Friday, February 24, 2012

A Cornucopia filled with BS

Recently an organization called Cornucopia published this list which is an egg scorecard. It is designed to help consumers make good choices on what eggs to purchase. I was VERY concerned when The Country Hen was rated so poorly. For years, we only buy Country Hen eggs. It's hard to find eggs from MA that meet our expectations. The Country Hen has always appealed to me. The eggs taste great and the farm has never had a case of salmonella! I've noticed eggs from other large producers have thin shells and just do not taste the same. Plus, I'm all about supporting a local business.

I contacted the Country Hen this week regarding the rating. They responded yesterday with this note:

"We understand how a Country Hen customer could feel confused and disappointed after reading the Cornucopia article. We have taken time to extensively review, dissect, and comment on the article.

We value the trust and loyalty our customers have placed in our product, farm, and farming practices. We believe this trust has been well earned. The Country Hen has always operated and continues to operate with the highest regard towards the well-being of our hens. Every decision that we make puts their well-being first and foremost at our farm.

This is the link to our official response
We hope this will answer any confusion from the report. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us."

This response really made me think. Their formal response (above) made me think even more. It's so easy to believe a list we see in the media or from a 'trusted' source. I really need to remember to *not* believe everything I read! The point of that they would need around 800 acres of farmland to farm the way that Cornucopia wants them to farm is absurd! I will continue to buy their eggs. I will also think twice before believing such a survey in the future.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Is it Natural?

Today I'm very proud of myself. Well okay, truth be told I forgot it was 2/15 and that the Valentine's candy is 50-75% off. I went to a little natural food store in Westboro, MA during lunch. I like it there because they sell a few things that I eat daily. Ginger chews by the Ginger People are a part of my food requirements. I work with dirty, germ-infested college students (read: students that work in dental clinics!! Stranger's mouths!!) so I need to bolster my cold-fighting superpowers in any way I can.

So, ginger it is. Works for me. I also like gum without fake sugar (headache inducer for me) so this little food store sells all flavors of Glee gum (yay, local New England company). I also noticed the organic dried fruit and bulk bins are cheaper than...Whole Foods. Not cheaper than Trader Joe's's nice to support a small business.

Every day I see some new sort of food product in the food kitchen. It's a cookie that can be eaten for breakfast (filled with lots of weird chemicals, btw)! It's a bar that can  be...also eaten for breakfast! How long do you get through your morning eating a highly processed cookie? I think I'd get a headache, a stomachache, and make it to...maybe 10am before I was starving again.

Recently at this little natural food store I saw a local policewoman buying her lunch. I was thinking "wow, she's not buying donuts." and "I can tell she never eats donuts." She was buying dried fruits and nuts and cereal. She looked smoking hot. She was probably the only cop on duty at that moment not eating somewhere bad. If food from the health food store helps her get through her shift than so be it.

I know the food store is not the cheapest in town, but I like going in there a couple of times per month. For the ginger chews, the Glee gum, and the pitted dates. Do you have a little local store near you that you buy food at (even if it's not the cheapest place in town)? Do you eat breakfast cookies?

I found a breakfast cookie recipe just in case you want to make your own (healthy) version.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Bargain Hunting

The past few weeks there's been random things I've found while out and about doing errands. Last weekend I got fleece-lined leggings for around $3. Those are hard to find under $10-$30 depending on the brand. Today I found products by Peanut Butter & Co. for $3.50 each. They are normally $5.69/ea. The leggings and peanut butter (oh my goodness-they have maple peanut butter?!?) were found at Ocean State Job Lots. A word to the wise when buying food at OS--always check the dates. The PB expires 2 years from now so I was good.

Kohls has been in the news this week for artificially raising prices. Be careful when you shop there. They are known to have 3 different price stickers on the item of clothing (with the last one before the 'sale' being lower--backwards, right?). Grocery stores are known to do this too. Big Y in particular (the Buy 1, Get 2 free sales where the single item price was lower last week). I was never comfortable with Kohls. I hate that Kohls cash and how they tell you how much you 'saved' on your order. Clothing they sell on 'sale' is known to be cheaper that very same day elsewhere--even on

JC Penney just released a new pricing strategy. This really is amazing marketing. They figured out that customers are offended by pricing games that other department stores play. At my workplace we laugh on a weekly basis at the Macy's sales (ads in the Boston Globe are often full-page). Is the consumer in this economy foolish enough to fall for these ridiculous sales? The nearly empty Natick Mall (refuse to call it The Collection) says no. Marshall's, TJ Maxx, Ross stores (Philly area--love them!) are full. Target's newest designer collection pretty much sold out on day 1 (this past weekend).

When you shop at your mall and see signs "70% off" "Spring Sale" do you believe them? Are you like me and you Red Laser (iPhone and Android app) the product to see if it's really a good price? It worked with my last coffee maker purchase--by using Red Laser I determined Target was the cheapest price out there. Use the technology at your finger tips. The Amazon app is also useful for this technique. And please, for the sake of your wallet--be smarter than shopping at Kohls, Macy's and the other department stores with artificially increased prices. Maybe even check out the new JC Penney's strategy and welcome the fact that they are not insulting our intelligence.