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    SEED Journal

    Where to Eat & Drink While in LA

    Where to Eat & Drink While in LA

    Verve Coffee Roasters : DTLA

    “ We believe the coffee experience is our responsibility from seed to cup”

    The brand mantra of Verve Coffee Roaster’s is enough to draw your attention, especially on Earth Day 2016. This already incredible operation believes that it’s their mission to bridge the gap from farm level to street level coffee roasting.  

    The first stop on our list will make you think twice about what a delicious cup of coffee should taste like. Roasted locally up the coast from us in Santa Cruz CA, Verve coffee beans are recognized as one of the best bags of coffee that you can buy. Their rich brews take the coffee experience to another level. At this location you can also opt for one of the many delicious cold pressed Juices they have in store. "The Flight" is a set of 10 different Juices that will give you a kick start to your day. Try the “Bowl of Soul” if you’re in the mood for a rich and warm tea.

    Verve Coffee

    Pressed Juices at Verve Coffee LA

    The Rooftop at the ACE Hotel

    When you walk through the elevator doors to the rooftop level of the ACE Hotel, you can already tell that there is an experience to be captured here. With the city skyline stretching out in all directions this trendy spot can be enjoyed any time of day. With a bunker type bar, a plethora of events and local collaborations can be expected every day of the week.

    The Ace Hotel Downtown LA

    The Ace Hotel Downtown LA

    With appetizers and a delicious assortment of drinks from the bar, it is hard to tear yourself away from this place at the end of your stay. The entire rooftop has a Moroccan vibe from the decor to the lighting. The drinks are also cleverly named after different species of beautiful birds. Grab a cocktail with your friends and relax in this incredible atmosphere.

    Grand Central Market

    With its roots dating back to 1917 Grand Central Market has been a continuous operation that has evolved with modern times. This tastefully diverse market as always focused on the downtown population and strives to do the same today. With a mission to “celebrate the cuisines and cultures of Los Angeles” this spot will leave a lasting memory for any visitor or local to walk through its doors.

    Grand Central Market LA

    Grand Central Market LA

    Walking into the Grand Central Market is like walking into an epicenter of creative, ethnic, and delicious food and drink. Each nook of the market has something different for you to discover. With every vendor giving a spin on their culturally traditional dishes, you could probably eat in this market for the rest of your life and never get bored with the available plates.


    Tucked away in Venice Beach, this artisanal bakery is a hostesses dream come to life. The outside of Gjusta looks like a beautiful old abandoned warehouse with a sprawling interior that is occupied by the smell of freshly bakes breads.

    Gjusta LA

    LA Food Guide

    LA Food Guide

    When you walk through the screen door, a lively feel and welcoming attitude is immediately noticeable. The bakers and severs are all polite and happy to share their passion for their craft. The interior is flawlessly rustic and shows off their incredible food creations in a mouth watering fashion. Good luck on choosing from their robust menu, everything item is just as delicious as the next! Step through the back door into an well curated outdoor patio that you’ll want to relax under the L.A. sun all afternoon.

     Written by: Kelli Hiner

    Getting to Know @among.wildflowers

    Getting to Know @among.wildflowers

    Written By: Kelli Hiner

    Scrolling through Instagram can be incredible experience. You get to see a multitude of people’s creative expressions and also share your own with the world. Instagram has truly changed the way that we connect and communicate with the people around us as well as those across the globe. While scrolling through our SEED Instagram feed, I found @among.wildflowers. Her eye for photography is incredible and you can see the passion that she has just by looking through her photos. Wanting to learn more about her interests I reached out to her and we connected over coffee. Her style of photography compliments SEED Peoples Market in many different ways. If you have ever been to SEED you probably noticed the wide variety of unique artisan goods that fill the store. At SEED we are committed to products with a purpose especially when they involve local artists. With the continuous rise of social media and photography I decided to asked her a few questions so that we could all get to understand her a little better and maybe even derive some motivation of our own. Read what she has to say below and feel free to interact!

    Plant Photos

    SPM: Tell us a little bit about your photography background.

    A.W: I became interested in photography during high school where I was able to take film and darkroom classes using hand-me-down film cameras from my dad.  I continued my education at Utah State University, where I majored in Art with an emphasis on photography.  Pursuing photography as my main career focus meant being able to travel to new places, meet all kinds of people, and have experiences I otherwise probably wouldn’t have had.

    Travel Photos SEED Peoples Market

    SPM: How do you remain inspired on a daily basis?

