or magazine deal...I wouldn't know where to begin with that! LOL! It would be fun, though!! Thanks, everyone!!
May 2, 2010 7:26 pm
Great stuff, great pics! I loved the "article" and I am sure the readers of the local paper would enjoy it too! With the increased interest in buying local, knowing where your food comes from and the health and wellness benefits of cooking at home I would think that this blog would be of interest to many in your area. Could you approach the editor of your local paper to see if there is a place for this article? That is, of course...if YOU want to do that and go public! BTW, I loooovvvvve goat cheese, coffee and tie dyed t-shirts. Booking my flight now!
May 2, 2010 7:28 pm
Wyatt...he ships all that stuff...jsut shoot him an email! LOL!
May 2, 2010 7:33 pm
well, that would defeat my purpose in trying to buy local, LOL! However, if I visited the store while visiting friends in Longview......well, you get the idea! Seriously though, I might inquire about the shirts. From what I could see, they look great.
May 2, 2010 9:38 pm
WW that is great you are totally speaking my language. As a mother of four small children I like to buy local organic as much as possible. Which is a pretty short season in NP. That store looked like a place I would hit up on a regular basis. Hmm goat cheese, I'll have to give it a whirl.
May 3, 2010 12:04 am
Wow! I don't know how it remeained hidden! It's way more swank than the produce place by my house. Great pictures and write-up! Better watch your pocketbook, though - looks like you found a new hangout! I'd be there all the time. :)
May 3, 2010 3:15 am
Beautiful job! I love stores like this. Fresh, local, and in season vegetables. Really nice writting.
May 3, 2010 3:33 am
You really do have a treasure trove right under your nose! I hope you get to go there often!
May 3, 2010 6:34 am
I'm going to tell my SIL about this. She lives in Troutdale, OR and travels to Wash often. Loved the soon to be published article!
May 3, 2010 6:35 am
Greta blog and your pictures are awesome! When do you start work? LOL!! I hope his business grows!!!
May 3, 2010 6:40 am
what a beautiful store, judging from your pics. and what a lovely story. thanks for sharing it with us. i have to agree with sunnybyrd, i'd be there all the time too :)
May 3, 2010 11:16 am
I have to say thanks alot WW!!! You just made me mucho homesick. I lived in Deer Island, just outside of St. Helens and Longview (about halfway) for many years. Had my own little slice of heaven.. my farm. Had 57 laying hens too.. I could have found another outlet for my hens! I have been away for four years, so I'm guessing this store has opened just recently.. otherwise, I would have been his best customer. Thank you for sharing, even though you made me homesick!
May 3, 2010 10:17 pm
Lovely visit at the Longview Produce. Greet Mr. Westby for us. I surely hope to find a similar market when we get stateside. Those rows of beautiful veggies look like what I find here (and will miss).
May 4, 2010 1:53 am
You cook, you write AND you're a great photographer! Multitalented! I loved looking at all of your pics. My husband would absolutely love to live your lifestyle (on the road) I on the other hand have to be grounded for some odd reason. I'll bet your life never gets boring! xx
May 4, 2010 4:58 am
oh my ww please show us more places ...i love this store so much, can't wait to see the next biz you show off or hope you show us your world and all the thing you have there...great job...i can't stop coming back & looking at this blog...and i love the cooking countrys blog too
Lee B 
May 4, 2010 7:27 am
I would rather shop in a farmer's market any day. Grocery stores are so impersonal. I think you may be onto something grand! BTW-goat cheese is yummy especially with something spicy like habenero(sp)peppers and pineapple preserves.
May 4, 2010 10:46 am
I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to wish you and your husband HEALTH! I also wanted to share that after my mom passed 10 years ago and my sister and I decided that we had to "run away" for Thanksgiving, we've been spending a week camping during Thanksgiving and cooking all our dishes/casseroles/pies, etc. either on the campfire or in a Coleman stovetop oven. We both have pop up campers, so no ovens in the campers. It's a real adventure! Your matter-of-factness inspires me. I haven't dug too deeply into your recipes yet, that's next. I did want to ask about your savings on your grocery bill and the change going into the "Beach Bag." I assume you're saving for a trip, but are you really spending under $20 a week for all your groceries? or is that under $20 for your international meal and the rest goes into savings? If it's under $20 a week, I need to know your secret. You're great! Love the blog!
May 4, 2010 6:54 pm
That's $20 for the international meal...not the whole week...I'd have to Houdini to pull that one off!! LOL!
Simplistic Reality 
May 4, 2010 9:17 pm
New to this site and can't cook very good but loved your page. I see your close to me. I live in Vancouver, WA. That produce store above looks fantastic and probably would be worth the 20 minute drive North. 89 cents for fresh artichokes? Wow. I'll have to check out the rest of your entries. :) Got an address for it?
May 5, 2010 5:13 am
851 California Way
May 5, 2010 9:14 am
what a cute puss Dave the girl cat is! xx
May 7, 2010 4:28 am
Such a great little store - and your blog is fantastic! Wish Ohio was closer, I would love to visit Ted's place. Keep up the great work. You have real talent.
May 7, 2010 7:01 am
How lucky you are to have a store like that near! Wow. Great Blog! Oh, and he has nothing to fear from Wally World's's always sooooo bad, old and just fugly! Ugh!
May 7, 2010 2:24 pm
We will be heading thru Longview this weekend on the way to Long Beach - we'll definitely check this out! Thanks WW!!
