Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sweet November...

Another Halloween behind us, and I'm writing this a bit thankfully, as we finished off the last of our trick-or-treating in snow showers tonight...

We have placed a staggering amount of product on shelves - and we are just dying for a bit more room.  From cooler and freezer space to dry goods, things are feeling like a tight fit lately!  And, though I say this with a teeny bit of trepeidation, we have a number of events planned for the coming months, and we'd love a bit of space set aside from stacks of juices and the traffic of a busy store.  So stay tuned - there are many plans afoot!

We have a new Albert's Organics sales rep, Josh, who's learning the ropes, and learning about places like Medusa.  With that preparation, keep us in mind if you need lettuce, as he sent us lovely bags of romaine, as well as iceberg this week.  We also have beautiful, and seasonal kale left in stock, as well as portabella mushrooms, and broccoli.  Lots of Indian Ladder apples, as well as more cider coming in this week, as soon as I can get us down to Indian Ladder.  There are also delicious Buckwheat Soba noodles in, as well as Hunan dumplings, from Macrovegetarian.  Tofu coming in this Friday, and, hopefully, Rob Sweeney, a lcoally famous vegetarian chef, will be getting us some of his handmade falafel.

On the deli, we have been doing SOUP like crazy!  We have officially designated Fridays as gluten-free soup day at the Store, and for all of you that do eat gluten, I thrown in a chunk of artisan bread to dunk.  We've got more chowders and chil coming up this week.  Oh, and there are a few more specialty sandwiches coming up, too - we're adding a Medusa PB&J, on granola bread - and officially giving the Italian mix it's rightful place in the menu. And, in case you haven't noticed, we've been giving our ancient deli cooler a bit of tenderloving care: late last week we installed tiles in the front, to better display amazing Boar's Head, and our line of organic cheddars AND the lights are fixed!  So now you can actually *see* what's in the deli cooler!  Isn't life great?!

Next, I love UNFI.  Love them, love them.  I've been trying to get as many good, new products as we can afford, including a wild variety of soups, from Wolfgang Puck and from Pacific Natural.  I just got 2 cases of Angie's Kettle Corn in as well - and WOW, this stuff is delicious - and cheap, thanks to great sale prices!  We've also got a bunch of fresh juices in, from Harney and Sons teas, as well as a new smoothie beverage from Bothouse Farms.  Morning Fog is keeping us stocked with fresh eggs, and Mike Duncan, up across from Sayre Road, has promised us weekly eggs, too.  We also now have a few different cough medicines and herbal cold remedies, as well as some vitamins.  We'd like to do more of that, as soon as the space issue gets worked out a bit more.

In the freezer, we're trying out some Blue Horizon breaded clams and fish sticks.  I finally found some salmon fillets we can freeze, too; they should be in next week.  (Thanks to that lovely lady who was in looking for them!)  We've got cases of gluten-free bread from Udi's as well as gluten free chocolate muffins and cinnamon rolls.  I also reordered several cases of the Food For Life breads, which are a delightfully hearty, full grain bread.  There's a lot of local meat cuts from Morning Fog, and Freebird chicken as well.  If anyone talks to Cheryl Baitholts, I'd really like to take turkey orders for her.  And if she can't, Helderberg Market might be able to - I just left a message on the Helderberg Market facebook board.

Speaking of the holidays...  The lovely Town Clerk in Berne is an amazing pie baker!  She's agreed to take holiday pre-orders for pie - apple, pumpkin, blueberry and pecan.  We're also making apple pies - we sold 4 this weekend alone. And our underground, on-the-sly bread business is taking off - I'd be willing to take some weekly preorders, if you have a hankering for a particular variety.  Catering, too, is picking up: we were able to provide lunches to the Huyck Preserve several times this month, and are incredibly grateful for the opportunity!

Next to last note - we hit two papers this past week!  Saturdays at the Store was included in the most recent editions of the Altamont Enterprise, and the Greenville Pioneer.  Thanks so much to Melissa and Andrea - we appreciate it!  And thanks, too, to sweet Dan, who's joined our staff of well, none.  He has an incredible eye for design, and has done wonders for the state of our coolers and freezers.  It isn't always easy working here, with small children underfoot and barely competent storekeepers, but he's proven to be a delightful addition to our family!  So, officially, welcome aboard!

