Loleta Cheese Is Falling Apart

Loleta Cheese, beloved by generations of Humboldters, is changing , and not for the better.  As you know,  they were bought last year by a Bay Area chef who immediately introduced THREE lines of cheese.  It apparently hasn’t worked out  too well.

I’ve been in the habit of buying  their cheese for birthday presents for years   Last month I wanted to buy for two birthdays but I couldn’t get their website to work. So I drove to Loleta and picked out two identical piles of cheese to be shipped, one to Florida, one to Minneapolis. The last time I did this was at Christmas. When the nice clerk gave me forms to fill out, I told her, “Just do it like last time  -you have the addresses”.  No, we don’t, she told me.  The new owner DELETED ALL THE CUSTOMER FILES.

What kind of bozo would do that? 

We filled out the forms- this was on Friday, April 28 at 2pm according to my receipt.  As I was leaving she said the cheese would be shipped out on Monday,  It was all picked out and ready to go but,  no,  it had to wait four days to be shipped. Not impressive.

All the next week, I looked forward to hearing from my cheese-starved relatives that they had received their cheese. Hearing nothing, I called Loleta Cheese. on May 8.   I reached the same nice lady.  She said my cheese had just been shipped THAT DAY.  When I asked why it took so long, she said they had been out of one of the selections.  They were not.  I had picked them out myself. All were present. I didn’t argue with The Nice Lady but I will no longer entrust Loleta Cheese to mail anything for me. Just sayin’

I hope Loleta Cheese survives.  Several people rely on it for employment.  But when you lose your customer service, you’re on the way to closing.  When I write anything critical about this business their  friends and relatives spring to their defense. Loyalty is great, but customer service is better.  We should have both.

The ‘new” cheeses are not very good,  The citrus is particularly awful. They are selling a “blue cheese” made by Pt Reyes Cheese that is just okay.  It’s not real blue cheese. Say a little prayer for this company and let’s hope they can survive on the summer trade in grilled cheese sandwiches. Everyone wants to try them once. After that, do they have a real business?

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The Price of a Popsicle

 

When I was five years old my grandmother lived on 14th Street in Eureka and my aunt lived on F Street nearby. They used to send me down to the C&V Market with a NICKEL- 5¢ -to buy a popsicle.

These days I suppose no one would  let a kid out of their sight long enough to travel several blocks and back, but nothing ever happened to me.  The two owners- Mr Corsetti and Mr Venturini- were always there. (Thanks to the folks on I Remember In Eureka When for helping me with the names.)  I loved getting one of those orange chalky- tasting popsicles.  I’m sure they were full of unhealthy chemicals.

The other day I stopped by again. The first thing I saw was a sizable display of smoking implements. That was kind of jarring, but I don’t know what I expected. It didn’t take long to find the freezer full of ice cream treats, but NO POPSICLES!  “You don’t sell Popsicles?” I asked the nice man behind the counter.   He shook his head, smiling sadly.  “No more”.   I found something that was kind of like a  Creamsicle –  orange on the outside with a gummy white interior.  It lasted all the way to Murphy’s. It cost $1.49.

I’m not sure what point I am trying to make except that a Popsicle in 2017 costs 30 times what it did in 1954. Rob Holmlund from the City has introduced zoning changes to protect the small markets of Eureka, and indeed they deserve protection.  Next time you’re driving out and around, stop off at the C&V, or Pat’s or the Handee Market (or the Harris & K market, or the California Market or the Asian Oriental Foods) and buy a loaf of bread or something. These little stores have served the community well.  Support your local markets!

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Happy Easter? Bah, Humbug!

***Here’s an oldie but a goodie in the holiday spirit.***

Easter is my least-favorite holiday.  At Christmas you get good chocolate and lots of presents.  At Easter you get Peeps. No comparison.

As a kid growing up in Eureka, I was subjected to all kinds of barbaric treatment by well-meaning family members. I HAD to have a new coat, made from scratch by a lady on “A” Street, Audrey Hansen and her mother. Anyone remember them? Every coat involved two or three fittings all of which involved repeatedly being stuck with pins. These days we’d call it child abuse. The ladies were still in business when I was in sixth grade and had to have a Tiger Lily costume for the Christmas Pageant. More pins.

My normal hair wouldn’t do for Easter, either. My grandmother would march me down to Daly’s to have my hair permed. Remember that salon on the mezzanine level?  The sulphurous fumes from the frying hair filled the whole store.  Ah, the good old days.

