Shop Like an Urban Local: Farmer’s Market Tips You Don’t Know … Yet.

{ What are your Saturday plans?! Check out your local Public Market + come back with a haul like this. Shout out to Heather Saffer + her frosting empire, better known as Dollop Frosting! }


The Rochester. Public. Market.


I think by now — in this age of Farm-to-Table, Save Money, + Organic/Local Eating — we all know:

It’s the whole: haggle, baggle { bring your own tote }, shop around, find a tomato-guy spiel. Done + done. So whether you’re an O.G. of the underground or a Late Bloomer, I’m going to share some tips you might not know.

The pay-off?
Guaranteed, you will have more fun + find more value.
You will become 1 with the experience of your local Public and/or Farmer’s Market

Last Saturday, I walked to the Rochester Public Market. I bought over 1 lb of locally raised ground beef, 1 dozen locally raised free range eggs, 5 lemons, 1 bunch of kale, 1 pint of cherries, 4 sweet potatoes, 1 eggplant, + I had a free tasting of locally made O’Begley’s whiskey … all for $23. Best part? I made friends + had an adventure doing it. Here’s how:

  1. Off the Beaten Path. Take the Road Less Traveled. Urban living, or not, chances are most of us live within walking distance to our local farmer’s markets. If so, don’t just walk — Explore.
    • Live a Little. I live in the NOTA section of Rochester, which means I’m probably .5 miles away from at least 5 ways to get to the Rochester Public Market. Taking the straight-and-narrow is just too damn bland.
    • Free Stuff. Last Saturday, I discovered 2 different Little Free Libraries on 2 different side streets. I even took a book!
    • Pretty Sites. I also imbibed the sites of quirky houses, colorful gardens, + cute cobblestone paths.
  2. Don’t be a Wallflower. Be Part of the Community. At the Public Market, you are family. Shoppers, farmers, sellers, buyers: it’s one big family festival of sights + sounds, tastes + smells.
    • Step Out. Crowds can overwhelm me, so last Saturday I was very guarded at first. Which is just fine! But so many cool things happened once I opened my face to the sun.
    • Talk to Strangers. I complimented a young lady on her gorgeous locks. As I walked away, she shouted to back to compliment my crazy curls! We both felt thrilled. Right after, another passerby chimed-in — That was really nice! — when she saw me pick up a stray piece of litter that swooped in front of my feet. Talk about friendly.
    • Support our Troops + Community. On the way out, I met a Vet who was giving away paper Poppy’s in request for a donation. He was sweet, funny, + he served our country. What can be more fulfilling than that?
  3. Be Curious, Not Cheap. You Don’t Always Have to HaggleThat is right. You don’t. Especially if you don’t feel comfortable, and especially if prices are already super low. Instead …
    • No Middle Man. Ask questions. Did you know that the woman who supplies all of Wegmans with their eggs has a stand at the Public Market?? Yup. She and her 700,000 { ! } chickens sell lots of eggs, including free-range, for near-half the price you’d find at the super market.
    • Local Meat. Same story for local meat from local farms. After asking some questions on quality, locality, and prices from the people at Heiden Valley Farms, I left with 1 fresh package of never-frozen, locally raised 80/20 ground beef. At these prices, it should be the only type of meat I eat. { Life goals. }
    • Seasonal Produce. Not every single last fruit + veg at your local public/farmer’s market will be from your surrounding area. And that’s okay! But, if you ask the right questions — you’ll discover that this California Kale will soon { 1 month } be replaced by locally grown NYS kale that was recently planted.
  4. Enjoy Yourself. Make Grocery Shopping Fun. The Rochester Public Market can do this. And yours can too. In fact, most public markets are more like festivals than they are chores. That’s because:
    • Brunch. You can grab gourmet, fresh coffee along with breakfast sandwiches and other brunch dishes for quick + for cheap.
    • Dine Solo. It’s super easy to still have a meal and some downtime, even when you are alone. Last Saturday, I grabbed a latte + a chair so I could sit + read before beginning my shopping spree.
    • Free Tastings. If your market is anything like ours’ here in Rochester, there’s going to be wine + liquor, and it’s going to be free. This past Saturday I tasted O’Begley’s locally made Poitin + Whiskey for the 1st time. It was great. And it was cool to learn about the product from the distiller, himself!

