Thursday, March 24, 2011

Buying Locally (Random thought #1)

Yeah, I numbered it, prepare for more of these.  I have this problem.  Random things pop into my brain, I can't help it, it just happens, and then, I have to go learn more about these random things.  They become an obsession and things like tracking wood chips into the house from carving spoons begin to happen.  Be happy that I am sparing you the whole series on bent wood rings that I had going for a while.  Shew.  Talk about dodging a bullet, count yourself fortunate for sure.  Anyway, these random thoughts just pop in.  Trust me, I don't sit around the house all day trying to think of various interesting topics.  I think, though, that folks might find them interesting even if they come here looking for spoon carving related topics.

Today's random topic is something that I just sort of started thinking about, not just today, or yesterday even, but something that has been fighting for brain cycles for a week or so now.

How can I buy locally?

Now, don't snicker meanly and point to the previous post about my new spoon knives from Mr. Orford.  I realize that I bought them from a man that lives across the ocean from me.  Not really local I reckon.  Fair enough, but he is still a local businessman, running a local business, and I was honored to support him in that.  But that isn't the point here.

There are studies upon studies that show that supporting local businesses is good for the community.  A larger percentage of the money you spend stays in the community as opposed to when you buy from the big box stores.  One study in 2002 reported that 44% of the money spent with a local business stays in the community, versus 14% when spent at a big box store.  That's pretty significant.  I love my community.  If I need to spend money anyway, why wouldn't I spend it in a way that benefits the area that I live in?  Well, that sounds great doesn't it?  I mean we would all want to do that I think.  But we don't, or we don't do it enough.

Why?  Convenience is one of the reasons.  Why would I go to a local butcher to buy meat, when I can go to a big box store and buy meat, and everything else on my list in one trip?  I don't know, why would you?  None of us have any time anymore, right?  We are running here and there and time just slips away.  I have to go and buy groceries to feed my family, and since I am there I can just grab some ground beef and be out the door.  Yep, you sure can.  Unless.  Unless you really decide that buying locally is something that you feel passionate about.  I really believe that I am at that point.  I have passion about buying locally, and I for one, am going to look for ways to do that more and more.

Case in point, Longhorn and Lager Meat and Beverage Company.  They are a local butcher shop and when I went to visit them the other day, they had cuts of meat that I had never even heard of.  All cut to order, large orders, small orders, specialty meats and seafood, and a wide range of local wines and beer.

Look, this isn't a commercial for that company, but I was surprised at what I found there.  I bought some breakfast sausage, 2 pounds, for $3.99 a pound.  It was fresh ground, made that morning.  I made a mean batch of sausage gravy and biscuits with it.  When I went to the Big Box store a few days later, I looked at the sausage, and it was $2.99 for a pound.  You know the kind, the tubes of sausage that are filled with preservatives and salts and sugar and things other than sausage.  I won't be buying that sausage anymore, ever.  If I want sausage I will go to my local butcher and get it from him.  Sure, it might cost me a little more, and be a little out of the way, but one thing is for certain, I am buying sausage, and not something that tastes how sausage is supposed to taste.

I am looking for more places that I can buy local items from, the Farmer's Market opens here on May 1st, and you can bet that I will be there.  Buying locally grown fruits and vegetables to feed my family.

Sorry for derailing the blog and posting about something other than my normal topics, I am sure it will happen again, you never know what is going to pop into my head.

Happy Carving everyone.

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