It Came from Wayfield


I spotted a new item on the refrigerated produce shelves at my local Wayfield Foods– Wild Bill's Yellow Root Tea. Even at $5.99, I couldn't resist. (I paid $20 for a Neti Pot at Whole Foods last week, I guess I'm a sucker for folk remedies.) But what is it exactly? And what does it do? The label is a bit mysterious:

"Yellow Root has been known to have been used by people for many years."

hmmm. It also recommends drinking 4 ounces a day, mixed with my favorite juices. Anybody know if this is even safe?

(I'm not planning to drink this potion. Just wanted to solicit your stories and rumors.)

New Word: Countrypolitan


Yesterday I read this quote from Southern Culture on the Skids and I've been smiling about it ever since:

"Countrypolitan transcends music. It's a lifestyle, not a category of music...It's where rural and urban sensibilities meet. I mean, it's when you see trucker hats being sold in Beverly Hills boutiques or notice folks eating pork in Mebane, where I live, drinking a glass of merlot. Or best yet, when you see a motor sport invented by backwoods moonshine runners and bootleggers broadcast on Sunday afternoon into potentially every living room in America, there ain't no doubt it's a countrypolitan world..."

Their website goes even further:

“...SCOTS have mixed high and low culture for decades, endlessly touring, serving up moonshine martinis and poultry picking for fans everywhere.”

BBQ + Wine? Moonshine Martinis? Food is a good illustration of the culture mashing that goes on in a city like Atlanta. You can find cuisine from around the world, plus gourmet collards and pecan-crusted catfish. I dream of starting a cafe where you can get both a real biscuit and a smoldering latte in one sitting.

So much of our definition of "the south" is rural– plantations, magnolias, small town hospitality– so what happens when our agricultural roots get paved over? When we finally admit that we live in cities– even though "this used to be way out in the country." Leave it to a geeky rawk band like SCOTS to provide the correct terminology.

(poster by Yee Haw Industries)

Roadside fruit stand


I stopped by the State Farmer’s Market on Saturday morning to pick up some flowers for a friend in the hospital. I ended up buying her a white pumpkin instead.

I always forget how awesome the Farmers’ Market is, and how I tend to sucked in to the experience. The State Farmers' Market is one of the best things about Stumptown. With 150 acres of open air stalls and warehouses, it’s one of biggest in America. I love the giant concrete retro canopies.

It's not your trendy local or organic market, though. Like most places on the Southside, it feels somewhat undiscovered. There are a bunch of vendors who sell all the Mexican specialties year round. Seasonal stuff is trucked in from far and wide. In the summer, it's watermelons from Alabama, fall and winter mean Christmas trees and pumpkins from Michigan. There seems to be lots of potential to capitalize on Georgia-grown goodies. In the future, it could be like Seattle's Pike Place Market. I love how CFPT includes the Farmer's Market on their ideal Southside public transit loop.

On Saturday, a couple ladies were pumpkin hunting early, filling up minivans with classy halloween décor. Good to know there’s still a place to stock up on haybales, cornstalks, indian corn, gourds and pumpkins of every size and color.


The young guy tallying up my purchases asked if this was my first time at the market... maybe because I was taking photos. When he told me he came down from Michigan with the crop, I started seeing the place through new eyes again, and I was already thinking about this post.

Chic-fil-A Cares


----Original Message-----
Sent: 7/31/2008
To: Chick-fil-A Cares
Subject: Chick-fil-A Web Form Message

Today I was having lunch at the counter at the original Dwarf House and ordered a side salad. I watched as my server grabbed a pre-packaged salad from the fridge, dumped it on a plate and tossed the plastic container in the garbage. Throughout my short meal, I watched this same action several times and was astonished at the amount of wasted of plastic. It seems like the container, which is never actually presented to a guest, could just as well be made of paperboard or something that won't live as long in a landfill. Those containers are going to survive our great-grandkids!

The styrofoam cups worry me too. Chic-fil-A gives the impression of a premium brand in most ways, but smart, "green" packaging ain't one of them. I just wanted to let you know that your customers care about the environment and don't want any guilt spoiling an otherwise perfect lunch! Thanks!

-----Original Message-----
From: Chick-fil-A CARES
Sent: Aug 1, 2008
Subject: RE: Chick-fil-A Web Form Message

Dear Ms. Palmer:

Thank you for taking the time to contact Chick-fil-A. Our customers are very important to us, and we appreciate their comments, questions and suggestions. The plastic clamshell now used for this Salad protects the product better and keeps it fresher. Please rest assured that your comments regarding this packaging will be forwarded to the appropriate parties within Chick-fil-A.

In addition, we share your concerns regarding the environment. Although customer feedback reveals that the majority of our customers favor the type and style of packaging that we use, we are constantly looking for more economically and more ecologically sound alternatives. Our polystyrene containers (drink cups) have never been produced using chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and are, therefore, ozone safe. Foam products are more easily recycled than plastic, coated, or treated paper products.

Unfortunately, there is a misconception that paper food service containers are easily recyclable. In order to be used as food containers, paper must be treated or coated in some way. For instance, most cups are either coated with wax or a polyethylene film. Even though it is possible to recycle paper if the coating or film is removed, it is, for all practical purposes, unrealistic to do that. Biodegradability is another issue of concern. Contrary to popular belief, landfills are not giant compost heaps, where contents rapidly degrade. Research has shown that paper buried in landfills does not biodegrade very quickly. Therefore, there is no advantage in using paper over foam if the issue is biodegradability.

We do appreciate your business and want to please you as well as all our other customers. To the best of our ability, we make our decision on that basis; however, it is sometimes difficult to please everyone with everything we do. Thank you again for your time and interest and look forward to seeing you in one of our local Chick-fil-A restaurants soon.

Chick-fil-A CARES
Chick-fil-A...We Didn't Invent The Chicken,
Just The Chicken Sandwich.

To: Chick-fil-A CARES
Date: Aug 1, 2008

Hi Kym,

Thanks for your response.

I took the time to write you about my concerns not because I'm a complainer, but because I actually care about Chic-fil-A and see this as a big opportunity for you guys to lead and innovate. Fast food companies that successfully implement eco-friendly packaging are going to be hailed as leaders in quality, design AND ethics... It's going to be a huge win/win for both CFA and for the customers. and for the planet, of course.

I love drinking iced tea in those styrene cups too, but would happily trade them for an alternative that doesn't come with the environmental pricetag... a pricetag that includes production costs and shipping, not just recycling and landfill space.

The problem with your defense of polystyrene as “more easily recyclable" is that there is no clear recycling program in your restaurants. That's part of my original comment... I was "dining in" and was still served with disposables, all of which ended up in the dumpster. Why not serve with the reusable dishes that are already there? Or install bins with signage that makes it easy for both waitstaff and customers to recycle?

Chic-fil-A customers are a loyal bunch, so give us some credit. Rather than mourning the old packaging, we'll celebrate when CFA steps up to this challenge with the same commitment to quality and ethics they show in every other area of business.

Kind regards,
Hannah Palmer
East Point, GA