If you’re going to Shop Local, might as well do it like a Local. Which means laying down roots, having fun even if there’s no sun, falling in love with your City and Community, + saving a ton of green.



Full Disclosure: Clean Gut Diet { + Brittany Angell! }

{ My first haul. … Stevia pop – not approved. (But Stevia is.) }




gut diet

{ It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. … And you can decide if that is a reference to A Tale of Two Cities … or Chumbawumba (because you know that’s what you thought of when reading it). }


Eat this once a day.

I have so much to say about this incredible + horrible, incredibly horrible, and horribly incredible … diet.

Let me tell you why.

NAY’S This is what you cannot eat.

  • fruit
  • peanuts
  • corn
  • beans
  • rice
  • potatoes
  • grain
  • caffeine or alcohol
  • processed sugar/foods

As a human, that’s just unnatural. 

YAY’S This is what you can eat.

  • berries
  • tree nuts
  • vegetables
  • meat
  • preferably organic
  • preferably hormone free/free range

clean gut diet is not a lifestyle

{ paleo is }

I’m doing this diet/cleanse for health reasons. I should clarify – I’m not even doing the cleanse part. { Which requires liquid breakfast + dinner. … } When I say “cleanse,” I mean that this diet has the purpose of cleansing my stomach + intestines.



messiah medicine

HEALTH BENEFITS – A trinity of healing powers …


  • migraine relief
  • anxiety relief
  • brain fog relief
  • bipolar disorder balance
  • hypothyroid balance


  • constipation
  • … so I don’t wake-up feeling hungover every single morning … for no reason at all
  • eliminate side-effects from primary medications so that I don’t take so many secondary



Spaghetti Squash – I will always eat this.

full disclosure

The worst part about what’s been happening to my body this past year??


Let me tell you about being 29 years old, jogging regularly + supplementing with yoga and kickboxing. Eating fruits + veg on the reg. Not partying a lot.  … And being constipated like a 75 year old man. { This gets graphic. }

  • Two words: bloody nose.

This happens when you’re trying to shit out a weeks worth of fruit + veg. And you can’t.

  • One word: balloon.

Squeeze a long balloon, from both ends. That’s my guts.

love for clean gut


I heart squash.

Take 5 { Shits }.

Day 2 – no hungover feeling when I awake. Incredible.

Day 4 – I can finally shit. I can still shit.

Thank you, god. The only time I struggled was Day 13 + Day 14, wherein I severely cheated on my diet Day 12 { migraine … while traveling } after having been clean for 12 days.

non-love for clean gut



I Used to Have an Eating Disorder.

I can’t do diets! Fuck that. Give me a 3 day or a week long cleanse with genuine health benefits – I’m about it. But Clean Gut … is 21 days long. { And then you painstakingly reintroduce foods … which can take another month, at least! } After a week and a half, these are some side-effects I incurred:

  • perfectionism
  • acutely aware of body fat
  • obsessing over being thinner
  • guilt when I don’t eat healthier … and I’m eating the most healthy any being can

and that’s why I’m not pissed …

I’ve cheated


Cookie recipe with coconut sugar.

No Shame.

You cannot shame-spiral when on any diet. The end objective is what’s most important. For me, this means asking –

Can I shit? Can I not shit?

Do I wake-up feeling hungover? Do I wake up feeling refreshed?

And, with just 2 days left, before I begin reintroducing foods … I repeat this like an affirmation.

lifestyle change 

The best outcome from Clean Gut? Awareness. Paleo is a lifestyle I can handle. It is very healthy, more realistic, + way less restrictive.

Brittany Angell

Coincidentally, I’ve just discovered Brittany Angell! A Rochester native, who is a gluten-free + paleo goddess.


Hot Coca with Stevia + Coconut Sugar. YUM.

I truly look forward to continue using a ton of savory vegetables + simple dietary substitutions in my daily cooking and eating.

{ For videos detailing my journey … check it. }




Spotlight: Eat Local – Abundance Cooperative Market.






