So you may or may not have found the giveaway requirements hiding somewhere here on the blog yet…but I decided in the meantime to make a multi-dimensional giveaway. Let me explain! I picked up this delicious, soft skein of Quince and Co’s Lark, a worsted weight yarn in the color Nasturtium (a nice, carroty orange). Perfect for fall.

“Alicia, but where is this yarn coming from?” you might ask…I’m so glad you did! Quince and co’s company is based right out of Portland, Maine, and uses wool sourced in the US. In their words:

We offer wool yarns that are sourced and spun in the US. Known in the trade as “territory wool,” our fiber comes from Merino, Rambouillet, and Columbia-based sheep that roam the ranges of Montana and Wyoming. All our wool and wool-blend yarns are spun in a New England mill with a venerable history. By sourcing our wool in the US and manufacturing our yarn locally, we minimize our carbon footprint.

I just want to add that for being a “Made in America” kind of company, their prices are very reasonable. My friend Ange picked up two fat skeins of Puffin in Marsh for her first knitting project. It’s going to be gorgeous. I highly reccomend starting with this yarn for a new knitter because it knits up fast and is so,so soft! Ah, but I digress…

So here’s the deal on the giveaway- Quince and Co. didn’t sponsor me in any way. (Gosh, I WISH!)

 I went to Knitwit and bought this myself. (If you’d like to skip the giveaway and go straight over to Knitwit, it’s a lovely store: www.yarnonthebrain.com) and you can also go here to check out Quince and Co’s great yarn: www.quinceandco.com !

 I may go back and get more to make Rebekah rainboot liners (see my Little Bean Rainboot Liner Pattern on ravelry if you’re curious).  The prize is your choice: If you’re a knitter, you might want me to mail you this yummy skein as IS, so you can knit with it. If you’re not (orjustdon’thavetime) you can request that I knit this up into a pair of cute little orange fingerless mittens for fall.

Why fingerless mittens? Well, the yardage matches the project size. They’re great for fall, for walking your dog, taking a jog with your stroller (and child!) and those chilly days when real mittens or gloves just aren’t necessary yet.

Won’t you feel great walking around with a nice soft piece of American economy on your hands, literally? Keep searching all the posts for more giveaway info!

🙂

I promised you a good, basic farmstand recipe and I shall deliver!

You will need: Tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, and balsamic vinagrette.

STEP ONE: Slice tomatoes. (thick slices, thin slices, chop-chop…whatever you like)

STEP TWO: Slice mozzarella. (peel it, dice it…whatever looks pretty)

STEP THREE: Chop up some basil. (throw in pine nuts if you’re feeling wild)

STEP FOUR: Drizzle gently (or liberally) with Balsamic Vinegar!

Delicious. Easy. Fresh. Healthy (for you AND the economy!)

Think you’ve got something better? Share!

Ok friends, things are about to get a little more intense. Or hardcore. Whatever you want to call it. Last post, we looked at buying American-produced food at the grocery store. I can guarantee that you (yes, YOU!) probably have food in your fridge from somewhere here in America. Howgreatisthat? The grocery store is an excellent place to start because it’s pretty much unavoidable. Well-now that you have that under your belt, let’s take another leap of faith into the American economy. Next stop, the farm stand!

Farm stands and farmer’s markets are about as local as you can get. The people selling you the food are most likely the people that actually grew it–so you’re probably talking to the actual person who put the sweat equity into your dinner (or snack). The food is fresher, more visually appealing, and normally cultivated in a more eco-friendly manner than something mass-produced. Don’t you care more about something if you have to work hard for it?

“Oh, that looks SO fun, but there aren’t any farmer’s markets around me!” you might say. Think so? Try again. Do a google search and you may be surprised at what turns up! Being out in the open, fresh air is invigorating. Your kids will love running free and wandering from stand to stand, inspecting the visual feast of fresh vegetables, yeasty warm breads, clean and pure handmade soaps, and hormone free meats.  It’s a nice family adventure and it sure beats the flickering yellow fluorescent lights and dull hum of the regular grocery store complete with stale air. Now I’m not saying that the grocery store is bad and I don’t make it to a farmer’s market every week by ANY means! What I am saying, though, is that it’s a good time. Satisfying. All the fun of the farm without the bugs and cow poo. Knowing you’re enjoying yourself WHILE crossing off part of your to-do list? Fabulous.

