As an adult I am able to appreciate many of the aspects of Longmont that I couldn’t have cared less about as a youngin’. When I was young I didn’t understand the purpose of “shopping locally.” I didn’t have a lot of money to spend, and the money I had I spent at the mall or the movie theater. Today I have to accomplish “adult” duties – buying groceries for example. I have a livid distaste for grocery stores. I feel that they’re trying to trick me into buying things that are bad for me, things that I don’t want or need. I don’t have a cookie and potato chip budget, when I buy cookies or potato chip that money comes out of my beer budget. And I need my beer budget. So when I shop at a grocery store, not only do I end up fatter and poorer with less money for beer, I am also a sucker for playing into their evil plan. Ugh. So, in the past 6 months I have devised a genius plan to stay out of grocery stores for the most part, and it works fabulously while supporting Longmont’s lovely and thriving small businesses.
First, I have a box of organic fruits and vegetables delivered to my house weekly. I know what you’re thinking – that spoiled white chick, I can’t afford to have organic fruits and vegetables delivered to my door! Believe me, anything that keeps you out of the grocery store saves you money. Period. I was spending about $500/mo on groceries for my boyfriend and I before “the box.” Now we spend about $100 a month at the grocery store and $180/ month for more fruits and vegetables than we can even keep up with, and we’re finding ways to put kale in everything. There is also a smaller box for $140/month. Go toDoortodoororganics.com for more information. They are a great company who even offers a totally local box, plus you can add things like dairy, meat and coffee if you truly want to avoid the grocery store altogether.
Grocery stores aren’t particularly fun to go to because they are large and without personality. There you stand, staring at a shelf full of thirty different brands of salsa, trying to determine which sucks the least for the least amount of money. I have found an awesome alternative to this experience: shop locally. Right here in Longmont there are a plethora of small shops that only stock high quality products, so no more worrying about whether your choice is the right one.
My favorite is the Sun Rose Cafe, located at 4th and Main St. What is wonderful about Sun Rose is that the owners, Steve and Susan, care about their customers. They serve farm fresh eggs for breakfast, beautiful paninis for lunch, and delicious raviolis with fresh vegetables for dinner. And don’t get me started on their salads. Mmmmmm. In addition to their restaurant offerings, they provide all the ingredients you need to recreate their delicious food. In addition to inexpensive farm fresh eggs, this includes loaves of fresh Pain De Levain from Breadworks in Boulder, jugs of homemade lavender lemonade (which pairs wonderfully with locally produced Roundhouse Gin), even slices of imported Italian salami or a quart of their impressive tuna salad. At Sun Rose the customer gets the feeling that they are part of the Sun Rose family when shopping there, making the experience fun instead of soul crushing.
My other go-to shop in Longmont is Simply Bulk Market. My cats LOVE their cat food, and they also furnish all of my granola needs. They also have an extensive tea and spice collection in addition to laundry soap, moisturizer, and grains, legumes and pasta. This is another store that has great customer appreciation, a place where you feel like more than just a dollar sign.
Finally, I encourage all of you to hit up the Longmont Farmer’s Market ASAP. We have about 6 more weeks of partying Saturday mornings at the fairgrounds. Every week I hop on my bike, only to have it be valet parked for my by Bicycle Longmont. I then beeline it for the Silver Canyon coffee stand, where my friendly barista pours me a chilled, but not iced, cup of the most delicious coffee. We chat, he knows my face because coffee brings me to the farmers market even when I don’t intend to buy anything else. I then cross the plaza for my #1 farmers market addiction: La Esmerelda Salsa, it’s sweet, it’s spicy, there’s nothing like it. Then I wander from stand to stand, talking to the friendly vendors about their gorgeous eggplants, variegated snap peas, and mesmerizing bouquets. When my friends come with me we inevitably escape the heat beneath a tent and listen to live music while enjoying the pristine view of Longs Peak. And its times like that when I think, well, I could live somewhere a helluva lot worse.