Thursday, February 12, 2009

"Old World" Community
Sense of Community at Corvallis' Old World Deli

Today I've been missing the Old World Deli in Corvallis, Oregon. I miss the smell of brownies baking in the morning and hops brewing in the afternoon (Oregon Trail brewery is in the back). I miss Harold, my retired friend who rolled by with his walker everyday to meet up with his friends. I miss Ted playing his accordian in the morning, each song different, depending on his mood. The Growing Edge, the magazine where I worked, was located in an office space inside the Deli. Last month, our publisher decided to stop printing the mag and laid off the staff (though Growing Edge is still online, it's now a portal of gardening stories). I even miss my coworkers and their wacky senses of humor and how individual they all were (Mike, Alex, Jimmy). I miss the sense of community at the Deli.

Here's Jimmy, the "art" guy at the Growing Edge, a hilarious and big-hearted guy (unless you get on his bad side and then he'll chuck you out like a bouncer in a club).

Our office was behind the left window facing the Deli

More than a few times a day, I'd wander out of the office to fill-up with hot water for my tea, to say hi to Ted, the owner of the Deli, or Fae, Lisa or Laura.

Ted, Deli owner and Laura

Lisa, one of the "girls" who works at the Deli.

Sometimes I wandered out to flirt with my grey-haired retired friend Harold, who goes to the Deli every morning to meet up a group of his friends. They drink coffee and jabber about all kinds of things. Everyday they bring something in to show the others, it's like an informal show-and-tell.

Here's Harold stopping by my office to say hello!

The Old World Deli is more than a eatery in Corvallis, it's a community. On Wednesday night people convene to watch belly dancers (FYI to the ladies: there's lots of masculine energy at the Deli on Wed eve). After hours, the post officer workers (the post office is next door) hang out in the back still in their delivery suits with Dave from Oregon Trail brewery. On Tues or Wed, don't recall which, there's an artist group that meets with oil and watercolor paintings to critique each other's work. Kudos to Ted for creating a community... despite the recession, the Old World Deli is here to stay, though several other eateries in the area have gone out of business.

The photo below is the parting gift I gave to the Deli when I left....

This creature is a Ken doll sitting inside a wicker duck that had barbie doll legs. It was left by the former editor of Growing Edge, John Baur, who left his editor-ship to move to the caribeean and become a pirate (no kidding.) He's the guy who started Talk Like a Pirate Day. I inherited his job and this creature.

Little did I know that the Deli girls would soon part with my parting gift...

When the Growing Edge office closed, I gave the creature to the ladies at the Deli. Later when my boss, co-worker and I were eating at American Dream, this cute couple (who both work at the Deli) came by with my creature in their hands. I had to laugh!! They even gave it a name
Ken's Ark:

One of my fav. things about the Deli is the brewery in the back. And I don't even drink. But I learned a lot about the art of brewing.

Here's a photo of Wally, who owns sheep in the valley and during brewing time, he comes to pick up the spent barley to feed to his sheep.

Here's Dave, helping Wally load the buckets of spent barley.

Here's Dave holding some fresh hops in his hands. There's a trellace at the back of the Deli with a hops plant on it. They grow their own hops right on site!


tomalex said...


I miss you all too. Although I am still there moving all the stuff out for another couple of weeks.
I didn't close Growing Edge, I just stopped printing it. If one goes to you will see that TGE lives on the web and we are not just about hydroponics and greenhouses anymore. We are about everything and anything gardening.

tomalex said...

Oh and I forgot to say that Ted rented out the space today to a couple of women who have a small real estate company... it will be a different atmosphere...things change.

viking said...

Jen, I loved this posting. Life is often more than just what we do day in day out, it is what happens in the spaces between deadlines, and punch lists. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.

Jen said...


Thanks for posting something... yeah I have fond memories of my job there and the folks surrounding me. I'll change my post to reflect that the mag is still open... but just online. I'm excited to follow the site and see what new stories arrive.

All the best! Keep in touch,