Food and craft collective coming to Montclair


Folks have long complained that Montclair needs a mini Berkeley Bowl – with sustainably raised fish, meat and poultry. “Why should we drive to Berkeley,” they ask, “when there are empty store-fronts right here?

Say hello to the Montclair Collective, scheduled to open Nov. 8 in the long-shuttered Score site in the Montclair mini-mall. Local photographer Reenie Raschke and her husband, Greg, are starting with locally made and packaged foods and crafts. By early 2012 they plan to add fish, meat and poultry to the collective.

“The ultimate goal is a sustainable market that will be connecting our village directly to the farmer, fisherman, artist and rancher that are closest to us,” says Raschke. The concept is to buy 50 percent of your needs within 50 miles of your home – with an emphasis on seasonal offerings. “Today we have salmon (because salmon was caught). It’s a good time for pears and tomatoes. Have you met the parsnip? This is what we are featuring this week.”

And as if that isn’t enough, Raschke has just produced a handsome, hardcover coffee-table book she calls My Town Montclair – The people and places we call home, available at the Collective in December. She’s captured our village ‘characters’ beautifully – and I’m proud to say I’m among them.

Where does her energy come from? It just may have something to do with the extra time she suddenly has on her hands. Like me, she’s a newly ordained empty nester.

      Email bag: Speaking of empty nesters, my muses on sending my own kids to college caught the eyes of many readers who could relate. Cara Kopowski says she had 90 seconds to say goodbye to her son at West Point, followed by seven weeks of no contact during what they call ‘Beast Barracks’. Today, Lt. Cody Kopowski is in armored tank training in Fort Benning, Ga., and mom fills the void by working with cadets at Cody’s old school – Oakland Military Institute.

Meanwhile, hills reader John Karanfilian remembers when my son Anthony was first born, and my KSFO radio partner, Gene Nelson, called him Ish-ka-bibble – because he couldn’t remember his name. “Truthfully, that didn’t seem THAT long ago, but there is a definite time warp that goes with aging – especially as a parent,” says Karanfilian. “And here you are letting Ish leave the nest.”

In memory: We laid my father, Carl Prior, to rest last week. He was 88 and embodied everything I know about the greatest generation.

My dad was brave – a WW2 veteran who never shirked his responsibility to his country or his family. He showed incredible courage even in the face of death.

My dad was all-knowing – or at least I thought so. He could fix almost anything and drive almost anywhere without asking for directions. He was a traveling salesman and taught me a love for rural roads, red barns and Dairy Queens.

“Sell them all they can pay for,” he used to tell me when I was in sales, myself. We’d laugh, as if no one would ever spend more than they made. To my dad, debt was a four-letter word.

The two most important things I learned from my father were faith and humor. He rarely missed church and never missed a day without laughter – right till the end.

As the numbness of losing him fades a little each day, I’m thankful for all that dad taught me – and the lessons I know he’ll share – going forward.

You can reach Ginny Prior by phone at 510-723-2525, by email at or on the web at



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