You’re so busy it’s hard to fit in time to cook, but you know the importance of home-cooked meals and quality family time.  Here comes Debbie Mast to the rescue!  She described why she started Local Love by stating, “I wanted to get away from processed chemically made food and bring back real food for our real lives.” 

From a very young age, Debbie derived great joy from bringing people together to enjoy meals made with creativity and love.  Cooking and baking served her creative side and her love for people.  Debbie exudes a warmth and genuineness you feel as soon as you meet her!  As a child, it was hard to get her out of the kitchen as she enjoyed experimenting and seemed to have an innate ability and knowledge to create delicious food. She recalls baking her first birthday cake for her Mother when she was just eight years old.

Debbie has always had a passion for helping and sparking hope and joy in others.  Her education and early career were in the human services field.  She met the nutrition needs of seniors in retirement homes and quickly moved into management positions.  She also served as a cook in numerous restaurants while doing some personal catering on the side. Her work within grocery stores ended up leading to a 20 year career in the pharmacy field.

Debbie appreciated working in a field that put her combination of math, organization, and empathy skills to good use.  She also derived great satisfaction from direct service work in the homes of clients, where she gained insight into the lives and challenges of marginalized community members.  She always brought food to her coworkers, remarking, “I loved how it brought them happiness and light.” She wanted to share that experience with a larger community, so she bravely jumped on her long-standing dream of starting her own business earlier this year!

Through Local Love, Debbie aims to help local busy families access meals she lovingly prepares at the Chiknegg Incubator Kitchen.  She wants the community to enjoy quality family time around a quality meal.  She prioritizes compostable packaging and sourcing ingredients from local farmers markets and directly from farms like Chicory Hill Farm in Powhatan and Dragonfly Farm in Cumberland.  She is transparent about her cooking processes and the real ingredients she uses, like butter and avocado, olive, and coconut oils. She can personalize meals and meet all sorts of specialized dietary needs. Thrifty smaller portions are available through her “Five to Thrive” line.

Local Love offers so many tasty ways to make your life easier from flavored butters, spices, and side dishes to lasagnas, quiche, enchiladas, stews, and soups.  Debbie’s fresh and clean cranberry orange relish has been a big hit this holiday season, as well as her dips, party mixes, and savory main dishes. A recent customer remarked to Debbie, “We love the restaurant quality meals without the junk.” You will too! Once you shop her offerings on the RVAg marketplace, you’ll want to embrace some help for your holiday meals and stock up on her freezer to table meals to be ready for school breaks and hungry loved ones in town!