Impressions: Chicago, heirlooms and dancing in the rain

Friday, 27 February, 2015 By Lee Greene
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It’s been a busy past few days here in our office in Chicago–as usual, staying warm, drinking as much tea and hot chocolate as humanly possible, AND CELEBRATING HOLIDAYS NONSTOP (Valentine’s Day, you’ve been upstaged by this year’s office celebrations of Mardi Gras and the Lunar New Year).

But there’s something more important than office shenanigans we need to share with you, fellow friends and family members of SP– Hyunjoon is finishing his internship and will be sorely missed!

Below is a post written by Hyunjoon, who wanted to share some of the memories he made while spending time with us in the great midwest!!


A look back on my time at Scrumptious Pantry

written by Hyunjoon Cho

My internship at Scrumptious Pantry is now approaching the end and it is time to look back at the memories I have made during my stay in the US.

I am from South Korea. I came to the US to study English and obtain an internship through the Korean government’s WEST (Work, English Study, Travel) Program. This is a great program that supports almost 340 students a year to study English abroad through the language school Intrax, and interview for internships while in the US.


I arrived in Chicago on April 2014 and began my studies at Intrax. Not only did I focus on my studies, but I learned how to prepare for an internship in the US as part of the program, and made lots of friends from all over the world. Even though we couldn’t communicate fluently with each other, we all became friends over our shared studies. I learned that being open-minded is far more important than having perfect language skills is when making friends.

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It’s also easier to make friends when it was warm out! Since it was summer, there were lots of events in Chicago we attended. I enjoyed the free events at Millennium Park such as the jazz concerts and movie screenings. I was also so impressed at how big events such as the Taste of Chicago and the Pride Parade was. I loved exploring the city and spending time with my host family. There were so many barbecue parties, museum visits, game nights, and biking along the lakeshore.


That fall, I started working at Scrumptious Pantry. I was nervous about the interview, but I really liked the company’s website and unique mission. Once I met Lee, the founder, I was very excited to join and learn the details in running a small business.

From Lee, I learned so much about how to run a business, and had so much opportunity to contribute. Lee supported me while letting me take charge of some of our projects. She always made sure that I wasn’t overwhelmed by my responsibility but also let me make decisions. My academic background is in Economics so working on some of our accounting, marketing, even sales projects, was very interesting! I liked helping out on the annual report, making marketing plans for the Beaver Dam Pepper Festival, and even joining sales meetings!

BDP Festival

My favorite event that I will always remember is the Beaver Dam Pepper Festival. The Beaver Dam pepper is an heirloom pepper variety introduced in 1912 to Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, by Joe Hussli from Hungary. The name of the pepper took after its new home in Wisconsin. The pepper has a unique taste. First it is sweet but then there is a mild heat to it that surprises you. The pepper can be used in so many different recipes, but it is on the verge of extinction because it is harder to cultivate than a conventional pepper.

The festival celebrated our discovery and revival of this pepper (we used it in our pickles and hot sauces). I will never forget that even though it happened to be rainy on the day of our event, people still stayed and enthusiastically danced in the rain! I was very touched at everyone’s excitement and I liked seeing a community connect.

I have had so many great experiences at Scrumptious Pantry. I already miss working with Lee and Alice. I will miss Lee’s jokes and Alice’s kindness. I appreciate the Scrumptious Pantry team letting me work with them and cannot wait to reconnect in the future.

At Scrumptious Pantry we preserve the exciting flavors of rare heirloom fruit and vegetables and precious heirloom seeds. Delicious varieties put up in gourmet condiments and artisan preserves for you to enjoy at home! Because Heirloom is much bigger than just Heirloom tomatoes.

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