Going Local: Nezinscot Farm

One of the best things about living in Maine is the plethora of small farms and farm stands that are scattered around the state. Any little rural town worth it’s while will have some sort of little farm stand or farms store somewhere along the main drag or down a winding country road. At these stands and stores you can buy anything from fresh veggies and fruits (depending on the time of year), to preserves, baked goods, local meat, and soaps and candles. One of my absolute favorite farm stores is in Turner, Maine: .

It’s places like Nezinscot Farm that make me feel good about where I’m buying food and other products (like yarn, herbal tinctures, and soaps). And though it’s the kind of place that is incredibly dangerous for me to visit, because I could spend hours/tons of money there, I love that I can look out the windows of the shop and see the source of much of the food I’ve placed in my shopping basket. Buying local, especially at a well run, just plain nice place, makes the “chore” of shopping for necessities so much more.

Nezinscot Farm is one of those rare places that manages to provide multiple services and does it well, if casually. The shop is clean, attractive, and feels just as a little farm shop should: not overdone, but organized and well-stocked. One of my favorite offerings is their cheese. Attached to the store Fromagerie where their cheese is made on site, and they offer quite a lot of it in a large variety. As a huge lover of cheese (this makes me sound like a dork…and Steve Urkel), this is kind of a big draw. They also offer organic, free range eggs at about a dollar less than what I can get at the store (and it’s kind of cool that I can see the chickens right outside, happily wandering around), delicious local meat (and by local, I’m talking just outside the store) – everything from beef and pork and chicken to lamb and goat (I made a great stew with the goat meat and it was YUMMY!). In addition to all that, they sell fresh, organic produce, some local, some from away (depending on season).

But that’s not all! The farm store is also a cafe that always has a ridiculous amount of delicious baked treats for sale, coffee and tea available, and you can even get a super, super yummy sandwich for lunch or early supper, or, if you’re lucky enough to have forgotten your lunch at home and need something quick for work, you may be able to stop in at 7 in the morning and have a wrap made for you for later in the day! Which leads me to the next aspect of Nezinscot Farm – their customer service is downright good. Everyone who works there (which includes the entire family who owns the farm), is kind, courteous, and helpful. You really couldn’t ask for more.

The very last thing I love about this farm is the rest of the store that sells a variety of dry goods/not food items. With a focus on health, local, and organic, the range of items available for purchase is heartening for those of us who are looking for alternatives to Wal-Mart or even are bigger local grocery store chains. While I don’t mind going to Wal-Mart out of sheer desperation and I do enjoy our local, large grocery store, it’s nice to have an alternative and have a place that carries more specialty items (like herbals, homemade soap, and large bags of organic flours).

Whether you live in Maine or near Turner or not, you should check out their website (link above) just to see a family run farm and store done right, creatively, and diversely. And, if you’re in the area, go visit! You won’t be disappointed. And if you aren’t local, check out your own local farms – you never know what you might find!

Dirty Jobs

We’ve all got chores that we hate (dishes, ugh), and maybe we’ve even got some that we like (laundry – or at least folding it; I’m less good at putting it away). And then there are the chores that just skeeve you out.

Like the toilet.

In the past, I’d wear a pair of yellow dishwashing gloves every time I cleaned the bathroom then throw them in the wash afterward. While the dishwashing gloves were probably getting clean, I just couldn’t shake the feeling that they’d repeatedly been in my toilet. Yuck. Even my love for non-disposable items couldn’t keep me from feeling gross every time I donned those gloves.

So, when given the chance to use disposable gloves from , I jumped.

Now, this is going to sound really silly, but I’ve actually worn a lot of disposable gloves in my time (due to work) and this particular brand/type is what I prefer. They’re lighter weight (though still leak-proof, which is nice when you’re cleaning your yucky toilet), fit nicely, are powder and latex free, and don’t get my hands all sweaty and gross (which thicker, more opaque gloves do, and trust me, it’s not fun). What’s more, a box comes with a hundred at only $9.20 (here’s a ). That’s fifty toilet scrubs – so for me, that covers about a year.

I’ve also taken a couple of pairs out and stored them with our family’s first aid kit. While blood doesn’t make my stomach turn quite as much as the contents of a toilet (recently used or not), for safety precautions, it’s good to wear gloves, especially if it’s not a family member you’re working on, but your kiddo’s playmate or a friend who’s come to visit (who’s head inadvertently meets with a bocci ball – true story).

If you’re sick of reusing the same dish/cleaning gloves over and over OR you’re purchasing more expensive pairs of disposable gloves in the cleaning aisle of the grocery store or Wal-Mart, reconsider. Magid’s EconoWear nitrile gloves do the job just as well and comfortably, but with a bigger supply and therefore better price.

Disclosure: This is a review of the product EconoWear by Magid Disposable Nitrile Gloves. I was provided with a free sample. All opinions are my own.

We don’t have T.V.

Well, I should clarify. We own a television (actually, a couple of televisions), but we don’t have cable or satellite and thereby don’t watch a ton of T.V. and we never get a chance to watch the news. I found out Whitney Houston died via Facebook.

Anyway, because I don’t watch a lot of news I listen to it on the radio, mostly NPR. And yesterday I was listening to (a show out of Boston) and they were discussing a really interesting concept: .

Now, you’ve probably heard of and a cash mob takes on the idea of a group of people coming together to pseudo-spontaneously participate in an event and combines it with the idea of something like – except you don’t have the deep discount. The idea, according to the “founder” of the cash mob (Andrew Samtoy – here is a to his blog), is that you are supporting local business partially for the sake of supporting local business, not looking for a discount at every turn. In his interview on Here and Now, he said something like, for the things we want (versus the things we need), we should simply spend the money, not look for a discount every chance we get.

I tend to agree.

Maine is a place that is notoriously unfriendly towards business (ranked 50th in business friendliness according to ), but as someone who has grown-up here, it often feels that one of the few ways for people to make money in this state is by having their own business (if they’re not in education, law enforcement, or health…or all three, with their own business on the side).

We moved from a town that had, I felt, a booming little downtown area, which was helped by the fact that there was a university right there, to a town that has a lot of potential, but isn’t quite the same. I’d love to see that change.

The idea of a cash mob really appeals to me, because, for one, I love to buy local, when I can, and for two, I’m extremely proud of the area we live in, and would love to give a boost to the local economy, even if it’s small.

So, while I didn’t come up with the idea of a cash mob, I think I’d be interested in getting one started for our town/area (our town isn’t very big and there are lots of businesses in the general area that could benefit). I’m not one of those people who particularly revels in getting groups of people together to take on big tasks. While I’m talkative and friendly, I am dead shy when it comes to this sort of thing.

But, when something means a lot to you, you give it a go. I’ve got some friends in the community, and they’ve got some friends, who have some friends, who have some friends. And amongst those friends, there might be some folks who are interested in doing at least one cash mob.

This blog entry is my start and I’ll post it (per usual) on my Facebook page. You know who you are: locals, if you read this and you’re interested, let me know, either here or on Facebook!

As for the rest of you, check out the links I have above or let me know if you have been or will be involved in a cash mob.