What's up? And a favorite dressing recipe

We want to share what's up in our world of planning, prepping and playin' at the County these days. And throw in a favorite, simple recipe at the end, just 'cuz. So hello neighbors. Nice to see you! Welcome, come on in, pull up a seat, make yourself comfy here at the store, beside the fireplace.

Well, not quite. But soon, really soon, promise. In the meantime, there has been large construction equipment busy at work at the store. No, not the beginning of our construction efforts, unfortunately. Rather the work of our remediation consultants, RRM. The equipment was digging a large pit and removing soil in front of the store, the spot where the underground gasoline tank was located until '97. Unfortunately when the tank was removed the original soil was returned to the same spot (not sure the history of this decision, but not a good one). This contaminated soil in situ has been a sore spot with Environmental Health who oversees the remediation work and manages the fund that covers this remediation work.

(We all pay for this work, by the way. Likely you already knew this. But just in case you aren't familiar with these clean up efforts, here's the deal. Each time we- those of us who drive cars- fill up a tank of gas, we pay into the Super Fund effort that finances removal of the leaking gas tanks discovered mostly in the 1980's and 90's. They were epidemic at that time. The fund also pays for the work to monitor the wells that are used to test the soil within the immediate area of these tanks until the site is deemed clean enough. According to RRM, "low hanging fruit" is what these projects are considered the in the remediation world. Gasoline is relatively easy to remediate and money is available to pay for the work to clean up the sites. As opposed to dry cleaners and some of the waste we've produced in Silicon Valley. These are not easy projects to tackle, unfortunately. Interesting and very sobering stuff we've been learning, but way off topic).

So back to our store. This work will put us on the right side of things with EH, we hope, and will further move this site toward being deemed "clean enough" and thus Environmental Health may decide to close our case. The soil is now removed, waiting for testing to determine which landfill will take it (ugh, there's another story in all that too, huh?) and the drive is temporarily repaired with gravel as we will be tearing into this area again in the near future, hopefully. 

Lovely to see some progress with the store as we are anxious to get the whole project moving along. Speaking for Team Loma Mar Store, aside from cleaning up the soil issue and finishing up some open permits from some time ago, we are busy... waiting. Lots of planning going on, figuring out how and where to buy products and arguing about which products to carry, of course. But mostly we are waiting for OUR first permit.  

And to share, our big plan is to repair the ole' gals foundation. We hope to get her all straight and level this summer and hopefully in the same year (THIS year,) a new roof as well. Along the way we intend to make even the floors between the 3 sides of the building (ever notice the fireplace room and store are at different floor heights?)  

To explain a tad further, it's a tricky thing, fixing up an old building in a rural location with lots of lovely old permitted uses that were she (the store) not historic and pre-existing, we wouldn't be entitled to them. The tricky part is choosing what we want done in this phase. We are allowed a finite amount of repairs based on the value of the building. Any additional improvements will have to wait a full 12 months after the first batch of work is signed off.  

But no news re this first permit yet. We are waiting to hear, waiting to get our permit, waiting to get the old gal fixed up. We hope this will be soon- getting our first permit, but so far we are still waiting to hear back from the County. Did we mention, we are waiting...?

But to answer one question that frequently is asked, "What are our plans for the store?"(Drum roll here.)

...We plan to reopen the store!  (Woo hoo, big news, huh?)  Same store, same commercial kitchen, same fireplace room, same post office, same, same same.  ...Well, with a of couple little changes.  But more (lots more) about all this later.  

We do have plans to do some cool stuff. But primarily we grandly aspire to offer a place to gather, eat, see neighbors, a place to get out of the woods or into the woods, for. A cool food resource for making and sharing, here in Loma Mar. But more about all that later...

Till then we want you all to think "permit, permit, permit, permit..."  That's your job, okay?



And while you are thinking these helpful thoughts, here's a favorite salad dressing recipe which is actually a bit of a cheat because key to this dressing recipe is bacon and raw garlic, which means it's quite tasty and dreadfully easy and if you eat it be sure all company does as well.

  1. First, make bacon.  Lots of it, hopefully from pigs that lived happy healthy, outdoor-breathing, in the sunshine, happy porcine sorta lives. Maybe locally from this favorite farm or that favorite farm. Bake bacon in the oven or use my son's water in the skillet technique added to the bacon. (The point here is to get bacon fat that's not burned; you are after the fat.)  
  2. Eat bacon, share or not share depending on your true grace as a hungry human being.  Save the precious, hot resource (the bacon fat) into little temperature safe ball jar.

Super yum, bacon raspberry dressing:

Bacon fat, garlic (raw, yes raw,) raspberry jam (make now, raspberries are in season,) anchovy paste (yes, really) fig vinegar from the HMB farmers market (the stuff is fabulous.) Proportions? Naw, you'll figure those out.

You thinkin' "permit?" You better be... Later neighbors, your Loma Mar Store operators-to-be, Jeff, Kate and Amy