While we’re very aware there are much more important things going on in our country and world this summer, we are finding small joys wherever we can. We thought we’d share a few of our latest discoveries and tips. (But also, while we’re at it, this is a good time to make sure you’re registered to vote and to buy some stamps from the USPS!)
Eating Fresh Food (And Supporting Our Local Farms)
Mask up and head to Pike Place Market, which celebrates its 113th birthday (today!), as the oldest continuously running public farmers market in the country. There’s never been a better time to support our local farmers, artists and small business owners who call this landmark site home. In the midst of these challenging times, The Pike Place Market Foundation has launched the Power of Pike Place program, as an anchor for its COVID-19 Response & Recovery Fund.
Ways you can help out: Purchase a Rachel the Piggy Bank Starbucks® Tumbler, available at the original Starbucks® location in the Market ($2 from every tumbler benefits the Pike Place Market recovery program); Join Sunset Supper’s Dine & Donate: Take the pledge between Friday, Aug. 14 and Aug. 21 to dine locally at the Market and Sunset Supper partner restaurants and/or dedicate the value of an event ticket to the Power of Pike Place Recovery Fund; Join three iconic Seattle chefs for a streamed evening of culinary exploration—with recipes, wine pairing suggestions and a food-lovers’ auction—on Thursday, Sept. 10 at 6 p.m. during the 19th annual Cooking with Class event.
You can also get your live music fix—and help out local musicians—by hopping on the Market’s Facebook page every Wednesday in August for “Lunchtime Tunes with Market Buskers” (from noon to 1 p.m.). Buskers are accepting tips through Venmo, and a couple dollars can go a long way. And don’t forget to keep supporting Savor Seattle’s incredible Market Box Program too—a great way to load up on delicious, local provisions straight from Market vendors!
You can also fill your baskets with fresh, seasonal bounty throughout August, thanks to Genuine Skagit Valley’s Farmstand Fresh program. This August celebration features farm stands from across the valley as well as access to local chefs who are offering personal Zoom calls with tips on cooking and preserving. (Those who sign up for a free 15-minute Zoom session also qualify to win a $25 gift certificate to one of the restaurants listed on the website.) For more than 150 years, Skagit farmers and their fertile soil have supplied the Northwest and world with nearly every crop imaginable; now it’s our turn to help keep them afloat!
Staying Safe + Prepared
Unexpected things we’ve added to our medicine cabinet in 2020: the new TruMed Infrared Thermometer, a touchless digital forehead thermometer. It uses infrared laser sensor technology and detects elevated temperatures without physical contact (it can be found at Target.com). The easy-to-use device beeps 6 times if the reading is above 100 degrees F, takes 1 to 2 seconds for results and auto-powers off after 60 seconds.
Here in Seattle, where having AC is a rare luxury, a solid fan is a summertime must. Our current choice: Small-yet-mighty, globe-shaped, multidirectional fans from WOOZOO®.
This month we’ve also been staying cool in and near Washington’s many waterways; swimming has become even more enjoyable after discovering our new go-to swimsuit brand: prAna. Great news: Already a leader in sustainable fashion, prAna just announced the launch of the Responsible Packaging Movement (RPM) program, too.
Before heading outside, we’re diligent about lathering up with sun care products by MyChelle Dermaceuticals, a company we’re happy to support because its: a founding member of the Environmental Working Group’s “Verified for Your Health” program; a PETA-certified, cruelty-free company; and certified by Leaping Bunny. MyChelle has always been ahead of the curve; they’e been making reef-safe sun care for more than a decade now!
And after a day in the sun, we treat our face and body to a little TLC with products by Aú Natural Skinfood, which star hydrating superfoods like Manuka honey and other natural ingredients native to New Zealand (think kiwi fruit). Major bonus: The company has done away with single-use plastic bottles and instead has created a line that provides refillable aluminum bottles that can be purchased once and then refilled with completely compostable and biodegradable packs.
We’ve also added Baebody’s Retinol Moisturizer and Retinol Serum to our evening routine. Retinol in its natural form is also known as Vitamin A, a type of retinoid which increases the turnover of skin cells and helps with collagen production. This keeps skin looking young and fresh. This Chicago-based company’s products are powered by 80%+ natural ingredients.
