Jul 23, 2008

Local Eggs

I never would have thought it – but I found a place to get fresh eggs locally. A nice retired couple that lives about two to three miles away (which is really around the corner where we live) have a chicken coop with 12 hens and one rooster. Another bonus is they are Portuguese (my Vava would approve). Once I mentioned that my family is also Portuguese, my arms were loaded with freshly picked kale and homemade linguiƧa, so I could go home and make my family a “good Portuguese soup.” Malena loves to go pick up eggs, because Mary won’t let her leave without some chocolates for the road.

These chickens are fed chicken feed and lots of greens from their huge veggie garden. The eggs are delicious – they really taste like eggs! The yolks are bright yellow – almost an orange hue. Oh, I forgot… these chickens have a comfy pad… Joe even built a mister for them to keep cool on hot Lake Don Pedro days.

The couple also grows apricots, kale, tomatoes, fava beans and yams. Not the yams we get in the super market. I am told these need to be cooked for five hours and were brought over as seeds from the Azores. Like any good Portuguese lady (at least the ones I know from my family), their flower garden is filled with plants grown from clippings made during trips. Each plant has a story of where they got the seed or clipping and how they got it to grow out here in our difficult soil.

Jul 18, 2008

Friday Find: Lunapads


I finally made the switch to reusable, natural menstrual products. So, probably some of you are gasping “too much information.” Why is it so taboo to talk about something all women experience EVERY MONTH? I just don’t get it.

For my birthday, my mom gave me a Lunapad Starter Kit. For the past six months, I have been telling myself that when I run out of the disposable stuff, I am not buying anymore. My birthday present was perfect timing because I depleted my disposable supply the month prior. Ever since using cloth diapers with both of my children, I have felt guilty about using disposable products myself.


Did you know that 12 billon disposable feminine products are used annually? Like disposable diapers, these products aren’t decomposing either. The average woman may toss 250 to 300 pounds of disposable pads, tampons and applicators during her lifetime. This disposable waste ends up in landfills or sewage treatment plants. And even more disgusting is that tampon applicators from sewage outfalls are commonly found on beaches. So many in fact that artist Jay Critchley created a 13’ sculpture of the Statue of Liberty from 4,000 plastic tampon applicators found on Cape Cod beaches.

Many Lunapad devotees rave about the change in their attitude toward their period after making the big switch. Menstruation is a powerful force for women – without it we wouldn’t be able to bear children, another quite powerful force. Shouldn’t we honor that power as women? This happy Lunapad customer says it all:

“As I rinse my Lunapads, I think, I am releasing all the old energy from the past month and making way for the new. I like being more aware and in touch with my cycle and with what is actually happening in my body.” Renee S.

Lunapads are made out of soft cotton (much better than plasticy, synthetic feeling disposable pads) and come in a variety of fun prints and colors – even organic cotton. The pad (looks like a wing-shaped pad) snaps around your panties. Depending on absorption needed, you can add liners. You can change the liner without having to change the pad. I did find the maxi pad a bit bulky for daytime use, but great for night. I loved the minipads with or without the liners. I think for my next order, I will get some pantyliners (no option for adding liners) and the DivaCup. The Lunapanties also look interesting – a bikini undie with a built in pad. Check out Lunapads’ kits and easy to understand selection guide to get you started.

So, some may call me a treehugger, but I know that I won’t be using disposables anymore. I bet if you give cloth pads a try, you will be surprised to agree with me.

* All pictures are credited to Lunapads.

Jul 17, 2008

Where's The Beef?

All my vegetarian/vegan readers should stop reading now. Last week, my mom and I went to a meat locker in Turlock to pick up our ¼ share of a steer (about 150 pounds of beef). Kelly at Bauer Family Farms organized the beef share.

While our beef is not totally organic, it was raised and produced locally. I hope the steer had a happy life as he was roaming around the Sierra Foothills and Yosemite. At least I know the meat was not factory-produced and that he was raised in the same area that we live. By picking up the meat myself, I was able to see the facility where the meat was processed. It was very clean and small scale.

The beef is delicious and I love that for all the cuts we received I paid less than $3 a pound! Last night, I made this super yummy (but probably not that healthy) Flank Steak recipe from Simply Recipes. We have also made hamburgers on the grill with homemade buns and t-bones, also on the grill. Diego is right, a little too much beef for one week, but I can’t resist it is so tasty.

Jul 4, 2008

Friday Find: Farm Shares

We are finally joining a local CSA (community supported agriculture)! Eager to find a local farm share/ CSA (community supported agriculture) program, every now and then I check the Local Harvest website (usually after my friend Liz mentions her yummy farm share in Santa Cruz!). As luck would have it, I finally found one in our area. The Bauer Family Farm, in Snelling (about 10-13 miles away) is starting their first CSA this year. There are farm shares in Sonora or Modesto, but I don’t want to drive an extra 90 miles a week just to pick up a farm share.

Yesterday, I drove out to the Bauer Family Farm to meet the family growers and check out their veggie garden. In addition to starting a CSA, their main business is raising organic chickens.

As we walked out of the car, we were greeted with hugs from the adorable and friendly youngest daughter who is the same age as Malena. The girls hit it off and were holding hands and picking strawberries together within minutes. Two heritage turkeys gobbled hello as we walked to the garden. Of course, I forgot my camera in the car. I promise pictures of the two Toms next time – they are beautiful.

Kelly, the vision behind the Bauer Family Farm CSA, walked me around their growing garden. She showed me their new plantings as she discussed her future plans for the CSA. She has a great vision of a CSA that gathers products from local farmers – natural honey, organic chickens, heritage turkeys, eggs, butter, produce and even beef. She is a Sonoma County native, so it is no surprise she is so supportive of local grown produce. Family farmers like her are exactly what this area needs!

We live in the foothills east of California’s Central Valley – one of the most important growing regions in the country. I had such high hopes visiting Valley farmer’s markets when we moved here. I was so disappointed by the size and lack of product diversity. Although, I must say they seem to be improving – it was nothing compared to the farmer’s markets in the bay area or Sonoma area.

So, join a CSA/ farm share and support a local farmer. What a great way to celebrate Independence Day! Happy Fourth of July!