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Plastic Free Bread: can it be?

I've been in search of plastic free bread, and I've found one that I really like. They are called Della Fattoria, based out of Petaluma, CA. That's +1 for Della since that places it within a 15 mile range of my home: definitely local! The closest place I can buy it is at Whole Paycheck... I mean, Whole Foods, San Rafael. That's a lengthy 9.1 miles from my house. Hopefully when Whole Foods opens up in Novato they'll carry Della Fattoria because they are less than 4 miles from my house by bicycle, slightly more by car.

Okay, enough about distances & transportation, let's talk about Bread. I tried out a loaf of the LEVAIN. Listed ingredients on the brown paper wrapper are organic wheat flour, water, organic rye, sea salt. Pretty simple really, but as always, the devil is in the details. Case in point: when I looked on the Della Fattoria website, I noticed a discrepancy between the packaging and the website for the listed ingredients on the Levain. I short phone call later and I was speaking with Kathleen. Looks like I managed to find a typo in the packaging! For the complete list of ingredients, see the website. I was looking for something wheaty, soft and tasty so that my son would like it. When I picked it up off the shelf at approximately 6:15pm, it was still soft and smelled good: a good sign! Next to it were several other brands of Artisan Bread, all wrapped in either plastic or paper WITH plastic. Jeebus... why does almost everyone do that? There are some other great bakeries in the Bay Area and almost every single one uses plastic in their packaging, which generally precludes me from buying it despite the good flavors, smells and tastes!

I brought the bread home along with my bulk legumes and grains (unfortunately, I had no cloth sacks for these items so I had to *sigh* use plastic bags.) I spent about 15 minutes attempting to chase down cloth sacks for holding grains/legumes but Whole Foods is not carrying them right now. HERE'S A TIP WHOLE FOODS: PUT THEM NEXT TO THE THINGS THEY SHOULD BE USED FOR SO THAT PEOPLE KNOW THAT THEY HAVE AN OPTION, THEN YOU WON'T HAVE SUCH A HARD TIME MOVING THE PRODUCT! DUH!

So I got the groceries home and put away (which included taking the bread and putting it in a reused plastic bread bag to keep it from drying out), finished making red beans and rice and decided to have a bowl along with a slice of bread with butter. YUM! *special note: when I talked with Kathleen, I found out that Della Fattoria bread should NOT be stored in a plastic bag: they use a wet dough and bake in wood fired ovens and it means that plastic will make the bread go soggy: follow the directions on their website!*

Now, I understand some people don't like Rye or Pumpernickel, and I can respect that, but this is good bread. It's a slightly different taste when you put the different flours together with the wheat, but I dig it: it's very hearty. I had considered the Rosemary & Meyer Lemon bread (it smelled delicious), but I was trying for neutral ground with the boy & I wasn't sure how he'd react. I'll try that next time and let y'all know how it goes. In the meantime, keep your eyes open for plastic free bread in YOUR area. If you live in Marin, check out the store finder at Della Fattoria.

Some corrections from Kathleen:

date Mon, Nov 17, 2008 at 4:37 PM
subject RE: Levain Review on my blog

Hi Ian! Well, not a typo really, just sort of a technical thing related to the way the state want(sic) ingredients listed. Pumpernickel is a coarse rye, like a whole grain rye, but the wording should correctly be rye. For your readers who would like to understand better, this bread is about 60% whole grain 10%rye 40% whole wheat, and 40% white flour. I find kids usually like this bread a lot. It makes great toast and the world’s best peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

The “who carries our bread list” is unfortunately outdated. We stopped serving most of Marin and San Francisco with the exception of Whole Foods San Rafael.

Thank you for taking the time to write about us, word of mouth is the best!



Do the children in Guiyu cry dioxin tears?

Just in case you haven't seen this elsewhere (or on TV), check out the 60 Minutes episode about E-waste in Guiyu... and then consider where your e-waste is going to go when you decide to "upgrade". Maybe that phone/tv/computer/gadget can last a little longer? Maybe you could try to *gasp*, FIX it? Now try and find someone to repair it... that's the first hurdle and trust me, it's a HUGE one! Probably the "greenest" job you could make for yourself would be repairing things that would otherwise end up in the trash.

Which reminds me, The Green Festival is coming to San Francisco this Fri, Sat and Sun and I plan to attend. I'll let you know how it goes and what I find out. I PRAY I don't see any single use water bottles there for sale.


Holy Brawling Monks Batman!

One of my contacts on Twitter who bought a Flash Flag from me a while back posted this news item to his Twitter feed today and I just had to share:

Monks Brawl at Holy Christian Site in Jerusalem

Thanks Robert for the "Pythonesque" link... you gave me the big LOL for the day!

A little Python reference for those of you who don't get it... mix this:

with this:

and you get the monk brawl.


5 Second Plastebrity

Hey howdy hey! Thanks to Beth, I'm a 5 Second Plastebrity (or Plastic Celebrity... now that I type it, it doesn't sound so appealing... DOH!).

HERE's the article on

It started when I read that Dr. Markus Eriksen & Anna Cummins were making a stop at the Marin Humane Society to speak on behalf of the Algalita Research Foundation for the "Message in a Bottle" tour. I thought "that doesn't ANY more convenient for me!" and planned to attend. It was a great presentation and I managed to record the audio, though not the video. I've yet to find a way to host it properly: most of the audio hosting services require folks to register and give away their info in order to use the service, and many folks aren't into that. I don't have the online storage to host the audio files myself: anyone know of a solution?

