Saturday, June 11, 2011

Lovin' My Local

I love supporting my local businesses, especially when the people who own them are here year-round and are not just here for the money that the tourists bring, but, like me, make this their home.

We went to the Farmer's Market for the first time this year. When we walked up to the first vendor, he says, "You finally made it. This is your first time here this year, right?" I said, "You noticed." Which I think surprised him, but he took it all in stride.

Today was kind of coolish and drizzly, and so there weren't many people at the Farmer's Market. I'm glad we went. It was good to see some old friends, and I love supporting my local farmers.

The best part about today's foray, however, was the knowledge we gained. While I was chatting with "Grammy" (of Grammy's Gramola, our favorite baked goods vendor) about my book, Deus Ex Machina took the girls over to the dairy vendor for some flavored milk. He told me later, when we were in the car, that they had wheat flour. They have WHEAT FLOUR! They are the only farm in the southern Maine area that grows wheat. You bet your buns I'll be buying their flour - every weekend for the rest of the summer, and storing whatever will fit in the freezer for use this winter. Local, REAL local (grown and ground) wheat flour.

Yes, I am a little giddy.

Later, we went to our favorite local used bookstore , The Book, CD, and Movie Exchange. It's an awesome little store with a warm and inviting ambiance, and it's very rare that we go in and leave empty handed. Tonight, I found a great used copy of Lucifer's Hammer (which I've been wanting to read for a while), and everyone else found a couple of books and/or movies to bring home.

While we were there, I walked by this life-sized cut-out of Dorothy, from the Wizard of Oz, and Toto. The owner had added a thought bubble to Toto.

Reading the caption was a, literal, laugh out loud moment for me, and I asked Big Little Sister to take a picture so that I could post it here, because it's fun to find like-minded people. Obviously, The Book, CD, and Movie Exchange values their "local" customers. Given that 80% of the businesses in my town cater to the tourist trade, it's a nice change to realize that some businesses are happy to serve us local guys, and I really do appreciate doing business with people who appreciate my business.

Like the Cheese Iron. Several months ago, my girls went there on a field trip with their French class, and then, we hadn't been back until just a couple of weeks ago. When we walked in, both of the people who were working remembered us from the French class.

The other day, I was back in there, and I was standing at the cash register having my purchases totaled. I started to cough a little, and Vincent, the owner, told me to hold on a minute. Then, he ran to the other side of the store and came back with a small cup of water for me.

Now THAT'S customer service! And he really is like that with all of his customers, which is why he has such a loyal customer base.

I'm very lucky to have such an amazing selection of local farmers and shop owners.

How's your local?


  1. Sounds like a great day, Wendy! I am SO happy for you guys, that you've found some local wheat...I know you wrote quite a while back that you had trouble sourcing some. I was thrilled to find a local mill near us who grinds pretty much everything - we're fortunate to have a huge diversity of grains here, too. He mills our open pollinated corn, so I can use our very own cornmeal and corn flour for my baking- life is good!

    Our Inglewood Market starts this Wednesday, and I can HARDLY WAIT :D It's like a homecoming, for us, to see all our fellow vendors/growers and to see all our loyal customers (much like yourselves) coming back for another season. The kids who are coming with their parents have grown 6" over the winter, and the adults seem more and more like old friends.

    Hopefully your post will encourage others to find a local market near them, to start enjoying the great experience!

  2. We always try to support our locals, when we can. I often times find better quality and always better customer service.

  3. We love our locals around here! I have the CSA and I also get our beef and chicken from the same farm. I have a small garden that gets a little bigger each year, but this year, it got a little smaller unfortunately. Time slipped away from me! I have not been to the other farm market in town yet. I am looking forward to it, though!

  4. Local farms are great - there is a farm nearby that grows eucalyptus, which eases my asthma symptoms. I love being able to pick up a fresh bundle every week.

    I discovered something horrifying this morning...a daily health challenge I participate in had a challenge to take five minutes to learn about the quality of your local tap water. It very nicely provided a link to a watchdog site that monitors national tap water results. My results shocked me...I mean, geez, I knew my tap water wasn't the greatest (I can't even bring myself to drink it without adding flavoring), but knowing what all is in it is terrifying.

    I thought you might be interested in the link for the watchdog site, so I'm including it below. Just type in your zip code.

  5. Lucifer's Hammer!! Wow, I read that so many years ago and it made a big impression on much so that I still have my ancient falling apart paperback copy. Maybe I should read it again!