527 South Ave

Rochester, NY

Monday – Friday: 8AM-8PM | Saturday: 9AM-7PM | Sunday: 10AM-7PM

Newly located in the South Wedge, on South Avenue, rests Abundance CooperativeMarket. If quality fashion sets trends before they’re in, Abundance–The Co-Op for short–is en vogue.  Local + Organic since 1968. The current location of Abundance was established in 2001. Since 1968, The Co-Op has supported what big stores wouldn’t. Farmers. Orchards. Diary. Local. Organic. As a cooperative, Abundance keeps business decisions local! To learn more about shareholders, visit the Abundance website.

CONVENIENTBig enough for Choice | Small enough for quick Selection

LOCALLY OWNED: Owned by Shareholders | All decisions made Locally

HISTORICAL: Local + Organic is not just a trend | Local+ Organic is a Lifestyle

CONSISTENT: Every item is: Local, Organic, Fair Trade, IPM, +/or Non-GMO



Conscious Convenience. Where else can you consume, do it quickly, and save the world? This past winter on Tuesdays + Thursdays, I drove to Greece to tutor a friend’s son. Typically, I returned to Rochester around 7pm and, undoubtedly, a midst heaps of snow. Where could I grab a quality cup of Equal Exchange Fair Trade French Roast to keep me warm + re-energize? Abundance Cooperative Market. Whether I grab one thing, or everything, I shop quickly + I shop mindfully when I shop Abundance. Need 10 more Top Reasons to Shop Abundance: Check out their list!

{EXTRA Organic Avocados + Bananas. If you can’t Buy Local, Think Global. Abundance organic avocados + bananas are regularly competitively priced. They are affordable for us, and sustainable for our world. Good for your wallet + good for our world.}

IMG_6291 IMG_6310


Like any grocery store, Abundance offers various discounts, has a prepared foods section with sit-down cafe, and Abundance sells a variety of gifts! Unlike other grocers, The Co-Op has its finger on the pulse of local events. An expansive Community Wall and targeted selection of specialty magazines tune me into sustainable activismand other social events.

“A study in 2012 found that $1000 spent in a co-op generates $1600 in a local community – that’s pretty impressive, we think.” – Chris Whitebell, Marketing Manager for Abundance Cooperative Market


Sustainable. Healthy. Affordable. Local. 4 products I will always choose through Abundance:

COFFEEEqual Exchange Fair Trade means I support coffee co-ops for the best beans + the best work environments.

MEAT – Free range. Hormone free. Local. Learn more about Standfast Farms here!

LIP BALM – Green Power + Petal Power lip balm (and hand salve) are made locally from all natural, local organic ingredients by the non-profit Rochester Roots to fund the Clara Barton Urban Farm at School No 2. To learn more, see below!

EYE GEL – Avalon Organics Lavender Luminosity Revitalizing Eye Gel on sale for $12.99 is less expensive + just as effective as its competitors at other grocery + drug stores.

IMG_6304 IMG_6307

Does Fair Trade coffee + hormone-free, free-range meat cost more? Sure. But they taste better, they are better for me, and they are better for my world. Just like the local wines and craft beers we regularly purchase. They’re worth it! 


Affordable Options. Walk into Abundance today, without prior knowledge of specific deals or specials, and you will still find competitively priced goods + foods. Abundance is part of the National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA). This allows for competitive pricing on fair market, quality goods. Abundance abundantly provides everyday low prices, no matter what.


1. Everyday Low Prices. In addition to naturally well-priced items, Abundance has a Basics Program. This guarantees competitive prices on staple goods. From bulk to grocery to refrigerated and frozen to supplement and health and beauty, The Co-Op commits to being “shop-able” for everyone interested in the best.

2. Co Op Deals. There are also Co-Op Deals available to all shoppers! Unlike a grocery store or market’s specialty card, these deals apply to everyone. You can visit the website or in-store in print twice per month. I recommend e-news!

{ EXTRA Follow on FACEBOOK + TWITTER. Lots of deals publicized here, too! }

3. Coupons. Just like any grocery store, you can find additional manufacturer’s coupons. Abundance often leaves them out on the grocery shelves!