    A.W: I’m the type of person who always has to be doing something.  I can’t just relax or sit still, and because of that I’m always able to find the motivation to create.  I’m still working on refining my focus and being able to create more cohesive works of art. Finding time to be outside is huge for me.  Whether I’m going on a walk around the block or at the beach with my dog or driving up to the Angeles National Forest for a hike, I’ve found it’s essential for me to get outside and clear my head with some fresh air - it’s like hitting the reset button.  I’m usually alone for this which allows me time to organize my thoughts, and then when I get home I write down the things that stuck so I don’t forget them.  I love reading magazines and blogs to get inspiration for photography and travel ideas and tips.  

    Travel Photos

    SPM: What upcoming projects are you most excited about?

    A.W: I’ve been trying to shoot more nature and landscape photography recently, and for me that means hitting the road and getting out of the city.  I’m planning to create a series of postcard sets that tell a story based around the landscapes I come across.  My next trip is home to Colorado by way of SLC, and then back to California through New Mexico and Arizona.  I’m excited to see some new and some old familiar sights!

    Salomon Trail Run Review

    Salomon Trail Run Review

    Salomon recently introduced the Sense Pro 2 to better provide a bridge between protection and feel on both urban and dirt trails.

    Salomon Sense Pro 2

    They have built upon the original Sense Pro and enhanced this shoe with a more secure fit and slightly more cushioning. The result is a snug fitting performance trail runner that still feels minimal and will outlast most of its competitors. The best way to learn about these shoes is to understand how each feature can benefit your running.

    LACE POCKET – Provides easy storage for the Quick Fit lacing system

    Salomon has been using the Lace Pocket for many years now which should mean that it’s a beneficial feature to have. There is no question that this system has many advantages to classic laces as we run in shoes with both on a weekly basis. Laces bounce around and seem to slither their way untied resulting in repeated moments of frustration. The Lace Pocket proves that you don’t need to purchase extra straps or accessories to have a complete shoe. For new users they may seem a bit awkward up front and we recommend watching a quick video online to learn how to roll them up correctly. Once you have them tightened, rolled up and tucked away they sit on the tone of the shoe very well. They can be considered a bit awkward in bulk maybe but overall we don’t have issues with them and are fans of their long term convenience.

    OrthoLite® – sockliner combines a specific Ortholite® foam and an EVA heel cup. Ortholite® foam creates a cooler, drier, healthier, better cushioned environment under the foot. It will not break down or lose effectiveness over time. Recycled tire content to protect the environment. EVA heel cups allows for a better heel support and added cushioning.

    This specific sock liner helps to keep your shoes functioning after many hard miles. The Sense Pro 2 is a more narrow shoe with minimalistic materials to provide maximum performance. This sock liner creates more responsiveness below the foot and does shoe in the form of a more premium material. This also aids in weight reduction and comfort.

    Here at Gearminded we are always looking for brands that use recycled or repurposed materials in their performance line of gear. It goes to show you that we can all benefit from more sustainable practices and can always send our money in ways that benefit the environment while also satisfying our needs.

    The predecessor of the Sense Pro 2 left many runner begging for more cushion. This upgraded liner and EVA heel cup serve just this purpose and do so without restricting your race day speed. In comparison to the older shoes this new structure definitely adds some more cushion in the heel. It’s not much for those who truly need the rebound feel to remain comfortable during their run but will satisfy most speed demons who want a natural feel and flex.

    PROFEEL FILM – placed to provide protection from the trail

    Salomon Pro Sense 2

    A protection feature such as this is a no brainer in our opinion. It’s virtually weightless and significantly extends the life of your shoes. After all we are running on trails with these shoes and while looking good is always important, the elects really don’t give a damn. This film helped deflect cuts and tears from our very first run and visually adds value in our eyes. You can look at it as an exterior insurance policy on your running expenditure.

    SENSIFIT™ – Sensifit system works to cradle the foot providing a precise and secure fit.

    Salomon Pro Sense 2 Review 2016

    Salomon set out with a goal to design a shoe that better bridged the gap between protection and feel. We feel that they accomplished this well in comparison with the previous model. With that said it’s still a progressive performance minded shoe with lightweight trail features. In regards to Sensifit, we experienced a snug feel from heel to toe with enough toe box room for most feet. The Sense Pro 2 doesn’t leave any wiggle room in the mid-foot and heel which allows the shoe to flex in unison with your foot. This fit leaves the runner with a stellar feeling on the terrain below your foot but does sacrifice some overall ankle support. The mid-foot area however should be considered through physically trying a pair on yourself. In both the men’s and women’s shoe we felt excess pressure on the side and upper area of the arch. This included both a mid-wide and wide foot but may not be as noticeable in more narrow feet. I myself tend to have a very vulnerable arch and will continue to note if this has any lasting impact on my performance.

