Wednesday, December 22, 2010

We've made it for 7 months!

and it's almost Christmas!  And the holidays in Medusa are looking lovely!  So much to tell you about!

First, it can't wait till the end, so here goes: we're going to have a winter carnival!  We aren't quite sure what one does during these things, so I'm taking suggestions - so far, we are totally interested in snowman building and ice sculptures, as well as crafts and amazing food.  If the weather cooperates, we'd like to have some sledding, and we're trying to get permission (thanks, Mark O.!) to use the Medusa pavilion for skating.  We'd love some help, too, so if any of you are interested in volunteering, or have suggestions for activities, send them on!  We're thinking a weekend in February - one that doesn't run against the Groundhog Day Festival that the Preserve holds.

If you know me, you know a bit about my politics.  And if you follow the news, you've probably noticed that climate change has vanished from headlines, despite the fact that 2010 is shaping up to be another warmest year since we've started keeping records.  So we are going to investigate what this means for the Hilltowns with a Climate Change Conference in 2012, providing a place and time for some discourse among local leaders, scientists and the general public.  Plans are only just shaping up now, but please drop in and chat it you are interested - I'll keep you updated here as plans transpire.

I've sent out some email blasts about bulk ordering specials and there are some more coming for January - but just to clear up a few tangles: my email address is  Send all of your requests there, or see me in person.  Once I get your email, I will send out a confirmation email to verify I received your order.  Also, note the pack size - lots of these items coming in packs of 4 or 6 or more, and the price reflects that. You are paying for four 11lb bags of rice, for example, if I list the pack size as 4/11lb.

Along those lines, you should know that we are considering direct shipmemt of some of our biggest selling items.  Although I love UNFI, the reality is that the large supermarkets are getting better prices than us by direct shipping - by acting as their own distributors.  I'm not sure how much, if any, of our products we can do this with, but I am interested in getting better prices for everything, so we're going to give it a try,  As always, if there's something you want me to look into, give me a yell - I'll see what I can do.

We're preparing for a bit of a transition, as our liquor license is finally proceeding, hopefully without any more hitches.  We are expanding our retail space a bit, to make room for beer and wine, and plan to shift around some shelving as well, to make room for more tables.  We are also planning to offer more personal care products and supplements, which is why you might notice more of that temporarily stacked precariously up on shelves, in our typically orderly way.  We've been trying out some 3-in-1 shampoo and body washes, as well as several more lotions and oils.  We have a few lines of vitamins we are considering carrying - Rainbow Light is on my short list because I have sme experience with them - as well as some medicinal and herbal remedies.

We have a lot in stock for the holidays, so let me save you the trip into Greenville or Albany!  We've got everything from ravioli and frozen dinners to a full freezer filled with Morning Fog Farm pork and beef cuts, wild caught salmon and Free Bird chicken.  Lots of ice cream, including the 1/2 gallons of Perry's, by popular request.  We've got Pamela's cheescakes in the freezer, as well as lots of Dancing Deer cookies and brownies.  Lots of fresh stuff coming in on Friday, but currently we have green leaf lettuce, mushrooms avocados, onions and garlic, apples and bananas.  Tons of tomatoes, and green peppers and oranges in on Friday.  Lots of yams in the cooler, as well as a nice selection of nuts and cheeses, including herbed goat cheese and brie.

***  New Update  ***  The amazing Josh, from Albert's Organics, has totally hooked us up - in addition to our usual Hunan Dumplings from MacroVegetarian, we've got Peking Duck scheduled for delivery on Friday!!  Even more incredibly, he got us an amazing price on pineapples and mangoes and oranges - so prepare yourself for Medusa Fruit Cups!  Can you tell it's Christmas in New York??

In other news, we are fully stocked up on all grocery items, from stuffing mixes to potato chips.  And we're ordering more Angie's kettle corn, as well as Miguel's, for all of my gluten-free friends.  Don't forget, too, that we have Immaculate Bakery's gluten-free cookie batter in, too - so someone needs to try it and review it for us!

For the holidays, we still have a few spiral hams left, as well as 1 conventionally raised turkey and 1 organic turkey.  Call me quick if you want one of those!  Jason's become the local diva of gift baskets, which are looking amazingly lovely - chocolate, as well as our own local basket, which Kate Henderson's candles and knits, Lulu's fudge and maple syrup and honey, and an assortment of Wild Thymes products.  We're also catering!  Lots of cookie platters available, or ask for our full catering menu, and we'll supply platters for holidays parties!

