The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Downriver Dispatches

News of Western Wahkiakum County and Naselle


Karen Bertroch

Allan Berry of Olivers Gourmet.

Highway 401: I'm writing this on Tuesday. I waited to finalize this column so I could report on the Wahkiakum County Commissioners' meeting in Cathlamet that I attended this morning. I went to speak in person about the highway 401 situation. Since everyone in our area is affected by the closure, I wanted to report to them on the changes we are experiencing since the road has closed, including Dismal Nitch. Visitors should have access to that rest stop, or at least that's my thought. I asked them to be proactive on our behalf when working with the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and to request that one lane be open as soon as possible, certainly before summer. If more of us speak in support of moving the work along faster, the better our chances are that it will happen. Please join me in advocating with the county commissioners in both Wahkiakum and Pacific counties to give us one lane access as soon as possible. Steps are required that the WSDOT has to follow to repair and rebuild our highways.

Commissioner Dan Cothren said they are first required to have a geologist look at the site before any decisions can be made. That may be a long time coming, so we need to be patient, certainly most patient with those who are trying to help us. I appreciated Commissioner Gene Strong's comment that it would have helped if the WSDOT had prepared an emergency plan ahead of time. So true.

Senior Lunches and Food Boxes: A reader suggested I find information on what lunches or food might be available for seniors in Naselle. I learned there are monthly deliveries of food boxes to Cathlamet and Grays River but not necessarily to Naselle, though boxes can be delivered to Naselle if someone came and picked them up. I may not have all this information reported correctly, but to find out all the details, contact Diane Hollenbeck at 360-465-2991. Perhaps there is a volunteer in the area who would do the Naselle deliveries?

CAP Lunches: Lower Columbia Community Action Program, better known as CAP., is delivering take out lunches to Rosburg Hall for pickup on Thursdays between noon and about 12:15 p.m. If you should wish to participate in the CAP Lunch Program at anytime please contact Diane Hollenbeck at 360-465-2991. The following meals will be served for the month of March.

March 4, Spaghetti w/Meatballs, Tossed Salad, Garlic Bread;

March 11, Irish Stew, Heritage Cabbage, Sliced Oranges;

March 18, Chicken Burrito, Spanish Rice, Fiesta Veggies, Sliced Peaches

School Buses: With school "in person" again, the buses are now back on the roads and kids are out early morning and mid-afternoon crossing roads and waiting on the road sides. Please be aware of the need to slow down and wait to make sure kids are safe whenever you pass a bus or see a bus stopped at the side of the road. Those children are our "treasures" and it's every driver's responsibility to keep them safe. Karl Smith, who runs the bus program, needs substitute drivers. If interested, contact Karl at the bus barn at (360) 484-7121 option 3.

Porta potties at parks: We are so blessed to have two nice parks in the Grays River area. The Grays River Grange owns Ahlberg Park at the Covered Bridge, as well as Meserve Park next to Duffy's at the corner of SR4 and the west end of Loop Road. Visitors stop at these parks regularly. We are very grateful for the porta potties provided at both of these parks by Wahkiakum West. They are pulled out during flood season but show up every spring. Thanks so much to Wahkiakum West for being such a great community supporter.

Grays River Business: I've been seeing olives in grocery stores everywhere that say Grays River on the label, so I was really happy to connect with Allan Berry who owns "Olivers Gourmet." The business has been here over two years and is doing well with online sales and booths at festivals, fairs and events. He and his son, Nick, General Manager, travel to various locations each year, to sell their products personally.

With the covid shut down over the last year, he has had to make sure all local stores, as well as stores throughout Oregon and Washington are well stocked with their products. Located across from "Nelson's Herefords" just a bit east of the Rosburg Store, their business is doing fine. As well as the olives and garlic, they pickle vegetables, such as asparagus, green beans and okra. They buy the vegetables from Texas, Oregon and Arkansas.

Allan lived in Camas for 28 years, working as a sales rep for food companies. He decided to change to producing food products of his own. One of his local friends, Bob Pyle, convinced him to move here so it's good to see yet another company building up their business in the area, profiting especially from the excellent internet service here, and the ability to quickly ship his products anywhere in the world. He describes Olivers Gourmet as a "Pacific NW purveyor of gourmet foods, specializing in pickled garlic and olives." Allan uses a cold packed process so everything is "crispy and crunchy." They also produce a Bloody Mary Mix and Dirty Martini Olive Juice. If you'd like more information, call him at (360) 977-1440. You can find their products at Okie's and the Rosburg Store, see their website at or email him at

Word for the week: Listen


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