Cheenius in Missoula: The Good Food Store

Special guest post from Cheenius! Thanks, Cheenius!

Good Food Store

Cheenius recently found herself in Missoula, MT and was curious to learn the ways of the Northwestern Locavore.  This rare species, while quite common in cities like Portland, is seldom glimpsed in the wilds of Montana. Luckily, Cheenius got a tip that they might congregate at The Good Food Store; so, armed with a camera and a shopping cart, she went hunting.

Good Food Store bulk bins

Lots of bulk foods!  Cheenius was happy that Montanans are trying to reduce their packaging use.

Good Food Store local eggs

Local eggs, eggcellent.  Well, 78 miles away isn’t exactly local, but it’s better than Iowa.

Organic meat in Missoula

The prices are pretty high, but c’mon!  It’s BUFFALO, how unique is that??  And, you gotta love the “Buffalo Gals” label.  The song connection is probably lost on some of the younger locavores, but still, points for cleverness.

Silent Creations Buffalo Jerky

Speaking of buffalo: Silent Creations Buffalo Jerky, a local company which works with ranchers to ensure the “majestic animals are treated properly throughout their lives, with plenty of room to roam and never subjected to hormones, steroids or antibiotics.”

Larabars in Missoula

Cheenius gets a little scared of new things, so it was nice to see lots of Lara Bar choices (which she first learned about from HP, thanks!).  They’re made in Colorado, so while not exactly local, buying them in Montana felt slightly better than buying them in Virginia.

Good Food Store mission

So, if you find yourself in Missoula, just saddle up and head on over to the good people at The Good Food Store for first-rate locavoring.


Spotted a couple interesting things today while on a run downtown (not counting the Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge).

Thing 1:

An urban farm in Battery Park! The goals of the Battery Conservancy include education, providing local, organic food, and bringing the community together. The farm seems like an active place during the warmer months, but alas, it was empty and quiet today.

Thing b:

I passed a shoe store window, and a sign for Alden shoes caught my attention. Can you guess why?

The Alden web site describes the superior Shell Cordovan leather of which their shoes are made, with no mention of horses. Hmm. Here‘s some interesting info on the use of horse leather in the US: the leather must come from horses that died from natural causes; horse hide makes strong, durable, waterproof leather; all horse leather produced in the US comes from a single company, Horween.

On a non-HP-related note, the memorial at the World Trade Center site looks like it’ll be amazing, whenever it’s finally finished. I hadn’t really followed the plan, but two giant reflecting pools with waterfalls will sit in the original footprints of the two towers. See details here.

Wowed by WV, Part 1b

After wandering the cute, artsy downtown area of Berkeley Springs, WV, we headed to the local Food Lion to pick up some supplies. Food Lion is not known for local, organic food, so I headed straight to the egg shelf to how bad a Food Lion in WV would be. I was surprised to see Cool Thing #5:

Happier-than-average eggs! And organic eggs! Farmhouse Eggs and Eggland’s Best eggs come from hens who are free roaming indoors (it’s unclear how much room they get for their roaming), and fed vegetarian diets without hormones or antibiotics. Of course, local pastured eggs would be ideal, but nice job Food Lion.

Cool Thing #6 is a menu for a restaurant that was sadly closed while I was in town:

Panorama at the Peak is an environmentally-conscious restaurant a few miles from Berkeley Springs offering local, seasonal food with an amazing view. Most of their partner farms are within 65 miles, and most of the food they serve is organic. They are careful recyclers and composters, and closely monitor their power and water use. I hope when I go back the stuffed acorn squash is still on the menu!


Wowed by WV, Part 1

I have always loved West Virginia, but I have never thought of WV as a local food destination, nor has any dish I’ve had there really excited me (other than the Treehugger burrito at Hellbender Burritos in Davis). So imagine my surprise upon visiting Berkeley Springs for the first time and eating some really good food and finding great support for local farmers! Unfortunately, the place I really wanted to try was closed while I was there, but I’ll share the menu anyway since they serve local food.

Cool Thing #1: CGM (Community Garden Market) Natural & Organic Foods

While browsing around the market, saw Cool Thing #2: an ad for a local farm directory.

You can get the Morgan County Farm Directory here to help you find local produce, meat, plants, and agricultural supplies in Morgan County. The page also lists a couple restaurants in the county that serve local food.

Next to that flyer was Cool Thing #3: an ad for the Berkeley Springs farmers market.

The market runs Thursdays and Sundays through much of the year; unfortunately that doesn’t include December, which is when I was there. Local farmers and business people sell produce, dairy products, eggs, plants, herbs, baked goods, sauces, jams, honey, and more.

