There’s something magical about visiting the Midwest at Christmastime. The snow, the bare trees, and the brick houses with generous front lawns and twinkling holiday lights all give me a certain peace of mind. So does having a temporary media fast. Mostly I’ve been going on chilly walks with Mr. Wallet Mouth, eating lots of toast, hanging out with family, and mentally preparing to become a parent.
The in-laws were excited to show us the new village-style mall built on the site of the old depressing one near their house. I never really thought one mall could be that much better than another, but I was wrong. This one is actually pretty pleasant and has more of a sense of community than the malls of my youth.
It also has an Alterra coffeehouse, Alterra being a locally owned mini-chain in the Milwaukee area. I was delighted to see that it offers a bevy of organic and fair-trade coffees—and not only that, but they cost no more (in fact, sometimes less!) than the noncertified varieties.
The in-laws’ old fave cafe, Stone Creek, also offers certified coffee, but it’s a certification I’ve never heard of: Socially Responsible Coffee. The cups say, “Many of our coffees are fairly traded and certified as socially responsible.” However, a Google search turns up nothing. Fair-washing or just poor marketing? Consumers need to know.
In the meantime, Merry Christmas!