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      Common Ground is Cancelled but We're Still Here and so is MOFGA

      Common Ground is Cancelled but We're Still Here and so is MOFGA

      This year seems harder to navigate than last year.  Don’t get me wrong, last year was rough.  I was throughly sick of hearing “pivot”.  At Dulse & Rugosa, we were dizzy from pivoting.  However, we knew fairs and festivals were cancelled.  People were comfortable shopping online.  There was a lot of awareness about supporting small, indie and local businesses.  This year, everything is so fluid.  It’s difficult to make a realistic plan.

      Funny face on a duck to illustrate the difficulties of business planning during a pandemic


      We were disappointed (to put it mildly) about the cancellation of the Common Ground Fair.  Mid summer we sat down to make a “plan” for the coming months.  We’ve all noticed the weird shortages of seemly random goods including packaging materials like boxes, glass bottles and certain ingredients.  We wanted to purchase ahead of time so we wouldn’t get caught with a lot of out of stock products. 

      As we planned we factored in fairs.  We thought about attendance, weather- the rain has been crazy here in Maine, what folks might be wanting, etc.   We did a low, medium and high projection to help us decide what to order and to put a schedule together for production.  In all our planning we forgot to add catastrophe.

      That’s why this blog is all about ways you can help support small businesses and non profits during this time of upheaval.  It’s time to actively “dollar vote”.   Where you spend your money is a way to support local communities, encourage innovation, support living wages and help heal the planet.   Where you shop and what you buy sends a direct message to business owners.  Check out Green America for more info and a toolkit.

       Garden and small shop to encourage people to shop small and local


      If you’re not a member of MOFGA now is a great time to join.  Many non-profits depend on events to finance their work.  This is the second year with no fair and that is a huge loss of revenue for MOFGA.  MOFGA is all about  helping farmers thrive, making more local, organic food available and building sustainable communities. Your membership supports all this work! 

      Coins and a seedling to illustrate how we spend our money makes a difference

      There are also ways to support small businesses without spending money.  Joining mailing lists is a direct way you can help a business thrive especially as we head into the winter months.  Follow your favorite businesses on social media and like, comment and share.  While social media appears to be free there are many hidden costs and how posts get shown.  It’s a bit like high school.  Get in the habit of quickly “liking” a post or leave a comment or emoji to tell the algorithm this post is trendy.  Then more people get to see it.  I often think of social media as a black hole and love to meet someone who says they follow us and enjoy our posts.  This gives me hope. 

      Leaving positive reviews  really makes a difference.  If you love certain products take the time to let others know by leaving a website review.  Reviews on google and yelp can help new customers discover a business.    Sharing products on social media is another easy way to spread some small business love.  Simple acts of kindness to support small and indie businesses.

      Anna Lappe wrote, “Every time you spend money, you're casting a vote for the kind of world you want.”  At Dulse & Rugosa we want a world that is kind and focused on community and planet health.  We all need to vote with our dollars whenever possible.

      Eating the Seasons: Strawberry Adventures

      Eating the Seasons: Strawberry Adventures

      I am a self confessed fruit-aholic. During the summer the only reason to go to the grocery store is to buy fruit and lots and lots of it.  On my day off when I used to live in California  I would go buy 4 pounds of cherries and then spend the rest of the day re-reading an Agatha Christie mystery and eating my way through the bags of cherries. When summer, and more importantly fruit season rolls around, I get excited.  We've spent the winter eating through our freezers of fruit and garden veg and we gotta start building it back up for the coming winter, which means u-pick farms are my happy place.


      After a lot of research we found an amazing farm that had u-pick hours that were on a weekday, perfect!!  At 7 in the morning the Dulse & Rugosa team (minus the dogs) piled into the car and headed off to Full Fork Farm in China, Maine.  We drove the scenic (long) route and ogled gardens, rock walls, and the extent of the brown tail moth invasion.

