Thursday, May 26, 2011

Supporting The Community

I will be the first to admit that I love things from France, England, and Italy (depending on what we're discussing).  Our favorite brand of pasta is Italian, our favorite breakfast addition is Heinz baked beans (a British thing, and yes we make people try it!), and France has too many things to name.  And that's just food.  I also love products from there (clothing, jewelry, kitchen items).  I think in the end if you are as careful with your purchases as we are, you will be attempting to get the best item you can afford that will last a long time. 
Image from City Paper... this is only one room of the restaurant

But, I'm also huge into supporting local businesses.  I've gotten to the point where I really prefer local coffee houses, restaurants, patisseries and bakeries (still searching for an excellent bakery here).  I'm not a fan of chain restaurants, since I find that the food is generally not as thought out or exciting...large bland portions are not where I want to spend my money.  Our first love here, Clementine is not just a restaurant that uses as much local produce (and now eggs) that they can, but their meats are usually done in house, since they are also a charcuterie.  Their bacon is delicious.  The owners are fantastic people--- it's a husband and wife who really care about their food.  And they serve our local Zeke's fair trade organic blend of coffee cheap... $1.50 for unlimited refills! 
The tree outside the yarn store!

I also have been trying to give my business to locals when I feel they are offering just as good of a service.  My knitting classes are at a local place called Lovelyarns rather than going to a place like JoAnn's.  What I love about this place is the friendliness of the owner and her teachers, and that she has quality yarn... including some locally dyed and spun!  I'm still on the hunt for other local places for things like pet care (Audrey needs to be groomed and after asking a bunch of people and no good recommendations, I'm gonna have to break down and take her to PetSmart soon), furniture restoration (we're having my grandmother's dining table restored before the baby comes), and I'm on the hunt for a bicycle shop to restore a couple old bikes that a friend's mother (after I offered to buy them) is graciously giving us. 
And then there is food.  One Straw Farm is our CSA and I will stick with them unless we ever reach a point where we're not in the area.  They have been absolutely fantastic, and I cannot gush about them enough.  Through their links we've also contacted a couple other farms: one to try and get into their chicken co-op for next year ($200 upfront, but 2 chickens a month that are outside, on grass, no hormones or antibiotics...and we love some roasted chicken!) and another farm to stock up a deep freezer with pastured beef, pork, lamb, and goat (we may need 2 freezers!).  And of course we try and get local, truly free-range eggs when we can.  Our milk situation is a bit tricky, but currently we're drinking grass-fed organic milk from the store until after the baby comes. 

I think supporting your local farms and small businesses is an excellent way to keep the area around you chic and more economically sound.  And remember, places like that will remember you, you will form relationships, and you will be the better for it.


  1. I love buying local. You often get much better service and products or food. I'm so glad it's getting to be summer again so that we can buy our produce from the farmer's market!

  2. Supporting local businesses is a great thing to do and I often find I like the quality of their products better. Plus you build relationships and it's just good overall for everyone. Great post!

  3. Very, very French to source your ingredients for food and life locally. I look forward to forging relationships with my sources as it is such a community-building experience.

    Next year, when we aren't travelling so much, I plan to participate in a CSA. I'm investigating purchasing a share in beef, and I'll have to look into chickens.

    Lovely pictures!