June 2013 
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Greetings!
Here we are on the threshold of summer and enjoying the beginnings of what should be a great season for local veggies and fruits. Speaking of which, Ithaca Farmers Market comes downtown to Dewitt Park Tuesdays 9-2, and Thursdays 4-7 through the summer. We're also looking forward to some great outdoor summer concerts on Thursdays downtown, up at the Cornell Arts Quad on Fridays, and out at Taughannock Falls State Park on Saturdays. Enjoying local music on a picnic blanket under fluffy clouds - a true highlight of the season!

Time to dust off those hiking boots, bikes and kayaks, and get out there and enjoy a beautiful summer in the Finger Lakes!
Fresh Father's Day Gift Ideas

In our house Father's Day has become known as "Gorge Hike Day" as that is often my choice of celebration activity. This year I'm thinking about the Peter DeMott Peace Trot at the Cornell Plantations Arboretum as a possibility.
 At this time of year, folks often pop in looking for gift ideas for dads, so here are a few:


The stylish Elliott toiletry bag (shown above) is sewn in Seattle from used tire tubes, and is inherently durable & water resistant. A great accessory for dads who travel (reg $29, Sale $23). All Alchemy Goods toiletry bags, belts, and wallets are 20% off through this weekend.

Bottlehood tumblers made from beer bottles are a fun gift, for example the "Big Daddy IPA" from Speakeasy Ales ($15).

For dads who like to relax with stronger spirits, we have sets of Whiskey Stones Beverage Cubes. Made in Vermont from local soapstone, they will chill your whiskey without diluting it ($16).

For solo relaxation, dad might enjoy a round meditation cushion (zafu) with organic cotton cover, stuffed with either buckwheat hulls or kapok ($53).

May all dads have a fabulous weekend...
What Smells So Good?
 
The 3 comments we hear most often when people come through our front door are,
1) "This place smells great!"
2) "What smells so good?" and
3) "Hi!".

To clear up some of the mystery...

Scents in the store come from several sources. Closest to the door are our 13 varieties of 100% natural Japanese incense sticks from Shoyeido - featuring ingredients like sandalwood, cinnamon, clove and other spices. Centrally located in the store is our display of locally made soaps from 17th Century Suds. Made with a variety of essential oils, the 34 recipes of soap contribute numerous scents to our store atmosphere including lavender, lemongrass, orange, mint, chocolate, clove and more. Near the checkout counter is our display of local Sunbeam Candles, which brings even more to the aromatic party, including pine, ylang ylang, sage, rosemary, and more.

Can the overall effect be replicated at home? We won't suggest you don't try...
Energy-Wise Cooking

 
A new product in our store is one that's been a favorite in our family's kitchen for years - the pressure cooker. They allow you to cook much faster due to a higher cooking temperature (typically around 250F vs 212F in a regular open pot that is boiling). The much shorter cooking time means you will save 60-70% of the energy, which over time will pay you back for your pressure cooker investment. Pressure cooking is especially appealing in cases where a long cook time can be made conveniently short - e.g. when cooking dry beans (soak overnight for even more energy savings) or a beef stew. The model we are carrying is the stainless steel Hawkins Futura in either 4 liter or 5.5 liter sizes. I haven't tried this yet, but I've read that you can pressure cook popcorn to avoid unpopped kernels...

For an even more radically sustainable meal, you can set your cook pot out on the front lawn - in a solar cooker. HGH carries the well designed, well insulated Sun Oven. I use ours to cook dry beans, and sometimes crock pot style recipes that won't suffer from overcooking if I ignore them all afternoon. On a recent spring afternoon I fully cooked some pinto beans without rotating the cooker at all. I find that in Ithaca on a sunny day that is 60F or warmer, our Sun Oven will get up to about 300F. For sustained cook times, you may need to rotate your oven several times to face the sun. The relatively light weight of the Sun Oven makes it easy to store on a high shelf when it is cloudy.
 
 
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