I promised, and now I’m delivering another community resources post! About a month and a half ago upon a Saturday, my partner and I unknowingly left the house on a Get Local day of adventure. It started out as just needing to go to the Pasco Farmer’s Market to get our groceries for the week, but turned into one of those “well on the way home we could…” kind of days.
First Stop: Farmer’s Market
Going to the farmer’s market is the best way to start out the day (although for me it comes after a hearty breakfast and an hour long hatha yoga session on the Yoga With Adriene or
Yoga By Candace channels on YouTube). Luckily here in the Tri-Cities, the powers that be have conspired to eliminate competition between the various farmer’s markets, and enable area producers to be present at them all by giving each market its own day of the week (check out the resources and schedule here).
Saturdays are our favorite day to go, so we make the short pilgrimage to downtown Pasco and stock up at Schreiber and Sons and Feather Ridge Farm (mushrooms!) primarily, with whom we’ve formed a bit of a Saturday tradition. I’m happy to say that we have multiple vendors who sell primarily organic, or at least no-spray, produce. So between stands, we usually can find just about everything on our list, all from within 100 miles or less.
Sometimes I just have to be loud and proud about living in the Pacific Northwest. There is such a beautiful and vibrant culture here in Cascadia and so much pride in doing it up local. Lucky for us, we have quite a colorful history of alternative startups and world-renowned companies that all sprang up right here in our backyard. This has helped to build a firm foundation for our PNW identity, but by no means are the final word on defining us. Every day new free thinkers rise up with a new cause worth shouting about. So now that I’ve tooted my horn, without further ado, we made our way back to Kennewick where the local REI Co-op is located. We were on the prowl for hammock straps so that we could relax in style on our annual Memorial Day Weekend camping trip, but as always walked out with a whole lot more, including a lifetime membership which costs only $20. Now I won’t launch into all the awesome benefits, but I was delighted to learn that the money from the membership is donated back to the local community’s recreational resources. In our case that’s places like Friends of Badger Mountain and the Tapteal Greenway Association. Can’t feel bad about that!
Mid-Columbia Market at the Hub
With a lot of daylight remaining, we decided to head over to Richland and check out a resource we’d been wanting to visit for quite a while: the Mid-Columbia Market at the Hub, AKA this area’s food co-op. Run by volunteers, this store’s mission is to provide the local community with locally produced foods, beauty products and other goodies. With
fun activities held throughout the month and affordable prices, this is the place to go if you want a taste of what the Columbia Basin has to offer–and you don’t have to have a membership to shop there! But for only $35 you’ll get discounts, be eligible to volunteer, have a voice in the co-op’s decision-making, and more. To say the least, we bought what we needed and then some. It’s hard to walk out without finding something to tantalize the taste buds, especially this time of year! In particular I was thrilled to find Two Sisters Honey, which is farmed and harvested right here in Kennewick!
Frost Me Sweet Bakery and Bistro
After drooling over all this delectableness, we were thoroughly famished. The week before, my partner had come home with a box of cupcakes from Frost Me Sweet Bakery and Bistro to surprise me, which bore the most enchanting of names and proved to be just as dreamy when eaten. This was especially, well, special, because I am a practicing vegan (except for honey, since buying sustainably-produced honey supports combatting the collapsing honey bee population. Plus, you can’t beat the tremendous health benefits of eating honeycomb from your locale…ANYWAY…) and don’t very often get to have high quality, fresh sweets. Frost Me Sweet is so nice that they make two or three different vegan flavors EVERY DAY. Omg! Being just a couple blocks away, we decided we not only needed to go sample their cupcakes of the day, but also check out what sounded like a pretty robust menu of culinary perfection. Spoiler alert: we were not disappointed. I had a delicious barley salad off their fresh sheet (and vegan blueberry muffin that caught my eye) and my partner had the white veggie lasagna. It was like taking all of the amazing local ingredients we’d been obsessing over all day and making a meal out of them. It. Was. Delicious. And of course, we got some cupcakes to go.
To really top off the end to a rather perfect day of putting our money back into the local economy (48% of which, on average, will stay in the local economy, as opposed to 13.6% when you shop at chain retailers! Thanks AMIBA), we were going to go walk through Howard Amon Park across the street, but alas, some uncommon rain began to fall and the temperature cooled. Another day then, perhaps after another visit. It was about time that two happy community members scurried home and gobbled their cupcakes anyway.
A Random Aside
I am a huge proponent of buying local when it comes to goods and services. You will see more of this as time goes on and I make more posts. But before I sign off, I’d like to circle back to my initial rant about Pacific Northwest pride, which is really a value regarding one’s community and region that should be adopted by everyone worldwide. I was not altogether thrilled when I moved to Eastern Washington eleven months ago. The Tri-Cities and I have had our differences, but now, having gotten to know the local resources and the great people behind them, I’m starting to feel right at home. Every place is like this; no matter how big or small, there is always an enclave of people just like yourself. And what with how technology has developed in recent years, you’re never more than an email or Google search away from exactly what you’re looking for. I graduated with a degree in English: Creative Writing, and I still pursue this area of interest in my free time by picking up remote internships with presses and agents around the country (hey-o Blue Heron Literary and Blooming Twig!) and doing manuscript reading for Coffeetown Press in Seattle. The key is to never stop taking those opportunities when you see them, whether it’s starting a grassroots initiative at your work, chasing your dream, or simply getting through the day. Opportunity is everywhere.
“Buy the ticket, take the ride.”
– Hunter S. Thompson
“That which you manifest is before you.”
– Garth Stein