Archive for January, 2010

Fancy Food Show – A Grocery Bag of Tasty Treats

Monday, January 18th, 2010

Who doesn’t like food? Especially fancy food. Lot’s of people do as judged by the crowds filling the aisles and booths of the Moscone Center for the 35th Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco. With so many munchies, nibbles and treats to delve though we had to restrict our nibbling, tasting and inquires to the ever expanding Natural and Organic section.

Food like anything else can be about expectation. We set the organic chocolaty bar fairly high and weren’t disappointed by the plethora of organic chocolates but we actually went in search of more interesting items. Zhena’s Gypsy teas marked our first discovery. Even though they’ve been around for about 10 year they more recently created five biodynamic teas and we felt much better after sampling the Caramelized Pear flavor. On top of the tea itself we had to like containers made from 70% recycled steel (and the cans are 100% recyclable because they contain no paper stuck with glue. They make their tea bags from non-GMO corn silk and can be composted as they biodegradable after 60 days. Having this teas makes us feel good better come 4 pm tea time.

We know that several natural partially organic (organic flour) bog bones exist but we could help from talking (no sampling for us) with the owners of Bare Bones dog bones. If they hailed from Cali then we might not of stopped but seeing that these guys make their all natural bones in Dallas caused us to discuss how people in Big D see these dog bones of all things. They mentioned that the people in Texas don’t exactly “get” the whole dog bone thing but they know that organic is some buzz word so they continue to go along for the ride. Go get ‘em Fido!

Field Roast impressed us not just by feeding us tons of samples of their various fake meats but by showing us their factory in  a renovated 1920s former dairy building in Seattle. These commitment to re-using an existing building cost them more than moving into some new factory but it showed that along with their commitment to use local veggies and minimal packing that their heart or rather their “meat” is in the right place.

We weren’t so happy to see all the companies pushing organic this and that in horrific plastic packaging. We saw enough gluten free, natural, corn syrup based products in the section (we don’t want to call anyone out at this point) that must have had various green marketing gurus earning their bonuses. We wish that they would spend less money on marketing about how good their product is and just make their product better.

New National Wildlife Refuge System Coloring Book

Monday, January 11th, 2010

colring bookEven if the U.S. government continues its pseudo protection to save the planet’s wildlife and natural resources they can be thanked indirectly as they recently created a new National Wildlife Refuge System Coloring Book. Most people might not be aware of the U.S. Refuge System, which includes more than 540 refuges, with at least one in every state and one about an hour’s drive from most metropolitan areas. Here in the Bay Area we have a few including Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Newark.


The book, aimed at primary grade students, offers various refuge scenes for the kids to color. I’m not that into drawing but my niece had a great time coloring the desert big horn sheep that live in the Desert National Wildlife Refuge in Nevada. The book also allows kids to create a list of wildlife sightings. The book also encourages kids to ride bike through the refuges instead scaring the wildlife with vehicular monsters.

We like the style of Katie R. Schipps’s drawings, which offer a rough and ready look with large lines, and creates the perfect fit for attacking with a crayon or colored marker. Hopefully the refuge system will survive for many years but at least kids today will have some insight into the all important refuge system and how important it is to our future.