Small Wonders in Siouxland, Maurice

21 Feb

A few days ago when the weather turned nice and the sun was shining in SIouxland, I headed north of Sioux City just driving and looking around. I mentioned in an earlier post I have driven past the town of Maurice (pronounced Morris) many times and that particular day stopped in.

Now a couple years ago I came across a PBS series I was not familiar with but have come to love. It is a travel program produced by travel guide and writer Rick Steves. He is always upbeat and looking for those lovely little gems when he is traveling abroad. Some day I would like to travel overseas, but until then, have to enjoy my shorter excursions here locally. But I agree with Mr. Steves, one never knows when you might encounter a little gem that makes traveling, even short distances, a fun and wonderful experience.

People who know me well know I love my coffee. And I know most of the “better” shops in the surrounding area, or at least have luck in finding them. The other day when I stopped in Maurice, I met a couple and was talking with them and made mention that I found it interesting in that a town so small there seemed to be some thriving small businesses. One of them, up and running for only about 6 months is Kel’s Koffee.

Kel Eekhoff has been roasting his own coffee for about 10 years. During which time he shared it with friends and family who liked coffee. Like some people produce bathtub beer or a few bottles of their own wine, Kel produces some fine blond and medium roast coffee. And it was only by chance that I met him.

The couple I had been talking with, said that at times you could find Kel in his small shop just down the block from them. I told them on my way over to their shop, I saw someone stop in that area, and they said that was him. Kel will roast coffee for you per your personal taste. I prefer dark roast myself, but he talked me into trying a medium dark say the flavors of the coffee would come out more.

Kel said he has only been roasting coffee commercially for about six months, and it was only by per luck that he happened to stop in that day to roast some for a friend who had put in an order. He is in the process of setting up to ship roasted coffee to people and I highly recommend checking him out. I am a Peets Coffee fan, having lived in the Bay Area a number of years ago. It produces a variety of different types of roast.

But getting back to traveling, and even locally, one never knows what or who you might find in the next small town if you don’t take the chance and check it out. And it is in meeting people and talking with them that I find most rewarding. Plus, when you can score and buy some coffee or other “treasure” to take with you, who can complain. And to those who like photography, I only carried a couple of lenses that particular day, and photographed everything with just a 23mm lens on a mirrorless Fuji Xcamera.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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