Thursday, March 31, 2011

Need something new to nosh?...

Five new snacks in to try at the market - a little something for every palate! Let us know if you think any of them are keepers and we'll try to add them to our regular inventory.

Happy Snacking!
-The Grocer's Wife

Monday, March 28, 2011

What grocers do for fun...

 display building with good-natured son-in-law

They build giant towers of!

See, in the big stores, The Grocer had ample space and ample product to work with, so building giant towers of ALL kinds of products was the norm. But, in our market, we just don't carry the quantities of items necessary to build BIG displays. So, when The Grocer has a chance--with the aid of a little 'dummy'd up' center (see #10)--to build something big (like he did Friday night), he can hardly wait! And, if a good-natured son-in-law just happens to be visiting and he's willing to lend a hand - well, all the better.

back view

What can I say - It's a grocery thing:)
-The Grocer's Wife

Friday, March 25, 2011

Do you see what I see?...

I see...GREEN. 

GREEN! GREEN! GREEN! And, not just the green inside the store.

I've been so anxious to get out and take some photos absent of snow that my quest has become a bit like the proverbial watched pot that never boils. (I have a lack-of-patience's true.)

It's just that this area comes alive in more pronounced ways than any area I've ever lived in. The town of Palouse is quite literally surrounded by some of the most beautiful and most photographed farmland to be found. Every season has such a distinct personality - it can be torture waiting for the next one. 

And, the one coming up in particular...well, it's like slipping into Alice's rabbit hole or stepping through Professor Kirke's's sheer magic.

Soon this area will draw real-deal photographers (not just folks like me) because by mid-week this week, I spotted change on the horizon...GREEN change!

Wonderful, glorious, GREEN change.

"Change in all things is sweet," said the Greek philosopher, Aristotle. And, to that sentiment, I wholeheartedly concur:)

Happy Weekend!
-The Grocer's Wife

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Gratification needn't always be delayed...

Sure, you could bake your own angel food cake and whip your own fresh cream, but I for one am not beyond indulging in a little instant gratification:

Angel Food Mini-Cakes + Strawberries + Whipped Cream =
Instant Gratification!

Tastes like spring to me!
-The Grocer's Wife

Monday, March 21, 2011

Signs of spring...


This weekend in Palouse and on The Palouse, the weather was extremely unpredictable. At times it snowed, it rained, and it hailed. All in all, it was pretty gray and dreary.

But, just when I was sure there were no signs of spring to be found, I spotted these hopeful little fellas just outside City Hall on Sunday afternoon...the official beginning of spring. 

Thanks for restoring my faith, little fellas.
-The Grocer's Wife

Friday, March 18, 2011

Spring cleaning market-style...

Sunday marks the first day of spring...throw open the windows, shake off the cobwebs, and shout hallelujah!

Since a lot of folks engage in spring cleaning in their homes, I thought I'd show you what spring cleaning (of the floors) looks Let's just say it involves a very long evening (particularly for The Grocer, who frankly gets the short end of this stick). Now, bear in mind that the footprint of our market is approximately 7,000 sq. feet. Subtract the back-rooms and coolers...and you still have a big-ol'-floor!

Raring To Go: It starts with moving EVERYTHING (all of the displays, shippers, and racks) off of said big-ol'-floor. “Holy cow, there are a LOT of displays, shippers, and racks...” (That's what I'm saying in my mind, or maybe out loud – but I'm trying to keep it in my mind.)

Clean Sweep: Next, you sweep said floor. This is my task while The Grocer is trying to fire up the scrubber. (It's a little akin to raising Lazarus from the dead...and often requires a similar miracle.)

Teamwork: Now, one person (that'd be The Grocer) runs the scrubber (see photo above), while another person (that'd be me) follows behind mopping up the excess water so that said floor dries faster. (You see, our scrubber has seen a LOT of floors and let's just say it's feeling its age.)

Push Through: Once the floor is dry, The Grocer makes another full run through the market with the buffer. (The buffer, too, may require divine intervention; so, by this time, energy-for-the-task is severely waning.)

Come On - Keep Going:  By now, you're several hours into this project. And, just when you think you're finally done, you have to move EVERYTHING (all of the displays, shippers, and racks) back to where they came from. (“Holy cow, there are a LOT of displays, shippers, and racks...” - me again.)

Take Stock: At long last, you stand back and admire your work (or, in my case, you primarily admire The Grocer's work), and you try to take a mental picture because come morning you're assured a full-on rainstorm within an hour of opening, and by the time the lunch rush rolls in our floors are pretty much right back where they started before the big scrub.

