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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Unsolicited Plug (UP) 1 -- First in a new series

Well, with the economy coming unglued and the next big wave of bank failures due any second (a wave much bigger than the ones we've seen so far), we're going to have to re-learn just how important it is to support those small, locally owned businesses that are essential to creating a vibrant and livable community.

Salem has some real gems amidst the sea of generica, and LOVESalem is going to start plugging some of these, albeit not systematically. That is, this isn't an advertising deal, but in the nature of a reminder that, if you want these to stay open, you need to find your way to them now and again when you need something in their line.

The first UP (unsolicited plug) is for a little hole-in-the-wall bakery on the north block of State St. between Front and Commercial, Cascade Baking Company. This superb bakery uses a wonderful wheat flour grown and milled here in the Northwest, "Shepard's Grain," which is grown by a cooperative of family farmers in Oregon and Washington using sustainable ag practices (most significantly, no-till, meaning that the dry, dusty winds of the Palouse don't send the topsoil into the air, because the ground is never scraped off for planting).

Also, it's got a great flavor. You can buy Cascade's breads at the store or at the Salem Saturday Market (which would be getting an unsolicited plug now, if it weren't closed until May, sniff, sniff), and you can sample it several restaurants in town that I know of.

Anyway, scope out the lovely array of breads that are baked fresh right here in Salem, using responsibly grown wheat.

Now, you can definitely find cheaper bread, and if calories per dollar is your only standard, then you will not only miss the health benefits of eating better food but you will miss helping a local business thrive and continue to enrich your home. Skip a latte sometime and put that together with what you usually spend on factory bread and get a loaf of real bread at Cascade -- you'll love it. (Alas, not much for the gluten intolerant!)