Like it or not, Easter is a big holiday for retail spending. The National Retail Federation tells us each of us will spend $140 on Easter this year.  I’m not even close. I bought some Reese’s and a Paas egg coloring kit.  Don’t ask.  Our Easter Dinner will be a pork roast rescued from the freezer. I like to slow-cook them so that the house smells good for hours.  

That NRF article includes some fascinating data on how people plan to spend the holiday. almost half of you will be in church.  Which is good.  I don’t go myself, but I definitely  approve of church. Almost a third of you will be surfing the web on Easter, maybe doing some online buying. I asked the friendly staff at Partrick’s the other day about their holiday sales and they reported that while their big days are Christmas and Valentine’s,  Easter comes in a close third,  representing maybe 15% of yearly revenues. That’s pretty much the same as on the national level.  

So Happy Easter, everyone.  Support your local candy store and don’t make your kids get their hair fried. And go to the Zoo. It’ll make you feel good.

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MURPHY’S Anniversary Sale Features Bargains

The Murphy’s flyer this morning features sale prices at all their stores honoring their 45th Anniversary. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs @$1.45/lb.  Also those chicken spinach feta burgers @$3.45/lb,  pork shoulder roast @ $2.45/lb and cantaloupe @ $.45/lb.

They are having in-store drawings every day too although at the Cutten store yesterday it was hard to figure out what the prize was.  45 years is a long time to prosper on †he Redwood Coast so stop by and  say “hi”.

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SHOPPING MYSTERIES: Loleta Cheese Version

You’ve heard of Mystery Shoppers? This is our new feature, Shopping Mysteries, wherein we will point out various incongruities and contradictions in our local retail scene.  To wit:

The Loleta Cheese Factory is always a great place to take visitors.  Surely they can pick up an edible souvenir at the very cheapest price because they’re right there at the source, right?  Wrong.  The cheese at the store is confusingly packaged in 11-oz chunks, but the bottom line is you pay 53¢ per ounce or $8.48 a pound. 

Loleta Cheese at Murphy’s Market (we shop in Cutten) is $7.99 a pound. 

Loleta Cheese at Winco is, apparently, $6.99 a pound but there were several more cheaply marked packages that were close to their expiration date. 

So there you have it.  The “close-to-the source” mythology doesn’t work with cheese factories any better than it does at our outrageously expensive farmers’ markets. The laws of supply and demand  are not subject to strict enforcement.

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Sticker Shock at Loleta Cheese, Good Eats at Greene Lily, Southside Mike has a home on Myrtle Avenue

I visited Loleta Cheese over the weekend to buy a box of cheese which would have to be shipped. I’ve done this several times in the past and I guess I got spoiled by their generous free-shipping policy. Well, NO MORE!  To mail six cheeses, total value $33, I paid a $12.95 mailing charge PLUS $5 for “handling”.  I understand that they had to raise prices in view of their bankruptcy but how about phasing it in?  Or something.  Anyway,  35% is too much to pay for shipping in my book so I will be looking for other Humboldt-made  products to mail in the future. Jellies are too heavy and breakable, chocolate melts.  Ideas, anyone?

The Greene Lily at 307 2nd Street in Old Town has been garnering enthusiastic reviews since it opened last Fall and I feared it would be too crowded on opening day of the RCMF.  We found plenty of seating in the cheerful space and our breakfasts were excellent.  The chicken-fried steak ($12.95) is the star of the  show but the lady at the next table was enjoying their Cobb Salad, (also $12.95) which looked good. The biscuits are excellent and we shall be returning.  Nice place.

Finally, Southside Mike’s has found a home!!  After being available -sporadically- at the Myrtle Avenue center (think Myrtlewood Liquors and John’s Fine Cigars),  Mike Ross is now going to be grilling there EVERY THURSDAY, FRIDAY and SATURDAY from 10 to 5 but if you wait until after 4pm they run our of things. His awesome tri-tip san ($10) is huge and melts in your mouth.   They were out of the Smoked Mac’n’Cheese ($5) but I shall  return.   ‘Way to go, Mike!  The new website is under construction.

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Well, that didn’t take long! Fortuna Grocery Outlet building for sale already!

With all this rain, we haven’t even made it to Fortuna to check out the new GO and here the building is for sale already! Talk about a quick flip!  Here, courtesy of LoopNet,  is the listing and while you’re  at it you can also pick up the hotel on the Riverwalk. Read about it HERE.

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Sports Authority Store Closings List

Sports Authority is closing 140  stores, 19 of which are in California.  The closures do not include the Eureka store,  according to this list.  Nearby SA stores that will be closing include those in Redding, Corte Madera and Stockton and, in Oregon, those in Roseburg, Klamath Falls, Salem and Hillsboro. 

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