Often it’s the small things that matter most!

An unfamiliar car parked in front of my home and a familiar face (out of uniform) exited to walk the path to my front door; before he could knock, I opened the door as I could see him approaching from my office window. A bit surprised and a little timid Omar greeted me in his usual courteous manner, “hello Ms. Gunter. Omar is our mail carrier in the neighborhood. He extended his hand which held a blue snowman covered gift bag offering it to me wishing me a happy holiday. In it was a large blue scented candle and a To Do notepad with the word Paris written across the top.He said, “I hope you like it” as I opened the package surprised and grateful at the gesture. He said, “I really like you Ms. Gunter”. I thanked him and gave him a hug. This was Omar’s day off in which he took the time to find an appropriate gift, wrap it, drive his car from wherever he lives to wish me well. I share this because you never know how you affect someone’s life. Throughout the year I offer him water on hot days, a jar of jam or a piece of fruit but most importantly, I respect him and the service he provides in making sure my mail arrives safely. Those bags are heavy with circulars and Omar has been a carrier for over twenty years! I can only imagine the occupational hazard on his body.One day, and perhaps sooner than later Omar will retire as his body is resisting the repetitive strain on his shoulder and arm. I do not take the services or the people in my life for granted. I’m grateful for Omar and will think of him when I light the November scented candle.Thank you Omar

Free Range Quest is DOing it right!

ImageWe had a visit a few weeks back from Free Range Quest – the awesome David and Kristina.

They write: “We’ve sold our home and nearly all our possessions. We’re converting a 1999 GMC Diesel Mini Bus (That we affectionately refer to as ‘A Little Furthur’ or ‘ALFie’) into a veggie oil and solar-powered RV in order to embark upon a skill-gathering, culinary exploration across the United States (and beyond!). Along the way we will be touring some of the most interesting micro and permaculture farms, alternative energy systems,  and underground food movements across the nation; in addition to learning some very useful self-sufficiency skills, and sharing the stories of others who have embarked upon major life and career upheavals. We’re writing a book and working on some multimedia projects from the road! This quest is our investment in adventure. This is our journey to find the freedom to Enjoy The Now. ”

We commend Kristina and David and for following their vision and walking the talk!!! It was such a pleasure to meet you, and thank you for being fellow DOers!!!

Here is a link to their full blog about their visit to Daily Organics with so many beautiful pics!!

Being of service to community

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Thank you to my hosts Lindy & Grundy and La Maison Du Pain for a great Saturday!

I have the real pleasure to meet so many interesting folk that have included me in their lives. Weekly I’m greeted with sincere affection in smiles, hugs and shared stories. Every week new and returning people are making Daily Organics a part of their weekends.

There is also a constant environment of all breeds of dogs facilitated by outdoor dining and in the case of Lindy & Grundy, a wonderful pet store which hosts dog and cat adoption on Saturdays.

Lively conversation fills the air giving me the sense that I’m the local produce lady in a resort town somewhere. At La Maison Du Pain there is a vintage V.W. bus that travels from west to east about the same time each Saturday. I can usually hear that distinct engine a half block away! The driver and the bus look as though they’ve been friends a long time…

In short, I’m part of a changing landscape in an environment centered around food, dogs and happy people. That’s what DO! is all about! I’m just goin where the love is.

Thank you all out there in this cyber world for “liking” what we’re DOING! Thank you for showing me that I’m supported in my wacky idea to feed folks!!! We’ve only just begun!

One more thing…
I want to thank my friend David Weinstein for telling me to DO it! Without David, this opportunity would not have been possible! Thank you Ann-Sophie Morrissette for ALL that you do and to our Creative team which you so skillfully curated!!! There are Angels watching over Daily Organics!

I’m grateful to be of service to my community!!!!

Why I DO what I DO

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Mr. Carter enjoying his grapes!

Remember the story last week about a young diabetic man passing through my neighborhood?

