Eat Mendocino

2 women, 365 days, 3,878 square miles


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Will work (really hard) for local food

This is not a glory moment. I don’t even want to write, but this is what it’s all about – the guts, too. I am sweaty, windblown, exhausted and my back aches. Before I explain, I need to say a genuine thank you to all of the wonderful people who supported my micro-fundraising campaign to purchase a bike trailer. I raised the full amount, and the only reason I haven’t bought the new trailer, yet is the very next day, someone generously donated one. Of course I would rather use something old than buy something new, but this bike carriage was designed for carrying children, not cargo, so I wasn’t sure it would work. Today, I found out.

I just got the trailer yesterday and didn’t have time to test it on my bike until this morning, before the market. I wasn’t sure exactly how it attached to the bike, but any way I tried, it just didn’t fit. Might be the size of my bike frame, or the tires. I tried to Google it at the last minute before abandoning the issue for the morning, and packing up what I could carry to the market, and walking. The wind was fierce today, blowing strong and knocking down signs and umbrellas and stirring everyone’s nerves. It was also the best market day so far of the season, probably due to it being Memorial Day Weekend. The tourists (and locals alike) really love the Fort Bragg Bakery’s cookies.

After the market, I was generously offered a ride home with four of the heaviest signs that are used to close the street. I came home to rest from the wind, do the farmers’ market accounting and work for a couple hours before dealing with the rest of the signs. My dog was cagey from being in all day, so i decided to walk her and pull the bike trailer by hand to see what we could haul on foot. I was hoping she would actually pull the thing for me, but she was immediately frightened and skeptical of the new bright yellow & red contraption and was trying to run away from it instead. As we started walking through the village, I noticed people looking at me and my trailer and my adorable pitbull like I was either homeless, or with amusement. At some point I will eventually laugh about this.

After picking up and loading the first wooden sign, foodevangelistsI realized I wouldn’t be able to fit many into the trailer, and also realized that my physical therapist nor my masseuse would approve of this endeavor. I was a clunky scene trying to navigate Mendocino’s non ADA approved sidewalks. I stopped to let some tourists pass and my dog licked their hands as if to say, “please adopt me, she’s gone mad.” I picked up two more signs, and then trudged home. My arms began to ache and my lower back was protesting. I am home now, awaiting Gowan’s arrival. We’re going to make dinner and I will bribe her with dessert to help me pick up the last few signs with her truck. I am wondering why sometimes the simplest things can be the most confounding and the most challenging. I don’t want a car, but I am pretty exasperated by the alternatives as well.

Once again I am left feeling that all of my problems would be solved by having a horse.  And ice cream, with fresh peaches.


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Local wheels for local food

It has been a big, big week for Eat Mendocino.  I baked my very first loaf of bread (after 5 1/2 years of being gluten free and a lifetime of not being a baker) the same day that the owner of the big local grocery store, Harvest Market, contacted us wanting to collaborate to get more local food on the shelves! Then, Gowan’s goat Mandy delivered twins on Mother’s Day. And, the very next day, Gowan adopted a third baby goat, which we snuggled while eating our first 100% local apple pie. She has since been aptly named, “Apple.” It’s a good, full life. *sigh*

Apple, Gowan's new dwarf nigerian baby goatSarah eating sourdough rye bread. Joyful disbelief.Sourdough rye bread for breakfast!Bakemistress Jacquelyn cutting the apple pie!

But, that is not what this blog post is about. This entry is about mobility. It has been a month and a half since I totaled my darling steel tank, Mrs. Butterwheels. I still don’t love talking about it, but it’s essential to understanding how my life is changing in deep and important ways. Time has passed, but I do not like being in cars, to say the least. I try to limit most of my activity within walking radius, and ride the bus or carpool when I really need to. Usually, this works. I have swiftly and resourcefully redesigned my life so that I can do most of my work from my living room, walk or ride the bus when I must get to the doctor or visit just-born baby goats. I’m learning to slow down, in profound ways. I am rethinking how much I really “need” to go somewhere, and am exploring the wonderfully dangerous world of online shopping (my shiny new bread knife arrived today!) There are flaws in all of these systems and choices, but it’s basically working out so far and the local diet has yet to be compromised, thanks to many benevolent agents who have delivered food in clutch situations.

Ironically, the main obstacle in this locavore’s life is my new gig as manager of the Mendocino Farmers’ Market. It is located approximately 7 blocks from my house, and you would think it’s the ideal job for a localized locavore. Yet, the only thing that has forced me behind the wheel of a car is my market manager duties. I have to lug tons of heavy signs around town before market day, and then bring all the gear for my booth every Friday (table, chair, paperwork, schwag, and the machine to accept Food Stamps, etc.). Thankfully I have many wheeled friends who have been helping me thus far, but I’m feeling far from autonomous and my favors are running out.

I have been fretfully wrestling with this conundrum for the past 2 weeks. I need wheels. But, I don’t necessarily need a car. The first thought was a large red wagon, at the suggestion of some of the other market managers. Which might work, but wagons are most efficient when used at the market itself. I need to schlep signs all over town, and then pick them up after a long day at the market. I need to cover ground, and not spend my entire Friday night doing so. The solution became fairly obvious.

As my favorite bumper sticker says, I realized it was time to, “Put the fun between your legs.”

I needed to outfit my bicycle with some kind of cargo cart! After some internet research, I have found the perfect thing: the Croozer Cargo Bike Trailer. It’s probably made in China, but it’s all part of the transitional economy…Croozer Cargo Bike Trailer

My market budget cannot afford this new expense ($200), so I’m inviting you, beloved fans, to help me get back on the “horse” and fuel a pedal powered local food economy. It’s easy, just click here to donate safely and securely via Paypal. Donations of any amount are deeply appreciated, from the bottom of my shaken but mighty little heart.

The market is off to a great start, and I know the season is going to unfold in wonderful and unexpected ways. Sheriff Tom Allman drops by for a visit at the Mendocino Farmers' MarketMy goal is to use it as a platform to get as many people excited about local food as possible! Sheriff Allman dropped by during opening day and purchased an apple tree grafted by the horticulture students at Mendocino High School. He invited Gowan and I to visit the County Jail’s garden, which has introduced locally grown food into the jail kitchen, allowed inmates to get their hands in the dirt, and reduced the annual food costs by $40,000! This is what it’s all really about. Do come by and say hi to me at the Mendocino market every Friday from Noon – 2 pm. You will find Gowan and her lovely produce at the Wednesday market in Fort Bragg from 3-6 pm.

And, if you need to see more baby goat pictures (because who doesn’t?), check out our Facebook page, and our YouTube channel.

xo
Sarah