      Full Fork Farm was amazing!!!!  Even on a Tuesday morning people were out picking and enjoying the bounty of spring.  Most of the people picking were families, it kinda felt like the spring version of the obligatory child in the pumpkin patch instagram photo we all see popping up every fall.  We were the only group that was there to seriously pick.  And I do mean pick!!!  We walked away with 6 flats of berries or 48 quarts.  We were not joking around. Claire and Carter are great berry pickers only picking the finest ripest berries but my berry induced OCD kicked in and I had to work really hard to not pick EVERYTHING that was red.  It was hard to leave those berries behind. 

      Each row at Full Fork Farm was a different type of strawberry.  What was so amazing was the range of tastes, sizes, and shapes.  We were all soo amazed at the range of taste.  Each row really did taste like a totally different strawberry.  Some were tart (my favorite), others were smaller with more concentrated flavor, and one type was pure strawberry sugar, most of the children were picking in that row. 

      It was a 90 minute drive to Full Fork Farm and of course we stopped at Cate's Family Farm for more gladiolus corms and meandered down country lanes, so it was late afternoon when we got home and the processing began.  That afternoon we set up multiple work stations to prep the berries for freezer camp, so so so many berries.  Once the majority of the berries were in the freezer and not covering every flat surface in the house I got to work on making a simple syrup for our herbal sodas at our coffee shop, then strawberry jam, a strawberry rhubarb crisp, and finally some roasted strawberry cheese danish.  By the end of the day you would think we would be sick of strawberries but what did we have for dinner???  You guessed it......strawberries. 

      Strawberry Thyme Simple Syrup for Herbal Sodas

      In a pot combine 1 quart of sliced strawberries with 2 cups of water, 1.5-2 cups of sugar, and a few sprigs of fresh thyme.  I like it on the tarter side with less sugar.  Heat this on medium until the sugar melts then let it simmer stirring occasionally for 20ish minutes.  Pull the syrup from the heat and allow it to cool.  Using either a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth strain the pulp.  I freeze the pulp (just remove the thyme) since you can use it for a delicious cake filling.  Bottle your simple syrup (a mason jar works great) and put it in the fridge.  To make a herbal syrup, pour roughly 1/4 cup of syrup (adjust to taste) over ice and top with sparkling water and maybe a slice of lemon.  Delicious!!!

      Rhubarb, Rhubarb, Rhubarb New and Different Ways to Eat It

      Rhubarb, Rhubarb, Rhubarb New and Different Ways to Eat It

      It's that time of the year.  After months of just frozen ground and nothing coming from the garden we are now drowning in rhubarb.  These past few weeks we have been eating, canning, and freezing rhubarb like crazy.  I used to make the same few rhubarb dishes every year which meant pretty quickly I got sick of rhubarb.  This year I vowed to change it up.  I scoured the internet for new and different ways of using rhubarb, not just the same old pie and crisps.  I wanted savory meals and different desserts.

      First up is my new favorite savory rhubarb dish.  This is based off of a Martha Stewart recipe I found which I changed up and adapted to what was in my fridge. I tuned her Pan Roasted Chicken and Rhubarb into Turkey Meatballs with Rhubarb and Leftover Fridge Vegetable Curry.  As with all my recipes I just eyeball everything and change according to what I have (the grocery store is a long drive away.) Bonus: the meatballs use an egg and when you've got chickens springtime means everything you cook has to have eggs in it!!

      Turkey Meatballs with Rhubarb and Leftover Fridge Veg Curry

      I don't have any pictures cause every time I made it we were too excited to start eating to snap a photo.  Trust me it is delicious and beautiful.

      Makes dinner and lunch leftovers for 2-3

      Meatballs (make these to taste and adjust the spices accordingly

      • 1 pound ground turkey
      • 1 egg
      • Panko/breadcrums
      • Garlic to taste
      • Any blend of the following spices: Curry Powder, Gram Masala, Turmeric, Cumin, Cayenne

      Mix everything but the panko together.  Add in enough panko so that the mixture sticks together to form 2 inch balls.  Pan sear the meatballs on all sides.  Put the meatballs to the side and use the same pan to start your curry. One pan all the way!!!

