Maude’s Coffee & Clothes
Growing up in a food-forward family (cousins Maeme and Callie operate Rasberrys and his dad owned the original Esta's restaurant in Ketchum), Jacob Frehling seemed destined for the food and beverage industry. A few years ago, he and wife Tara combined their food expertise with their passion for vintage clothing to open Maude's Coffee & Clothes, where they serve locally roasted artisanal coffees with local organic milk and scratch-made pastries. Read more about Jacob and his commitment to sourcing local
LFA: How did you get to where you are today? What’s your background, education, work experience in relation to food?
JF: I grew up around and in the service industry. My father had a restaurant when I was kid, and when he closed, my cousins opened Rasberry’s, which is a Ketchum local favorite to this day. In high school and college, I worked at various cruddy restaurants in the Portland, Oregon, area, and after I graduated, my wife and I opened a late-night food truck to service the Ketchum night life. Basically, I’ve been surrounded by the culinary industry my whole life, and have lived it since I was about fifteen.
LFA: What inspired you to open Maude’s?
JF: In a fruitless attempt to get out of the food world, my wife and I decided to close our food truck to pursue a career in retail. When the co-tenant of our current location backed out last minute, we went back to our roots, and decided to open a café that would fill the other half of our space. I had been working for Jens Peterson at the Maps Coffee roast house, and we figured this would be a great opportunity to bring a new style of coffee house to the Wood River Valley. We never intended to be a very high volume shop, but I suppose we underestimated the Valley’s thirst for some good vibes and a decent cup of Joe. It was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made.
LFA: Describe Maude’s to someone who hasn’t been in the store before. What makes it unique?
JF: Maude’s is a family run business that emphasizes locally sourced coffee and food products, as well as a specialty contemporary and vintage clothing store. We source our milk from a local dairy, our coffee is roasted in town, and we feature food items from a variety of local businesses, such as Rasberry’s and The Chocolate Moose. We offer a lively atmosphere, and pride ourselves in a robust collection of art, and vintage curios.
LFA: Are there any specialty food or drink options at Maude’s?
JF: At Maude’s, the simplicity of our offerings is what set us apart from the other shops in town. Our coffee is so good that you won’t need to a bunch of added sugar and stuff to make it taste good. Our motto is “if ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, simplicity is best, and there is nothing wrong to a plain old good cup of coffee, made by people who take pride in their work.
LFA: What’s your favorite afternoon pick-me-up?
JF: Doppio on ice.
LFA: What’s your most memorable food story from your childhood?
JF: Spending time in my father’s restaurant. Sneaking snacks. Causing a ruckus, and asking too many questions. Times that would shape me in to the person I am today.
LFA: Maude’s offers a handful of local products. Can you share with us what you offer and where it is from?
JF: Milk from Old Almo Creamery, coffee from Maps Coffee, honey from Five Bee Hives, produce from Kasota Hydroponics and Wagon Wheel, pastries and wraps from Rasberrys, sweet treats from The Chocolate Moose, gallettes from Piedaho (who sources local fruit), and fritata from The Legendary James Frehling. I’m sure I’m missing a few. But that’s a good start.
LFA: What made you interested in sourcing local organic milk?
JF: I don’t understand America’s obsession with gratuitous variety. Why would we not support our neighbors who make an affordable product that is vastly superior to all other non-local options. Think globally, act locally.
LFA: Why is it so important for our community to support small independent businesses?
JF: Because without small independent businesses there is no community.
LFA: Who is your food hero?
JF: My dad and my cousins.
LFA: How do you feel about organic, non-GMO, and fair-trade product labels?
JF: From Tara (my wife/boss): Certified organic labeling is helpful when buying because it does allow the consumer to understand the food quality but not all organic food is certified organic because the certification can be costly. “No- GMO labeling is not very informative. It tells the consumer what the product is not but not necessarily what it is as a product can be non-GMO but still sprayed with pesticides. Ultimately, I think both labels are a ploy to get consumers to buy their product based limited knowledge. However, if you know the farm where your food is grown then the decision about what you put in your body is much more informed.
LFA: What change would you like to see in the Wood River Valley in terms of food?
JF: Diversity, and accessibility to affordable yet nourishing food. The endless supply of burgers and fries is starting to get stagnate, and most people can’t afford the higher-end options in town. It would be nice to see some food establishments pop up, and break up this trend of “high-end or hamburgers.”