We've all been a bit under the weather, and so have a lot of you, so let's hope now that we've passed the winter solstice and the days start to get longer, we'll all be looking forward to a happy and healthy New Year, absent any more colds!  And, yeah, you bet I'm hoping for a Christmas weekend Nor'easter!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Someone do a snow dance...

Seriously, aren't you just a little jealous that the Midwest got all the snow and all we get is frigid temps and then more rain??  Maybe it's just me, but if it's gonna be cold, I'd like a White Christmas. Please.

There's some interesting things afoot for the upcoming holiday, not the least of which is our fabulous gift offerings.  We have a ton of baskets, from a chocolate variety basket to an organic coffee basket to a only-local basket.  (So if you are local vendor, get your stuff in here; people need gifts!)  I also have a small warehouse full of spare baskets, if you'd prefer to make your own.  (And I won't be offended - lots of your ideas are way better than mine!)  Sweet Angela brought us some amazing knit hats to sell - they are lovingly crafted from fair-trade materials, for our littlest ones.  Kate Henderson, of Sheepy Valley, promises she's going to bring us some of her wool and beeswax candles, which promise to be perfect for gifting.  And Lucinda brought us her homemade fudge - Lulu's, and it's mind-blowingly delicious, and perfect for that Medusa gift basket!

We are also anxiously awaiting the final okay to sell beer and wine, as the last drafts of our liquor license app sits before me, hopefully including every single insignificant piece of information the great State of New York needs.  The spirit of the season dictates spirits, after all.

In other news, I need your orders for bulk goods by this Wednesday.  Much to my chagrin, UNFI is refusing to deliver at all during the holiday, despite my pleading, since our run falls on a Friday.  This is really annoying, but there doesn't seem like there's much I can do about it.  For fresh, I think I can get us some good prices at the Menands market, should we run low after Christmas.  (Thanks Fred S.!)  It probably won't be organic, though, but it'll probably work as a stand-in.

I do have turkeys and hams coming in from the amazing Albert's Organics, both of which are either all-natural or organic - my preorder customers get first pick, but there will be a few extras, so let me know if you need one.

Also fresh, we have a fully stocked cooler - lettuces, romaine hearts and leaf, celery, avocado, oranges and bananas, Indian Ladder apples (and cider!), plus lots of packed nuts, including tamari almonds.  We have some Vermont fresh tofu left, as well as lots of farm fresh brown eggs from Baitholts Farm, and from Morning Fog.  Please come and buy some fresh cranberries - it's a good price and I need to get them out of the cooler!  More carrots, broccoli and mushrooms in on Friday. Probably more coconut water and Bolthouse smoothies, too.  We've got a nice selection of cheese, and we added Chevre, herb crusted and not, as well as small, adorable rounds of Brie.  Looking around for something else special, cheese-wise...

The freezer is bursting, folks.  I have Udi's gluten free breads and bagels, and Gillian's gluten-free pie crusts and pizza crusts.  Coming on Friday, Pamela's gluten-free cheesecakes, which sound amazing, even for those of us who live for gluten.  Tons of Dancing Deer cookies and brownies in there as well, with more arriving on Friday.  There have been a few requests for the molasses clove and the oatmeal raisin, so I'm going to give it a try.  Ice cream from Julie's and frozen fruit pops, plus a bunch of chocolate bar pops.  And an overwhelming amount of beef cuts, chicken and salmon.  Just in, too, is a wide selection of pork, including Kielbasa, pork hotdogs and bacon from Morning Fog Farm.  If I could figure out the logistics of a frozen meat basket, OMG, I would be so on it. 

We would also love to do some party platters for holiday get-togethers, so save yourself a little work and order them through us - from veggie trays to cheese and cracker to dessert trays, we can provide fresh, tasty and beautiful platters. 

Lastly, a few non-food related notes.

We are moving forward with a Medusa Council on the Arts, with a planning meeting scheduled for late January.  If you are interested in getting involved, drop me a line and I'll send you an invitation to the google group.

I am interested in a Hilltowns Climate Change Conference.  The local organizations I've approached about this don't really have the time or funding right *now*, but are interested.  Despite the disdainful expressions of the Tea Partiers that frequent the store, I think some discourse around how climate change may effect our region, ecologically and economically, is critically important.  Again, drop me a line if you're interested in getting involved:

Love to you all - very merry holidays - and remember not to forget us!