      Rhubarb and Fridge Curry

      • Diced onion
      • Garlic to taste
      • 2 cups Rhubarb diced into 1-2 inch pieces
      • Any blend of the following spices: Mustard Seeds, Coriander Seeds, Curry Powder, Gram Masala, Turmeric, Cumin, Cayenne
      • Fresh ginger to taste
      • Fridge Vegetables, use what you got: peppers, summer squash, kale, spinach, carrots, eggplant (you could also use freezer veggies, just use what you got and veggie it up!)
      • Water and/or veggie broth enough to reach the consistency you like for curry

      Use the grease in the pan from the meatballs and lightly toast your spices, add in your onions and garlic.  Cook til translucent and add in your rhubarb and some liquid.  Cook the rhubarb until it starts to get tender and then add in your other veggies, fresh ginger, and the meatballs.  Serve when the rhubarb is fork tender.  The first time I made this I cooked it too long and the rhubarb melded into the sauce it was totally delicious but I like it better when the rhubarb stays together or even has a little bit of texture.

      Accoutrements to make it extra YUMMY and stretch it even more for lunch

      • Rice, Couscous or whatever you got
      • Pita, naan or tortillas To make them really pop, toast them lightly then brush on a little bit of olive oil or butter and sprinkle with Za'tar spice
      • Lime Pickles
      • Green Onions or chives
      • Cilantro

       Next up on the rhubarb train is Rhubarb Sorbet and Rhubarb Popsicles.  These are crazy easy.  Take some rhubarb add sugar and a little water and whatever spices or herbs you want and cook until the rhubarb is tender and falls apart.  I used fresh ginger and mint.  For the sorbet let that cool and then pour into an ice cream maker and follow the directions, remove the spices or herbs if you used them.  For popsciles pour your mixture through cheescloth or a fine mesh strainer, to strain out the rhubarb pulp and any herbs or spices, and then freeze in your popscile molds. These have been especially nice right now as we are in a very unseasonal heat wave.  90 in June!!!! It's Crazy.  These were the perfect treat after a day spent digging in the garden.

      Finally it's not rhubarb without a pie so here is a slightly different and totally delicious one: Rhubarb Custard Pie.  Super, super easy and wicked tasty.

      First off make your favorite pie crust. I love King Arthur's All Butter Pie Crust.  I found that keeping a stick or two of butter in the freezer worked great for making pie crusts. 


      3 cups rhubarb (I usually use more than that)

      1 1/2 cups sugar

      3 eggs

      1/3 cup milk

      1/4 cup flour

      pinch of salt

      large pinch of cinnamon

      1 teaspoon vanilla

      Directions: Press your pie crust into your pie plate and then dump in your chopped rhubarb. Mix everything else together and then pour the custard over the rhubarb.  Put into a preheated 375 oven for 40-50 minutes or sometimes an hour.  Cool the pie completely and then dig in.  It is soooo good!!

      If you have any other great rhubarb recipes let us know.  I am always searching for more.

      Earth Day Inspiration

      Earth Day Inspiration

       Earth Day this year is April 22. 

      It’s a day to reflect on our personal practices, find ways to do better and to get outside, enjoy nature.   It’s also the perfect time to pick up some trash hidden by winter’s ice and snow.

      We’ve put together a bit of Earth Day inspiration for you.  We hope our list helps you feel connected and inspired by the work of others.

      Insta Influencers

      @randomactsofgreen, their mission is building a global climate action community to help folks feel empowered to take action. 

      @kittiekipper, I believe Kittie (don't actually know if that's her name) lives in (I think) Cornwall .  I might be short on life details but she collects crap from the beaches, mostly fishing line and ghost nets and turns them into incredible art.  She is inspiring and talented.

      Facebook Influencer

      "Ethically Kate" is a New Zealand influencer that shares her personal eco-journey.  She writes in a positive way about sustainable living and finding joy in our every day life.  It’s also fun to read about everyday life in new Zealand- imagine going to the beach and swimming most days!


