Friday, May 4, 2012

An Eggcellent Idea!

An innkeeper simply cannot exist without eggs. Oh, we use them for everything...fritatas, omelets, strata, French toast, pancakes, waffles, cookies, scones and occasionally we'll even scramble a plain one or two (only if forced to do so by insistent guests). So, purchasing eggs is a given. The question is 'where'. I don't think I've ever gone into a grocery store and come out with just one dozen eggs. I tend to buy them in greater quantities than that, so up until about a year ago, I would get them at Costco in the 3 or 9 dozen packages. Lest you think that I'm falling off the 'buy local' bandwagon that I've been on lately, the Costco eggs come from a farm in York, less than an hour from my inn.

However, about a year ago, an older lady knocked at my door one Thursday afternoon and introduced herself as "Phyllis the Egg Lady". Phyllis went on to explain that she lived over in the next town and had a couple dozen chickens that produced pretty well and wondered if I might be interested in purchasing eggs from her. I was thrilled and asked about the location of her farm so that I could come pick them up. "Oh, no", she continued, "I'd be happy to bring them to you." Phyllis said that she had a weekly appointment in my area and would just drop the eggs off on her way. BONUS!! We even save the empty egg cartons for Phyllis so she can re-use them.

So now, every Thursday around 12:30, Phyllis pulls in my driveway in her little pickup truck with her eggs snugly tucked in a cooler in the front seat. Do I pay a little more for these eggs and the delivery service? Sure I do. But it's SO worth it when my guests comment about how wonderful everything tastes and looks. The brown eggs, which are almost always bigger than the white store-bought eggs, give all of my breakfast items a beautiful golden glow.

So, here's another win-win. Phyllis makes a little extra pocket money to supplement her social security income and I get oohs and aahs from my guests. My money stays local.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Local Food

Today, I went shopping. Food shopping, or grocery shopping as we called it where I grew up. I remember in Louisville, they would say, "going to the grocery", which I thought was an incomplete sentence. Anyway, grocery shopping is not an unusual chore for an innkeeper, so why am I blogging about it? It's where I went shopping that's the unique part.
BB's is a locally owned, Amish-operated grocery store. They're not open on Sundays, nor do they accept credit cards. To say that they have an 'internet presence' is a gross overstatement. There is a substantial 'hitching post' where the buggies park separate from the parking lot. There are no electric lights in the store. Today was cloudy, so browsing the aisles wasn't the blinding fluorescent experience like you get when you go into Target. You have to literally walk into the refrigerated and freezer sections through a 'door' made from thick pieces of  plastic that sort of remind you of vertical window blinds. Oh, don't worry, if you forgot your jacket there are several hanging on the pegs outside the cooler area that you can borrow.

BB's is the epitome of "Think Local". Fruits and vegetables from local farms, eggs, milk and cheese from nearby dairies and meats from neighboring smokehouses are all available at BB's. Yes, they have soups, crackers and cereals in boxes, bags and cans, too. They employ local Amish people to work the registers, bag the groceries, stock the shelves and gather the carts from the parking lot.
This is one of the propane gas lights in the parking lot. Since BB's is open Monday thru Friday till 8pm, I imagine that they actually need to use these in the winter months. I've never been there in the evening.

And THIS is what I bought for about $65. That included: milk, lunch meat, cheese, cereal, crackers, yogurt (4 containers for $1), fresh fruit, bacon ($2.99/lb), several frozen items, brown sugar (91 cents a pound), raisins (two boxes for $1), vinegar, toilet bowl cleaner, body wash, baking items, orange marmalade, tortilla chips, pasta and a few other things that I can't recall at the moment. Had I gone to a large superstore to buy these items, I probably wouldn't have gotten out the door for under $100. So, here's yet another example of how I can enjoy the benefits of keeping my money local and making it stretch further.