Tod Auman of Dundore and Heister, which carries local and organic pastured meats at the Public Market:
"We're here because there's something special happening in Easton. We're from the Berks County area and this is everything we'd love to have there. The passion, the dedication, the loyalty of this community, the pride that people have: it's just magic happening and we just want to be a part of it. It's an opportunity for us to tell our story about sustainability, about the Pennsylvania Dutch. We say "eat like you live here, celebrate what's great about this area including our farms," and this provides us an opportunity for us to do it and meet all the great citizens of Easton."
"I saw Misfits probably back in 2008 at Crocodile Rock and after the show, Jerry was signing autographs for everybody. I went up to him and told him if he signs my arm, I'll get it tattooed. The next day I talked to my tattoo artist and he inked it up for me. At first, Jerry didn't think I was gonna do it. He told me, he said, 'You're not gonna get that tattooed,' and I said, 'Yeah, I will.' Now, every time I see him, I show it to him and he's amazed."
Yousef, from Yousef's Nuts and Spices at the Public Market, explains the origins and future of his business:
"We was in Reading and Lebanon. I'm thinking about if it grow up good here, make it as a franchise. Same name and different places. Because most of the people here, especially Lebanese people, when they want some nuts or dried fruit, they go all the way to Bath or something. I said, 'Why not open one here in Easton?' 'Cause, you know, this community has a lot of Lebanese here which I hope they get my word and they come over."
"What's your personal favorite thing to eat that you sell?"
"The Max Fitness. That's healthy like raisins and nuts mixed together. Yeah. And cashew, of course."
"I was in Austin Texas for a music festival and I saw Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki from the TV show Supernatural, and that was one of the coolest things that ever happened to me. That makes me sound really boring, doesn't it? I was there with my boyfriend and it's his favorite TV show, too, and we got a text from one of his friends saying, 'They're here!! They're here!! I see them!!,' so we ran over to the spot they were at. We were like a foot or two away from them and my boyfriend got all giddy and flushed and giggled a lot."
"One time I went whitewater rafting in the Swiss Alps. I went on a trip with some friends. It actually was very exhilarating, very scary, and awesome at the same time. I was hoping that we wouldn't hit a rock when we were going down the rapids, but once you get on there it's really fun and you forget about everything. Feelings of joy and fun and friendship shine through."
"About two years ago, I had a spiritual epiphany that completely transitioned my life, so one day I was one way and the next day I came out of the shower and I was a completely different person. About ten years ago, I lost my son and I went through a lot of years of being in that; my lower chakras were all blocked up. So after deciding to leave corporate--I did that about three years ago--I started doing weekly meditations and doing some chakra work. I'm a tarot card reader and a Wiccan and I've been a pagan for a long time, about twenty-five years. Anyway, I've been really putting myself out there and practicing something I call, 'Say Yes.' Any opportunity that comes up to you, if you have no viable reason to say no, ya gotta do it, even if you're afraid. And that's how I raised my kids; that's how I live my life. So, about two years ago, I had been doing a lot of acupuncture and work on reconnecting with myself, and just one day, it clicked. It was an amazing experience that nobody else had except for me, I was alone. But it was a physical body response that I actually felt happen, and when I came out of the shower, and went on my normal day, the way I drank my coffee no longer tasted good. The foods that I was attracted to, not anymore. We called it a reverse stroke, like I came out of being broken and into fighting for myself."
"I have fears because I have a girl, definitely. I just want the best for both of my kids. But I feel blessed to have a boy and a girl."
He's a chef at Maxim's 22.
"It's hard work. Hard. Always on your feet. Seventy hour weeks. Hot all the time in the kitchen."
"What made you want to do this if it's so difficult?"
"I was always into blue collar kinda stuff, you know, I never pictured myself behind a desk or anything like that. That's what drew me to it. The best part about it is making great food. My specialty is steaks."
"The secret to a good steak?"
"Nice sear on the grill, nice seasoning. That's it. Don't overthink it cause in the end, the meat is what you really want."
Mojo the dog had just spotted an Easton K9 cruiser when I came upon him and his owner. He began barking up a storm.
"He's an Australian shepherd lab mix. That's what we were told. And that makes him a herding dog, so anytime he sees a dog, he starts barking at them, wants them to join the crew. And then when the dog doesn't come to join the crew, he gets angry and does this barking. And then when the dog goes away with his owner, he starts crying."
"I like being a mom. At least I have a reason to do things now. Before, it was, like, 'Whatever, boring, I have to do it.' He's really hyper and he can give you a little bit of worry when he gets sick and stuff. At least, him, he's a really good kid. I don't really have to worry, like you see other kids that are, like, bad. He's gonna be three next month."
"I rode in the President's limo. I was working for NPR, National Public Radio, so I was on an assignment for them and it was back when I was on the west coast. He was doing a speech about the Trans-Pacific Partnership so I was interviewing him for NPR. It was pretty cool. He's a very nice guy. It was fun, but a lot of pressure. You gotta get it right; you only have so long to ask the questions you want to and you're hoping he'll actually answer them."
"What's most important to you?"
"Well... God. Knowing how to overcome adversity, you know what I'm saying, when pressures comes at me, knowing how to deal with the pressure. Once I learned that, everything else fell into place."
"When did that happen for you?"
"About a year ago. I was incarcerated and I went through a lot of soul searching and I've changed. And in order to do that, I had to learn how to deal with situations, circumstances, things that I don't like."
"So what was the person like who introduced you to this kind of lifestyle?"
"Wow. Just a real individual. His name is Roger. There were a couple of them: Paul D., Charlie P., these guys was amazing in my life, all for years when they talked to me and finally I got it."
"If you'd never met them, what would be different?"
"Who knows? I don't know what woulda happened, man. I mighta still turned out better or good, but who knows where it mighta went. But it's defined me."
"One moment that helped define who I am is giving up drugs. I was struggling with that for years and I just hit rock bottom."
"How did you know you were at rock bottom?"
"Shit, when you end up homeless. When you end up homeless and have no roof over your head. And the ironic thing is that I was staying with a friend of mine who was a drug dealer, and I used to watch him and his wife being high all night on meth-amphetamines and he ran around and did nothing. And I used to think to myself, 'That was me.'"
These are the stories of the people of Easton, PA