Cool Thing #4 spotted while browsing the art galleries in town. Another flyer, cool because it’s raising awareness of local issues, but not cool for the content:

What is fracking, and why is it important to the citizens of Morgan County? Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is the injection of highly-pressurized water into rock to create new cracks and channels to ease extraction of fossil fuels. Environmental concerns around fracking include air pollution, groundwater contamination, and earthquakes. The web site seeks to ban fracking in Morgan County by educating residents and linking the local movement to other anti-fracking groups across the state.

To be continued…

Meet Yer Eats farm tour: Brightwood Vineyard and Farm

Our third and last farm visit was to Brightwood Vineyard and Farm in Madison, VA. We arrived just in time to join the final tour of the day, led by the farmer’s knowledgeable and entertaining young nephew, Aidan. Aidan introduced us to the duck-guarding, wolf-attacking donkeys from “some weird place in the Middle East.”

Next he took us to the sheep enclosure with a bucket of grain, and let us feed the sheep, while explaining to us that sheep are very lazy. Very, very lazy. He seemed to prefer the character of the goats, but they were lodged too far down the hill to include on the tour.

From the sheep pen, we looped up past the flock of ducks that are under the donkeys’ care. Aidan said if they hear wolves howling in the distance, they’ll turn the donkeys out, and if the wolves approach the ducks, the donkeys will attack. Safe from wolves on this day, the ducks were busy running back and forth across their yard for no apparent reason.

Aidan ended his tour with the chickens and their giant guard dog. He showed us the inside of the chicken coop, and pulled a fresh egg from beneath a very displeased hen. He also taught us that while chickens stop laying eggs in the winter, ducks lay year-round.

We ended our farm visit by tasting an array of elderberry and elderflower wines made on the farm. The wines were interesting, but the highlight of the visit, and perhaps of the entire day, was Aidan’s commentary as he guided us around his uncle’s farm. What a cool kid.

We learned a lot, and are looking forward to next year’s Meet Yer Eats tour!

Meet Yer Eats farm tour: Forrest Green Farm

Second stop on the farm tour: Forrest Green Farm in Louisa County, home to cows, chickens, horses, herbs, flowers, and vegetables. Oh, and did I mention the MINIATURE COWS:

I actually expected a flock of tiny cows, but these guys were almost full-sized. They’re beef cows, and Forrest Green also sells them as breeding stock. Apparently the Miniature Hereford’s numbers are on the decline; maybe dear friend Cheenius will get a herd for her yard and help support the breed.

Under the tent, all sorts of goodies were for sale: sheep and alpaca wool yarn, herbal products, and quail eggs.

The eggs are beautiful–they look like Easter candy. They were from Breeze Hill Farm‘s covey of quail, and the Quail Eggs flyer they gave us advertised benefits of regular consumption of quail eggs such as: they have more protein, vitamins, and minerals than chicken eggs; they have no LDL (bad) cholesterol and are rich in HDL (good) cholesterol; they help keep diseases and disorders (listing many examples) at bay; they increase sexual potency in men; they’re good for your brain, immune system, skin, and hair. Oh, and they improve metabolism and increase energy. Wow! How could we not buy a dozen?

quail eggs

With our quail eggs in hand, we headed to the car for our final farm visit of the day. Last stop: Brightwood Vineyard and Farm, in Madison, VA.

Blenheim Vineyards

Today we spent the afternoon enjoying local wines at Blenheim Vineyards. The weather was a little sprinkly, but we sat for a bit on the deck before moving inside.

Blenheim wine

Mr. HP did some reading up for the Meet Yer Eats farm tour tomorrow! We plan to visit Ted’s Last Stand in Louisa, Forrest Green Farm also in Louisa, and Brightwood Farm in Madison.

Blenheim Vineyards

I was pleased to see this ad at the vineyard for local happy beef coming soon:

Best of What's Around Beef

It was a lovely outing!

Who ya gonna call?


This is one of Haute Pasture’s favorite ways to be environmental: hire a troop of goats to clear out underbrush, rather than using chemicals or gas-powered, air- and noise-polluting machinery!

Can you see them? They were active back in the trees, but the camera didn’t pick them up well. The guard dogs didn’t seem to care about us–guess humans aren’t high on the list of potential goat predators.

Haute Pasture has friends in North Carolina who needed heavy brush cleared from a few acres on their farm. They purchased five young pigs and set them loose on the land. The pigs devoured EVERYTHING other than the trees, and after several months, the pigs were sold to a local restaurant as organic, free-range, happy pork!