4. Shareholder Discounts. A Co-Operative means that the company is owned by shareholders where 1 person has 1 vote. These shareholders decide the fate of the company and store. To own your own share of Abundance, it costs $100, 1 time. Now you get extra deals! Check-out the perks:

  • one-time purchase of share for $100, no annual fee or recurring costs 

  • choose one day a month to get 10% off your purchase

  • get discounts on special orders

  • take advantage of owner-only deals 

  • share in the profits: receive possible 

  • dividend pay-outs relative to how much 

  • you spend

  • vote for candidates to join the Board of Directors at annual meetings 

  • vote on bylaw amendments and other items as proposed by the Board of Directors

  • run to be elected to the Board of Directors 

  • volunteer for further discounts on your purchases 

  • help build a stronger local economy and community

The Expensive Items? They also exist. Here’s the best part. You’re not paying for advertising and packaging. You’re paying because you’re changing. From environmental to economical to societal issues: your money is an agent of change. Still too much? No worries. Choose another item. All grocery stores have a vast range of prices that we choose or choose not to buy. At Abundance, an abundance of options exists.


{ EXTRA Interested in CSA? Community Supported Agriculture is an inexpensive + easy way to eat produce from and directly support our local farms! Peacework Farm CSA was at Abundance the day I visited. Greg Palmer is a farmer here. I felt humbled to meet 1 man responsible for providing us an abundance of healthful food. }


IMG_6308{ EXTRA Abundance hosts + partakes in numerous events. Check out these 2 important sustainability + awareness events for next week!! THURSDAY 4/24 – ROCHESTER ROOTS | SATURDAY 4/26 – EARTH DAY BIRTHDAY }



Rochester Roots. Green Power + Petal Power hand salve + lip balm are all-natural, locally made Rochester Roots beauty products from the organic Clara Barton Urban Farm. Proceeds raise funds for this bare-field-turned-sustainable-farm that is also a teaching tool. Who. Knew.

Who knew about Rochester Roots?? This non-profit, run by Jan MacDonald (who took over from founder Allison Clark) innovates community food systems. In partnership with Rochester Roots, Clara Barton (teacher at School No. 2) is developing an 8 week Sustainability Curriculum. Who. Knew.

Abundance Cooperative Market knows. Abundance invests in and teaches you.



Abundance abundantly supports our local and our global economies. Daily, it can support you. We can support Abundance.

Thank you to Abundance Cooperative Market and Marketing Manager Chris Whitebell for interview + tour!






Auld Lang Syne. Happy New Year’s Resolutions 2013!!

Here’s to Auld Lang Syne.
And Here’s to New Year’s Resolutions!
1. Practice Patience.
2. Journal Nightly.
3. Yoga & Dance Regularly.
4. Free Range Meat Only.
5. Meditate Daily.
Ronk (Rocky) & Klonk (Klondike)
patiently waiting to ring in the New Year. 2013.
To see what these all lead up to….

