Local Huron County apples

Locality: Getting excited about what’s in your backyard

Local Huron County apples
Local Huron County apples

Though this series is only a few weeks old, the majority of my blog feedback since I posted about Coastal Coffee Company has been in response to local stuff, and it’s getting exciting! Other people are catching on that sometimes the best thing around isn’t the big-name from-the-city brand; it’s 20 minutes from you. It’s in the store with the homemade sign. It’s at the farmer’s market.

The little guys, though they often have the best products and services and events, are usually unable to compete with the marketing budgets of the big kahunas.

That’s where I come in, and other bloggers and local writers like myself. We need to be the voices for the local businesses, using our resources to promote them, to keep our rural and local communities alive.

Your job is to use your social media and your networks to share stories like the ones I post, and also to try local products, to visit farmer’s markets and farm produce stands, etc.

I heard on the CBC recently that if every household committed to buying something like 10 – 25% local goods, it would be the equivalent of taking several hundred cars off the road every year. That’s a lot of gas consumption and emissions we’d be preventing!

If you’re not sure where to start, check out the following:

 

Expressions

Locality: Expressions Hair Design, Bayfield, Ontario

 

Expressions
Expressions is a charming combination of the unexpected and the vintage.

There’s nothing quite like sitting in a small local hair salon, as the stylist talks about children and parents and pets with the client seated in her chair. You get absorbed in the pretty people on the pages of Vanity Fair or House & Home as your hair colour steeps above your cape-clad shoulders and music plays just loud enough to prevent silence from reigning, and the conversation blends with the music to become a pleasant background buzz. Beautification is happening.

Beautification is happening
Natali at work: Beautification is happening

Beautification is essential for the modern woman, but a local, small-town salon where you know your stylist and there are no huge corporate endorsements hanging on the walls does something for the soul as well as the follicles.

Here at Expressions Hair Design in Bayfield, Ontario, the smell of peroxide and hair dye mingles with that warm breeze aroma of freshly blow-dried hair as owner and stylist Natali Tarnowski goes busily about her business of washing, cutting, drying, curling, and chatting.

Expressions is a gem hidden away in the side of one of the buildings on the heritage Main Street of Bayfield, and Natali is a gem of a proprietor. None of her clients, old or young, seem fazed by the young stylist’s close-cropped bright cherry red hair, the rose tattooed on her throat, her other tattoos and piercings, or her fantastically individual style: pastel tie-dyed t-shirt with the sleeves rolled up a-la-5o’s-greaser, and skinny dark grey jeans tucked into beige leather lace-up, pointy-toed boots.

Vintage cash register
Vintage cash register

Natali is the heart and soul of Expressions, but seated in her chair and listening to her talk, you’d think you were. I went in for a much-needed haircut (and surprise colour) today. It was only my second visit, but I now know why my friends from miles around head to Bayfield to get Natali to cut their hair: she’s sweet. And she’s good!

You can find Expressions Hair Design on Facebook, or call Natali at 519-565-5800 to make an appointment. Make sure to let her know that you read my blog. ūüôā

Playing Favourites: Coastal Coffee Company

*List of retailers updated March 16, 2012. Stay tuned for a few more being announced soon!

To introduce what I hope will be a new series appearing every Monday, Playing Favourites, I have chosen what is a relatively new favourite in a category that will always be on top of my list, coffee. Coastal Coffee Company coffee, to be precise.

Coastal Coffee Company

This local company is owned by a childhood friend, Ben, who was raised in the tradition of organic farming, so it was only natural for him to find a passion that incorporated those values.

Meet Ben and his wife Bri:

Owners of Coastal Coffee Company

A few years in the making, Coastal Coffee Company started with a popcorn popper and some green beans, in Ben’s garage in a small town on the coast of Lake Huron in Ontario. Friends and family began to ask Ben to roast batches for them, and so Ben began producing bags of locally-roasted beans.

Today, Ben has a small but beautiful roasting machine that he imported, not without aggravation, from Turkey, and a new shed in his backyard pretty much completely devoted to roasting coffee beans.

I have stopped buying coffee roasted anywhere else, partly because I believe it’s important to buy local, but mostly because Ben’s coffee is delicious!

This is what I drank today:

Nicaraguan Cafe Diego

In the last year, Coastal Coffee Co. has begun to sell beans in several nearby towns (Goderich, Exeter, Clinton, Grand Bend, Bayfield, etc.), in locally-owned stores and at farmer’s markets. You can find these tasty beans at the following locations:

And, you can enjoy delicious food and Coastal Coffee in your cup at Eddington’s of Exeter restaurant.

If you’re not going to be near any of these locations but would REALLY like to try my favourite coffee, let me know and I’ll pick some up for you. Of course, this only really makes sense if it’s feasible that I could deliver it. No, I won’t be road-tripping to other provinces or countries anytime soon. Sorry. But perhaps Ben does shipping!
You can also find Coastal Coffee at local events such as the Zurich Bean Festival and the county-wide culinary festival Taste of Huron, among others.

If you’re a coffee-drinker, consider giving up over-processed, pre-ground, imported cheap coffee in exchange for fair-trade or direct-trade organic, locally-roasted beans. They’re better for you, better for our community, and better for coffee growers.

Coastal Coffee table at outdoor event

Learn more about the “Fair Trade” certification and why it’s important:¬†http://www.5min.com/Video/Learn-About-Fair-Trade-Coffee-517049684

“Like” Coastal Coffee Company on Facebook:¬†https://www.facebook.com/pages/Coastal-Coffee-Company-Roasted-on-Ontarios-West-Coast/180368545350175

For more information or to make a custom order, email Ben at coastalcoffeecompany@gmail.com.