    Midsole Height: 27mm/17mm with 6mm drop

    QUICK DRYING BREATHABLE MESH – Single layer open air mesh combined with nylon layer allows extreme breathability and top abrasion resistance. The Sense Pro 2 uses a very capable mesh to structure the top layer of the shoe. When wearing the shoe you can feel how flexible it is while also proving to reduce the overall weight of the shoe significantly. Given that this is a trail running shoe that excels on race day we were concerned that it might not prevent the elements from passing through it. Most of our trails are extremely dusty and dry during the spring and summer proving a great testing ground for this concern. After multiple runs which left the shoes covered in dirt we surprisingly didn’t find much inside of the shoe. How Salomon has accomplished this is a mystery but we certainly appreciate it!

    This mesh also incorporates a nylon to help disperse water for wet conditions. Although we don’t encounter these conditions too often many of our trails follow the coastline at times and this nylon mesh is a life saver in this environment. Soggy feet will instantly kill your momentum and with a proven sick drying time we are fans of this construction.

    We should also add that all of the seems on this shoe are bonded rather than stitched or welded. This eliminates virtually any friction points that can wreak havoc on your skin. It may seem like a small feature but will absolutely make a difference in your immediate and long term comfort.

    ENDOFIT™ – an internal fit sleeve designed to hug the foot in exactly the right places and improve feedback and foot wrapping In bridging the gap between protection and feel Salomon also integrates features that allow runners to efficiently use their shoes across multiple running disciplines. With the snug Sensifit blueprint and Endofit internals this shoe remains active on city trails as well as off road trails. By hugging the foot we could physically feel how this system works to keep your foot in complete unison with the shoe. It can best be compared to how a boot work with a binding or how a cleat works with a pedal.You can best describe this feature as an efficiency enhancer that keeps your feet feeling more fresh for a longer period of time.

    QUICKLACE™ – Minimalistic and strong lace for one-pull tightening. Easy-on, easy-off. Ready for use right out of the box the Salomon lace is very user friendly. You can pull it much tighter than you can snug classic laces and can loosen its grasp faster than classic laces as well. Functioning as one unit, this system can take abuse from the elements without concern for ripping or fraying. They always pull tight smoothly and similar to the Lace Pocket they have been proven for years and years by the worlds top athletes.

    Salomon Pro Sense 2


    The most impressive layers of the Sense Pro 2 are the upper mesh skeleton and Contagrip outsole. Salomon continues to bridge the gap between protection and feel with this surprisingly flexible rubber that works on both urban roads and dirt trails. The Contagrip uses a variety of small to medium sized lugs to keep traction in the dirt. This material and pattern gripped extremely well in the dry dirt and kicked through the clay without missing a step. The rubber itself seems to also adhere to rocks as these shoes have been hiked in multiple times without failure on the technical terrain. With their low weight and flexible structure we often enjoy the maneuverability of the Sense Pro 2 when trekking. Most runners will appreciate that the Sense Pro 2 hides the feeling of lugs very well. With the slightly increased heel and midsole height the shoe feels evenly balanced and exceptionally light all while maintaining your stability.

    Salomon Pro Sense 2


    Salomon Sense Pro 2

    The Contagrip works hand in hand with the film that we described earlier in protecting your investment. Most rubbers that you find on running shoes can be expected to wear fairly quickly. Even with demanding use on the trails and road we haven’t recorded the cuts, tears and peeling that these surfaces can cause. 

    FRICTION FREE LACE EYELET – For quick and easy one pull lacing in all conditions. From sand, dirt and mud to water or snow these durable eyelets are manufactured to withstand abuse.

    Cushion & Rebound Foam Mix:




    We normally wear a size 10 running shoe which provides just enough toe room for comfort. The Sense Pro 2 fit true to size with slightly more length than most. We wouldn’t consider it enough to size down unless you prefer a snug toe box.

    Review posted by GEARMINDED

    Costa Rica Coffee Mill Tour

    Costa Rica Coffee Mill Tour

    Seed Peoples Market is back in Costa Rica with The Coffee Nomad!

    Have you already read The Coffee Nomad's first post on traveling to Costa Rica?

    Bienvenidos to Don Eli Coffee Farm - Costa Rica


    Have you ever visited one those places where you start missing it before you even left it? 

    Well, those were my exact sentiments when I first laid eyes on Nela’s home in Costa Rica. 

    The beautiful wooden home sits on a quiet street in their small town of El LLano de La Piedra. The guest house was added on after Carlos’ (farm owner) string of international guests became a regular event during the harvest season. 

