Eastern Washington is truly a remarkable place to live. There is beauty in its openness: stark contrasts between expansive desert and powerful rivers, between rugged hillsides and cultivated fields. It is the place I have called home for nearly as long as Chukar Cherries. Where Chukar was founded on a family farm in Prosser in 1988, my family and I returned from Germany a few months prior. There is a faint hint of irony to know that we settled half an hour away on a street called Chukar Drive.
Growing up in and around the Tri-Cities area of Eastern Washington, the delicious taste of Chukar has long been a treat for my friends and family. I cannot affix on the first time I tried a Honey Pecan, but I can say that there is not a single member of my family who is not moved to eat an entire bag anytime we buy one. When moving back from a near five year stint on the “wet” side of the state, it seems fitting to find myself working for a company I have known for so long and a place I now find myself so conveniently situated near.
Coming to Chukar a year ago, I had just completed the closing down of a riding stable and still had commitments to students and an upcoming commitment, long in the planning, for a therapeutic riding program. Not only was I allowed to maintain previous commitments, but there was a genuine warmth and interest in what I did, from the owners, Pam and JT, to my fellow co-workers. It is not very often that a job comes along that immediately embraces the lives that its employees lead away from the office.
When I’m not at Chukar or working with horses, my free time takes a more literary bent. As a writer, I have been asked what tidbits from Chukar I might use as inspiration in my writing. The funny thing is, I’ve yet to feel a need to. To be an inspiration, it must be understood, is rarely a compliment form a writer such as myself. There are numerous stories of infamy. Something along the lines of “be careful or you’ll go in my novel” is not an endearment. No, if anything, I would leave my friends at Chukar to the simple compliment of imitation. Just as they have embraced me, so too will I. Maybe, though, at some future point, a character might come to taste a Honey Pecan or Black Forest Cherry and fall in love at the very first bite. After all, a good writer writes what they know!
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