I call it 'The Grocer's Law' (a close cousin to Murphy's Law), it guarantees that any time you do the floors - the nastiest, messiest, mud-inducing weather is sure to follow. You've certainly experienced the customers' version...just replace 'doing the floors' with 'washing your car'.

You get the idea:)

Happy Weekend!
-The Grocer's Wife

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Looking for a little green?...

If you're looking for a little green today, we've got lots of green at the market...lots of green things to eat, that is.

green grapes

green apples

green cucumbers

green avocados

green broccoli

And, lest we forget who's running this store - GREEN COOKIES!!!

(Have I mentioned The Grocer has an insatiable sweet tooth?)

Happy St. Patrick's Day!
-The Grocer's Wife

Monday, March 14, 2011

A quiet walk...

Can you spot the three turtles? Click on image to enlarge.

I had a hard time quieting my mind this weekend. 

It had been a busy week prior, and I was struggling to get caught up. And, even though my 'to do' list was filled with necessary things I needed to get done for the market, it all seemed so trivial in light of the sad and devastating news out of Japan.

So, with my mind racing amid little focus, The Grocer and I headed to one of my favorite places - University of Idaho's Arboretum & Botanical Garden. It's about 20 minutes from Palouse, and it's the perfect place to go to clear your head. 

Though the temperature was near-50, few folks were out and about there yet, so we walked in near-silence with only the crunch of last year's fallen leaves underfoot.

It was just what I needed.

Wishing you a quiet walk this week.
-The Grocer's Wife

Saturday, March 12, 2011

It's that time...

Tonight's the night! 2am Sunday, March 13, Daylight Saving Time begins!

I always anticipate 'springing forward'. Sure, it's a bummer to lose an hour of sleep tonight; but, the payoff is so worth it. It comes at the point on the calendar when I desperately need a tangible change...something to shake up and shake off the dusty remnants of January and February. It's like that first cup of coffee after a deep night's sleep.

I love the extra hour of daylight in the evening. It tricks my mind right into believing there's more time to get things done. While the days after we 'fall back' make me want to huddle in and hibernate - the days after we 'spring forward' make we want to go...go...go. It always reminds me of what a little extra daylight can do to a person. 

When The Grocer and I were first married, we lived in Alaska. Summer there meant you rarely saw the darkness. And after winter's stretch of just a tease of daylight, folks came alive like they wanted to soak up EVERY last second of it! They did things on their lunch-breaks that most folks save for the weekend (biking, stuff). And, the little kids...they played and played and played outside far past typical bedtimes...or until they finally collapsed from exhaustion.

There was definitely a lesson to be learned watching Alaskans. They seem to understand innately how fleeting seasons are – the worst and harshest, in time, do come to an end. And, the good times...those they savor...well, they're only there for a time as well, so don't waste a moment - soak up EVERY last second.

Truth is, I nearly always succumb to my shortsightedness and impatience; but, I try to remind myself of that lesson...and not just when I'm sick of winter. Who knows - maybe one day, I'll get it right.

Happy Weekend!
-The Grocer's Wife

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Cruel and unusual punishment...

A classic.

Easter comes late this year - not until April 24. 

For someone like me, that means a LONG stretch of candy temptation.

You see, we started receiving Easter items at the market in February. So, when the Valentine's candy is marked down, out comes the Easter candy.  

That means two-and-a-half months of trying desperately to avoid another inevitable chocolate binge.

I find that cruel and unusual punishment, don't you? Here's just a sampling of what I'm up against.

An adorable new twist on a classic.

These get me every time..and in large AND small bags. Uh oh.

What's in this cute little fella?

Yum times two.

The Grocer did it. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Trying desperately to avoid the inevitable.
-The Grocer's Wife

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Remembering Dad...March 21, 1928–March 8, 2007

If there were such a thing as a pictorial dictionary, my dad's photo would surely depict the entry for preacher. It embodied everything about him, and years after he last officially pastored a church, Dad still got up every day and donned his suit and tie.

His spiritual side was marked by prayer and studying his beloved scriptures, and he lived out the admonition to "take up your cross daily."

On the human side, my dad LOVED food. 

He truly enjoyed eating (perhaps more than anyone I've ever known), and one of the first thoughts that crossed my mind when The Grocer and I purchased the market was what a big kick Dad would've gotten knowing that we now owned a grocery store FULL of food.

Now, when a new item comes in that would've tempted his palate...I like to think Dad's smiling down on us. 

-The Grocer's Wife

Monday, March 7, 2011

Placebo pic...

