Saturday, March 24, 2012


We're a small town with big town ideas, thanks to the Croshaw family that owns an independent grocery in Murphys and Angels Camp. They invited Niman Ranch meats,  Clover Farms Dairy Products, Knudsen Juices , and all things natural and organic to open the closest thing the Mother Lode has to a Trader Joes and Whole Foods Market in one store.

A Niman Ranch representative was cooking up apple gouda cheese pork sausage, chorizo and other organically certified meats for everyone to sample. The Niman Ranch networks with 650 independent farmers and ranchers who raise hogs, cattle, lamb and poultry according to strict animal handling protocols and environmentally sustainable practices; many are 2nd and 3rd generation family farmers.

I quit eating pork and beef for the most part a long time ago. I eat a hamburger twice a year;  corned beef for St. Patricks, and an occasional slice of ham. Now, I don't have to feel guilty about it. It was never that I didn't like it. It was always about the horrible way meat is raised and handled, and all the antibiotics and hormones in our meat. Don't know if you heard they are going to let "pink slime" back into the school lunch program. That's the offal of the butchering process doused with ammonia to kill the bacteria, then rinsed, ground, and put into your hamburger products. Its what they normally use for dog food.  Arrgh!

Besides this gorgeous selection of organic fresh vegetables, there are salad dressings, oils, vinegar, condiments, frozen foods, canned everything, cereals, nut butters and flours and dry bulk foods in bins.

Want spices?  You can measure out small quantities into a plastic bag, just like in a whole foods store.

This man was handing out samples of his home made salsa, already established locally in a neighboring county for several years. His family makes fresh, homemade fire roasted salsas, with nothing in it but vegetables, vinegar and salt.

And here are candy bars that boast seven ingredients, like chocolate, butter, cream, sugar, coconut, etc, no xanthum gum, sucrose, glossigens, waxlujhoywewr, higiebogthen, and ten other things you cannot spell or pronounce.

A fantastic spread of falafal, dips, humus, goat and other cheeses, berries, grapes, strawberries, eggplant, stuffed grape leaves, hmmm, the carrots tasted like those we grew as kids. Naturally sweet and tender. Yum!

I wanna try and honest-to-god hot dog with real pickle relish and mustard on a bun that doesn't stick to the roof of your mouth.

Your grocery bills could be a bit higher, but your medical bills will be smaller. The more we support sustainable, wholesome foods, the more competitive the price will become. So, come to the grand opening this weekend, take advantage of the specials and the coupons they are handing out, and make healthy choices for yourself and your kids whenever you can.

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