Buy Local Twitter Ambassador

Over the last five years I’ve become more aware of why it’s important to “buy local”. I’ve been doing my best to be supportive of businesses owned and operated in the Cowichan Valley, especially in Downtown Duncan.

Besides the obvious…I started to buy local more often myself, I decided another way I could support Cowichan Valley businesses is by becoming somewhat of a buy local Twitter ambassador.

Now, I say “attempting” because it’s been way more difficult than I expected.

Buy Local Twitter Ambassador Spell Check
Apparently re-tweet is causing some verb confusion 🙂

What I expected was, to log in to my Twitter account (@ilovecowichanca) find all of my favorite Downtown Duncan businesses and follow them. Plan was to keep it honest. I would favorite and re-tweet interesting stuff. I would tweet about each and every excellent experience I have as a customer. I would tweet about my favorite purchases.

What I didn’t expect was….

  • to find as few twitter accounts as I did
  • the low number of acknowledgements I received after following
  • so little overall tweeting activity

I don’t think some small businesses realize how powerful a punch the right kind of tweet packs. Nor how many of their customers (plus, potential customers) are right there, ready willing and able to interact with them. They don’t yet see the value in having a Twitter account; the reach potential.

Buy Local Twitter Ambassador Thank you
Always say thanks to people who follow you on twitter

For those that do have a Twitter account, please understand that proper etiquette (manners) still apply in the virtual world. If someone calls or walks into your place of business you don’t just ignore them. You acknowledge their visit and you thank them.

The same goes for Twitter. If you have an account and someone follows you, acknowledge that they followed you by (at the very least) tweeting a thank you. There is a very good chance that the person who followed you is a customer.

You’ve taken the time to set up a Twitter account for your business, don’t have it just sit there dormant. Very little or no activity whatsoever is probably worse than not having an account. You don’t have to dedicate a whole bunch of time but pencil it in.

It’s only 140 characters for goodness sake!

Tweet something of interest (relevant to your niche) at least once per day. Not just a sales pitch in each tweet but something of value. Thank new followers every day.

If you’re stuck for something to say thank specific twitterers (wow that one is most definitely not ok with spell check ) for retweeting and/or favoriting your tweets.

A follower (someone who is interested in your business) is giving you permission to share information with them, don’t pass up the opportunity…and while you’re at it  do yourself a favor, consider following them back.

Support Your Neighbors Your Friends Your Community…Buy Local! (pretty please:)


The Orange Pumpkin Sea

Two things occurred to me recently.  I realized something that I particularly love about fall are pumpkin patches.

I remember the first time (and the times after that) looking down from behind the tractor at tiny, big, huge round and not so round orange balls in wonder.  Until I went on my daughter’s field trip, I guess I didn’t know they grew that way.  I probably never gave it much thought.

My husband and I were driving the other day and there they were.  Fields; row after row, a sea of orange. lt never ceases to amaze me.  It never gets old.

Speaking of old brings me to the second thing…my babies are all grown up. This is the first year that neither of my girls went on a school trip to pick their own pumpkin(s).  It’s also been a while since we went schlepping through the mud at McNab’s Corn Maze.

* Black Kitten on a Pumpkin from AllPosters

Did you know….

Pumpkin is a word with a fascinating history. The original Greek word for this vegetable actually means mellow, or sun-ripened, as most pumpkins grow into full maturity with plenty of sunshine. The original Greek word was modified by the French into pompion, and sub­sequently became “punkin”; ultimately it reached its final form as “pumpkin.”

In England, the word “pumpkin” is sometimes used to mean a large squash. The English marrow, or vege­table marrow, however, is not a pumpkin, but a long, narrow squash.

As if all of this were not confusing enough, the Algon­quin word “squash” actually means green or un­ripe. Contrast this meaning with the Greek word for pumpkin—mellow, or sun-ripened.

All this talk about pumpkins makes me think about yummy Pumpkin Cream Pie (click for the recipe).


Eggplant Caviar Recipe

Eggplant Caviar Ingredients
Eggplant Caviar Ingredients

If you’re looking to impress company with a delicious vegetable appetizer, how does Eggplant Caviar sound? Fancy right? It’s a much easier recipe than the name implies.

Wash and dry the eggplant. Place on a baking sheet and bake in a 400° oven for around 45 minutes, or until the skin is browned and split. Turn several times.

Peel the eggplant, then chop with the onion until very fine. Sea­son with the salt and pepper; beat in the olive oil. Mix in the lemon juice and parsley.

Taste for seasoning. Serve with buttered pumpernickel (find fresh bread or recipe ingredients at the Duncan Farmer’s Market).

Makes about 2 1/2 cups.

Frame It All - Simple Modular Gardens

Raw Carrots Lead to This…

Things have really changed since I wrote this paragraph back in 04’…

“As the song goes…try a little tenderness. Ok, so the song really isn’t about vegetables but it does apply. Maybe the song I’m actually looking for is respect. Way too often creativity and the flavour potential of vegetables is over looked. I mean who sits around talking about veggies or what can be done to make them appealing and delicious? Really, other than just boiling them (to a flavourless death) maybe adding some butter, salt and pepper what else can we do? And, potatoes? Well, that’s just something we eat out of habit.”

My point at the time was that in certain cuisines (French and Chinese for example) vegetables are respected. Care is taken to bring out their delicate taste with just a dash of butter or oil, using only the minimum amount of liquid or steam necessary. This is still true but…

That’s not what I want to talk about right now.  Fast forward to today and WOW things have changed. We really do sit around talking about veggies. Their many health benefits, the amazing variety and fun ways to eat them. Not only is exchanging vegetable recipes now common place, but caring about how and where they’re grown has become a priority for many of us.

Anyway, trying to figure out an interesting way to prepare carrots for Thanksgiving got me thinking about some recipes I had on my old computer. Searching for those recipes lead me to the article I’d written. Reading it made me realize how much times have changed and how much I have changed.

Besides growing almost a decade older (shudder), I have grown to understand the importance of buying local. Which brings me to my point (finally).

Buy Local Buy Fresh
Buy Local Buy Fresh

If you haven’t gotten around to taking the “buying local” plunge yet, why not start with veggies? While you’re at it, you might as well grab some fruit too.  It’s a win win. You support a local farmer and you get to enjoy FRESH produce. Now if you’ll excuse me I have to start scrolling for some carroty inspiration, which reminds me…..I hope to get around to sharing some of those vegetable recipes really soon.

Cowichan is My Home

First I Love Cowichan blog entry; short n’ sweet.

This is what you will find here:

Pictures, news, events, thoughts, fun stuff, people, art, places, stories….everything and anything Cowichan.


The Big Move to the Cowichan ValleyIt all starts with 5 adults, 6 kids, 1 dog and 1 hamster arriving on Vancouver Island with a final destination of Duncan BC in August 2004.

Duncan is the heart of the Cowichan Valley. It’s pretty much the mid point between Victoria and Nanaimo on Vancouver Island BC. We’re known as the city of totems. There is always something to do, and almost always an event or two happening around town.

One of my favorite places to visit it is the Cowichan Valley Museum You can literally feel the history when you walk in. The museum itself is like Duncan, not too big, not too small just right.