Need to believe it really looks like this outside your window today? MEEEEE too!

Hang in there.
-The Grocer's Wife

Friday, March 4, 2011

A little grocery jargon...

the incomparable u-boat

Most professions have their own jargon and grocery is no exception. So, with the weekend in sight, I thought I'd share a few terms that will likely never come in handy in real life, but will have expanded your vocabulary by ten. Not bad, eh!
  1. U-boat: I've never seen The Grocer as excited as the day he purchased one of these. While I didn't initially understand the jubilation, I soon learned that a u-boat can haul hundreds of pounds of freight; slip in and out of aisles with ease; and corner like a ballroom dancer.   
  2. Disco'd: This happens often in the world of grocery, and, unfortunately, it has nothing to do with Saturday Night Fever. When you see a customer throw their hands up in disgust – their favorite item has likely been 'disco'd' (that's discontinued to you and me). 
  3. Shippers: Nothing nautical or sea-related; in grocery, 'shippers' are the fun little cardboard displays of special buys that dot a grocery store's aisles. 
  4. In-and-Outs: A close cousin of the shipper – 'in-and-outs' are just what they sound like, they're items brought in and sold through, not to be re-ordered. 
  5. Turns: The economy of the grocery store lives and dies on 'turns'. Turns equal sales, and grocers judge what to carry and how much based on turns. Basically, if you can't turn an item, it's not worth the space on the shelf. 
  6. Coffin Case: Creepy name? I think so, too. At our market, we actually don't have a true 'coffin case', but you used to see the long open cases in the freezer section of supermarkets. They've largely been replaced by uprights. 
  7. The Boneyard: Again, what's with the death references? Every market large or small has some type of 'boneyard'. It's pretty much like a giant junk drawer room containing all the bits and pieces of displays, shelving, and equipment that you “just know” you might use again. And, just like at home, you can never find what you need...that is, until you get rid of it. 
  8. Shrink: In a nutshell, at the market, 'shrink' refers to loss – it's the out-of-date items; the broken, damaged or torn; basically, it's the stuff you've paid for but can't sell. A grocer with too much shrink will need a shrink to deal with the stress of an unprofitable store. 
  9. Waterfall: No Multnomah, no Niagara, no Snoqualmie; at the market a 'waterfall' is a cascading display (often produce) that appears to tumble over the edge of the case. Not as picturesque as the watery version, but enjoyable nonetheless. 
  10. Dummy-Up: No relation to 'Cowboy-Up' or 'Man-Up'; in grocery, 'dummy-up' is a smoke-and-mirrors technique used to take a small amount of product and create a display that looks like a large amount of product. The Grocer employs this method frequently in the produce department when, for example, he builds a display of apples around a dummy'd-up center.
So, what does all this mean?

Well, if one day you come by the market and see The Grocer pushing the u-boat stacked high with shippers of in-and-outs and slow-turning disco'd goods and he rounds the corner and catches on the coffin case and knocks over the dummy'd-up display of apples that in turn collapses the waterfall of oranges...he will certainly find himself dealing with an overabundance of shrink and a plethora of bits and pieces of who-knows-what destined for the boneyard.

Believe me when I say...stranger things have happened.

Happy Weekend!
-The Grocer's Wife

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Let's take a field trip...Winchester Lake State Park

Our area remained in an arctic grip throughout the weekend; but, The Grocer and I resolved to stare down the risk of frostbite (literary dramatization) and took a little Saturday afternoon field trip to Winchester Lake State Park (that's about an hour-and-a-half drive south on US-95 from Palouse).

Winchester Lake is yet another must take day-trip from Palouse. 
And, yes, as I hinted, there were indeed actual hardy souls out there on the lake ice-fishing! I was quite impressed.

See, there they are...seriously hardy souls.

Even with a hut, you'd never find me out there.

The life-jacket station stood ready for warmer days to come.

As did the barbecue pits and picnic tables. 

There was snow...lots and LOTS of snow.

Copious amounts of snow that overtook birdhouses and fences. 

Winchester has campsites...and even yurts to rent. Years ago, before we were empty-nesters, The Grocer and I stayed here with our kids. If you've never stayed in a yurt, you should add it to your bucket list. It's fun.

 Along with the snow, there were icicles.

Incredibly grand, shiny, delightful icicles. 

And, did I mention snow...lots and lots and LOTS of snow. 

Not gonna lie, more than once I found myself humming Christmas tunes. All in all, it was a perfect field trip. And, best of all, we made it home sans frostbite:)

-The Grocer's Wife