My first leg of the journey led me to Ashand Oregon, the home of The Raw Family: Igor, Victoria, Serge and Valya Boutenko. I had seen Igor and Victoria at a seminar in March of 2006 in Vancouver BC. I had introduced myself informally to Victoria. I had read Green for Life written by Victoria just prior to the seminar. In it, I was introduced to the key for going raw: the green smoothie. I was dying to try one at this point but didn't even have a regular blender at home. I came late to the seminar and only participated in the raw diner, which was a spaghetti, salad and other interesting entre that i can't remember now. Still hadn't tasted the raw smoothie. A fo days later, I tracked down a used Blentec Blender, similar to the vita mix, and made a green smoothie on site before i had even bought it. I opened up a little smoothie bar on Main St. in Vancouver for the summer and test marketed the idea while facilitating my own raw foodist transition. It wasn't a money maker and was not a big loss for me or the business i was working under.
Serendipity led me directly to Igor boutenko in Ashland. He graciously invited me into his home where i met his adult children, Serge and Valya. Victoria was at deadline for her new book, a rewrite and update of the 12 steps to going raw so was not available, however, id did speak with her on the phone. Igor was a professional masseuse in Russia and gave me the most invigorating massage i had ever had. Serge answered most of my questions. Igor introduced me to Peggy McDonnell at Angels health food institute in Medord Oregon about 40 minutes drive from Ashland.
I spent 3 days there. It was great. To say the least. I was overly impressed with Peggy and ken and the expression of their vision. Peggy operates a raw food institute that houses 2 raw kitchens with the most amazing equipment, a screening room, a general store, an organic agroponic (only two in the US) greenhouse, acres of landscaped yard, a vegetarian dog kennel and luxury guest accommodations within a non pretentious, down home environment.