If you've been following this blog for long, you may have noticed that we've mostly kept a strict Thursday/Sunday posting schedule, with occasional delays when we're super busy. However, it's now been two Thursdays and a Sunday since our last post, with nary an explanation. (Maybe you're grateful that we haven't been cluttering your inbox or absorbing your time that could be spent reading something more useful!) Well, here is our explanation: we're in the process of moving across the country! (ok, two-thirds of the way across the country). We're excited about picking up some new digs, but we're going to miss all the nice folks we've met out on the east coast. As an expression of gratitude to our favorite local businesses in the Maryland-Delaware-Pennsylvania, we wanted to raise an electronic toast to the places we frequented for our essentials. (Mainly food and car repairs--the rest of our income went to gas stations and school loan-holding banks, neither of which are we particularly fond of!) So here are our favorite locales, in no particular order:
Cherry Knoll Greenhouse/Farm - Run by some great folks, the greenhouse has an amazing selection of cacti and other succulents throughout the year, and many garden vegetables during the spring planting season. We got our milk and eggs from the farm, with the milk fresh from the cows. The people are always cheerful and friendly, and very accommodating.
Pleasant Valley Country Store - A bulk food store run by some more great folks, this was the place to get staples like flour, sugar, and maple syrup, as well as cheese and butter when we didn't make our own. They also had amazing prices on apples in season (and for most of the winter), and this was the only place we found that carried hog casings for making sausage. They also gave us a lot of boxes in which to move our stuff.
Jim's Market - A nice little produce market open from April through December with good variety of veggies; locally-grown in season. Best prices on mushrooms that we could find! They've usually got quarter-bushel baskets of 'spotted' produce for $1.00 each, of which we often took advantage. More often than not these baskets required only minimal trimming, and we enjoyed many hearty and delicious 'spotted' dishes. Plus, anything we trimmed off immediately became fodder for our herd of worms. They seemed to enjoy the variety.
Newark Farmer's Market - This Hispanic food-themed market was a little more out of our way, but had the largest variety of peppers we've ever seen. Also, the best variety of other less-common vegetables, like cactus and odd-looking pear-type things. Lots of seafood, too. They also have a non-food section, and we were thrilled to find a cast iron tortilla press and related items there. This place is neither particularly local nor particularly organic, but if we needed something obscure, we could usually find it here.
Godfrey's Farm - Best prices by far on pick-your-own (PYO) strawberries, blueberries, and peaches. It was a bit of a drive for us, but definitely worth it. We liked that they didn't put a premium on PYO fruits, which some of the more local farms did. They also sold 25 lb. boxes of their canning tomatoes for probably not enough. The people are also cheerful and friendly, which is nice.
A to Z Auto Repair - Reddy was our go-to guy for repairs on our aging cars. Because our cars were old, we saw Reddy more than we would have liked, but his crew always did a great job for a fair price, and only fixed what was needed. If you're in the area for a while, get to know Reddy--he's a great guy. Hopefully we'll find someone just as honest and reliable in our new stomping grounds!
View Mid-Atlantic Shout-Outs in a larger map
So, here's to you, fair and friendly small businesses of the MD-PA-DE tri-state area! Thanks for keeping us moving and keep up the good work! We'll miss you!
Did we forget any good local businesses in our former neck of the woods? Do you have any recommendations for our new neck of the woods (Denver)? Want to give a shout-out to a similar business in your area? Let us know in the comments section below!
EDIT: We did forget one! We got our bike stuff taken care of at Wooden Wheels in Newark. Friendly and helpful folks, good prices, just like the rest of the places we frequented. Check 'em out if you're in town!