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Erin Copeland

Member Culinary Specialist
Erin Copeland
“Growing up, we were a family of five with one income and one car. Going out to eat was very much a luxury. At the time it was ok because my mother is a phenomenal cook, in fact the best one I know to this date. Since the income wasn’t there, my parents decided to “have a garden.” I wasn’t too fond of it at the beginning because I was the one weeding and watering during my summer vacation, “make sure you don’t water too long and always water from the bottom,” my Dad would say. But what I did enjoy about my summers was sitting in the back yard eating the fruits of his “my” labor.
Tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, lima beans, and green beans are just a few of the veggies he grew. What child at the age of 10 liked lima beans? I did and would pick them right off the plant. Tomatoes and cucumbers were my favorites, especially when my mom ask me to grab a few off the vine. She would immediately slice them and sprinkle with salt and pepper. They were so juicy and still warm from the sun. I was also fortunate that my sisters did not like the tomatoes, so that meant more for me…I can still taste them. As a child I also remember the times my mom would drag my sisters and me around to help pick wild blueberries, which she would freeze to make blueberry pies throughout the year as well as homemade grape jelly. Our family members also looked forward to the homemade gifts at Christmas from our summer bounty. Those were the good times, simple and fresh.”
“As a young child, my grandmother had a garden in our backyard and while she was cooking, she would ask me to go pick jalapenos, tomatoes, and squash. That garden made a big impression on me and my life. I believe that is where my passion for food and fellowship developed. On Sundays our family would gather at my grandparents’ home to eat and laugh. I believe that no matter what happens in life there is no better feeling than gathering around the dinner table with your family and friends.”