Last note (I swear!): we are interested in buying a water buffalo.  Seriously - Heifer International is an amazing program dedicated to providing livestock to struggling subsistence communities in developing nations.  They have a great reputation, and we've chosen them as a way of paying forward some of the blessings bestowed on us here in Medusa over the past year.  Still working on the details, but we'll keep you in the loop.

So - wow - doesn't this mean the holidays have begun?  Next stop, Thanksgiving!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

No snow, but beautiful morning anyway!

Yes, I did say that.  We had a *winter storm watch* posted on Thursday evening, for of us over 2000ft.   By the time we were up Friday morning (to the sound of pelting rain), it had been rescinded.  So very cruel, for those of us who excitedly anticipate the first lovely snow of the season!

I have a few updates on products and some new stuff in from Albert's and UNFI, and some info on our computer services and upcoming events, but first: THANKS FOR A GREAT COLUMBUS DAY WEEKEND!  We were busy!  I've changed out strategy a bit, after a terrifyingly slow September: when you all ask me how we're doing, you will get only blunt honesty!  Yes, we are (usually) paying the bills, but *please* don't forget us!  Drop in often, and let me know when there are products you need that we aren't carrying and I'll do my best to find them. 

Speaking of which, Albert's sent us some new vanilla soy milk, among other things.  We trying out the Vermont Soy milk, which is made by an amazing company in Vermont devoted to their farms, sustainable practice and healthy communities.  We usually carry their artisan tofu, and their sales rep called last week and we chatted a bit about land use reform and the importance of local agriculture.  Great people - so come and try out their soy milk - I'd love to keep using them.

Produce-wise, we've got fresh broccoli in this week, in adidtion to lovely romaine hearts and fresh Vermont tomatoes.  Got portabellos from Albert's, onions from White Knuckle, as well as three kinds of Steve's potatoes.  Fresh garlic from Dr. Eldridge, who is sure you're all going to flip over the bulblets we've got on sample on the front counter.  (Several of you already have!)  I've also still got a lot of fresh apples, as well as Indian Ladder's cider in half and full gallons.  And, of course, organic avocados.  Got a bunch of tempeh in the produce cooler that has to move, too, so if you're interested, I'll give you a great price.

Also in the produce cooler, but not produce, is a ton of nuts - walnuts, tamari roasted almonds and mixed nuts, as well as chocolate covered pretzels and raisons.  We do need mroe farm-fresh eggs, though - so if you are a local farm who wants to sell eggs, come and see me.  Or someone go poke Mike Duncan a little and make sure he gets down here with eggs for me!

UNFI brought in a ton of restocks this week, especially the Bob's products.  We have some new Davinci angel hair spaghetti in - Davinci has amazing prices and a great product.  Juice boxes by Honest Kids came in last week - the pouches not the box, for just $4.49 - so for anyone who's been asking, they're here!  We also finally have the Pacific Natural soups in, highly recommended by Hans, my official retail soup taster.  More Wolfgang Puck soups also arrived, and I restocked those surprisingly good Florida Natural's fruit sticks, which flew off the shelf last week.

More Familia muesli cereal, which seems pricey until you calculate the cost per ounce, and for these 2 pound boxes, you are getting a good savings off of conventional cereals - and they are way more nutritious.  

In the freezer, we have more of that amazing Giovanni Rana ravioli from Albert's, and I restocked us on a lot of the Julie's ice cream, including those chocolate chocolate ice cream bars.  So, if you're like me, and can eat ice cream all year round, I'm looking out for you!  There's a bit of a tangle with Gillette Creamery, who wants to sell us Perry's, for all of you who want the half gallons, and the Ben and Jerry's varieties, but they can't let us put them in the Nestle's freezer.  So, sigh, as soon as we get a new freezer from them, we'll be able to rearrange our ice cream order.

October events: BEADS today!  (Which is why I need to quickly finish this and get over there!)  And the sun just came out in Berne, so if my tablecloths don't blow away in this wind, we'll be making necklaces and bracelets all morning.  Maybe we'll get some bubbles going, too.  Next week is paper mache bowl making, and a dress up funshop the week after.

