Notes from Nan: What we is

Notes from Nan
BY HF Contributing Writer, Nan Parat

The other day I was traipsing home from Elmer’s through the Town Common when I happ’d upon a flurry of yellow flowers waving their little heads in the early fall breeze. Since I was wearing a dress I felt right at home among the happy little flowers, and then, just as I left their staid, I looked up and the street and trees were bathed in shadow, save for a sprinkling of yellow and red leaves dancing out of the maple tree, all lit up in afternoon sunlight. I thought I was in a Chinese movie, so cooperative was nature with environmental beauty that afternoon!

That’s my Autumn in Ashfield report.

Here’s what’s for dinner this week:

  • Garlic and Herb marinated grilled Pork Chops
  • Parisian Potatoes Gallette
  • And some kind of vegetable! (Don’t know what kind yet)

I am going to put on extra staff for that night because garlic and herb marinated grilled pork chops by Jim are going to draw people from 5 states.

Hey, you know that last week we hosted a party at Elmer’s for people, not nary a one of which lived in Ashfield—or even Conway or Buckland? Those people came all the way from Dalton! One of them had eaten at Elmer’s and had liked us and requested all those people come all the way here for her party! Isn’t that amazing?

You can tell the weather is pretty—I don’t want to come inside to write. So I’ll just tell you the rest of what’s going on in Elmeria this week.

Come on in here Rob, and take a sit at the microphone here:

Rob’s Grocery Talk with Rob

Cute blondes make me commit crimes.

I hope you all know about the great deal we have on coffee beans here at Elmer’s Store. If you don’t, here it is: we sell 1.25 lb bags of delicious Café Altura coffee beans for just $9.99! This isn’t just a sale, but our everyday price. And you did notice I wrote “one point two five” didn’t you? Good, because it’s that extra quarter pound that should be in the evidence room at Ashfield P.D. while I sit in a dank jail cell awaiting interrogation.

Our story begins with an innocent customer plucking one of said bags of coffee off the shelf and bringing it to the counter which, unfortunately for her, I happen to be manning that afternoon. After purchasing the coffee, she asked if I could grind it for her. “It would be my pleasure” I said (I’m always very polite to my customers).

Here at Elmer’s Store, we have a top-of-the-line Bunn burr grinder with a hopper designed to hold one pound of beans. Now, I can get 1.25 pounds in there if I’m careful, but usually I end up spilling beans here and there and that just doesn’t look good. So this time, I came up with the brilliant idea of pouring a quarter pound of beans into an empty cup first, then pouring the remaining pound in the grinder, and adding the first cup when there was room for it in the hopper.

Which I was going to do, I swear.

Except at that moment, this really cute blonde walks in (I’ll call her “Laura” because that’s her name). Turns out she’s a sales rep for a line of juices that has, like, WAY more anti-oxidants than anything in the universe and she would like me to carry it in our store.

“Just a minute” I said. “Let me finish grinding this coffee and I’ll be right with you” (I’m always very polite to potential vendors). So I finish the grinding, hand the warm aromatic bag to the customer, thank her, and turn my attention to Laura, who is still very cute.

We chatted awhile, and although I knew I was throwing away my only chance to live a happy, meaningful life with her, I decided NOT to order 75 cases of the stuff on the spot. But she did leave me with a free sample and some information, which I set on the back counter right next to a cup containing about a quarter pound of coffee beans.

The customer had already left the store (I was wondering why she was acting a little hesitant to leave) so there was nothing I could do. However, if she is reading this, I want her to please come back to Elmer’s Store so I can make things right.

Imagine buying a box of cereal, only to have the cashier open it up and pour himself a bowl and sell you the rest at full price. That’s essentially what I did and that’s why I’m a criminal. That, and blondes.

Grocery Talk

We got molasses. Let’s get the party started.

Also, I need your help folks. I’m not smart enough to know what items to stock for seasonal canning and the like. For instance, a few months ago a lot of you were looking for pine nuts. Now, you’re looking for Parmesan cheese. I will gladly, gratefully make sure these and other items are in stock but I need a heads up! It’s really frustrating to send so many of you away because of Parmesan cheese (we did have a wheel of it, but it took forever to sell so I didn’t reorder it…ooops).

That is all,


P.S. Whipple talk returns next week!

P.P.S. Why do we hate oxidants so much? Should I get this stuff? It’s gonna be like $2.50 for a ten ounce bottle. Do I just have a crush?

Any customers out there who believe they have been stiffed by Rob or any other of our counter people should just call in and tell us how much we owe you and we’ll take it right out of Rob’s check! Or at Neighbors, the Lake House, Country Pie or the Hardware Store. Rob will take full responsibility for all of it! Because that is the kind of guy he is!

Let’s see what kind of girl Little Donna Elwell is this week and what she did to our poor unsuspecting customers. (Geez, Rob—a quarter of a pound! That’s really bad!)

One of our alert readers wrote last week to say that Little Donna Elwell’s farm report “is a perfect riposte to all the hyperbole of the rest of the e-mail.” After I looked up all the words I decided it was true.

But another alert (brand new) reader said this:

“I was forwarded an issue of your ranty/ravey/rambley newsletter thingy and liked it. Can you add this address to the list?”

So, I’m going with ranty/ravey/rambley over hyperbole, any day.

The Farm Report

By Little Donna Elwell


(from Joy of Cooking)
In a food processor or blender, chop but do not puree:
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and coarsely chopped
Remove to a large bowl. Chop in the processor:
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
½ cup packed parsley, finely chopped
Remove to the bowl. Add to the processor and chop:
2 ½ pounds ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped
Remove to the bowl. Add:
1 cup tomato juice
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
(1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced, or a dash of hot pepper sauce)
2 teaspoons salt
Stir well. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Serve in chilled bowls.


SATURDAY, 8/23/08
CUCUMBERS from Sangha Farm, Ashfield
LETTUCE: BOSTON from Paddy Flat Farm, Ashfield
LETTUCE: RED LEAF from Paddy Flat Farm, Ashfield
ONIONS: RED from Sangha Farm, Ashfield
PEACHES from Paddy Flat Farm, Ashfield
SALAD MIX from Sidehill Farm, Ashfield
TOMATOES from Sidehill Farm, Ashfield

BEANS: GREEN from Sangha Farm, Ashfield
BEETS from Sangha Farm, Ashfield
CABBAGE: GREEN AND RED from Sangha Farm, Ashfield
CARROTS from Sangha Farm, Ashfield
GARLIC from Spring Water Garden, Ashfield
PEAS: SNOW from Paddy Flat Farm, Ashfield
PEPPERS: GREEN from Paddy Flat Farm, Ashfield
PEPPERS: PURPLE from Paddy Flat Farm, Ashfield
SQUASH: ACORN from Sangha Farm, Ashfield
SQUASH: SUMMER from Spring Water Garden, Ashfield

Organic (CA) Apples: Fuji
Organic (HI) Ginger Root
Organic (CA) Onions
Organic (CA) Oranges
Organic (CA) Potatoes: Red and Gold

Conventional (Mexico) Lemons

To make specific produce requests, email me at


And that’s all I know. I’m going back outside to play in the sunshine.

Big e

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