Thursday, August 26, 2010

What it's truly all about.

I've been trying to buy as many of my groceries at the farmer's market as possible lately and have found myself in a slight conundrum - which sellers to buy from. With some, it's easy. There's one guy who sells honey. Buy his honey. There's one guy who sells bread. Buy that bread.

But when I get to the fruit and vegetables, it's a toss up. I wander around the stands a few times, waiting for the perfect produce to jump out at me and scream "pick me! pick me!" as if one grower's crookneck squash could really be that different from his neighbor's. I've thought about buying from the grower who is the closest, or who is the most organic. But I haven't really felt like asking all of them detailed questions about their farming practices, or doing the math to find out which one uses the least amount of gas to get to Myrtle Ave. every Fri. night.

And then my coworker gave me the "well...duh" answer I needed. I was blabbing at the breakfast table about how I've been buying from the farmer's market and I get stuck wandering as I try to figure out who to buy from and she simply said just buy from the people who are the nicest. I mean, let's think about it. What is the most basic point of the farmer's market anyway - to foster community, to bring consumers a step closer to the land they live off of, and to eliminate the middle man between the farmer and the hungry farmer's market goer. Does it not make sense to buy from the people with whom you could forge a relationship? Alright, so maybe one guy's produce is a little bit more organic (whatever that means) than the next guy (or gal's). But who cares if the next gal is someone you look forward to seeing every Friday night? I mean really!

I got to thinking about the time I gushed about the farm-fresh chicken I brought home (and then had to figure out how to get it off the bone! spoiled by boneless-skinless all my life...eek) and I realized that I really look forward to seeing the chicken farmer and his wife (whose names I now wish I knew, and will ask the next time I need eggs. Or chicken). They are familiar faces, and they provide me with something I really need - food - with no gimmicks, no song and dance, just a smile and a nice to see you again.

And then there's Sam, the fruit guy with whom J bonded over plums. We can't go to the farmer's market without stopping by Sam's stand, sampling all of the plums we've already tried before and chatting it up with our pitted-fruit pal. And he always slips us a new variety, gratis, just for being loyal. Or maybe just because he likes us. Regardless - thanks, buddy.

J, thanks for remembering what is important - the people. As I got all caught up wondering how organic Sam's plums were, you were asking his name. I'm glad I'm marrying you.

Like my parents always said: Let's keep it simple.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

vinegar and oil. and baking soda.

Right now I smell like a giant, coconut macaroon. Not joking.

I've been looking into organic/natural hygiene you see, and my research has yielded some surprising results. One of which is coconut oil, which is good for a lot of things, especially a scalp treatment. Since my scalp is always kinda itchy (TMI, perhaps), and since I can never seem to find a shampoo/conditioner that cleans my hair and leaves my scalp hydrated, I thought why not. If it turns out horribly, it's not like anyone is looking. It's just me and the dust bunnies at home right now.

The other interesting bit of info I've been soaking up is this whole notion of "no-'poo", as in no shampoo. There's this underground movement of people who are attempting to redefine normal on the personal hygiene front, not an easy task, and they clean their hair with baking soda and rinse it with vinegar. It's chemical-free, if you're concerned about cancer, reduces plastic waste, if you're concerned about the environment, and it's pretty darn cheap if you're concerned about saving $$.

So I gave that trend a try as well. Results? So far, surprising. After a long day at work, my hair is pretty icky, and I felt squeaky clean after using the "no-poo" method. I rinsed with diluted apple cider vinegar, which did leave me smelling a bit like homemade pickles, but no one gave me any funny looks at work today so assume only I could notice. And after work I let my hair down to reveal a beautiful, grease-free shine. Even my bangs were still feathery. Nice.

The "recipe" I tried:

1. Make a paste out of baking soda and water. Massage into dry scalp.
2. Let sit for 2-3 minutes. Rinse out.
3. Pour dilute vinegar (1 part vinegar to 4 parts water, approx) through hair. Rinse with cool water.

I'm going to let the coconut oil sit for 1 hour and then do the baking soda/vinegar routine. We'll see what happens!