Well, I’ve got some news for you guys. Many of you know that the once-Pre-Husband, now Full-Fledged-Awesome-Husband and I have been living in Hawaii on the island of Oahu for a while now.
But we’re over it.
We just got married, and have decided to move back to the beautiful Pacific Northwest, where we both grew up, and where both of our families and many of our closest friends live. We’re moving to a new kind of paradise — the ultimate haven for all that is real food, green living, and crunchy granola-type weirdos like us…. Portland, Oregon!
We can’t wait. There are so many reasons why we’re ready to move on from our island home of the past several years. This place is the worst when you care about what you eat and want to live a healthy lifestyle. I thought I’d give you a little taste of what it’s been like, and why this move couldn’t be any more perfect for us.
Top Ten Reasons Why I’m Stoked to Leave Hawaii
In no particular order…
1. Beef. For days.
I have to drive about 45 minutes away to the other side of the island to find grass-fed beef, and it’s limited to only very expensive cuts of steak, or ground beef. My only other option is to take over an hour’s drive into Honolulu, stop by the hospital, sell my left kidney, and then purchase grass-fed beef at the Whole Foods. No thanks.
In Oregon (and in most places on the mainland…), you can buy a quarter of an entire grass-fed cow for less $ per pound than what even pink-slime-laden CAFO meat sells here. Oh and, you also might actually have room for a chest freezer to store it all!
2. I won’t have to buy dog food to eat anymore.
I’m not kidding. My only source of grass-fed liver, soup bones, organ meats, and other weird traditional foods has been a lady that buys them from a farm on the Big Island and sells them to people to feed to their dogs.
No one else buys the scraps of the slaughterhouse, the odd, unwanted bits which as we Real Foodies know are the most nutritious offerings of the animals! But in Oregon, you can easily get these things from health food stores or local farmers. There’s enough of us out there that will buy it to make it available, but few enough so that it’s still super cheap.
Oh dear, sweet Lord! The amazing blessing of real, raw milk is a reality in the great state of Oregon. Farm sales of raw milk are entirely legal, and you can bet your sweet, creamy grass-fed tushie I’ll be taking advantage of this heavenly perk.
Raw milk in Hawaii? HA! That’s a pipe dream. We’re the worst state in the whole country for having access to real milk. There’s only three, teeny little dairies in the whole state, and all of them have been harassed and threatened by the FDA enough to not even consider allowing cow shares. Literally your only chance at having raw milk in Hawaii is to milk it yourself from your own dairy animal. And with the cost of a property (without acreage to raise animals) averaging around half a million dollars on Oahu, good luck with that one!!
4. Eggs won’t cost me $8 a dozen.
Actually, I’ll be able to get them from my backyard!
Our little home in Portland is on about a third of an acre, so, that’s plenty of space to have a few laying hens. I tried convincing the mister that we could throw in a miniature cow as well, but that didn’t go over so well. Chickens it is, then.
5. Monsanto doesn’t completely own every single farmer within a 500 mile radius in Portland.
Watch this video and you’ll start to understand:
There are less than 100 acres of organic farmland on Oahu. EVERYTHING else is dominated by Monsanto.
In the video, that plot of land across the street from the elementary school in Haleiwa, where they spray their toxic chemicals DAILY, is a block away from the property on which I’ve been living for the past year. I legitimately, honestly, have feared for my health and safety while living in Hawaii. I truly believe Oahu especially is becoming a dangerous place to live because of the influence of Monsanto. I would not even consider raising a family here. Ack, ick, I just don’t even want to think about what I’ve already been exposed to. I just want out!
Organic blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, marionberries, boysenberries, snozberries (okay just kidding about that last one) are available for picking yourself at farms all over the many rural farming communities near Portland. Oh and, there are FREE berries that just grow all over the place that you can take, for free! Blackberries. The most delicious weed you’ll ever eat.
7. Farmer’s markets that aren’t awful.
Actually, they’re rated some of the best in the country! Over 250 vendors from local farms, dairies, nurseries, fisheries, bakeries and thousands of real foodies flock to the Portland State University farmers’ market every week. The city of Portland actually made an exemption to the state’s raw milk laws, which don’t allow sales at the retail level, just so that farmers could sell raw dairy to consumers at the market. Isn’t that awesome?
Every farmers’ market I have been to in Hawaii has been ridiculously disappointing. Not only are the prices inflated, instead of reduced as you would expect from having cut out the middle man and the overhead of a grocery store, but the food that’s being sold is often not even local! I figured out pretty quickly that you have to ask each vendor if they’re actually a farmer, or if the food came from China. How insane is that?! Shipping heavily-pesticide-contaminated and not-even-close-to-being-organic produce from overseas is common practice for farmers’ markets here, from what I have seen. And, tragically, whatever local farms the vendors do represent are often not organic and are patrons of Monsatan. See reason #5 above.
8. A real kitchen.
Y’all. I’ve been cooking in a kitchen made for Keebler elves. See for yourself:
No, that’s not just one angle. That’s the entire thing. I mean, I know I’m rather miniature myself, but this just ain’t cuttin’ it.
My new kitchen will be real-people-sized. I will even have the following luxuries at my disposal in our new mainland home:
- A dishwasher. A DISH. WASHER!!! That washes the dishes. FOR you.
- A full-sized oven. You can make a lot more fudge cookies that way.
- An in-sink garbage disposal. And thus, not having to fend off mice and ants and other varmint trying to eat the food things in the garbage.
- Far fewer, or dare I say, probably zero giant cockroaches flying into my food cooking on the stovetop.
- SPACE. On counters, in cupboards, in drawers, to actually turn around without knocking a pot of spaghetti sauce over.
This list isn’t even the half of it. I…I can barely contain myself, I am so excited.
9. Unlimited crock pot usage.
I’ve been living in a solar-powered hippie hut for more than a year, now. Things like hairdryers, toaster ovens, and televisions are generally off limits when your energy doesn’t come from a power grid.
I can’t say I’ll miss that. I mean, I’m all for renewable energy sources, but you sure do have to sacrifice a lot to be that green. Call me high-maintenance, but I can’t wait to use a cooking appliance without having to rev up a generator or give up on running the washing machine for the day. And crock pots are like the ULTIMATE secret weapon in a smart Real Foodie’s arsenal. Take five minutes to toss in a cheap roast and some veggies, press a button, and your dinner for the night is made for you while you go about your day. Doesn’t get much better than that! So I’ll probably be firing up one of those babies at least a few nights a week, now that I’ll be connected to city power.
Oh but, get this — over 40% of the electricity in Portland is generated not by coal or oil, but from the current of the Columbia river! So I won’t even feel that bad about my increased energy usage. An embarrassing (and guilt-inducing) 97% of Hawaii’s electricity comes from imported oil. So I guess even though it wasn’t exactly convenient, I was glad that 100% of ours at least, came from the sun.
10. Fellow weirdo real food hippies.
Um, duh. Have you seen Portlandia?
Clearly, we’re making the right choice, here.
But, alright. So those were all food-related reasons. Obviously, more important than these is the fact that we’ll be back to being near friends and family — Mr. B’s whole family lives in Portland, and mine is just a few hours north in Seattle. We’re sick of only seeing them once a year at Christmas time, and spending our last dollar just to get ourselves there! And we’re just so excited to start our newly-married life together in a place that just feels like home.
What about you?
Have you ever moved to a place that was much more foodie-friendly than where you had been living? Any Portlanders out there by any chance that wanna show me the ropes when I get there?