It all started with some rolled oats…

We love hearing amazing stories from our customers about the steps they are taking to move toward a simpler, more self-sufficient life. But many longtime customers may not realize that these stories also come from our staff members. Many Lehman’s employees – those of us who did not grow up on farms churning butter, canning tomatoes or weeding gardens – are constantly learning, too. After all, we handle our unique products every single day – how could we not be inspired to use them ourselves?

Recently I had a chat with Roger Myers, a product specialist in our store and a former dairy farmer. He told me about some of the things he and his wife have “discovered” since he began working at Lehman’s a few years ago.

It started with our roller mill. Intrigued by this Italian-made contraption, Roger took one home and he and his wife tried making their own rolled oats for breakfast. They were bowled over by the freshness, the flavor and the overall difference between their home-rolled oats and the supermarket variety. And, since anything that sits on a shelf will eventually lose nutrients, they knew their new breakfast cereal was healthier, too.

Around the same time, Roger tried making his own yogurt. The delicious, healthful combination of the homemade yogurt, flavored with his wife’s homemade jam and topped with freshly rolled oats, got Roger excited about other Lehman’s products he could incorporate into his life.

His interest grew when he took a food preservation training class held for employees (Lehman’s staff are regularly trained in many different skills). During the class, Roger learned that drying is the best way to preserve food’s nutrients – only 3-5% are lost in this method, as opposed to up to 80% nutrient loss with canning. Intrigued, Roger decided to try dehydrating some of his fresh garden vegetables. The results – which he let his co-workers sample – were absolutely delicious, not to mention a much better belly-filler than vending machine snacks.

Roger now owns not one, but two electric food dryers, as well as a Nutrimill electric grain mill. He and his wife are striving to eradicate white flour and white sugar from their diet, and Lehman’s kitchen tools are playing a large part in that goal. They’re also growing their own stevia and using honey and sorghum as natural sweeteners for their food.

His garden has changed, too. Roger is a product specialist in the tools,  hardware and gardening section of our retail store, which just happens to be the very spot where organic gardener Karen Geiser sets up shop each week for her popular demos. (On any given Thursday, she may be churning butter, crafting flower dolls or answering questions about gardening, coldframing and making cheese.)

As often happens, Roger and Karen get to talking when they’re not helping customers, and she’s gotten him interested in making his garden more sustainable and more bountiful.

“I’ve gained a whole new perspective on gardening,” Roger said. “When I was a farmer, if we had weeds, you took the chemicals and sprayed them on.” Now he’s learning about greener ways of gardening that help build up the nutrients in the soil and therefore, in the food, too. “I’m getting into composting and cover cropping, too,” he said with an excited twinkle in his eyes. “Everything I’ve learned makes sense to me now.”