First day at Seaquist

I didn’t have an opportunity to write last night and several people have asked me today how my first day at work went.  It went really well!

The store is still closed, so I wasn’t sure how to get in.  Mark dropped me off on his way to work, and just as I was getting out of the car, another woman was getting out of hers.  I introduced myself and asked if I could follow her in.  As soon as I got in the door with her, the owner was waiting by the punch-in clock and said, “Denise?”  She took me up to her office and got pictures of my passport and driver’s license.  Then she told me a little about my job and took me on a brief tour of the back area that the customers don’t get to see.  She said that I would be spending a couple hours that first day in the warehouse doing some pricing and that at 11:00 I would be going to the bakery.  I thought, “Oh, good!  I’ll get to learn how to bake!” but not so.  More on that later.

In the warehouse, there were two other women, both of whom knew how to drive the forklift.  There were pallets full of boxes, and inside the boxes were jars of jam, syrup, and pie cherries that needed to be priced.  As I was working with the other women, one of them started asking the usual get-to-know-you questions: Who are you?  Where do you live?  When she asked where I live I told her we just bought a house in Ellison Bay.  “Oh, really?” she asked.  “Where in Ellison Bay?”  I was trying to describe to her in a round about way where I live, and when she got the gist of it, she asked, “Are you the ones that bought Jean Brandt’s house?”  Small town!

At 11:00, I went to the bakery.  One of the young women, who turned out to be one of the Seaquist family members, showed me where to get an apron, a hair net, disposable shoe covers and latex gloves.  Then she took me into the bakery to show me what I’d be doing.

It is quite the operation!  Everything that involves ingredients has already been done.  The bottom crust is already in a pie tin, the cherry filling with its sauce is in five gallon plastic buckets.  They put the pie tin on a scale and weigh out 3.7 ounces of cherries, or something like that.  Then someone else lays a top crust on it and uses something that presses the top and bottom crusts together and cuts off the extra dough.

That’s when I get the pie.  The top crust is kind of floury and I give it an egg wash.  There are six heart cutouts that I place evenly around the edge of the top crust and those get egg washed again.  Then I sprinkle course sugar over the crust, cut some holes in the top and place the pie on a tray that holds five pies.  They have racks on wheels that hold the trays, and once the rack is full, the pies are put into the freezer to be cooked later as needed.  Our goal was to make eight hundred pies, but we only had seven hundred eighty done when they decided it was time to stop and clean up.  By that time, the floor was slick and everything was sticky.

However, lest you think this was tedious, I worked in the bakery with about six or seven other women and there was much conversation and laughter.  I enjoyed the day, although I will say that standing on concrete all day was kind of hard on my body.  I’m sure I’ll adjust.  I think the floors in the store might be wood.

Mark picked me up right about 5:00 because he had a customer who needed help in another park and he was afraid it might run longer than when I got off work.  Today, he needed my help with a run to Green Bay, so I had the day off work.

I don’t know yet what my work schedule will be like once the store opens, nor do I know what department I’ll be working in.  Whatever they have me do, I think I’m going to like it.  Everyone seems really friendly and helpful.  I’m off for the weekend, and hopefully I will learn more about my job and hours when I go back on Monday.  The store opens on Tuesday, the 16th, and I’m eager to see where they put me!

Oh, one last thing.  I learned that Seaquist owns and leases about 1,200 acres of orchards from Sturgeon Bay to Gills Rock, so this is the biggest cherry and apple operation in Door County.  The store is also a tourist attraction.  I have seen bus loads of tourists stop there, so it should be a fairly hopping place throughout the summer and fall.

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