We left Tucson, Arizona in July of 1975. Summers in Tucson are HOT! Little did we know that Northern Ca can get just as hot as Tucson and it was when we arrived. Moving to a very rural, logging, a redneck community was a bit of a shock but we did adapt(eventually). There were some like-minded people, especially on the fire crews that were hired seasonally. And that is where this story begins. Shelley M was one of the few women on the fire crew and a very independent person. She may have been one of the first ‘tiny house’ people as she lived in a 16 ft trailer. But she became the first person I knew who did bulk buying, organics, raw milk, herbs, medicinals and, much more. She basically taught me everything I know about bread making, using mason jars to hold food, using grains, rice, making yogurt and lots of other things. She was an avid Adelle Davis fan and was always talking about nutrition, herbs, natural healing , etc. She also was(as far as I know, and I’m almost 100% sure of this) the only female fire lookout who lived in the lookout that was up at Duncan Peak. She would live up there for weeks on end and then come down to her trailer which was above Foresthill in a place called Baker Ranch. Remember this is 1975,76,77, and probably 1978. Baker Ranch is located about 10 miles above Foresthill and at that time was definitely ‘out there’. Eventually, when we bought our 30ft trailer, which was a lovely shade of pink, that’s where we were able to find a spot that you rented. That was in 1978.
It was shortly after meeting Shelley that I started buying in bulk. Brown rice, flour, honey,( no sugar back then for us…Heeeheee:) ), raw milk, nuts. When we went to Mother Truckers we would fill up our bottles with shampoo and rinse too. We also had a buying club thru Mountain Peoples Warehouse( that later became UNFI, which Barclay just retired from after 25 years) but that’s not part of this story. Anyway, we would meet the truck or go up to Grass Valley and pick up our bulk food, cheese by the block and whatever else and then we would split up the orders.
I think businesses like Mountain Peoples was way ahead of their time as there wasn’t Costco, Sam’s club or any of that. There was Sacramento Co-op but I don’t remember shopping there.
So here it is 2022 and we’re still buying in bulk although now it’s Costco or Walmart. UNFI doesn’t have small buy clubs anymore but there’s still Briarpatch Co-op in Nevada City and soon to be in our nearest town of Auburn!!! (Very Exciting). So the cycles of life continue. I’m stillmaking bread( although my first years of bread baking they was more like ww bricks), canning, batch cooking and so on.
So in some ways it isn’t much different than what I started in 1975.