This month I wanted to give my best possible testimony to our awesome market here, which serves as an integral hub of our “downtown” activity.

In this time of economic hardship, the market is struggling to make ends meet. Hearing this, we decided to try an experiment: make Master’s Market our first place to shop. After keeping track of how much we’ve spent over these past two weeks, I’ve found that although I could have saved a few dollars by shopping in town, the difference is truly inconsequential when compared to the benefits.

The staff is absolutely wonderful, serviceful, and helpful, always looking for ways in which to serve the customers in new and better ways. On Saturday we were assisted by the ever joyful Cate, who is always happy to help with anything we need.

Sunday I stopped in after Service to pick up a loaf of Market made sweet potato bread (which Caitlin loves!) and some other various items, as well as placing my order for a 5 pound bag of walnuts (we can place bulk orders which can make a huge savings!) and a crate of young coconuts (for the raw recipes we’ve been experimenting with). Bulk ordering with them has made a huge difference for us, cutting back on packaging, shipping, and ultimately, the cost.

Monday was a brief stop, just picking up enough split yellow peas to play musical bingo with in my classes, and Garret was kind enough to bring out some small salad dressing containers to hold them. Where can you find that kind of service? Garret also made a fabulous lunch this past Wednesday, Moroccan Stew with Lemon Rice – yum!

When you walk into other stores, you don’t often get the small market welcome, where the customer is the most important thing. Here at Master’s Market I found people willing to get to know us and our specific needs, even offering ways that we could save money: for instance, by buying health and beauty items through their wholesale catalog. I showed some interest in a new protein powder, and Margaret was kind enough to say that if I didn’t like the taste, I was welcome to bring it back. This was very helpful, as it turned out to be way too sweet for us, and was a large tub that wasn’t exactly cheap. When I told them that I wasn’t crazy about putting them out for a loss, they said with full confidence, “We’ll put it to use – somehow!” I walked away a very satisfied customer, ready to come back and support this kind of business.

In a recent talk with the manager, Timothy, he expressed his enthusiasm for the Market not only to be the “community kitchen,” providing everyday lunches and two dinners a week, but also a place where people can take a first step into the vibration of Ananda. For people who aren’t ready to commit to a class at the Expanding Light but want to get a feel for what Ananda is, the market is a perfect open door where people can come in and check us out without being conspicuous. Recently, SRF nuns came in to see for themselves what the Ananda people are like when their “guard is down,” doing everyday things, having everyday interactions. They stayed for hours, asking questions and observing.

Dining at the market is also a treat, with wonderful Wednesday night dinners by Jackie which Caitlin absolutely adores, offered for only $5 – with gluten free options as well! Friday lunches are also favorites, cooked by Tyler Hansen, who worked at Mary’s Secret Garden in Ventura with Mary Grayr, an award winning vegan chef. Everything we’ve had from Tyler has been fabulous.

And of course, everyone loves pizza night! For as long as I can remember, the market has been offering fabulous pizzas, fresh from the oven, and has even started making gluten free crusts, which is fabulous for us! Thank you Jake, Emily and Melody!

I’m hooked as a customer – I love walking into the market with the feeling that I’m part of its energy. You can immediately feel the vibration of Ananda infused in the goods, the staff, and the consciousness. Discount stores can certainly save you some money, but the energy and consciousness really can’t compare. Is this an elitist attitude? I’d rather think of it as discrimination: energy, vibration, and consciousness are infused into everything we eat, and it’s really made me pay attention to where I shop.

The only spending I did outside the market was at a local Whole Foods-style market in Grass Valley, where I picked up some odd specialty items which our market can’t stock due to it’s limitations. That’s it!

It is so easy in these times of economic hardship to slip into poverty consciousness, but just as cutting back on tithing never works to bring about financial security, I really don’t believe that shaving off a few dollars a week by shopping in a less than beneficial energy is worth it to me and my family. I truly hope that we can all help to support these wonderful souls working in this very down-to-earth ministry.

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