      I love "Pre-loved Podcast" because I still have the day dream of being a fashion designer or at least a contestant on Project Runway.   I enjoy Emily’s  weekly interviews with a global twist.  The personal stories from England to Peru are a bit of travel and escape during these weird times and the focus of every podcast is getting away from fast fashion and embracing preloved clothing.

      A Few of our Favorite Products

       Vegan Dish Soap- bubbles and cleans without any plastic.  Very long lasting.

      Shampoo bars- as a former hair product junkie my switch to shampoo bars has eliminated not just plastic bottle clutter in my shower but plastic bottles in landfills.  It can take awhile to find the perfect bar for your hair but the search is worth it.

      Luffa sponges- made from the luffa plant these sponges are quite scrubby and when they get worn put 'em in your compost pile.  So much better than plastic based ones.

      Straw and Tin- I love to sip an iced coffee drink on a hot summer day and this straw is perfect.  It's wide so very easy to clean without any special tools. 

      Mother's Day Gift Guide

      Mother's Day Gift Guide

      Mother’s Day is an opportunity to show “mom” how much she means to you.   Mom can be your biological mom, grandma, godmother, sister or anyone in your life who supports, cheers and comforts you.   

      We've put together a curated list of unique gifts for Mother’s Day.  The products are made by independent artist and makers and we’ve made some great bundles that fit personalities and interests as well as being affordable.

      Better Than a Bouquet

      Looking to send mom a gift that’s not flowers? 

      Our Better Than A Bouquet Bundle is an affordable Mother’s Day Gift. 

      The bundle includes a bar of our nourishing Rose Petal Soap, an Ayurveda Inspired  Rose and Cardamom Chocolate bar, a Champagne & Roses seed-bearing lollipop and a sweet Mason Jar Flower Sticker.   $20

      Mermaid Mama Gift Bundle

      Do you have an ocean lover, beach lover, or mermaid on your Mother’s Day gift list?  Our Mermaid Mama Bundle is the perfect gift.   


      Included in our bundle is a nourishing bar of Slightly "Seaweedy" soap, an ocean inspired sticker, an Ocean Shower Shot and an ocean themed tea towel.  $25

      Chicken Mama Gift Bundle

      Looking for unique gifts for a chicken lover?  Our chicken themed bundle is the perfect gift for anyone who has backyard birds or simply loves chickens.

      The bundle includes our exfoliating Chicken Scratch soap, a red rooster sticker, a chicken theme tea towel and a compost chicken dish cloth.  $30

      Plant Mama Bundle

      Wondering what to give someone who loves to garden?  The perfect gift bundle for anyone who loves plants, digging in the dirt and sunshine.


      Our Plant Mama Bundle includes our Garden Thyme soap that is sprinkled with petals and leaves from our tiny flower farm, an Ayurveda Inspired chocolates bar (either Raspberry with Beetroot or Peppermint infused with Lavender) a garden themed sticker, a Lavender and a Peppermint Shower Shot and a seed-bearing lollipop (our choice of flavors- they are all delicious).  $25

      Cooking Mama Bundle

      Looking for gifts to give your favorite foodie?  Our Cooking Mama bundle is filled with unique cooking gifts.


      Our bundle contains a set of handcrafted wooden measuring spoons that will compliment any kitchen, two Swedish-style compostables dish cloths, three natural and compostable luffa kitchen scrubby sponges, a Curio Spice blend, an Ayurveda inspired chocolate bar and a seed-bearing lollipop.   In order to keep this bundle affordable it’s our choice of designs and flavors but they are all unique and delicious.  $60

      Roll On Mama

      Therapeutic and beautiful our Essential Oil Roll are designed to lift your spirits gently and naturally.  If you are looking for a natural way to help maintain a healthy mind and body discover our Essential Oil Roll Ons.  Our trio has all three soothing and uplifting blends. $35