May 7, 2010 3:29 pm
i will have to check it out! thanks for the tip. have you been to the new produce store on washington way yet?
May 7, 2010 3:33 pm
No, I haven't heard good things about that one...I like to go in and visit Ted!
May 7, 2010 3:34 pm
I'm just letting you all know that I posted the Singapore blog last night!! Stop by and check out Bob's new smoothie recipe!!
May 7, 2010 3:37 pm
i will keep that in mind as i haven't visited the new place yet either. i will have to make it out to california way this weekend for my weekly veggies! i'm excited :)
May 8, 2010 7:11 am
I guarantee you won't be disappointed!!
May 8, 2010 11:21 am
My favorite kind of store! Drooling over the produce. California is sometimes still referred to as an agricultural state but here in Orange County we have nothing like this!I'm envious of those of you who do live close by to this jewel of a store!
May 8, 2010 11:26 am
witchywoman-If anyone could write a column or article for a newspaper it would be you! Go for it girl, you have been given a gift!
May 8, 2010 6:53 pm
WW- I love this! A novel idea to showcase a business! It makes me want to "show off" a food Co-op in Buffalo. I just may do that. I am always raving about the Tahini cookies or the scrumptious granola (only $2.59/pound). Ok, so keep writing because I am one of your many subscribers!
May 9, 2010 5:24 am
You ought to submit your blog to your local paper - wonderful job! I wish I could get some of those peppers. The blasted things are sooo expensive here! Thanks for sharing!
May 9, 2010 9:18 am
Hi guys...thanks for that, I don't know if I'm ready for that step or not, I'm still thinking on it. But I really do appreciate the thoughts!
May 9, 2010 2:49 pm
Yummy...I love the look of those beautiful red radishes. I love to buy locally grown organic produce too. Great blog, you really do have a gift for writing. I always enjoy reading your blog.
May 9, 2010 5:28 pm
I got excited when I read the title, because I happen to live in Longview-unfortunately I am in Longview Texas. Oh well.
May 11, 2010 10:18 am
Loved reading this, I wish Mr. Westby nothing but success!I wish I had a store like that around me... We do have smaller stores I love to visit but those prices are awesome!
May 17, 2010 4:54 pm
This is not something you can find in Wal-Mart. I do not think he will have any problems with Wally World moving in. Cause he can offer stuff that they cannot. You did awesome on this.
May 21, 2010 10:53 am
Wow, is this really in Longview, WA? I grew up in Clatskanie, OR. So right accross the bridge. I live in Silverdale, Wa. now but I come and visit all of my family every month. When I am there I do most of the grocery shopping for my parents. I would love to check this place out. The choice of organic foods in Longview is pretty limited if you don't know where to go. And I don't! So this is really helpful! Yeah Super Walmart has nothing on this guy! I can't buy produce at Walmart, I walk into their produce section and all I can smell is pesticide! His store is incredible though! The produce looks beautiful!
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About Me
I've been married to my husband for over 8 years. My husband is a cancer survivor. We live in SW Washington state by Mt. St. Helens, but I'm originally from Forks, the little town made famous by the Twilight movies. My blog is called Baked Lava and I'm currently cooking my way around the world. I write a monthly column for our local newspaper called Life in an RV and that site is I've had my blog featured in Trailblazer Magazine. I love my recycled container garden and I love to create new recipes. I rarely follow a recipe to the letter, unless it involves baking. My husband & I don't have children unless you count the 4-legged variety...we have 4 of those: Puppa, Sasha, KiKi & Super Dave the Girl Cat. I am a prize-winning nature photographer.
My favorite things to cook
I don't have really a favorite thing to cook, per say...I'm not afraid to cook anything. I've recently taught myself how to can and make bread. I still have no great love of making cookies. I'm getting very well-versed in worldwide cuisine, as I'm cooking my way around the world. I love to create new recipes and rarely, anymore, do I have one that flops, but it does and will happen...the road to hell was paved with good intentions, or so they say. My favorite cuisine in this worldwide culinary adventure has been, so far, Belgium...fantastic food! I also am partial to Vietnamese, Korean, Azerbaijani and Hungarian cuisine...and Middle Eastern food kicks @ss!
My favorite family cooking traditions
My favorite family cooking tradition is the weekly international meals that I prepare. The tradition is that my blog readers choose what country they would like to see from week to week and I cook an entire meal for 4 people with a budget of $20. Right now I am in the middle of my "Austerity" project where we are solely eating from the freezers and really have to creative to do this and I am making up recipes as I go...I have used a few AR recipes and credit back to them, though.
My cooking triumphs
I've had several of my original recipes published, I've had my blog featured in a magazine, I now write a monthly food column based on my blog for our local newspaper and I'm already one year into my cooking venture of Around the World in an RV. I am a Food Buzz featured publisher, I'm on PetitChef, RecipesUS and Foodista among many, many other cooking websites. I guess it's safe to say that due to my cooking, I have now ventured into the world of food blogging and into a smaller group of us fellow global food bloggers and I've made some amazing friends.
My cooking tragedies
There have been several and there aren't enough characters in the 1000 allotted to list them all down!
Argentina  |  Australia & New Zealand  |  Brazil  |  Canada  |  China  |  France  |  Germany  |  India  |  Italy  |  Japan  |  Korea  |  Mexico

Netherlands  |  Poland  |  Quebec  |  Russia  |  SE Asia  |  United Kingdom & Ireland  |  United States