Local Amenities

It was still raining on and off as we drove into town to get some groceries and charge up the battery. It seems that Homer has everything to offer; there is amazing scenery, ample fishing, a couple grocery stores, several restaurants, cafes, pubs, a brewery, a meadery, small movie theatre, and lots of local businesses. It also seems to be fairly unblemished by multinational corporations which is great.

On our way in, we found the local farmers market to be open so we dropped in. One of the vendors explained the system they’re just starting to implement in Homer involving farmers market money.

2011-08-24-Homer Market.jpg2011-08-24-Braving the rain.jpg2011-08-24-NorthPole Honey.jpg2011-08-24-Local crafts.jpg2011-08-24-Romanesco - Broccoli Cauliflower hybrid.jpgThe main counter provides an exchange of money for these 20 dollar coins which are only able to be used at the market. The premise being, that farmers markets are typically a cash only operation but more and more people are carrying around less physical money. The aim is to be more accessible and convenient by allowing folks who don’t have cash on hand to use the debit machine to purchase market coins. Using this system keeps vendor costs down because each vendor doesn’t need to rent or purchase a debit machine. At the same time, it still allows farmers to to reach customers who don’t have cash on them. This market is also piloting a program called Quest, which is pioneering a local and healthy food movement for those who might not otherwise afford it. Folks using government support programs like food stamps can now come to the market to get food. As an added incentive they will get double their food stamp value through exchange with Quest market coins. A pretty great way to offset the costs of fruits and veggies while ensuring the farmer gets paid, and not the middle man. I think these types of programs are really important and should continue to be promoted.

2011-08-24-Market coin.jpgWe also made a stop at the local brewery. We have a growler (imagine a large glass milk jug, but for beer) on loan from our friend and so far we’re finding it pretty handy. The local Homer brewery was happy to fill it up for about $11 (which is on the slightly more expensive side). It contains just about the same beer as a half dozen bottles, and you get the bonus of having draft beer. The other thing we’re really enjoying is the fact that they’re readily re-usable. We’ve generally found the States to be slightly behind on the times when it comes to recycling; it’s almost impossible to find a blue bin. For this reason we’ve accumulated a set of empties that we’re driving around with because we don’t have the heart to just throw them out. Back in Canada, recycling is common – most cities are riddled with recycling bins and when we buy bottled beer, we can get a $0.10 deposit back on each of those bottles by bringing them back to the store. It’s not that we do it for the money, but we have seen some folks make $40 or more back by doing this. The best part is, these bottles ultimately will get re-used (provided they’re not cracked or damaged). In the US, it seems that, if you’re lucky, they might get crushed up and go to the landfill but even that is unlikely.

2011-08-24-Quick stop for some local brew.jpgThis morning corrected the noise we started to notice a few days ago. Tightening the belt seemed to do the trick, even though the guy at the auto parts store in Anchorage said our alternator was dying based on his tester. We did, to be on the safe side, pick up a spare alternator just in case this one craps out on us in the middle of no where. The unfortunate thing is, that the place we originally got it from down in Florida, does not service AK so we won’t likely be able to redeem our warranty until we hit the lower 48 again. We just hope we’ve fixed the issue completely and won’t need to worry about any of this.

We’ve also been toying with what to do lately – we’re a bear tour and we also are looking into a ferry out to a remote restaurant. All of these things are usually booked full but there is some availability. We’ll see what happens. For now we’re just enjoying the views and the little bit of sun we found.

2011-08-24-Cloudy but beautiful.jpg2011-08-24-Glacier view.jpg2011-08-24-This is Homer.jpgWe spent part of the evening in a local bakery cafe and ended up camping nearby by the beach. Lots of folks drove there just to take their Jeep for a thrashing in the sand. We’ve asked a lot of the van lately, so we opted to watch from the safety of the beach parking lot instead of joining in.
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