And speaking of eco-friendly packaging, we’re thrilled to have recently learned about Plaine Products—all-natural hair and body care that arrives in returnable, refillable, reusable aluminum bottles. We’re a huge fan of their Rosemary Mint Vanilla Shampoo and Conditioners (sulfate-free, color-safe, biodegradable formulas).
*Some alarming environmental facts we learned: 550 million-plus shampoo bottles end up in landfills every year; unless we make a change by 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans; disposed plastic materials can remain in the environment for up to 2,000 years; more than 100,000 marine mammals and a million seabirds die from plastic pollution every year. (Thanks for tackling this issue, Plaine!)
Masks are the surprise accessory of the year. Chalo, founded by Bellevue designer Danialle An-Shukla has some colorful and fun designs available in Made In Washington stores and online.
Fueling Up for Summer Adventures
We love supporting local companies, from Broadcast Coffee—whose Guatemala La Merced blend has become our new morning jam—to Seattle Cider—whose marionberry cans have become an August staple (we’re intrigued by the Marionberry Brunch Kit, too!).
Chef Kirsten Helle Sandoval of Mesa de Vida used to be the chef for many Seahawks and Storm players. These days she’s delighting us with her healthy gourmet cooking and seasoning sauces, all inspired by vibrant global cuisines (flavors range from Smoky Latin and North African). Use these enticing sauces for everything from recipe starters and Instant Pot bases to substitutions for dried-out spices. Until we can freely move around the world again, we’re grateful to be able to enjoy some delicious home-cooking that inspires our palates for future adventures!
We were happy to learn that Fick’s Hard Seltzer, the only hard seltzer flavored with pure fruit juice, has now landed in Seattle markets (try QFC or BevMo! shelves). Each refreshing beverage has only 100 calories, zero added sugar and tastes like actual fruit. Although Ficks was born in Sonoma County, co-founder Mike Williamson is a King County native, and the cranberries and blackberries they source come from the Pacific Northwest, so an expansion to the Northwest only made sense.
Founders Ron and Mike experimented with many processes until landing on a production that prioritizes fruit and mimics winemaking. Ficks is spiked with a proprietary base of fermented California oranges, so the drink is absent of malt liquor or unnecessary additives that might give the sip an unwanted aftertaste. The drink is then sweetened with natural juice from cranberries, blackberries, limes or grapefruits.
For non-alcoholic refreshment, we’ve been thoroughly enjoying Tea North‘s organic iced tea drinks (flavors range from Orange Creamsicle to Raspberry Vanilla Mint). Uniquely canned and carbonated, these beverages leave out sugars, sweeteners and other unnatural ingredients—and are certified organic, non-GMO, vegan, gluten-free, keto-friendly and perfect for consumers of any age group on a hot summer day. Order these effervescent goodies here. (The Canadian brand is also part of generous initiative in which a portion of every sale goes toward Water.org.)
Other kitchen discoveries: We’ve been feeling good about the choice to use Plant Junkie spreads and dressings on our sandwiches, salads, bowl creations and more. Try their 100% plant-based Chia Ranch dressing, made with 100% avocado oil, or doctor up your lunch wrap with Chipotle Lime Spread & Dressing.
We’ve also been adding flavor to our mealtime creations with Kitchen Crafted products, which use “no fillers, no preservatives—no unpronounceable, chemically-enhanced ingredients invented in a lab.” They their spice blend flavors like Sriracha Lime Spice and Kansas City Smoker BBQ Rub or dips like Whatta Wasabi and Creole Kitchen. And the perfect complement to summertime hamburgers or veggie patties? BetterBody Foods’ avocado oil mayo, which is keto, paleo, vegan and super tasty.
For a bit of heat, Sacred Sauce has been helping us spice things up this month. We love the story behind the creation of this sauce—and the fact that this humanity+ business contributes 10% of its profits to the Rainforest Trust, because, as they say, “Through our travels, we see that it is absolutely necessary.”
And in one of the least expected turns of the summer (in a highly unexpected summer, we should add!), we sampled chocolate brownie-flavored Bug Out protein bars, a sustainable and nutrient-dense food made out of….crickets! Learn more here.
Here’s to safe, socially-distanced summertime adventures and trying new things!