It’s a love story that will make you swoon.
They met and fell for each other under the pine trees of Cuba, sharing their first kiss under the sunshine of a far away land. They would get engaged under the same pine trees, falling in love with not only each other, but with each aspect of each other’s lives and dreams. But at the very same time, they would find themselves facing the pressures of becoming first-time business owners at a young age.
Yet with the support of each other and their passions, they have flourished.
If that wasn’t cute enough, they also share a love of pine trees and pineapples.
“Pine essentially brought our stories together,” chuckled Barrington business owner, Alina Jaskowiak, during a recent interview. “We’ve always loved pineapples, not only because they are fresh and tropical and are the symbol of welcome, but they also have some character that make them tough on the outside and sweet on the inside.”
That’s sort of like Alina and her husband Jerry Jaskowiak.
The enterprising couple are currently preparing to make another dream come true as they transform their three-year-old Pure Organic Juicery business into Pine Food Company, which will soon offer Barrington a full-service café and a fully functional kitchen that will feature everything from sandwiches and soups to salads and flatbreads, all made from scratch and with organic ingredients.
Food is something that both Jerry and Alina share the same values for. Once the couple realized the impact that living a healthier lifestyle has not only their bodies, through the food that they eat—but also to the connection to our community and the earth—it only made sense that they would lead by setting a better example of how to do this within their means.
“We certainly cater to the vegetarian, health conscious diner, but we also cater to that person who simply wants to make better choices when it comes to the food they put in their body,” says Alina, who took ownership of Pure Organic Juicery when she was just 18 years old. “We want to be that place where people’s perspectives start to change around the concept of healthy food and help them understand why the roots of food are important.”
It’s something that both Jerry and Alina learned about first hand as youngsters. “It’s been quite a journey,” recalls Alina, who adds that they both discovered a healthier lifestyle while dealing with various dietary issues growing up, leading them both to explore different avenues for a more conscious relationship to food and health.
As owners of Pine Food Company, Alina and Jerry routinely collaborate with local farms in season. In addition, they compost 100 percent of their food waste and juice pulp—along with using recycled and compostable plastic ware for all the to-go items. And if that wasn’t enough, they also pride themselves in providing a place for the community to collaborate in every way.
“We take pride in being one of those places in the community where people can come together and not only enjoy a good meal, but some quality time with one another,” says Alina, whose café will also start to feature community dinners every month. “This is where we live. We met and got engaged in Barrington and we feel very passionate about building deeply rooted relationships with our neighborhood. That’s why Pine exists, because we wanted a space for our community to grow in every aspect of life together. We wanted to offer something new to Barrington, and we know the community is craving a place such as this.”
Of course, every love story holds its share of challenges, and Alina and Jerry are the first to admit that working and living together isn’t always bright and easy.
“It’s all about creating a balance,” Alina says quietly. “We have had to establish our roles and our boundaries in our workspaces both at home and at our place of business. And when we sit down for dinner, it’s about us serving each other and about who we can share our stories with around the table.”
And take it from us—it’s a love story that looks to be getting more beautiful by the minute.
Pine Food Company is located at 100 E. Station Street, Unit 140 in Barrington, pinefoodcompany.com.