Monthly Archives: August 2011

Farmers’ Markets, Veggie Stands, Wholesalers: Oh My!

As the green movement spreads, more and more innovative resources are arising for locavores and organic lovers alike. With a little creativity and a willingness to look beyond the traditional grocery store, those farm fresh strawberries will find their way straight from the fields to your palette.

Do you live in or near a rural area?  If so, many farms stockpile stands by the side of the road with surplus produce.  The prices are reasonable, and you’ll have your pick of in-season fruit and veggies.  For city dwellers, more permanent stands are often hidden throughout the metro area.  These are small operations, so your best bet is to get there around mid-morning when the shelves are fully stocked.  Keep cash or a checkbook on hand in case they don’t take credit cards. 

Seasonal farmers’ markets draw farmers from around the region to sell gorgeous, nutrient-rich produce at competitive prices.  They run anywhere from once to several times a week, dependent on the size of the city and the season.  Try visiting towards the end of the day when some farmers start offering leftover produce at discounted rates.  If you’re lucky enough to live next to a major supplier of a certain type of food, don’t hesitate to go right to the source.  For Pacific Northwesters, seek out terminals where fishermen dock and start bargaining away!

To find these often hidden resources, both word of mouth and a stroll around the neighborhood are the best ways to go.  For a more comprehensive look, enter your zip code into this Eat Well Guide and find farms and markets nearest to you.  Soon you’ll be experiencing food the way it’s really meant to taste.  So map out your resources and get to gathering!

Life’s Lessons in Sustainability

How about our ability to sustain? That’s sort of what I’ve been working on for the past six months. Whew! Should I even bother telling you that it’s kept me from writing this blog? I’ve started a draft or two but life continues to intervene.

In March we welcomed two new baby lambs who – for the first time – needed hands-on help (we’re talking tube feedings every four hours throughout the night for two weeks). Especially fun at 1:00 a.m. and then again at 5:00 a.m. with the wind, rain, and coyotes howling. It was hard, but it worked. Despite the odds, we saved both little guys.

Lesson 1: Know your limits and commitment to small farming before you jump in. Saving young lambs and other farm jobs take work. A lot of it. 

Then came April, and a sudden call back to the finca (my eco guest house on Vieques island in Puerto Rico) which ended up with me running the place solo, throughout spring break and serving thirty-plus guests a day. Luckily, they were mostly families, which meant flexible, forgiving folks with wonderfully inquisitive kids. I played eco- educator to the kids, teaching them how the finca operates as simply and with as little impact on the environment as possible. I traded their help hanging the laundry with lessons in tarantula catch and release!

Lesson 2: Whenever possible surround yourself with others who want to learn as much as you do and learn from each other. We’re all learning this simple living thing together.

Four days after I returned, my 91-year-old mother had a stroke. She was the person absolutely responsible for giving me my (apparently) diehard commitment to living as environmentally conscious as possible. She “walked her talk” up until the very, very end. She gave her body to science when she passed away at the end of the month, one last expression of her deep, deep commitment to bettering the world, and minimizing our impact in it. Sad yes, I miss her more than I even knew I would. But almost 92 years on this planet surrounded by friends and family, sharing with them the fruit from the trees you’ve planted – it’s a pretty wonderful and fortunate thing. Which somehow balances out the sadness.

Lessons here? Oh, so many. Simply put, as mom would want it: learn as much as you can from your mom while you can. And when it’s real, your walk and your talk are one – and more walk than talk is always best. (That’s 2 of about 2000 lessons learned in April).

Then, a week after my mom passed away, my oldest son was seriously injured in a Jet Ski accident. He’ll be okay – but it has been, and will continue to be, a long, hard haul to recovery. As a commercial fisherman, he isn’t used to hanging around the house, certainly not in a wheelchair. So I’ve been helping out where I can. Somehow in addition to dishes and laundry and lawn mowing, my role as solid waste manager has emerged. I’m coaching him on the cost, and environmental savings of sorting the recycling, yard waste and compost out of the garbage. A sweet backyard garden has emerged. I celebrated by buying them a carton of red worms for the bin.  I may make an urban farmer out of him yet.

Lesson learned? Silver linings abound.  Even in the face of enormous issues, physical or environmental, we are better able to deal with them if we start with optimism and hope.

And then there was July. The month my daughter was supposed to get married, my fortieth high school reunion, and a large family reunion in my mom’s small hometown in Utah. Well, the first event has moved to September (stay tuned for green wedding blogs!) and the other two were perfect punctuation points. Milestones in a year’s seemingly relentless lessons. They were more good opportunities to reflect on it all: what matters, how much it all matters, and what we can do to help. I’m just left wondering – does living actually ever get simple? If so, I’m ready! I’ve somehow sustained!

Lesson here? Yep…I’ve learned it’s clear you can turn just about anything into a lesson – if you’re up for learning.

TheNaturalStore.com Green Your Ride Sweepstakes

TheNaturalStore.com Green Your Ride Sweepstakes

TheNaturalStore.com Green Your Ride Sweepstakes

Beginning today, August 1st, TheNaturalStore.com Green Your Ride Sweepstakes will be giving Facebook fans a chance to win two Trek Hybrid 7000 bikes, plus a Burley ‘Bee’ Trailer to carry kids, pets, trail gear or even groceries. We want to lend a hand in making commuting as green as it can be—starting with a new ride for any adventure. Each mile traveled by bike instead of by car saves nearly a pound of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Each week during the month of August, fans will have the opportunity to win two additional prizes from companies like nuun, Badger, and de~luxe.

About the Green Your Ride Sweepstakes:

  • Grand Prize: Trek 7000 & Trek 7000 WSD with a Burley ‘Bee’ Trailer. Prize value: $1100.00.
  • Grand prize items coordinated by Trek & Redmond Cycle. The winner will be professionally fit to their bike by an authorized Trek dealer in their area.
  • Two additional prizes will be given away each week until August 29th.
  • Prize opportunities include nuun, Honey Stinger, Kinesys, Badger, Goddess Garden, Beyond Costal and de~luxe.
  • To enter and for more details, visit TheNaturalStore.com Facebook page: http://budurl.com/CycleSweepstakes
  • Prize values range from $50 to $1100.

TheNaturalStore.com
TheNaturalStore.com is committed to helping people live healthier lives, by offering our customers the largest and best selection of natural, “green”, and environmentally-friendly products online at great prices. Over the years, we’ve developed product standards and guidelines that can help you make smarter choices for a more natural, eco friendly lifestyle.

Trek
When Trek began in 1976, our mission was simple: Build the best bikes in the world. Today, we’ve added to our mission: Help the world use the bicycle as a simple solution to complex problems. The bicycle is the most efficient form of human transportation. It can combat climate change, ease urban congestion, and build human fitness. It brings us together, yet allows us to escape. And it takes us places we would never see any other way.

Redmond Cycle
Redmond Cycle is a Washington based company. Family owned since 1963, they are dedicated to providing high quality bikes and cycling equipment to every rider from beginners to the ProTeams. Consider them your go-to source for your biking adventure needs.