And we *might* have a local celebrity poet joining us Halloween weekend as well for some dark poetry.  And don't forget - Camp Medusa is having a Haunted Camp that weekend, too!

Novemeber promises a lot of events!  I'm trying to line up a series for the first three weeks of November around Sustainability and Local Agriculture.  And another poetry reading, too - so if you are a poet and would like to join us for an open mic (frankly, I don't have a mic, but we're a small store!), please let me know!

More to come - love you all!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Finally sunshine!

We survived to see the sun again - and just in time for the weekend - it's looking just marvelous, right through Labor Day.

There are a few events to remind you about - as well as some news about the case order program.  There are some fresh things in from Albert's, and some new stuff in from UNFI, and a few words about our sandwiches and soups.

First, because this so excites me - we have Saturdays at the Store starting tomorrow!!  We'll be tossing out huge lumps of handmade squishy playdough and...well, playing with it!  Should be a blast - all ages and play-doughing abilities are embraced!  We're having a beading funship, a paper mache bowl making funshop, and then dress-up and candy eating on the final Saturday in October.  Then we are planning to move inside and start Monday evening panel presentations.  We are tentatively planning for discussions around health and healing, and sustainable living, and covering topics such as the differences in quality and cost of conventionally processed and organic foods, how to take responsiblity for your own health, and supporting local economies by buying whole and buying local.   And - don't forget! - Sunday is 10-10-10 - Global Work Party Day.  Folks all over the planet will be working on projects aimed at bringing out carbon dioxcide levels back down to 350.  See for more information.  We are planning to leave out a document describing Transition Towns - communities working to change lives and lifestyles for better, more planet-friendly living.  Might be a good time to chat about creating a local currency, which I've thought was a fabulous idea for many years now.

Takes a village to save a planet, you know.  (Yeah, it also takes bringing down some huge multi-nationals, but I thought I'd start with Medusa.)

That said, just a few words on Store items for the week.  We just heard from Vermont Tofu (find them on Facebook, too!) who have been shipping us artisan tofu, through Albert's Organics.  They are a very mission-based firm, committed to local and organic soy production and value added processing to support their local community and to achieve a really top quality product.  I spoke with Alex today - they are also interested in having us try their soy milk, which they say is better than Silk.  I need some feedback from my customers before I'm willing to try it, though - so stop in and chat with me.

We have a ton of Kettle chips back in - including a New York Cheddar in the lunch size.  We've also dipping our feet back into bulk for the winter - I am packing organic lentils (green and red varieties) as well as split peas into retail containers.  The price is fantastic, and the retail packs are compostable.  And if you soup-fiends want more than I am offering in the retail sizes, I'd be happy to weigh you out more.

Albert's sent us fresh chicken, though you'll need to grab it while it's available - $6.99 per lb for breast meat, and there are only 6 packs.  We also have more Giovanni Rana ravioli - delicious and it won't stick around long, so stop in soon.  Lots of gluten free ravioli available in the freezer, too, though for at least one more week you'll have to either dig around for it, or ask one of us to find it. 

We've got fresh portabellos in, too, as well as a new supply of falafel and Hunan Dumplings.  The one disappointment this week is that our soups are all back-ordered, so we won't be offering fresh soup on the deli till next Friday.  Ugh.  But still have minestrone for Saturday, and a lot of fresh Boar's Head salads, our specialty and deli sandwiches, as well as the new addition, the Medusa Mushroom.  David G. and company claim it needs something green and crunchy, though, so I'm still working on that.

And - yay! - we've got fresh apples and cider from Indian Ladder Farms in Voorheesville, maple syrup from Mountain Winds Farm in Berne, and fresh potatoes coming from White Knuckle in Rensselaerville.  I am so thrilled that we are blessed with so many amazing local farms as vendors!

I am preparing an email bulletin of the Otcober offerings through UNFI - if you don't want to wait for me, drop in and scan through the catalogs - we just got November in as well.

Love to all of you - looking forward to a wild Columbus Day weekend!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Fall, falling, fell...

...into autumn.  If you haven't been here this week, the lovely (and for sale!) Victorian across the street is literally glowing with maples.  So lovely!  And with the post-pouring rain blueness of tomorrow, it'll undoubtedly start looking a little Halloween-ish. We also have tons of pics of the rushing, roaring something-mile creek - can't believe we were swimming in there a few weeks back!

