Like fancy suits, sofa sets are sewn from the same cut of fabric. These matching sets provide a well-rounded look in living rooms, but near misses tend to clash due to their small differences. At 20 show rooms throughout the western US, Mor Furniture for Less arranges complete-room sets so customers can envision the collections in their own homes. Furniture for living rooms, dining rooms, and children's rooms can be found in each store along with individual lamps, tables, and entertainment centers. The stores also carry complete sets of beds, dressers, and nightstands so that homeowners don’t receive criticism from design bloggers in their dreams.
Creative clients brush layers of vibrant, nontoxic paint onto a wide selection of pieces at Daydreams Ceramic Café. The wood- and earth-tone-accented shop, with a feel akin to a rustic winery, lines shelves with blank bowls, vases, mugs, and figurines. After a creative slathering, staff members glaze each piece and fire it in in the café's 2,000-degree kiln for up to two days, rendering it glossy and safe for food, microwaves, dishwashers, and teething pets. The café charges no studio fee for its visiting artists and allows them to return as many times as necessary to complete their masterworks—features which may have helped it to snag a 2011 Best Arts & Crafts award from CityVoter.
The Salvation Army Family Store collects and resells donated items ranging from vintage clothing to antique furniture. Patrons can search for wardrobes, tables, and couches to fill out their home, plates and silverware to stock their empty kitchen, and VCRs to feed their pet robot. All proceeds from the Family Stores support The Salvation Army's San Diego Adult Rehabilitation Center, a 12-step work therapy and faith-based residential and transitional rehabilitation program for men and women dealing with alcohol and substance abuse. The six-month to two-year program is offered to program participants at no cost.
Though the best way to contribute to the organization's mission, especially following natural disasters such as the recent wildfires, is with monetary donations, the Salvation Army accepts donations of used goods and clothing to sell in the network of Family Stores. All sales of these donated items support the funding of the organization's programming. To donate goods, call (800) 728-7825 or visit www.SanDiego.SATruck.org; for monetary donations, call (866) 455-4357, visit www.SanDiego.SalvationArmy.org, or send to The Salvation Army Divisional Headquarters, SD Fires, 2320 Fifth Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101.
Not content to just give people the tools to make their gardens beautiful, San Diego Hydroponics & Organics also teaches customers more effective ways to use them. At five California locations, the staff works to keep a dialogue open between customers, supply manufacturers, and master gardeners while helping visitors realize their gardening goals with a stock of more than 3,000 products for indoor and outdoor use. The shops brim with high-tech gardening gear ranging from plant sprayers to growth lights, and low-tech supplies such as organic compost teas. Much of the inventory helps make gardening easier by reducing it to a precise science, providing everything from pumps and irrigation to pH meters for maintaining an ideal growing environment.
While trekking across New Zealand, Matt Baker and PJ Lamont stumbled upon a burger shack in Queenstown and immediately became addicted to the eatery’s organic, grass-fed beef patties. According to a profile in Beach & Bay Press, the duo often dined there more than once a day and eventually convinced the chef to both part with his recipes and train them how to make them. Upon returning home, the pair recruited PJ’s brother Martin for their budding endeavor: a gourmet burger place that would rely entirely on organic, grass-fed beef from New Zealand. After finding the right spot for their gastropub, the three put their own sweat into renovating it; PJ carved the wooden menu himself without using a woodpecker even once.
That menu quickly garnered its fair share of media buzz and awards by combining beef patties, ground fresh daily, with unique ingredients such as pesto aioli, grilled pineapple, and beetroot. Organic, local vegetables make up the condiments and the house tomato chutney, New Zealand’s hardier version of ketchup. But Bare Back Grill does more than burgers, satisfying appetites with natural chicken and lamb, tempura tofu, and seared ahi tuna coupled with a wide selection of beers and wines. Guests can gulp down Kiwi Steinlagers or sip Australian and New Zealand wines while lounging at either Bare Back location.
In 1976, two UC Davis graduate students bought 20 acres of land in the highly arable Capay Valley. One of the students, Kathleen Barsotti, was working toward her master's degree in ecology and was determined to grow vegetables and fruits in an eco-friendly way: organically. The organic-food movement hadn't yet entered the public consciousness, and Kathleen worked overtime to convince restaurants, stores, and consumers of the taste-able merits of her process. Over time, given the possible health and environmental benefits of certified organic food, she succeeded. The farm sprouted to 300 acres to accommodate the increased demand. Today, a second generation runs the farm as well as a shop inside San Francisco's Ferry Building. Dubbed Farm Fresh To You, the store furnishes customers' bags or portable cornucopia horns with all sorts of soil-sprouted goods, including heirloom tomatoes, sweet peas, and fresh asparagus. The farm also teams up with fellow Yolo County and Pacific Northwest farms to deliver boxes of seasonal produce to area homes.