Practice Patience. I’m either in a hurry, or I’m in a hurry, and there’s no such thing as not-in-a-hurry. For me, when something exists in this extreme where it lacks even its opposite as a balance, I’ve found that only 1 approach works. The Opposite Approach. Whenever I feel the urge to hurry, I will do the exact opposite of hurry: no ifs-and’s-or-but’s. I will calmly take my time even if I am late for work. For one (and for me), taking my time doesn’t mean wasting it. For two, I bet that I make it to desired destination just as quickly and, now, with a clearer mind. Why Opposite Approach is so crucial? Because if I practice patience wholly and without making excuses, I surmise that it will wholly permeate my every thought & action so that patience becomes second nature. (Think on how, in athletic endeavors, I’m now left-foot -dominate, despite being right-handed, because of wholly playing Left-D in soccer every single game throughout my high school career.)
I will calmly take my time even if. 
The Book of Chakra Healing, Liz Simpson.
Daily journal, given by a great friend.
Journal Nightly. Throughout junior high, high school, and college, I was a huge journal-er. Not only did it keep me writing daily, which is crucial to the integrity of any writer, but also, it truly helped me to sort through the webs and annals of my brain. To confront the lies that crept in whilst I wasn’t a-watch. Journaling helped me through some of the most crucial and fragile moments in my life so that I could recover and, ultimately, heal. It had to be over 1 year ago that I stopped. A few months ago, when I began learning about and working on Chakras, I realized how integral daily journaling is to keeping me in balance. I’m excited to begin my journaling anew, using both a journal and my laptop to stay connected with the written word and my most tangled-up of thoughts.
I will journal nightly, even if it is just one word.
Yoga & Dance Regularly. Both of these, I’ve just discovered. Yoga, back around March 2012 and dance—or at least adult dance—as I began to listen to the whisperings and longings to move fluidly, once again. (Or, that’s the idea.) Immediately, upon my first visit to Open Flow with Caroline, I felt at home in the TRU Yoga Studio. Having practiced somewhat regularly for 9 months, I’ve found that Yoga has increased my muscle tone, particularly in my back and shoulders, my breath quality, as in how deeply I can inhale & exhale (and unfortunately not how freshly or sweet my breath naturally smells), and my flexibility so that my muscles feel both longer and more lithe. The anchor of calmness and rejuvenating qualities that yoga affords has changed both the way I move and the way I think. This year, I’ve realized that to attend yoga regularly is not to be indulgent. It is to be whole. Dance, where I will attend classes just across the street at Park Ave Dance Company, will be an exclamation to my newly setting routine. I cannot wait to combine the energy of Contemporary movement with the strength, balance, and flexibility of Yoga.
I will practice yoga & dance regularly so that I will be whole.
Free Range Meat Only. Okay, let us qualify this only. I will still eat cheese burgers, at least to start, even if they are not free range meat. And if your grandmother cooks some chix parm and invites me to dinner, I will eat grandmother’s chicken parm. All things considered, you know? Also, this is a huge dietary change for me; as long as this qualifier helps to guide me to totally free range, I’m okay with it. Why free range, you ask. Here’s the thing. I’m not interested in changing the meat industry. Right now, it’s not my calling. What I am interested in is energy. Positive and Negative Energy. Energy exists, both positive and negative, & energy is transferred. In my personal opinion, if any animal is raised or slaughtered inhumanely (and so with negative energy surrounding it), then that negative energy transfers into me when I eat it. (Again. Energy is neither created nor destroyed. It has to go somewhere!) Okay, and the thought of these inhumanely treated animals makes me feel like a hypocrite if I continue to eat them &, yet, in any degree, disagree with the inhumane treatment of any other animal, no matter how large scale or small scale this treatment may be. I’m not saying anyone is wrong for eating meat. I’m just saying that I feel compelled to begin eating only free range meat. And I cannot ignore how I feel (even if another thinks I’m crazy or frivolous or inane or annoying or {insert judgment here}, and if you do care about what I eat, I implore you to ask yourself why. And then why again. Boom.).
I will begin to eat only free range meat. 
My first book
of meditation & mindfulness.

Meditate Daily. I began practicing meditation my senior of college while taking my first creative writing class with a woman who has grown to be one of my most favorite professors at The University of Pittsburgh. A highly accredited writer, Prof. Fiona Cheong explored alternative methods to inspiring creativity and centered her class upon meditation. She asserts that studies show that the same wave lengths emitted by the brain during meditation are akin to those generated during creativity. And so we breathed. At first for 5 minutes while beginning each class. Gradually working up to 10. We also learned. By following the mindfulness practices of Tich Nhat Hanh, this class implored us to fold meditation into our daily lives with activities such as walking meditation, washing dishes meditation, and oranges meditation. Since 2007, it’s taken many years and semi-routine yoga classes to build my mind’s muscles strong enough so that they can let go of all thoughts, moving or not, and breathe. While I typically meditate before falling asleep at night, I’ve found that folding meditation into my daily routines—much like those lessons taught by Tich Nhat Hanh and instilled by Prof. Cheong—centers me. So that I am me, in spite of.
I will meditate daily, in spite of.
My hope is that all of these will help me to trust my instincts more fully. If I cannot trust myself, then who or what can I?? 
Happy New Year 2013!!