2020 - Looking Back on a Crazy Year

I have neglected the business blog.  I know better.  I should be taken out to the woodshed and be asked to explain why.  I don't know if my excuse would hold water.  Maybe just by saying it was the year 2020 would be enough?  I think everyone was a little out of sorts during 2020.

But, ... 2020 was a good year for our Cactus Canyon Ceramics brand.  I can't say the same for our brand of GringoCool extra virgin olive oil because the inventory ran out and with the whole COVID thing, I never got a shipment organized from Spain.  But for the hand painted Spanish pottery, 2020 was a good year.

What's New?

Two important things took place in 2020 for the business.  First, after living and working for ten years in Spain, my wife Pia and I moved back to our US home in Central Oregon, in the fall of 2019.  So 2020 was the first full year that I have been back stateside and this has allowed the opportunity to improve many aspects of the business.

The second important thing that happened was leasing of a warehouse space on March 1st, 2020.  Having a warehouse has centralized the business and reduced a lot of expenses from many angles. 

Cactus Canyon Ceramics warehouse
Packing out orders in the new warehouse

Do I miss Spain?

You bet I do!  Some of the things I miss most is the food, my friends and the weather (I loved the heat).  I have been asked, what is it about the Spanish food?  Why is it good?  I explain about some of the typical dishes such as garbanzo y espinacha, I find myself wondering too?  The dishes are simple.  Secreto, Pluma  and Presa are all cuts of meat from the black footed pig (cerdo de pata negra).  And typically, the pieces are simply grilled or fried and served, most times without condiments.  The quality of the pork in Spain is spectacular and without anything (sauces of condiments) the meat is delicious.  Even cuts of meat that make you think twice such as carilladas (pork cheeks) or rabo de buey (oxtail) are delicious.  And don't get me started on the bread.  In Spain, you can find 6 or more types of bread, fresh each morning (or afternoon).  Bread is fresh, the veggies and fruit are fresh and the recipes are simple.  I think the only important thing to have on hand to replicate a Mediterranean diet is a top quality extra virgin olive oil.  Because most dishes in Spain are prepared with EVOO, and little else except a pinch of salt (and maybe ajo [garlic]).

camarones de ajo

Gambas o Camarones de Ajo

Golf?  Yeah Golf.

And I miss golf in Andalusia!  I miss starting out with friends, early on a Saturday morning on the way to a tee time at a coastal course.  Stopping along the way at a small bar for a breakfast of toast, jamon iberico (ham) tomate and a cafe con leche (or two).  Many/most of the courses are beautiful and challenging.  And a good round is never complete unless a meal and a beer or two is shared at the end.

I miss going to the factories to visit with friends I have made that produce the hand painted pottery and olive oil.  I miss watching the painters with their brushes and wheels, and I miss the factory smells of fresh pressed clay contrasted against the smells of early spring days, or long, hot summer days.  In Spain, I always felt like I was on an adventure.  Each day was a treat and could hold new discoveries.

But, while I miss Spain and can't wait to visit but I am also enjoying Central Oregon.  Since I moved back, Pia and I have been able to spend more time with our children (who both reside in the States), and I was around for several important events including the passing of my Mom.

And Central Oregon is a wonderland!  So much to do within a stone's throw of our house.  Pia and I have been able to do some hikes, bike rides, float trips, fish trips and of course golf!  I am now a member in the local "Men's Club" at the Crooked River Ranch Golf Course.  The course is a great course (very scenic) and so convenient to where I live now (and we can play during the winter months!).  I am making new friends and enjoying more the surrounding of Central Oregon with each month that passes.

winter golf at the Crooked River Ranch

Winter golf at the Crooked River Ranch

Oh,... and I love our kitchen.  And I love living with Pia in our little house next to the Deschutes River.

GringoCool Kitchen

Old photo, but still home sweet home

What to Expect for 2021?

First, a belated thanks to all of our customers of 2020 and before.  Thank you, thank you. Thank you.

Be assured we will continue to make available top quality Spanish hand painted ceramics and premium quality, Spanish extra virgin olive oil.  This is what we do.  We take pride in our customer service and we take pride in the quality of products we offer.  We will never skimp in these two areas.

This spring we plan to offer a good inventory of hand painted garden pots (floor pots, wall pots, wall orzas and wall tinajas), as well as new olive dishes!  And look for our 2021 Tasting Set of EVOO that we hope to make available by September.

Thanks for reading.  Comments and questions are almost always welcome.  :-) Cheerio - Steve 

 

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