Good Afternoon and Happy Thursday from Sweet Tea Cooking! Today we are kicking off a new Thursday tradition! Welcome to the Small Biz Shout Out! Every Thursday we’ll feature 3 small businesses that we’re crushing on. It could range from restaurants to independently owned companies creating wonderful products out of a sheer passion. Supporting independently owned, local businesses has many benefits for the local community and economy. Please show some Sweet Tea Love by checking out their website or giving them a visit. If you have any product suggestions let me know. I love discovering new stuff!
DISCLAIMER: I am only featuring products that I personally buy, use, and love. IF I ever happen to get gifted any goodies I’ll let you know up front. Until that happens, which would be rad, this is the stuff that I’m spending my (and my husband’s) hard earned cash on!
- If you’ve ordered a cup of coffee in Hampden, Fells Point, Hamilton, or Federal Hill in the past three years odds are fairly high that you’ve been “fueled by Zeke’s Coffee“. Even if you haven’t you’ve definitely seen one of their bumper stickers. They are the coffee of choice at most restaurants in the Baltimore area and for a good reason…the coffee is sooooo good. My personal favorite is Royal Blue Blend which is also organic and Fair Trade! Lucky for us you can purchase the beans by the pound in many of the restuarants that it is offered, many markets in the Baltimore metro area, and for those not in the Baltimore area you can order through their online store. While I know that many of us have made the switch over to Keurig machines I highly suggest ordering a few EkoBrew refillable cups so you can enjoy Zeke’s Coffee with your Keurig machine without sacrificing convenience…plus major Captain Planet points for creating less trash!
- Mill Valley General Store has the largest selection of local and/or organic foods of any other market in the Baltimore area. They label all of their produce, dairy, meat, and bulk foods not only with the price but the farm and area that it has come from. You know exactly where your food is coming from and are supporting small local farms. I personally love the transparency that they provide, no other market does this at the level they are. You can tell that they only stock the shelves with items that they are proud to sell. According to their website all of the meat is “grass fed, raised on family farms in Baltimore, Carroll, Frederick, and Howard Counties” and all items are growth hormone and antibiotic free. When it comes to the few shelves of packaged items that they do sell they, “strive to sell wholesome food without GMO’s, high fructose corn syrup, additives or dye”. Less chemicals and additives always means a yummier meal! The quality of the food that I’ve purchased from Mill Valley always by far surpasses the food that I buy at any other grocery store. During my last visit they did not have any apples by the time I came out of the bulk food section a delivery truck pulled up and the most beauty honey crisp apples were available, how about that for fresh food?! TJ has been giving them rave reviews and they are really hefty. You never know what you’re going to get when you stop in and I kind of like that! They are also a pick up spot for the CSA at One Straw Farm, which I highly recommend. I was a member for years when I lived closer.
- Really Raw Honey is a fairly new discovery for me. TJ and I have been working on decreasing the amount of “sneaky” sugar that we consume and when we cook replacing processed sugar with alternative sweeteners that are still natural and minimally processed. We’ve been using maple syrup and honey in some new ways! I’ve always purchased local honey for its health benefits but I hate the squeeze bottles. I know that honey never goes bad but if I can’t get it out of the bottle even with a spoon then it does me no good! I first noticed Really Raw Honey because I was in love with the wide mouth jar. I decided to research raw honey before making the purchase and there are some really huge fans. The avid fans claim that raw honey has even more health benefits than traditional honey. I figured I’d give it a go. When I first opened up the jar the smell was amazing. It wasn’t syrupy at alll, it was a really lovely, floral smell. Once I scooped the honey into my mug I noticed that it scooped with ease despite the fact that it looked solid. I’ve been using the same jar for two weeks and it still scoops as easily as the first day! There is a “crust” of all of the lovely things that would have been filtered out during processing of traditional honey and I admit the look can be a tad off putting. My first use I thought the tea bag had busted open. Thankfully it hadn’t and my afternoon tea time has been revived! Really Raw Honey has me as a new fan. I will never purchase any other honey again! Tea drinkers you have to try it!