Portland has an INCREDIBLE farmer’s market. It’s great to walk around in and there’s a huge variety of things there. They actually function TWICE a week instead of just on weekends, so if you need something for a wonderful wednesday dinner (or just something fresh) you can skip on down to Monument square and wander around.  For more info go to http://www.portlandmainefarmersmarket.org/ OR check out their facebook page!

In Bridgton, there’s a farmer’s market EVERY saturday during the summer. This picture with the green bins is what you’re likely to see there. They have seedlings for your garden, fresh, crisp veggies, hand milled soaps, even locally spun alpaca yarn *heavenforusknitters*! The prices are good, too. The last time I was there I got 2 pounds of rhubarb for about $3.00! Pretty comparable to the supermarket.

Another local spot to hit is Reinhard’s Farm Stand on Kimball Corner road here in Naples. It’s a little bit up from the greenhouses, and worth the drive (which isn’t that bad from 302 to begin with). A cute little stand that works off the honor system.

The prices are simply incredible. Summer squash, for example, is .50 a pound! Compare that to Hannaford’s SALE price of 1.99 and you have a 1.49 savings on every pound you buy. Their corn is fresher than anything I’ve bought anywhere else, and their green beans are HUGE. A quick suggestion- look up a curried zucchini soup recipe and get two pounds of veggies for a dollar, fry up some grilled cheeses and kick back knowing you just fed your family dinner for less than 2.00 a person! I’d tell you all their prices but I think you should go look for yourself…

Do you think farm stands are worth the effort? Have a favorite farm-stand food based recipe? I’d LOVE to hear your responses!

 

Good job finding the giveaway entry requirements!

Leave a comment on the yarn giveaway page stating ONE area of your purchasing that you’d like to be more conscientious with in buying American. Then, name one store you think you could do that at.

For Example:

I would like my children to be playing with American made toys. I know Treehouse Toys in Portland carries things made in the US.

Extra entries for reposting a link on facebook! On Thursday the 18th I will have Rebekah choose a name out of a hat (because honestly, that’s way more fun than a random number generator but just as fair) and the winner can choose to either have a skein of yarn, or a pair of fingerless mitts! Good luck!

 (image from 17 andbaking.com)

Wonder where we’re going today?

HINT: It’sfoodrelated…

Buying American can be really overwhelming. Things manufactured in the US are hard to find and maybe you’re thinking to yourself, “humm, but WHERE do I even start?” Maybe you’re uncomfortable with purchasing US goods online because you just don’t like to online shop. You want to see, look, touch, smell the items you might buy. You want to examine them, hold them in your hands for scrutiny. And you don’t want to wait for mail time, you don’t want to go through the hassle of an online return if necessary.

  Me too. Just because I’m passionate about buying American doesn’t mean I’ve always done it. Or do it. Doesn’t mean you’re bad if you don’t. But if you push through the overwhelming plethora of goods that is the market, you can do it too.Today I’m going to help you buy American starting at a place you go every week: The grocery store.

(photo from thegreenists.com)

Groceries are something you can’t get around (unless you have a bigold farm with veggies and chickens and cows. If you do, I’m jealous …) and you might be surprised to find that some of the things you already buy are manufactured right here in the US. I have a challenge for you: go to your refridgerator. Open it, peek inside. Check out your milk. Cheese. Maybe you like yogurt? Take a look at it. How about potatoes? I’m betting Idaho or Maine.  Chances are that these things are all from the US already. Don’t you feel good about yourself now? Buying American without even knowing! Jif peanut butter, country kitchen bread, Pepperidge Farm cookies…oh yes.

In the produce section, the little stickers on the veggies and fruits should tell you exactly where they’re grown. As we just said, some of the stuff in your cart is most likely already American. After becoming more aware of this, do you think you’ll look more closely at where things are produced?

Next post I’ll do a spotlight on farmer’s markets and farm stands: How to find them, what to buy, and how to use it once you’ve got it!

P.S. I took the girls shopping today and didn’t even look in Gap’s direction. I DID, however, get a Nalgene water bottle from L.L. Bean for $7. Any guesses where it’s made and maufactured?