At the end of the presentation I spoke with Anna about the upcoming leg of the tour, which will involve riding bicycles from Seattle down to San Diego, bringing the Message in a Bottle tour to schools, community centers and other public forums to raise awareness. "RIGHT UP MY ALLEY!" was my thought, and I hope to do at least part of the ride with them, hopefully lightening their load and helping to haul along "Plastic Soup" samples and other presentation media. Now I've just got to get all healed up and my leg/foot rehabbed so I can make the ride!

On a personal note, I brought my stainless steel Klean Kanteen with me and I noted that there was NO one there with a single use plastic bottle: YEAH!

I also wore my Trogdor shirt (thanks to my friend Chris Gleason) which Beth immediately spotted and that made my whole evening because people so rarely know who Trogdor is: Trogdor the Burninator hates plastic waste!

Mental Splatter

So I'm actually editing a post I wrote several weeks ago. I had been writing about Obama v. McCain but it seems silly to publish it now, especially since it's FINALLY over! Instead I'll share my self scored "Voter Report Card" in the hopes that it will encourage others to post their own "score cards".

President: Obama/Biden [ WIN, 59% In California, 53% Nationwide)
U.S Rep: Lynn Woolsey [ WIN, 72%]
State Senator 3rd District: Mark Leno (only choice for democrat) [ WIN, 80%!!!]
State Assembly: Jared Huffman (Democrat) [ WIN, 70%]

Prop 1A: Safe Reliable High-Speed Passenger Train Bond Act: YES [ YES, 52/48%]

Prop 2: Standards for Confining Farm Animals. Initiative Statute: YES [ YES, 63/47%]

Prop 3: Children's Hospital Bond Act. Grant Program. Initiative Statue: YES [ YES, 55/45%]

Prop 4: Waiting Period and Parental Notification Before Termination of Minor's Pregnancy. Initiative Constitutional Amendment: NO [ NO, 52/48%]

Prop 5: Nonviolent drug offenses. Sentencing, Parole and Rehabilitation. Initiative Statute: YES [ NO, 60/40%]

Prop 6: Police and Law Enforcement Funding. Criminal Penalties and Laws. Initiative Statute: NO [ NO, 69/31%]

Prop 7: Renewable Energy Generation. Initiative Statute: YES (but I meant to vote NO) [ NO, 65/35%]

Prop 8: Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry. Initiative Constitutional Amendment: NO [ YES, 52/48%]

Prop 9: Criminal Justice System. Victims Rights. Parole. Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute: NO [ YES, 53/47%]

Prop 10: Alternative Fuel Vehicles and Renewable Energy. Bonds. Initiative Statute: NO [ NO, 60/40%]

Prop 11: Redistricting. Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute.
YES [ YES, 51/49%]

Prop 12: Veterans' Bond Act of 2008.
YES [ YES, 63/37%]

County of Marin Measure B: NO [ YES, 59%]

Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District Measure Q:
YES [ YES, 63%]


Note that the text in italics is how I voted, italics inside the brackets was how the vote actually went and the percentage it won by.

Here's an inspirational music video I had to share: there's quite a few images of the plastic pollution in our oceans, a problem that HAS to be addressed in a comprehensive and thorough manner, but it's going to mean that single use plastics will have to go the way of the dinosaur, the dodo and pretty soon, the polar bear.

Alright, one last piece of politically unrelated news:
Are you a sailor? Kite surfer? Even if you're not, check out THIS post from and see how the U.S Navy is using a partially kite-powered cargo ship to reduce fuel... pretty damn cool!


LED Bulb Update

I thought I should post this, as it's good info to spread around.

A while back I posted about the problem with CF Bulbs (Compact Fluorescent). To recap, they contain mercury (Hg on the periodic table) which is toxic. To read the entry, click HERE.

In an attempt to reduce my electrical needs, I've started slowly buying LED Bulbs to replace my incandescents and CF bulbs. They are quite expensive still so I'm not rushing out to do it all at once. Someone in a forum (don't ask me where, I can't remember now) mentioned that running LED's on standard dimmer circuits can significantly shorten their life. They didn't back this up with any info, so I FINALLY decided to contact the people who make the bulbs I own, C. Crane Company in Fortuna, C.A.

Here's the skinny, according to them:

Dear Ian,

Thank you for taking the time to contact our company. Yes, dimmer switches will destroy an LED bulb prematurely. Currently dimmer switches are designed and built with incandescent bulbs in mind. These products are not good for low wattage bulbs such as LED bulbs and fluorescent bulbs. Hopefully dimmer switch manufactures will start producing a new line of dimmer switches with these low wattage bulbs in mind.

If you have additional questions or we can be of further assistance please email or call our toll free number.

John Wilder
Customer Support Supervisor
C. Crane Company, Inc.

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----- Original Message -----

Customer Name: Ian Hopper
Subject: Product Question

I purchased a couple of your Par 30 LED Bulbs from the Green Fusion center in San Anselmo C.A a few months ago. Recently I heard that running these bulbs on a dimmer circuit was bad for them and that they needed a dimmer circuit built for LED's. I was wondering if you had any further information: I don't want to prematurely burn out my bulbs!
Thank you!

So there's your answer: don't run your LED Bulbs on dimmer circuits! Now I need to get busy replacing the dimmer circuit in my son's room so I don't burn out the new bulbs. You've been warned!