Thursday, November 15, 2007

Market Day Thoughts

Mmmm. Sometimes I wish I could just live off of tea and coffee and yummy beverages. This is the time of year for eggnog and other delightful drinks and I like nearly all of them. I like the seasonal soymilks: nogs and a pumpkin spice one that I am sipping on right now. I love hot apple cider, hot chocolate, and all the ways to enjoy coffee: pumpkin lattes, peppermint, mocha, whipped cream on top, sprinkles of cinnamon or chocolate shavings, or both! And a hot cup of Earl Grey tea is divine with touch of sugar and milk. Speaking of tea, I saw Twining's Lady Grey tea along with my familiar Earl Grey. Have any of you tried it? If you enjoy Earl Grey, do you like it as well? I'm thinking of picking some up next time. I'd love to hear your opinions.

We have all these things in our fully-stocked pantry now, having gone to the first day, grand- opening of the new market just up the street. I've never been to the first day opening of a store. It was crowded and fun. I started kind of wondering if I need a little bit more excitement in my life when I actually look forward to a new grocery store opening. But, you know, I wasn't the only one. Like I said, it was crowded. And I think they had nearly all of their staff on hand to welcome us!

The girls had a great time sampling the different items offered at the ends of nearly every aisle. The fountain of flowing chocolate in which you drenched a strawberry on a stick was, hands-down, the biggest hit for them. The free, reusable shopping bag to add to my collection was the best bonus for me!

So, why the excitement? Well, you know, like probably most of you readers, spend a lot of time in grocery stores. Would I rather be in a beautiful, open-air market where I could stroll every other day and pick the freshest, local ingredients? You bet I would. Do I have that? No. I do have a number of farmers market options available to me each about 20 minutes or more away from me. Whole Foods is a half hour drive. This store is a three-minute drive or 10 minute bike ride. Until Whole Foods or Wild Oats builds something nearer to me, I will really only be able to go there once-a-month. On those days I'll swing by the bread outlet on the way to stock our freezer with day-old, half price bread, buns, English muffins, etc. The other markets will just have to be more specialty stops, because I simply do not have the time - or gas money - to spend getting out to those places.

There is actually another store that is a smidgen closer, but this new one is known for its exceptional service and I love that. I like when the folks working there really seem to know what they are doing and care about what they are doing. So many big-box stores nowadays have employees that feel (and likely are) expendable, and so they have poor attitudes that are passed on in their service. I don't know what this store does for its employees, but they really are a knowledgeable, professional bunch.

My intention is to become known at this store. I would like to know some of the folks by name there. I suspect some will get to know me rather well, as I will be needing to make special orders. It seems they don't regularly carry Organic Valley cheeses and I do not want to buy Horizon cheeses, because of their factory farming practices. I was told, though, that they can do special orders for me on a regular basis if I want and, so, yes, I want.

I want, because I don't want to have to drive all over creation to get the good food for my family that I desire to give them.

I want, because, for crying out loud, gas is over $3.00 a gallon! (I am not completely unhappy about this, knowing that the continuing hikes in gas prices will be the continuing push for more widely-available, cleaner energy.)

I want, because I want to be able to spend the majority of my time in and around this area so that my children and I can begin to feel more connected to this place (this is connected to a larger theme that I will try to post on soon here) - this place where, after 4 years, still doesn't really feel like home, but seems to be starting to.

So, again, here I am having deep philosophical thoughts connected to my grocery shopping! Too funny. I guess when you are a homeschooling SAHM and this is your sphere of influence and interaction, you'll get it from wherever and whenever it may come!! Mind you, I 'm not berating any of it; I know the political power of food and that how we moms spend that food dollar impacts a great number of people and markets and lives - human and animal. Maybe that's why I end up so introspective on marketing day. The choices we make do count. I am trying to make good ones.

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