Sonia Chambers is a Wild Ramp superstar. In addition to her regular Thursday shift at the market she is always willing to help out with special events. In the past few weeks she helped cook a special dinner at Heritage Farm, judged our salsa contest, and helped out at a special event with West Virginia Agriculture Commissioner Walt Helmick. She also is the baker behind 3 Chicks a Bakin,’ which offers a variety of sweet and breads.
Sonia was born in Brazil to parents who were missionaries. Her family returned to the states when she was young and she grew up in Charleston. Sonia and her husband, Chuck, live in Huntington and two daughter, Emily studying athletic training at West Virginia Wesleyan and Ellen a sophomore at Huntington High School. She is a board member of the West Virginia Health Care Authority, a state agency that sets hospital rates and carries out the WV Certificate of Need program. Sonia also coaches swimming is an avid cyclist.
TWR: How did you first hear about TWR? When did you start volunteering at The Wild Ramp?
Sonia: I heard about TWR from friends and local media. I started volunteering at the Ramp shortly after it opened. I was looking for locally sourced meat, eggs and produce on my own. I was trying to organize friends to go in on a side beef or half a hog without much luck. I was involved in the produce CSA based at first Presbyterian church and an egg CSA in Southside. I was thrilled when all of it, and more, was available in one place.
TWR: Weekly volunteering is a major commitment. What is it about The Wild Ramp that led you to make this commitment?
Sonia: I volunteer weekly because I have the flexibility and I really believe in the concept.
TWR: What is your favorite part about volunteering?
Sonia: My favorite part of volunteering is meeting like-minded people sharing my enthusiasm for local food and cooking.
TWR: Has volunteering at TWR changed your view of buying local?
Sonia: Volunteering has made my view stronger.
TWR: What are some of your favorite products/produce that we carry?
Sonia: I have lots of favorites: Cloverton, chèvre, eggs, Rolling R bacon, brisket and flat iron steaks, berries, kale and beets. Also Jeni’s almond butter brittle and Caras pops.
TWR: You are a total foodie! When did your love of food and cooking begin?
Sonia: Have been a foodie since I can remember. My parents were college professors at Morris Harvey now University of Charleston. I loved to help them entertain; assisting in the preparation of Brazilian or Indian dishes. I always likes creating in the kitchen. My dad would always try whatever I made no matter how bad. We plan our vacations and parties around where we are going to eat. My favorite food city is Barcelona.
TWR: You have become a producer in addition to being a volunteer. What led you to start a food-based business?
Sonia: Last summer my younger daughter didn’t have a summer job. I thought a foray into the producer business could provide her some money, something to do and teach her many things in the process. We learned how to price compare ingredients, used fractions in making multiples of recipes, how to market a product, how to set a price etc. I now do most of the work both girls help out from time to time. (You can read more about Sonia’s foray into being a food producer here.)
TWR: You have branched out and now offer your products in other locations around town. Where else can folks find your breads?
Sonia: I am also selling at Butter It Up.
If you are interested in volunteering contact The Wild Ramp at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the market at 304-523-5267 and speak to Raine or Shelly.