Volunteer of the Month: Rumi Tauber

November 18, 2016

CUESA’s Volunteer of the Month program recognizes the dedication and work of some of our most active volunteers. CUESA relies on volunteers to help with education programs, special events, public outreach, and other activities that help fulfill our mission to cultivate a sustainable food system. Learn more about volunteering and sign up here.

Like so many of our community members, Rumi Tauber started as a regular shopper at the Ferry Plaza Market and really enjoyed watching the cooking demos. She deepened her involvement with CUESA by becoming volunteer. She mainly volunteers for the Saturday cooking demos and fundraising events, and has also supported Foodwise Kids, the CUESA Info Booth, and our administrative work.

“Rumi is the quiet powerhouse who sees what needs to be done and just does it,” says Culinary Programs Manager Carrie Sullivan. “She transitioned from a demo attendee to a regular culinary volunteer, and I’m happy to say that she still shows up in the audience when she’s not volunteering. She enthusiastically soaks up whatever is available as far as learning, even if it’s not something she expects to be making in her own kitchen. As with all of our volunteers, we are very lucky to have her support!” Plus she makes a mean bean dip! Meet Rumi.

CUESA: Where does your interest in food come from?

Rumi: I was born with an interest in food. As a kid, I’d wake up early Saturday mornings not to watch cartoons, but to watch Julia Child and all the other cooking shows on KQED. I’d cook and bake for fun, but mostly because I enjoyed eating the fruits of my labor.

As an adult, my interests in food shifted. Health issues had arisen and I had to look at food in a different way. I learned to use food as nourishment, as medicine. Through CUESA education programs, I learned how important it is to eat seasonally, to support farmers, to buy an “ugly” tomato. Soon enough, it wasn’t just the food that was nourishing me, but also the sustainable food culture.

CUESA: What do you do when you aren’t volunteering for CUESA?

Rumi: What I think my answer should be: Looking for a job. Actual answer: Cooking, going to farmers markets, and looking for new breweries to go to.

CUESA: What was your favorite part about volunteering with CUESA?

Rumi: Definitely that sense of community. Before volunteering at CUESA, I could see the community the farmers had among themselves, with chefs, with shoppers, but I never quite felt part of it myself because I didn’t immerse myself into it. After volunteering, I could actually feel that community. And when I volunteer for a special event such as CUESA’s Sunday Supper and see how all those chefs, farmers, and attendees come together to support sustainable agriculture? Amazing.

CUESA: Do you have an insider market tip or a favorite produce item at the market right now?

Rumi: Just one? I have a few, if I may:

1. Delicata squash, as well as any other winter squashes (don’t forget to roast the seeds!).

2. Kohlrabi: Delicious raw in a slaw-like salad or cooked in soup.

3. Feijoas (pineapple guava fruit): Eating one is like momentarily going on a tropical vacation, which somehow feels odd in the autumn. Nature has a good sense of humor.

4. Avocadoes! I have to buy them every week!