Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Time for Salad

I don't know about you, but I love to eat lots of salad when the weather gets this hot!  Cool, fresh greens, with tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions tossed with Garlic Expressions salad dressing and sometimes some feta or blue cheese and a few dried cranberries.   Sometimes just a little drizzle of olive oil and vinegar with cracked pepper hits the spot, especially if I have added lots of tasty items such as bacon bits or cheese to the salad greens.

Stop by Homer Village Market for fresh produce.  Chopped romaine and green leaf lettuce just delivered today.  It's already washed, so no fuss.  Also fresh vidalia onions, vine-ripened tomatoes, and large, fresh mushrooms arrived today along with poblano peppers, great on the grill.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A Fourth of July We Won't Forget

I was in the store at 5:25 p.m., June 29, when the power went out during a serious thunderstorm.  The sky was dark, and the rain was coming down in sheets.  Cars were pulling off State Route 661 into the parking lot because they couldn't see to drive down the road.

The temperatures had been flirting with 100 degrees all week in Ohio and all of the eastern US, and wild fires were burning in Colorado.   So a big thunderstorm wasn't a huge surprise, but the power outage went on for days!   This was the longest week ever, with the temperatures near 110, no electric to power the water wells or air conditioning, and even the phone service went out for a few days when the generator powering the substation ran otu of gas.

There were long lines in nearby Utica where people found the Marathon gas station had gas for sale to power the portable generators.  Ice was hard to find as everyone bought what was available to try to save the food in their freezers and refrigerators.  Even the ice companies had no power to make more ice.  This was a wide-spread outage, and the local power company AEP was telling customers they expected to have 90% of the customers back up by July 7.

Homer Village Market lost all the cold and frozen food in the store because we didn't have a generator when the storm hit.  We were initially hopeful power would be restored in a day or two and were reluctant to open the coolers and freezers to let out the cold air.  So the store remained closed during the power outage.   We were able to secure four small generators on the third day of the outage, and these were used to save the frozen food in the chest freezers, such as alligator, frogs legs, duck, ground beef, lamb, and prepared entrees.    Near the end of the outage, we were able to find a much larger generator which will help us avoid this problem in the future, and was helpful to be able to run more freezers for a longer period of time before resting the generator.

Luckily, Homer Village Market has insurance to cover the lost food and the business interruption as well as the addtional expenses to get back up and running--subject to deductible of course.  We are very thankful our insurance company was prompt in advancing funds to restock the coolers and freezers pending settlement of the claim.   Full restocking will occur over the next few days, as the established delivery days with various suppliers need to be observed.  By early next week, July 17, the store should be fully restocked with the usual assortment of favorites.  Currently we are about 80% restocked including milk, ice cream, all the dairy favorites, bread, some meats and cheeses, and lots of produce including vine-ripened tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, and cabbage, locally grown.

The hardest part of being without power was making sure our flock of sheep had a continuous supply of fresh, cool, water to drink in the hot temperatures.  Luckily, the wool-sheep had recently been sheared, and the hair sheep were holding up fine without wool.   Some of the sheep could drink from the pond on the farm, but those in pastures near the barn were unable to go there for water and it had to be hauled to them from the pond or from the nearby Homer Volunteer Fire Department, which had a hose available for the community.  Neighbors were helping each other out with what they could do, but most everybody was in the same "boat"--no water, no A/C or fan, no phone or TV, and spoiled food.