A few evenings ago, I was pondering a particularly dirty pan, and how the nylon pan-scraper of tiger_spot's would be handy for cleaning it, and how it would be nice to have one of my own -- but I'd never seen one at a kitchenware store. So, I poked around a bit online....
Meanwhile, somewhere in the midwest (Michigan, I think), there's a little tiny startup that was founded just a few months ago, selling environmentally-conscious kitchenware because that's what the founder is passionate about. Among other things, they sell little bamboo pan-scrapers, for about the same price as the plastic ones, and because they're trying to encourage business, they're offering free shipping on any size order.
So I ordered a couple of pan-scrapers and a bamboo spoon for good measure, and a couple of days later a box showed up with the pan-scrapers and spoon and a high-quality fabric shopping bag and a personalized thank-you note.
I think this is pretty awesome. Twenty years ago, maybe they could have tried a little ad in "Sunset" magazine and a mail-away-for catalog, and if green kitchenware was my passion too I'd have sent away for it -- but this was just a "I'd like a little pan-scraper" whim.
And I of course I highly recommend the company -- Green Kitchenware. They're still running the free-shipping promotion, and have a small-but-thoughtful range of pans and bamboo spoons and things.
Second, I was just realizing, as I was getting on my bike at 8:15pm to go get some local organic orange juice, how incredibly well-supplied we are here with grocery stores. Now, some of this is that my baseline is growing up on a farm 15 minutes away from a small market attached to a gas station, and 30 minutes from the nearest real grocery, but even so.
A mile in one direction, there's a large Safeway (major supermarket chain); there's another one a mile and a half the other direction. I get boxed goods and a few other things there.
Across the street from one of the Safeways is The Milk Pail, which started as a drive-through dairy store (!) in the 1960s and now has hundreds of kinds of cheese from all over the place, and high-quality fresh produce that's both as good as and as cheap as the local farmer's market. That's where I usually buy milk and cheese and veggies and fruits.
A half-mile past the Milk Pail is Dittmer's, which is an actual real butcher shop that specializes in sausages and smoked meats, and as one would expect, does really good stuff in that line.
So that takes care of the large shopping trips. (Well, that and Penzey's about 15 miles away for spices, and the specialty Indian groceries around, and such. And of course the weekly farmer's market a mile away.)
For the "it's 8pm and we need orange juice for tomorrow and some handmade ice cream would be nice too" trips, there's the new Ava's Downtown Market a half-mile away and open late -- and that's another "person following his dream" story; a Mexican fellow recently bought what used to be the local Asian market to open his own grocery, and it still carries a lot of the Asian specialty stuff as well as local produce and ice cream and orange juice and things. And even closer, there's also the California Street Market literally just around the block, which I've previously described as a non-chain 7-11 from a universe in which people cook, so it mostly has basic ingredients rather than mostly snack food.
And that's just the ones I know about. As I say, it's pretty incredible.
Crossposted from Dreamwidth (original here), with comments. Comment here or there.