Graham and I have been in Oregon for almost a year. We arrived September 1, moved into our rental house about a week later when the truck arrived and I made my first new friend here when I posted our boxes to be picked up on Freecycle. Jana needed a few boxes to store books and we sat on the porch rockers for about an hour sharing stories. Hearing I wanted to learn to can, she invited me to her farm and under her tutelage, I learned to make and love tomatillo salsa.
Shortly after that Graham’s high school buddy Charles (they reconnected on Facebook a few years ago) who lives in Salem hooked us up with another friend and Tina taught us all how to pressure can tuna. I was very much enjoying the bounty that this area offers!
Shortly after that I attended a meeting of farmers in a nearby town and started making connections with this region’s complement of wonderful farmers. And so it went. Over these past 11 months we have made some wonderful new friends and our circle continues to grow. But it never would have happened if we didn’t take a first step out.
This past Thursday we attended a gathering of people primarily because we knew the host. One of the farmers we have gotten to know and love, Ranee Solmonsson of Sunshower Hill Farm was hosting an event. She said she would be speaking about her farm and Heidi Lindell of Yamhill Valley Grown also would explain how the farmers in this area connect with consumers. I work with Heidi, visiting farms and writing the Yamhill Valley Grown blog.
It turned out to be a great evening, organized by Om Sukheenai of Chehelem Insurance Associates as a way for people in the community to network The people who attended were people who have businesses in the region between McMinnville and Portland and wanted to share their passions. They included Nicole Sensabaugh – Bookkeeper, Cristina Yen– A Yen for Chocolate, Mary Beth Mac Nulty– Studio 601, Paola Roselli – Travel Agent/ Alpaca Rancher, Jeanne Biggerstaff– Biggerstaff Vitural Business Assistance, Carr Biggerstaff– Owner of Biggerstaff Vitural Bussiness Assistance, Heidi Lindell– Yamhill Valley Grown, Lynn Derania– Polar Bear Yogurt, Maggie Yu– Sherwood Family Practice, Saj Jaivanjee – Archer Vineyard. Vida Ice– Arbonne International. Graham told about CreationsByBG and his woodworking and I spoke more about my passion to share information about the bounty the local farms produced and get more consumers on board.
We gathered first on Ranee’s deck where she presented a few edibles prepared from food her farm produces, and a bit of wine. We then enjoyed the evening by sitting in a circle on the grass, enjoying getting to hear about each other passions and then to share.
The synergy I saw, the connections being made was amazing. Here we had 15 people; some knew each other a bit, some not a all. By the end of the two hours we had several connections being made for new business opportunities, and more importantly, for new friendships.
So many people comment about the fact that we have made so many friends here already. The secret to replicate that is to GET OUT. Leave your house and act on your passions. Find people with similar interests and make time to make the connections. Talk and listen, share in the knowledge and excitement about life.