The Augusta Downtown

Saturday was a very enjoyable day. The day started off with a lovely breakfast of eggs and bacon wrapped in tortillas and then we hit a great children’s rummage sale at a local church. Nayna got her heart’s desire of a new bathing suit ($2) and each girl got one summer outfit consisting of a tank top and shorts ($3 total). Not bad.

Then we headed to downtown Augusta, GA to get some seeds and soap from the organic gardening store. After we parked (a little ways away since our reverse lights aren’t hooked up so we can’t really park right off the street in front of the store itself) and crossed the street, we passed by a little booth with a bunch of reusable bags and coupon books on it. A nice gentleman on a bike asked us if we’d like to buy a coupon book ($5) and/or a bag ($1) and we decided on one of each.

The coupon book deal was pretty nice! In the book were at least 25 coupons for free or reduced items from participating downtown businesses. It was wonderful for us in particular because, being new to town and not having much money at the moment, we were able to actually check out some of  the locally owned businesses without having to spend any money immediately.

We first checked out a lovely coffee shop called the New Moon Cafe and sampled some of their delicious scones. My husband sampled some of their coffee and pronounced it to be quite decent. He’s very much a coffee snob so that’s saying a lot.

Our next stop was the Book Tavern which is a place in which I could easily spend a million dollars or countless hours perusing. They sell some new books, some used books, and some rare books. They also sell the awesome little moleskin notebooks that are so handy to carry around in a purse or pocket. We found a book we liked for free and my husband also bought a book he’d been thinking about ordering off the internet. Saving on shipping while supporting a local business for the win!

Next we stopped by T-Boys Po-Boys for a free sample of Jambalaya. Oh man… it was heavenly! Pork and rice with just the right amount of spice. We savored it while it lasted, which wasn’t very long…

Then we were off to Oasis Garden next door to pick up our nasturtium seeds, Dr. Bronners soap bar, fresh salad mix, and free basil start! The owner of Oasis Garden is a wonderful lady who is extremely friendly and knowledgeable. We were able to meet her fiance that day who runs an organic garden in the Hammonds’ Ferry development in North Augusta, SC. He gave us some pointers about the climate and garden pests in the area and was also just a very nice person.

At this point, the children began to run a little amok since it was getting very close to their naptime. So we exited Oasis Garden and quickly stopped by Cloud 9 which is a soap, jewelry, and other nice scented things store. We picked out a free sample of handmade travel soap and my husband got some pointers for shaving with soap – both the hows and the whys – from the soap-maker/owner.

Nayna was very hungry at this point so before heading back to our VW bus, we stopped by one of the bars for a free hotdog. The girls and I had to wait outside in the cold, but it was worth it! The bun was a little stale and there weren’t any condiments, but the hotdog itself was delicious! The four of us shared it and then headed back to the bus.

All in all, it was a great time! We met so many nice store owners and the shops themselves were just incredible and very reasonably priced even. Augusta has more to it than meets the eye at first glance – there’s a lovely stretch of Broad Street where all the cool stores hang out. We didn’t even get to go to all the stores we wanted to visit so we’ll definitely be going back! Next time we’ll be armed with some spending money and will arrive well before naptime.

~B.

Advertisements

Addicted to Fresh, Local Food

Hello. My name is Betsy, Barefoot Betsy, and I’m addicted to fresh, local food.

It all started nearly four years ago when my husband and I went to the local farmer’s market and stopped to buy some fresh, local vegetables from one of the farm stands there. I don’t remember what we bought, but I do remember the conversation we had.

Us – What does that sign behind you mean?
Farmer – This sign? (points to the sign that reads, “Ask us about our CSA!”)
Us – Yes. What exactly is a C-S-A?

The farmer then explained that CSA stands for “Community Supported Agriculture” and that becoming CSA members meant that we would get a box of fresh, local vegetables weekly for four months during the summer/fall and then we could extend that for two more months if we wanted a winter share.

I was pregnant at the time with my older daughter and getting so much healthy food without having to go to the store and pick it out myself sounded like a great deal! The price was reasonable so we decided to sign up and become CSA members.

I must admit with a bit of shame that the first year we were CSA members… we wasted a lot of awesome fresh, local food. It took a while for us to get the hang of using up what we had in the house instead of running to the store for ingredients while most of the food in our fridge began to slowly turn to mush. I was working full-time so my husband was doing most of the cooking and I couldn’t even make rice without following a recipe.

By the second year I had learned how to cook from scratch instead of needing to follow a precise recipe every time. Not needing to follow recipes made using up what we had already in our house so much simpler and cheaper! We were still wasting at least 1/8 of the food we were getting from our CSA share, but we were learning and it was getting easier and easier every week to use up the food before it became too old to eat.

The third year was the charm and it was also the year that I got irredeemably addicted to farm-fresh vegetables. Finally we managed to use up 99% of the produce we were getting! I figured out a system to keep track of what we had gotten in what week and I also knew how long most of the produce would keep in the fridge or on the counter by this time.

In the end, I believe it was the practice of eating fresh, local vegetables every single day that did me in. I could resist them when we were only eating them 4-5 days a week, but once we got in the habit of preparing just a little every. single. day. Well… that was my downfall.

Now that we’ve moved across the country, I’m about to apply to a new farm CSA program in this area. I’ve been several months without my fresh, local produce fix and I’m jonesing for some good locally-grown herbs, vegetables, fruits, and eggs. The best thing about all the CSA’s I’ve looked into around here? They all will deliver to my door!

Home delivery has to be the best way ever to satiate my desire for food as fresh as it can get – other than having my own garden, of course. However this year is a learning to garden year since it’s a completely different climate and we’re new to the whole gardening thing to begin with. The CSA will be our backup until we learn how to grow our own home-grown fresh food!

I could quit anytime though. Really. I could. If I wanted to. I just don’t want to. Fresh, flavorful food that makes everything I cook taste gourmet – why would I ever want to give that up and go back to the dry, tasteless veggies in the grocery store?

~B.

%d bloggers like this: