Rising Bread and Raising Love: On Local Food & Family with BlueOregano

When BlueOregano opened its doors on June 7, 2017, owners Caitie and Nathan Maharg had just received a Grow Waynesboro small business start-up grant that allowed Caitie to leave her job and move full-time into launching a local food business, complete with catering options, pop-up dinners, and customized cooking classes. They were also patiently residing on a waitlist for adoptive parents.

Nathan, Isaah, & Caitie Maharg

One year later, dreams have been born. As BlueOregano opens its first expansion project, an artisanal bakery in the heart of downtown Waynesboro, they are also welcoming their son Isaiah into their hearts and business. As the first bakery customers walked through the door in September, Isaiah turned one month old.

 

Waynesboro History + A Fresh Perspective

BlueOregano photo by Kevin Blackburn.

Caitie’s love for Waynesboro springs from a long and intertwining family history. Her parents opened the Chatterbus in 2005, the first coffee shop in Waynesboro, which operated downtown out of a converted school bus. She’s a graduate of Waynesboro High School, and for years as she drove by her now downtown storefront she said “Someday, I want to open a bakery there.”

She left town for culinary training in Williamsburg, followed by stints in Charlottesville, Harrisonburg, and Lynchburg. As she reflects on advice she would offer fellow entrepreneurs, she shares the following:

“Accept help. Because I grew up here, people knew me. Since I was 10 years old, I said I wanted to be a chef. Opening a bakery isn’t so scary because we feel like we already have a following.”

Photo by Kevin Blackburn

She endeavors through her work to return the community’s support, and today BlueOregano’s mission is “to bring joy into the lives of our community by supporting local vendors, serving locals, and cooking local food with a passion and dedication to excellence.”

 

A Toast to Every Occasion

The atmosphere at BlueOregano feels like a community nexus — where family meets vocation, where neighbors meet for coffee, where good food marks evolving family milestones. BlueOregano’s “pop-up” dinners, scheduled about twice monthly, provide a single table for as many as eighteen people, who come from all walks of life and generally do not know each other prior to their six-course meal. This intimate yet intermingling setting often makes for fast and unexpected friendships among Waynesboro locals. For others, BlueOregano’s group cooking classes have marked 50th anniversaries, bridal showers, and bachelorette parties.

Offering fine dining that doesn’t require distant travel, plus grains, vegetables, and meats that were grown in the Shenandoah Valley, BlueOregano is in many ways a coming home for Caitie Maharg — a place to share her dreams with her community, and to cook for them. If there has been a most rewarding part of the journey, says Caitie, it is the “people who have said how much Waynesboro needed us. Just how many people understand and respect what we are doing.”

Photo by Kevin Blackburn.

To Learn More about BlueOregano, check out their website at www.blueoregano.com   To learn more about the entrepreneurs, chefs, organizers, farmers, craftsmen, and inventors who are building the Waynesboro local economy, check back at www.growwaynesboro.com/meet-them for ongoing profiles and small business

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