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Spotlight on Tammy Newell

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Posted: Friday, May 18, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 4:38 pm, Wed May 23, 2012.

Tammy Newell is no stranger to working with her hands — she’s a private chef, specialty food producer, licensed master gardener, artistic clothing line creator, upcycled furniture carpenter, and survivor extraordinaire.

Transplanted from Sacramento to Isleton 23 years ago, Tammy is the owner and operator of The Delta Gourmet which is currently an eclectic thrift shop and storefront for her specialty foods products. Also the sole proprietor of Cowgirl Cuisine, her catering company, Tammy touts herself as “the only gourmet girl on the Delta,” which is apparent by the smells and sounds of her shop every Saturday and Sunday.

“Mmm, delicious!” accompanied the smell of a lemon poppy seed bunt cake with a limoncello drizzle when hungry customer Pam took a bite of a free sample this Spring.

Hit hard by our current economic condition, Tammy has been struggling to showcase her talent in a town nothing less than ready for rejuvenation. No skin off of her hide, though-- Tammy is an ingenue when it comes to making something out of nothing.

As a young girl, Ms. Newell had no other choice than to learn to be creative. Growing up in Marin County, she was the daughter of a working mother who often had to leave her home alone. In order to keep herself busy, Tammy learned how to be self-sufficient. She had her own horse to support, so by the age of nine she was baking for a profit.

Every morning you can find Tammy in the recently renovated kitchen of her historic Isleton rowhouse baking mouth-watering morsels, canning her famous garlic paste and mixing up leftovers into culinary creations. On breezy Delta days she’s outside creating amazing garden furniture out of willow branches and potting plants using recycled containers; her finished products are gorgeous and unique, beautiful pops of color in old tin buckets and unbelievable benches perfect for outdoor relaxation.

Throughout the day, Tammy greets locals and out of town customers alike-- with “hugs, not handshakes.” The smile on her face is a permanent fixture and so is her hospitality. You cannot leave her store without sampling a handful of her handiwork which extends farther than baked goods into artesian spice blends, gourmet cooking pastes and sweet or savory jellies. Locals love her because she’s always sending them home with treats.

In the evenings, she retires inside her storefront behind her vintage Singer sewing machine placing lace around the sleeves of denim jackets, adding fun and fanciful patches to Levi jeans, and stringing Indian seed beads into fringe. On the weekends, Tammy caters events around the Delta and attends farmer’s markets. This hard working woman hardly rests!

So, if you’re ever out and about in the town of Isleton and are looking for a bite to eat, a vintage find to add to your collection, a new piece for your garden, or even just a smile-- don’t hesitate to come visit Tammy Newell, she’ll fix you right up!

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