Mr. Carter came to the Daily Organics stand this weekend as promised…and as promised, I had his red seedless grapes! As he walked towards me from crossing the street he said,”I bet you didn’t think I would come.” I said, “I hoped you would come because I have your grapes!”

His eyes lit up as I handed him the bag of sweet crisp grapes. He immediately reached in the bag pulling free a grape, popped it in his mouth like a true connoisseur of the fruit. He leaned his head back, closing his eyes. His smile gave me the impression that he was being transported to a places called bliss.

This was a privilege to experience. Thank you Mr. Carter for showing me the true meaning of being a HUMAN BEING.

The humble peach

peach newA young man was walking down the street that I had seen before but knew he didn’t live on my street. He walked with an unsteady gait, but with determination. His clothes were modest, his hair braided in cornrows and I couldn’t help but notice his yellowing sad eyes.

I said “Good morning” which surprised him and provoked a slight smile. I said, “Where do you live?” He said he lived about 6 blocks from here, and that he helps an old man down the street running errands. The two met in dialysis a few years back. The man in his eighties “needs help with things, so I help him out,” he said.

The young man was on his way to get a hamburger because his blood sugar was low and he didn’t feel good. I asked him to wait – I wanted to give him something. I ran into the house and got one of the Masumoto peaches and handed it to him, I said, “Eat it..NOW!”

He bit into the peach, juice squirted everywhere and ran between his fingers. The smile on his face rose like the morning sun, his eyes widened as he slurped the juice taking bite after bite of his peach. Between bites all he said was “WOW!” Before he finished I ran into the house and got another peach and handed it to him. Without hesitation he devoured the second peach. I could see his energy returning as he wiped his mouth with the sleeve of his hoodie. He said he never tasted anything so delicious, especially fruit!

I told him about my produce stand on Sundays and that he deserves to have this kind of experience every time he eats a piece of fruit. He asked if I ever get grapes because he LOVES red seedless grapes! I said yes, and will have some for him this weekend. He said he couldn’t buy any this weekend because his SSI check comes on the 30th, but the following weekend. I said, “No worries, the grapes this weekend will be on the house. But now you know where I’ll be… EVERY Sunday.” He thanked me, shook my hand and carried on… perhaps thinking twice about that hamburger.

These are the reminders of why I do what I do…no matter how difficult, tired, un-profitable…DO has the intention of changing lives, of giving back. I’m humbled.

Meet some DO regulars!

kiddiesThese regular customers are just one of the reasons that I DO what I do! They come to check out what I’ve got on tap, then report back to mama who gives them money to shop. What is not to love? Right!!! Strawberries, mango, blueberries and kiwi found a home this weekend. Thank you to you ALL that shopped at Daily Organics this weekend. Thank you for making us a part of your day!!

Daily Organics’ Sheros!

sherosRosco’s gas gage doesn’t work..and I knew I was pushing it when I decided to make a dash to the ice stand, gearing up for tomorrow’s sale. I’m sitting in the left turn lane at the inner section of Crenshaw and Jefferson when my engine stalled. It did this three times..you know what that means..I ran out of gas.

I get out of the truck and tell the driver behind me that my truck has stalled and I’m going to push it across the street into the Chevron station..Those that have been in similar situations know that people get pissy when you stall out..this woman seemed to be quite understanding. So, I get out, put the truck in neutral and start pushing and trying to steer at the same time. My head is down pushing hard because I’ve got to make a sharp left through the intersection and hopefully into the driveway without hitting anything.

I look up, and a woman appears on the passenger side helping me to push the truck. She had been crossing the street with her children and told them to go ahead and wait on the corner: “I’m going to help this lady.” We push the truck into the gas station only after realizing that my filler is on the side of the station’s tank priced for full service. By this time the woman who had been driving the car behind me in the intersection is now in the gas station offering to help turn the truck around for the cheaper gas. Another woman who had been watching this whole scene unfold hollered out,” I got five dollars!!!” Another yelled out, “I’ve got six dollars!” They wanted me to stay put and fill up the tank!