Thursday, December 2, 2010


Been weeks, I know - it is exceedingly difficult to find time to write this, but I promise to get more updates done in the next few weeks.  Lots going on, and lots of things in planning, and lots to talk about.

First, I have always resisted the impulse to tell you all to buy local.  I trust you will buy where ever you feel comfortable, and where you can get the best value for your dollars.  But now, after a frighteningly slow month, I want to gently suggest that your dollars are best spent in our community, and we could really use the business, especially in the winter.  Although it is absolutely true that we cannot always offer the most competitive prices on every product, we *can* offer great deals on a lot of really superior products.  We also carry, to the greatest degree possible, products made by your neighbors.  Dollars spent here stay here, and support our community.  End of lecture!

That said, we are actively trying to meet the needs of more of you.  Beer and wine are coming soon!  (I swear!)  Painfully slowly, and we're really sorry - most of the delays are on our shoulders, as the Liquor Authority has been really helpful.  We plan to have it by the first of the year, though - so feel free to start making suggestions - other than Bud Light, Miller Light and Coors Lights, which have already been added to the list by an entire contingent of local beer drinkers.  Would be nice to have some local beer and microbrews, too.

We are also constantly improving our selection of tobacco products, from name brands to cheaper alternatives.  We have one of the best selections of loose tobacco in the region, and we'll try to get anything you request.

We also continue to expand our selection of top quality all-natural and organic products.  This weeks brings a number of new products, with the majority of them coming in at sale prices that we happily pass on to you.  Albert's is sending broccoli and restocking our avocados, as well as our tomatoes and lettuces.  We've got navel oranges in, and fresh Indian Ladder Farms apples.  Macrovegetarian products are in tomorrow as well - Hunan Dumplings and Buckwheat Soba noodles. We've got fresh Vermont tofu in the cooler, and a wide selection of nuts, from seasonal pistachios and pecans to our favorite tamari roasted almonds, mixed nuts and walnuts. 

We're trying the Immaculate Baking Company through UNFI this week, which offers a wide selection of all-natural cookie doughs, and they are an amazing company with a pay-it-forward sort of mission.  Plus, Late July cookies are on sale again, so we've stocked up on a number of them.  Florida Natural's fruit snacks will be back in, too, by popular demand.  Lots of fresh gluten-free breads and bagels in from Udi's, and next week, Pamela's cheesecakes, which are delicious as well as gluten-free.  We've got a ton of seasonal products in for the Holidays, and will take preorders for all natural and organic turkeys and hams, as well as continually offering beef and pork selections from Morning Fog Farm in Berne.

More of you have been taking advantage of our bulk ordering program - we offer 15% over cost for anything in UNFI's sale catalogs.  I've been sending out email blasts - if you want to be added to our list, drop in or send me an email at 

Gift baskets are coming this week as well - tentatively, we're offering a seasonal spice basket, several assorted tea baskets, and baking baskets, including a gluten-free one.  And, because I can't help myself, a chocolate basket. 

There are several weekly meet-ups in the works as well.  We'd like to host a crafting for charity group inspired by Craft Hope.  And I'm gauging interest in hosting a weekly meetup for artistic moms, which is utterly self-serving, I know, but I'm thinking the only way I'm getting to a PhD defense is with a little encouragement!.  There's also been some interest in a weekly playgroup - I don't think our Rensselaerville playgroup is in business these days, but if there's anyone interested in helping to reorganize, I don't think it would be difficult to drum up a crowd.

And events!  We (Janice, our amazing and lovely postmaster at the grand olde Medusa PO, and I) are needing some caroling.  Seriously.  So, on the heels of a beautiful tree lighting at our Medusa church, we are inviting everyone to meet up at the Store at around 6pm on the 11th, for an evening of old time village caroling.  Since we are pretty sure we're not the only ones who don't remember the third verse to Silent Night, we'll be providing the lyrics and the encouragement, and some refreshments afterward.  And not being musical is no excuse - this is purely about fun!  We're having a Living Market that day, too, from 11am - 3pm, so if you still have gifts to buy, keep this in mind: you can spend your Christmas budget by investing in a community in the developing world.  More details to follow...

Phew!  That's it for now - remember to remember us, and lots of love!