Visits to the mega-grocery have become rare for us. Our garden produce populates the freezer and the shelves of the basement pantry, eggs, poultry and pork come from the Jodar Farms CSA (community supported agriculture) share, grass fed beef from a ranch up the road, and dairy is delivered to the door once a week. From the latter I make cheese, yogurt, and butter. I buy flour in bulk, and barter with friends for fresh trout or vegetables I don’t grow.
In the winter, the indoor farmers market fills in around the edges with mushrooms, pie cherries, winter greens and the like. Last season I met a couple whose son is well into an aquaponics venture located within biking distance from my house. Greens, lettuces, and herbs grow organically using the water where he raises tilapia – which also keeps the tilapia’s environment naturally clean. Soon his fish will be ready to harvest – and purchase. I heard he’s talking about adding shrimp to the mix in the future.
Not going to the regular chain grocery store isn’t something I intended. It just happened. But there are plenty of things we can’t get from any of the sources I mention above. Paper goods, yeast, aluminum foil, lemons and limes, olive oil, taco shells, Rice-a-Roni, Jello pudding. Yep, you can find those latter two in the pantry, too. sometimes, at least. K loves ’em.
Luckily, about two and a half miles away there is a little place called Beavers Market. You can see how small it is. Don Beavers started the business in Nebraska, and then he and his family moved to northern Colorado. They say that if they don’t carry it, you don’t need it, and I think they’re right. It’s fast, convenient, I don’t have to choose from 28 kinds of spaghetti, and yet I can get old-school cleaning products like Fels Naphtha laundry bars, borax and washing soda.
They stock all the locally produced items I know of, many of which can also be found at the farmers markets. In the fall they have a big bin of local squash and Ball jars of locally canned pickles and relishes line the edge of the small produce aisle. The real, honest-to-god butcher knows his stuff and you can call him for custom orders. You can buy a t-shirt, flowers and aspirin, as well as fresh bread, raw milk cheeses and eight kinds of sausage they make on site – sans MSG.
The one downfall was that Beavers Market didn’t offer much in the way of local produce on any regular basis. I didn’t really care because I felt pretty well supplied. But this summer they’ve added something new: Native Hill Farm comes in on Wednesday afternoons from 4:00 to 8:00 with tables spilling over with their weekly harvest. I stopped by and scored freshly picked
I hope everyone has a great weekend. If you happen to be at the Loveland Barnes and Noble in the Centerra Shopping Center tomorrow (Saturday) between 12:00 and 4:00, I’ll be signing books and chatting with customers about mead, writing, and pretty much anything else that comes up.