To all your people, your trees, your community institutions; to your good days and bad; to your greenbelts, public art and artists, and to the tennis courts next to my house; to your bats, your turkeys, your Arboretum otters and summer sunflowers; to your coffee shops, weird bicycle signals, and municipal composting; to all of you who are woven in this web beside me: this is an unapologetically gushy love letter to you, Davis, my community.
I visited Davis for the first time over a decade ago as part of a trip to visit a handful of universities across California. I walked exactly one Downtown block (D St. between 2nd and 3rd) in nearly 110 degree heat, trees kindly dappling the sidewalk in slowly shifting shadows, to know this is where I wanted to be. I didn’t need a campus tour, although I would take one that afternoon. I had my gut and it spoke to me: Davis. More than 10 years later, I’m so grateful this place called to me and I listened.
In between then and now are an infinity of special moments, so many of them tied to this place and its people. Surely these moments have shaped who I am today. I wouldn’t be an “Award Winning Chef” if it weren’t for 2021’s Downtown Davis Burger Battle, after all. I also wouldn’t have fallen in love with my partner, become an owner of a thriving cooperatively owned business, learned how to make pottery (thank you, Davis Arts Center) or become an amateur tree-identifier and climber (thank you, Arboretum and Rocknasium, respectively).
And by some miracle, I have been able to turn my love for this community into a full time job here at the Co-op. What better place to end up? The Co-op is one of those special Davis places where the heart, soul, and delightful weirdness of this community permeates everything.
After nearly two years of isolation at the hands of the Covid-19 pandemic, in-person Teaching Kitchen classes resumed and I fell in love with this community all over again. We made big, soft pretzels from scratch to go with local Dunloe brews. It was the most fun I’d had in months. And then, just one week later, we prepared a traditional Oktoberfest dinner. As I write this now, I am getting ready for Friday’s vegan tamale class (long sold out) where I’ll teach y’all how to make tamales the way my great-grandma taught me, albeit with less yelling – not my style. Preparing food with our very own hands and together is a deeply humbling and singular joy. I wish I could cook with all of you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for wanting to cook with me too.
Above all, Davis is a community that cares, sometimes quite loudly, but that’s kind of why so many of us love being here. If you still need convincing, catch me at the Co-op’s Local Love Fair and we can talk about it.