Cheryl Green had raised a family and was quite content working as a medical assistant.

Cheryl Green had raised a family and was quite content working as a medical assistant.

But two years ago, at age 46, Green became pregnant with son Grant. Rather than send Grant off to day care and continue her routine, Green decided to strike off on her own.

She gives credit to co-workers at Rogue River Family Practice for encouraging her to start Green's Gourmet Goodies.

"I have made two of the products for the holidays and special occasions for the past 20 years," Green says. "I started taking the caramel corn and English toffee into work and they were so impressed with the product that they prompted me to take it out to the public."

She marketed her goodies around town and "got a great response," she says.

Green started making gift baskets on Valentine's Day and took them around to local medical offices. Pharmacies soon were snapping up her products as well.

Green and her husband, Randy, a Medford firefighter, converted their garage on Fielder Creek Road into a commercial kitchen. She expanded her offerings to 15 products, including a sugar-free line for diabetic customers.

The recipes are all Green's with the exception of the initial caramel corn recipe a friend gave her 25 years ago.

Green admits it took some soul-searching to take the plunge," but I guess a lot of people can relate."

Life-changing circumstances often lead to career changes, says Medford business coach Sandra Abell.

"If life throws you a curve — a baby or an illness — it gives creative people an opportunity to do what they enjoy and see what they can do from home," Abell says. "They do their own problem solving and it's often a wonderful thing for them."

Green's Gourmet Goodies are sold at All About Oregon in the Rogue Valley Mall, Oregon Outpost and Shopriverrock in Grants Pass and Farmhouse Treasures in Jacksonville. It soon will be available in the Salem area.

Green is hoping to open more doors during the Holiday Food & Gift Festival at the Oregon Convention Center Nov. 7-9 in Portland. Between 6,000 and 10,000 people pay to attend daily.

"We're in massive production for that and getting ready for the Christmas rush," Green says.

She's mixed up a variety of caramel corn variations and has taken advantage of regional affections by developing Beaver Bites and Quacker Jacks with the colors of the state's Pac-10 teams.

Turning a part-time hobby into a full-scale venture had its challenges, she says.

"There were so many hidden costs," Green says. "The permits were amazing just to conduct a small business out of our home. The county charged us $500 just to test our well and septic system and we had to put out an immense amount just for labeling."

Family members have helped tremendously, she says. Her mother-in-law, Joyce Green of Grants Pass, watches Grant while she is cooking.

Cary Cound of Cary's of Oregon English Toffee gave Green a primer on the ins and outs of what to expect and helped her with packaging ideas.

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 776-4463 or e-mail business@mailtribune.com.