Friday, July 16, 2010

Lehmans goes chinese? Luckily not....

Last weekend Lisa and I set off to one of our many annual trips to Lehman's. It's only 45 minutes away, and a great day to spend a day there and driving through the area finding new places to visit. I have loved that store since my first trip there nearly 20 years ago. We generally have a shopping list, which is always wayyy less than the "want" list. We've often joked about the same thing many people do- "when we win that lottery we're going to ________) Our list is short and simple. Pay off everything, hit the Ford dealer,trailer dealer, gun shop, and Lehmans. How cool would it be to walk in Lehmans and say "OK gimme one of everything!" Ahhhh dreams.

One of the things we wanted to buy last weekend was a corn cutter since canning season is fast approaching. We found them in the newly remodeled kitchen gadget area, and there were three to choose from. Sadly, two out of three were made in China. We began to talk about the way the store has slightly changed, and the apperance of chinese products. Had it finally happened? Had Lehmans sold out? We really wondered if it had came to that. Well, Lisa had written a post in her blog about the very same thing, and recieved a much unexpected response. That response was from Galen Lehman himself, son of Jay Lehman who had opened the store 55 years ago. I gotta tell ya folks, Galen's response was very impressive. It really answered the questions we had about chinese made products in their store. I'll post it here for you:

Thanks for your blog posting. I am sorry you were disappointed with your visit to our store.

I absolutely share your frustration. We are trying our best to carry only USA made goods, but we're finding it harder and harder to do so. The corn cutter you mentioned used to be made in America. Now it's not. What should we do??

I stand on this promise: If it's available in the USA and our customers want it, we will carry it. If you find a Chinese-made item on our shelves that you think should be made in America, it means we haven't found a USA made source for it.

And by all means, if you know of a USA made product we should be carrying, please, please let us know.

To read more about our struggle against Chinese products, check out this article on my blog:

Thanks for your hard work on this blog! You're fighting a good fight!

Galen Lehman"

She never expected many responses, let alone someone from the Lehman family. This response really brought back my respect for Lehmans store. Knowing that they care about what they carry and do their best to avoid imports makes me very happy. Galen, hats off to you and your family for keeping this policy and for running such an incredible store. I won't hesitate to return like we always have. Thank you.

Here at home, Lisa and I are still struggling with eating fresh and local. It's hard to deprogram your brain from the huge variety available at the grocery stores. We're all so used to having anything we want, any time that we want, that we never think about it anymore. We're still searching for local, and affordable, beef and other produce that we can't or don't produce here for ourselves. It's a lot harder than we imagined. Another one of our goals for that trip last weekend was to hopefully find locally grown grain or flour, but we had no luck. Everyone had the same answer. "it comes off the truck" We'll continue to look as best we can and not give up. Sure we can buy flour from the store and skip the extra preservatives that are in store-bought bread, but we'd rather try to skip what was sprayed ON those crops, what kind of seed they were grown from, and basically just not give our money to big agriculture. It's the same with meat products. It's a continuous struggle, but we're slowly gaining ground.
It's amazing to read labels on food from the store and see ingredients that you can't even pronounce. What IS that? Why is it there? What does or can it do to me over time? Read "Death by Supermarket", and "Food Inc" and it's companion movie and you'll really start to wonder about what you're having for dinner. It's been a real eyeopener for us, and has pushed this journey to self sufficency even more. Getting used to having less than 25% of the choices will be the largest hurdle, but we're getting used to it. Right now as I type, there are two large cookie sheets of cereal in the oven. Oats,honey, dehydrated apples, cinnamon, and a touch of brown sugar. Not flavor enhancers, no preservatives, no nothing. That cereal is just one of many things changing around here in our diet and food storage. There will be many more to come soon, and I'll keep them all posted here.
If anyone is local and knows where we can find locally produced/raised flour, grain, beef, pork, or any other things we don't already do for ourselves, please let us know!

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