Bits 'n' Pieces: Ridgefield Roasters wins People’s Choice award

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Mary Hunter, 42, started roasting coffee out of a quaint red barn on her 10 acres and Ridgefield Roasters coffee was born.

In 2010, Hunter started selling the certified organic, fair trade coffee at the Ridgefield Farmers Market. Within a year, Ridgefield Roasters spread to more than 45 locations including grocery stores, boutiques, cafes, schools, and churches.

Because the company wants a wider reach, they now market under the name Rain Drop Roasters.

Rain Drop’s Peruvian single origin roast, dark with hints of chocolate and caramel, recently won the People’s Choice Award during the Fair Trade Festival coffee roasters competition. Several roasters from Seattle to Portland competed in a blind taste test with nearly 700 participants.

Rain Drop offers its coffee as a fundraising choice to groups and includes private labeling on the fundraising bags. Hunter said, “This has been a wonderful way to see great coffee doing great things locally and globally.”

They now have several different blends and offer coffee cupping classes and a tasting room at the Red Barn, 21511 N.W. Ninth Ave., Ridgefield.

“Thanks to the community of Ridgefield and the great people who encourage and support my company,” she said, “Ridgefield Coffee with the Blue Rooster will remain the roast that launched the business and I am grateful.”

Rain Drop Roasters can be found at http://www.raindroproasters.com.">www.raindroproasters.com.">http://www.raindroproasters.com. To make a reservation for the tasting and cupping room, call 360-241-9711 or email mary@raindroproasters.com.

— Ruth Zschomler

Ridgefield teen to lend voice to pianist’s holiday revue

Vancouver piano man Jim Fischer first heard of Ashton Rogers when he was entertaining on a cruise ship in Alaska. A friend’s email instructed: “Jim, you should get her in your show.” Watching videos, he was impressed with Rogers’ youthful tone and how she engaged the camera.

Fischer contacted her parents, Clay and Kimberly Rogers of Ridgefield, and told Ashton to get started on some lyric ideas for Christmas songs.

The 14-year-old Ashton was thrilled. It was the first time that someone she didn’t know just called and asked her to sing.

The home-schooled teen has sung in a number of venues and one of her favorites was singing the “Star-Spangled Banner” this summer in the grandstand at the Clark County Fair.

She was 5 when she first sang at a Glenwood Little League game. She takes voice lessons and guitar lessons and her 84-year-old great-grandmother, Dorotha Adams, gives her piano lessons. After the lessons, there is practice, something her mother says she has never had to remind Ashton to do. She thrives on it. A goal: Be on “American Idol.”

Music isn’t everything though. Another love is soccer. Ashton plays with Pacific FC Wind, a select team of girls from Vancouver and north county.

You can catch Ashton at the benefit show for Friends of the Carpenter, “Christmas with Jim Fischer & Friends,” on Dec. 3. The concert is at 3 and 7 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 4300 Main St. Tickets are $20 and are available at Beacock Music, 1420 S.E. 163rd Ave., Devine Consign, 904 Main St., and from the Friends, http://www.friendsofthecarpenter.org.">www.friendsofthecarpenter.org.">http://www.friendsofthecarpenter.org.

This is Fischer’s ninth year for the holiday variety show.

— Mary Ricks

Bits ’n’ Pieces appears Mondays and Fridays. If you have a story you’d like to share, call Ruth Zschomler, 360-735-4530, or email ruth.zschomler@columbian.com