We all hugged and laughed remarking on how wonderful we all felt helping each other and how it should be! Amazing end to a great afternoon selling Organic Produce! These lovely women are my Shero’s today…REAL Sista’s DOING it for ourselves!! By the way..I did get my ice and I’m all ready for Sunday!!! See you in the hood!!!

No ordinary Jack

blog 15 aprilMeet Vera with her bounty of organic oranges from Daily Organics!

Vera is my neighbor who is challenged with late stage dementia. Just a little back story: The gentleman in the image is Jack, not just an ordinary Jack, but a rather extraordinary man. For many years he owned a successful clothing manufacturing company in downtown L.A. Vera was his production manager and worked side by side with Jack building his company…over 30 years!

Needless to say Vera was one of his most valued employees, in fact the backbone of his thriving business. Vera had to leave the company due to symptoms related to her later diagnosed dementia. Vera had many problems associated with her illness and was not getting the care and attention she deserved or needed. She was alone and facing a myriad of devastating alternatives.

Jack reached out to Vera and became the executor of her care. He has dedicated the last five years (full time) taking care of ALL of Vera’s needs…exercise, walks when she could walk, outings, medical appointments, cleaning, healthy food, feedings, therapy… caregiving round the clock..only the best for Vera!

Surely she would have been dead by now having been abandoned by her sons, whose recourse was to call the police when Vera’s symptoms became violent. Jack is no ordinary Jack to be sure. Jack gets his organic produce for Vera from Daily Organics! Vera cannot eat solid food so Jack makes smoothies for Vera from the produce.

Another day in the neighborhood, not just any old neighborhood and not just any old neighbors! Love to you Vera and a hat tip to Jack!!!

Friends telling friends!

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Daily Organics friends from around the world this past Sunday!

When you get neighbors telling neighbors and friends… all kinds of wonderful things happen. Thank you Victoria Andersonn for bringing your friends from Sweden and New Zealand who I might add bought my organic kiwis! DO is doing it around the world… what an awesome day. I’ll see you all next weekend!

A South Los Angeles man of many talents

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Cliff is a Los Angeles home grown from South Los Angeles during the 1920s. His love of the jazz scene on Central ave. earned him the moniker of “Satch,” after Louis Armstrong. Having completed service from the Armed Forces, Cliff trained for and became an electrical engineer. Working with his hands seemed his passion.

When I met Cliff over twenty years ago you would find him on any given day working in his well-appointed garage studio on client commissions crafting Japanese Shogi Screens to masterfully executed  Arts and Crafts furniture.

On top of being an all around cool guy, this man puts down in the kitchen. I’ve never turned down a meal at Cliff’s when he asks if I’ve eaten. He seems to just create magic out of what’s in the fridge.

Last week Cliff made a pot of potato leek soup with yellow onions and butter cream potatoes from Daily Organics. He pureed his greens (kale and spinach) then froze them for later use.

When I deliver his box of veggies it a special treat and great time for lunch and catching up on what’s on our mind.

Cliff’s Potato Leek Soup
6 potatoes, peeled and cut into large pieces
8 leeks, whites only, thoroughly washed
3 stalks celery, roughly chopped
1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
1 bay leaf
2 quarts chicken stock
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 ounces (1 stick) melted butter
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
Salt and pepper

Directions
In a large pot, place potatoes, 4 of the leeks (reserving the rest), celery, onion, bay leaf and chicken stock and bring to a boil, about 15 minutes. Continue to boil until potatoes are soft. Chop the remaining 4 leeks. Mix flour and butter in small bowl to make a roux for thickening the soup. Add the remaining leeks, roux, cream, fresh thyme, and salt and pepper. Remove bay leaf. Using an immersion blender (or in batches in a blender or food processor), blend soup until smooth. Pour into a medium pot and simmer for 20 more minutes until soup has thickened and serve.