Tiny big decisions, or, life as a grocery nerd 9/3/2020

Quick things:

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  • We’re open for pre-orders/curbside pickup ONLY. Click here for more info, or here to start shopping! Order any day; pick up Tuesday thru Sunday.
  • New & noteworthy: umm…not much that’s new new, but peaches make a glorious return, Dusty said the pear he ate on Wednesday morning was the best he’s ever had, cheesy dill onion bread is a not-to-be-missed seasonal treat of a different sort, and carrots, which aren’t sexy but sure are vital, are back in good supply.
  • This week’s breads: Cinnamon Raisin, Cheesy Dill Onion, and Three Seed (plus the standard Original, Sesame, and Irish Oatmeal).
  • Congratulations to Eric, the winner of this week’s order feedback drawing and a $10 R&R gift card! As always, many thanks to all of you who have responded to the slips in your bags — we <3 feedback and we <3 you!

Scroll down for the full list of what we’ll have this week! Check out the website for everything we’ve got right now!

Last week’s blog night dinner: grilled chicken legs & thighs, sauteed bok choy, and boiled new potatoes tossed with a whole bunch of butter.

Happy Thursday evening! For many of you, we’re almost to the TGIF of a long weekend. What’s that like? 🙂

When we first moved over the store and I got an OFFICE for the first time, I was pretty stoked about my new ability to separate work from home. I mean, to the extent that that’s a thing at all when my business partner is also my husband. I liked the idea, though, that when I was at work I did the things that were clearly work (ie, the computer things), but when I was at home I mostly did not work on the computer.

But when I remembered, at 5:15pm this evening, that it was a blog post night, I also realized that I did not want to stay at work. So I came home (well, after finishing up a bunch of other stuff and taking out the final orders of the day, and collecting some trash, etc), had a glass of wine, and am now writing to you from my home office, which has been feeling pretty abandoned for the past couple of months. Maybe the wine explains why I’m telling you all this, since it’s not relevant to much of anything.

Maybe it also explains why the most interesting things I can think to talk about this evening are shopping bags and carts? (No, I don’t think that’s the wine, it’s just what I’m thinking about these days!)

Today we started experimenting with using paper bags to pack orders in. “But, Julia,” you might be thinking, “What about your screed just last year about not eliminating plastic bags?” Yeah, honestly, I don’t know. We switched, sometime after that post, from “biodegradable” plastic bags to recycled plastic bags, and the more research I do the more I am convinced that recycled plastic is the most environmentally friendly option if you take all factors (manufacture and disposal) into account. But — maybe we’re succumbing to the popular (if apparently not entirely accurate) belief that paper is always better. Maybe we’re sick of trying to get the plastic bags open, and dealing with the little holder they require to keep them open while we’re packing. Maybe we just like the aesthetics of paper bags. I’m not sure exactly what it is, but for some reason Dusty and I have been increasingly interested in exploring paper bag options. So, now we are!

If you order this week, you might get one of two (or even both) kinds of paper bags. There’s the big kind, similar to what Trader Joe’s uses — it’s got handles, but it’s also otherwise identical to what basically every other grocery store uses for paper bags. It’s cool. It’s a standard. It’s really easy to fill it heavier than it (or I) can really handle. There’s also a smaller version, identical in dimensions but several inches shorter, and with better reinforced handles. They hold a little less, but it’s easier to know when to stop. They also fit better in our refrigerators as they’re waiting to go home with you. You might have an idea here of my favorite right out of the gate. But! The experiment continues (and we have kind of a lot of those bigger bags to use up), so you might find your groceries packed in either kind. If you have thoughts about whatever you get, we’d love to hear them, either when you fill out the feedback form after your order, or via email, or via carrier pigeon. We love to hear from you in whatever way works for you. 🙂

The other thing we’ve been researching a lot this week — but harder to experiment with — is shopping carts. No real environmental implications here, but lots of talking about how people use carts, how our space works, how big is too big but at what point is compact too small? What’s the nesting depth? How many can we fit in the designated cart area? What matters more, capacity in cubic inches, or how much surface area there is at the bottom? Do we want our name printed on the handle? What color should the plastic on the handle be? Did you know that some of the sites where you can buy shopping carts tell you how many of them will come on a tractor trailer? How many tractor trailer loads of shopping carts does a Big store need? Can you imagine what their shopping cart budget is? Sometimes, we get off track.

Anyway, I love thinking about and researching these kinds of random details, and I’m especially loving that these really feel like End Game details. I mean, the lead time on all the carts we’re looking at is several weeks, but still! While we’ve always known we’d eventually need to make a Final Decision about carts, doing the comprehensive research has not been anywhere on our priority list until very recently. These are the fun details, like picking out towel colors for your new home instead of worrying about whether or not the bank is going to approve your mortgage.

Of course, even when we’re in the thralls of shopping cart selection, we still have to eat. Pictured above is what Dusty came up with while I was writing last week’s post, and I apparently have taken zero pictures of food since, but we actually have eaten some good stuff in the meantime. Highlight for me, I think, was throwing some cubed pork into the Instant Pot with a pile of smoked chilaca peppers and some Keepwell vinegar for a little acid kick, then shredding the result and putting it in tacos with shredded cabbage and diced onion. I’d tell you how amazing the corn salad we had on the side was, but with no corn this week, I don’t want to tease you.

Right now Dusty’s downstairs turning random cheese ends into mac & cheese with shredded beef also IP’d with those same chilaca peppers, and turning some urgent use heirloom tomatoes into stewed tomatoes, and hopefully also turning some little gem romaines into a salad. Maybe I’ll remember to take a picture!


P.S. If you’re familiar with the MBTI personality assessment, you may have recognized in this post that Dusty and I are both Ps. It’s so true. If you’re a J you might be thinking, “No wonder it’s taking them so long to get open!” To that I say 😝!

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