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!

I’m slowly starting to make the transition to all natural, mostly homemade cleaners (in addition to moving out other unnecessary toxins that my family is exposed to on a regular basis). While I love my super basic vinegar and water mixes and scouring my sinks and tub with Borax and baking soda (it’s so freaking cheap!!), one of the major things that I worry about is bacteria. I mean, I have a four year old, for pity’s sake – there is bacteria floating around everywhere! While I do have a bottle of Seventh Generation anti-bacterial surface cleaner (which is supposed to be safer than other brands), I was hoping to find something I could easily make myself and is cheaper than nearly $4 a bottle.

Here was the solution:

The school/clinic in our area had posted this short little “recipe” on their and I couldn’t wait to delve in. The suggestion: Fill a jar with citrus peels (in my case, lemon and orange) and vinegar, let steep for two weeks, then clean away! Citrus, , has some antibacterial properties, as does vinegar, AND citrus is known to cut through grease and other nasty substances, so soaking the peels with the vinegar can make a powerful home cleaning remedy, and one that I’m happy to use.

So, why am I making these switches, slowly but surely? Because, one, it’s way, way more inexpensive to buy big ole boxes of Borax and baking soda and a giant jug of vinegar than it is to buy anything else, environmentally safe or not, and these cleaning supplies are toxin free. Kids these days are exposed to so much crap that I feel like it isn’t such a bad thing to bring all down a notch at home. I know I can’t control what E. breathes in the air each day or touches or is exposed to at preschool or other places, but at least at home I can rest at ease that what I clean our home and her toys with is safe.

Next step on my list of to dos: Find out how to safely dispose of the cleaners I will no longer be using but are still hanging around.