Anyway - the blog is late - my apologies!  But there's much to tell you about!

It has been quiet during the week around here, so we are busily planning some things to do - there's info going out about our computer services, we'll be attending Greenville Day on Saturday (and handing out toy snakes, so look for us!), and Saturdays at the Store will start on October 9th!  Lots of catering mailers going out - please spread the wrod that we are doing deli platters, breakfast platters, sandwich platters and dessert and snack platters.  If you are partying, please think of us!

And there's some product news to share.

First, before I forget, the results are in: Meadowbrook chocolate will stay.  Honestly, there's just no comparison.  And I'll order for anyone who guarantees they'll buy it.  The rest we're getting from the lovely Byrne dairy.

UNFI sent us some amazing new stuff!  Got in some Bora Bora bars - which are like superfood granola bars - they are GMO-free, without refined sugar.  And, somewhat shockingly, they are both gluten-free and delicious!  We also had a few requests for more lunchbox-y sort of snack foods, so we're trying some Florida Natural's Pocket Fruit.  Early results - thank you, Drew! - suggest that it's a keeper. We also have more Wolfgang Puck soup in, though the taste-tester approved pacific Natural brand was out-of-stock, so we'll have to try it for next week.  We have a lot of new Raw Revolution bars in - Raspberry chocolate, among others - which are apparently good for you.  Better for you (unless you are seriously not into chocolate or calories) are the Dancing Deer Brownies, which are still on sale (so we're *still* ordering them) and this week we're trying the Caramel Pecan ones.

I noticed we don't have any natural alternatives to Jello pudding mixes, so I have some of the Dr. Oeker chocolate and vanilla mix in.  And we are loving the Davinci pasta, which is tasty and half the price of the regular organic pastas. Lots of tazo teas back in, as well as Waa-Tah! brain and power water.

Also by popular request, we have the Udi's bagels and cinnamon rolls in, as well as several varieties of Conte's raviolis and stuffed shells - all gluten-free.  Also brought in some of the Glutino gluten-free chocolate covered pretzels.  Can you believe it??  Here, in Medusa.    The amazing ravioli from Giovanni Rana were out-of-stock, sadly, but I've asked sweet Chris at Albert's to hold a few cases for us. 

For bulk, which has taken off since someone sweetly suggested that we package all the bulk so folks can actually *see* it, we have roasted tamari almonds, raw pumpkin seeds, chocolate covered pretzels and walnuts.  And for that someone, we now have mixed nuts in, in  the cooler.  Oh, and pretty mixed colored popcorn, too.

Albert's Organics also sent us a lovely box of portabellas, tomatoes and romaine hearts, as well as more Hunan's and some of their Spinach Noodles.  We have a *lot* of farm fresh eggs in - and I think Laurie is bringing us more tomorrow morning - the Farm fresh are in the produce cooler - and Byrne's eggs are in the dairy cooler.

Lots of new personal care products in - shampoos and some new Tom's of Maine soaps, all on sale.

We're planning a light order for next week, but have a number of preorders for the first October order, the following week.  So, if you're interested, drop in and check out the sales catalogs and see what deals you can snag.  As always - open source pricing - I'm charging 15% over sale cost.  There's a sign-up sheet at the store for anyone who wants to receive emails about UNFI product sales and discounts.

We are trying a new sandwich - created by Hans and heartily endorsed by Courtney - temporarily going by the BLET.  A BLT with our special Wild Thymes Moroccan Mayo, we've added a hard boiled egg.  A similar version also adds sliced avocado, making it a BLEAT.  Anyway, you'll have to drop in and check it out.  And soups are here!  Haven't decided what we'll try for tomorrow, but everything is Kettle Cuisine.  We don't have fresh artisan bread yet, but it's coming really soon!  (Oh, if only there were more hours in the day!!)

Saturdays at the Store are funshops for all ages, drop-in from 10am to 1pm, in our back building.  We're starting with a play dough workshop, then a beading funshop, a paper mache bowl funshop, and a pre-Halloween dress-up funshop planned in the coming weeks.  We are going to have such a BLAST! 

There's more, but my fingers are getting tired.  Love to you all - and see you soon!