Rochester has a rich tradition of providing residents with access to fresh, local produce at it’s many farmer’s markets. (Tuesday-Westside, Wednesday-Monroe Village, Thursday-Southwedge, Sunday-Brighton). The main one is the Rochester Public Market, which won the 2010 America’s Favorite Farmers Market contest, with over 5,200 votes! The South Wedge Farmer’s Market is smaller, but focuses exclusively on organic and locally grown produce. Over the past few years it has grown to become a neighborhood institution on Thursdays from 4-8pm.
The 2010 SWFM season is drawing to a close, and the market has seen attendance of between 500 and 600 people a week and vendor sales up over 25% from last year. It has also become a neighborhood gathering place were people socialize and build community. There is entertainment for adults and children every week!
The last few market nights at the South Wedge Farmer’s Market are going to be extra special, and the market managers would like to ask for your help for these markets:
- Send to your Face Book Friends as an event and email so we can have record crowds
- Come to the market and experience the fun
- If you know any representatives of potential “sponsors” for the 2011 Market – we are thinking around $15,000 for the sponsorship – please invite them.
What will make the last 3 weeks special you ask?
October 14 – Block Club Day at the Market – an opportunity to talk one on one with neighbors – if someone signs up for a block club they will receive $5 in market money! The block clubs are doing door hangers to promote this event!
October 21 – The Best Dressed Chicken Contest – with the Rochester Poultry Association and Rochester City Chicken Club
October 28 – ‘Halloween at the Market’ will have a costume contest, and then you can go to Night of the Living Wedge for more adult orientated entertainment
On both October 21 and 28 the SWFM will be inviting families from the local schools to attend the market for Healthy Treats and Nifty Tricks – they will have demonstrations, tastings and recipes for families – families will also receive an incentive for coming!
Market managers will need help for providing healthy information so if you can help, let them know! Here’s a map of all the area farmer’s markets provided by the Democrat and Chronicle
As the leaves begin to drop, so too does the temperature. Rochester is blessed with a beautiful fall season, but it signals something more sinister. The dreaded winter utility bill.
Thermal Image of Energy Loss
Every year thousands of renters find a home in Rochester, and begin settling in. For most renters this happens in the peak moving season, June-September. You’re feeling good about your new apartment, thinking you really landed a steal of a deal… Suddenly, the first winter utility bill hits and you owe $350, $450 or quite possibly $600+. What are the odds that the landlord never mentioned that the utility bill in winter cost as much as rent itself!?
Savvy renters know to ask about historic utility bills, and even confirm utilities with RG&E (1.800.743.2110) before signing a lease. But, now you’re watching your Christmas present money literally go out the window. What to do?
Here’s a few tips that are sure to save you a couple hundred bucks this winter.
Turn the thermostat down
Perhaps the most obvious way to save money is to use your furnace less. The best way to do that is to set your thermostat a few degrees lower. For every degree you turn down the thermostat, you save about 3% of your heat bill. If money is tight, you could do what we did last year and keep it at 55 at night and no more than 65 in the day. If you’ve got a programmable thermostat try kicking on the heat an hour before you get up, and then let it go back down during the day while you’re at work. Wearing a sweater and socks in the house can help you save a ton of money!
Plastic your windows
Drafty windows are said to increase your heating bill by 30%, and around here that’s real money. Once you get the hang of it, putting plastic on your windows will only take a few minutes each. The difference it makes is immediate, and definitely worth the time and money. One Illinois woman wrote about saving $150/mo with a $30 investment. Here’s a great video from our friends at Howcast.com on how to to do the install: How To Insulate Your Windows With Plastic on Howcast
Insulate your hot water heater & turn it down
Did you know that 25% of your energy bill goes to heating water? Landlords have the option of upgrading to tankless water heaters that last at least a decade longer than traditional heaters. Renters still have some ability to control this expense, even with older units. If you run your hot water and it comes out of the tap scalding hot, you’re in luck. Just march yourself to the basement (presumably) and turn the dial down on the base of the water heater. The next step is to buy a $15 water heater insulation ‘jacket’. Simply wrap this around the tank, tape it in place and start saving. A landlord should consider picking up this cost for a good tenant.
Insulate your electrical outlets
Fighting air leaks is the biggest part of saving heat energy. Most people would never consider the outlets on their exterior walls as possible air leaks, but they are definitely a contributor to heat loss. While at the hardware store picking up supplies, don’t forget to pick up foam outlet insulation gaskets. Simply remove the face plate for your outlets or switches, place the gasket in and replace the face plate. Congratulations you’re now a proud draft dodger!
Use weather stripping
If you can notice light, air or snow making its way around your doors or windows and into your apartment, you’ve got some weather stripping to do! This is one of the easiest ‘fixes’ out there. Just be sure to pay attention to how large the gap is between the door or window and its frame because weather stripping comes in a few different sizes. For less than $10 at a hardware store, you can pick up a box. When you get home, expose the sticky side of the stripping and stick it where needed… done.
Remove window air conditioners
Having a window air conditioner still installed in the dead of winter is one of the silliest ways to waste money, and yet, I see it all winter long in Rochester. There is no good reason to leave one in after September in our neck of the woods, but if you don’t have the ability to remove your window unit, ask your landlord or buy an insulated cover. These units are an open door to the outside.
Close unnecessary rooms and heat registers
If you’re luck enough to have an extra room that generally goes unused, close the heat register in that room and keep the door closed. The less space you heat, the less you spend. You can also close off entry ways by hanging fabric in doorways. Our apartment is on the second floor, and we hang decorative felt in the doorway that the top of the stairs so we don’t spend money heating a large (uninhabited) stairwell.
Hopefully these tips prove helpful to you this winter, especially in the face of the ongoing economic slump we’ve all found ourselves in. If you have any tips, tricks or success stories you wish to share, please feel free to use the comments below.