From Commodity to Community

Wow! Our Cotati store hosted our fourth-annual Taste of Sonoma, a showcase for some of our fantastic local producers.  What a bash it was!  Hundreds of folks stopped by to hear great local music, visit with friends and neighbors and, best of all, sip, slather and munch their way through a host of awesome local products.  Fresh art was created by children and adults alike and a fun time was had by all.

What was the most noteworthy thing to me?  When I shop at Oliver’s, products with slick packaging and bright colors designed to catch your eye generally say little about who made it, how far it traveled, what conditions the workers producing it toil in, or where the profits end up.

At Taste of Sonoma, I surveyed a parking lot full of engaged folks sampling both artisanal and commercially produced Sonoma County goodies.  As I tasted the excellent flavored organic popcorns from Comet Corn and learned they are on the cusp of a major expansion, and after enjoying a refreshing iced coffee from Bella Rosa, Oliver’s Bakerys’ new coffee partner, it created a cosmic consumer shift in me.

Meeting the owners and employees of our community’s businesses while sampling their unique products is what this is all about.  We took the GO LOCAL idea one step further and through this epic fiesta, we have begun to create real connective tissue between producers and customers, who are visibly hungry for these relationships, ready to choose with their hard-earned dollars!

Tangy raw milk Caravan Gold Goat Feta in the cheese department now makes me think of Lauren and Jon and the leap of faith they took starting their Gypsy Cheese Company. Shikai’s vivid bottles encompass decades of research spent in creating a healing line of skin care and hair products.  McClelland Dairy’s original slogan, “From She to Thee” spins images of their milking herd, “the girls,” turning grass into outstandingly delicious Artisan Organic Butter.  Three Twins Ice Cream with the looooongest line of eager tasters proved that a lovingly crafted organic ice cream trumps ALL other categories in popularity!

So, the next time you are in one of our stores, choose community, not commodity.  Select products with MADE LOCAL tags.  Help keep nearby land in agriculture, enjoy  fresher foods and products made by our friends and neighbors, and support Sonoma County’s flourishing economy.

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