    Costa Rica Coffee Farm -

    Costa Rica Travel -

    I quickly threw my luggage into my room and briefly met my new housemates.  Carlos wanted to show me El Pastora, the highest point at Don Eli Farm, and the best time was during the days sunset.  

    Costa Rica Coffee Farmer -

    Costa Rica Landscape

    Costa Rica Sunset

    It's here in these hills that Carlos sends his pickers at the end of the day to count the “cajuelas” - or standard unit of measurement for coffee cherries in Costa Rica. Many harvesters are indigenous natives from nearby countries like Panama.)

    Coffee Farm Costa Rica

    Coffee Cherries


    Costa Rica Coffee Drying Beds - beds at Don Eli Micro-Mill)

    A loud, abrupt knocking near my bedside window woke me up that first morning.  It nearly gave me a heart attack.  It was pitch black and I forgot that I was in freaking Costa Rica. 

    I whispered fiercely to my new roommates, a French and German couple, across the room, “What is that?!” 

    My roommate slurred, “It’s Carlos. For the micro-mill.”

    Costa Rica Micro Mill - Seedpeoplesmarket.comI sighed in relief. I was not under any fire or deadly combat.  I then growled under my breath - I felt like I had just went to bed.  Much like pulling off a band-aid, I yanked the covers off and stepped onto the wooden floors.  I stumbled in the dark and became ever so grateful for my flashlight function on my iPhone. I threw on my comfiest clothing and hiking boots to begin my morning with Carlos at the micro-mill.  

    Their micro-mill sits just beyond the Monteros house.  This is where the coffee magic happens.

    A micro-mill is a small coffee farm that also has its own wet mill and processing on its farm. 

    Costa Rica Drying Bed

    And if there’s something that distinguishes Costa Rican coffee from other regions, it’s their micro-mills.

    About 15 years ago there was a Micro-Mill Revolution in Costa Rica.

    Before there were micro-mills, there were mega-mills controlling the entire coffee industry in Costa Rica.  Producers would be shorted by large co-ops on coffee cherry counts. In these mega-mills, the carefully picked, higher-quality cherries would get mixed with low quality cherries.  This left little incentive for coffee producers to perform their best and to motivate harvesters to pick the best cherries.

    Costa Rica Coffe Process

    In operating a family-owned micro-mill, coffee producers can not only be selective in coffee cherries (being able to separate varietals or different types of coffee cherries, i.e. Typica from Caturra, etc.) but allow for experimentation with coffee processing.  

    Costa Rica Coffe

    It also allows the coffee producer to deal directly with coffee buyers.  This is the best form of direct trade and fair trade there is. Often, the official certification for such labels are too expensive for coffee producers to afford.  But we will get to that in our next post. 

    Don Eli Coffe(Left to Right: Jacob, Lucia, Carlos, Don Eli, Nela and Maria Jose) Photo from

    Coffee Micro Mill

    The Don Eli Micromill is truly a family-operated mill. From Jacob (Nela’s brother) overseeing the de-pulping of beans, to Maria Jose (Nela’s younger sister) being meticulous with the drying process, it’s all Montero business. 

    Coffee Drying Process

    I was pretty much like a fat kid in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.  And Carlos was just as excited to give me the grand tour of the best micro-mill in town. 

    He would walk and talk at the same time while instructing someone to do more of this and more of that. He urged me to climb to the top of the wet mill or to help break apart dried up coffee cherries that were being “natural processed” (left in the sun to dry with their skins and pulp) leaving them sticky and practically glued together from their own sugary residue. I’d eventually go cherry-picking for a half a day and be pretty awful at it. 

    The Coffee Nomad

    I had visited many micro-mills that all were as unique as the families that operated them. I had also made a quick visit to the CO-OP (or the COOPETERRAZU) a cooperative where coffee processing is done on a much larger scale. It was here that I learned that the Costa Rican coffee community is a tight-knit community. Everyone pretty much knows one another and they prefer it that way. Aside from personal relationships this includes the reputation of exporters as well as trading companies. If one exporter burned a producer, news would travel fast and the damage could be irreversible for their business. 

    It’s mind-blowing how much you can learn in such a short period of time - especially when your mornings and late nights are fueled by freshly brewed Costa Rican coffee.

    In our next post we will discuss the “Tica” way of life (that may or may not include the best chicharrones in town), how Nela is changing the coffee-buying game, and what “Fair Trade” and “Organic Coffee” labels really mean to coffee producers. 

    Neal From Don Eli Coffee

    It kind of makes you think twice about your average cup of Joe.

    Until next time, 

    Mugs Up & Pura Vida, 

    The Coffee Nomad

    Are you in need of some new coffee gear after reading this? Check out our latest collection of fine coffee goods at SEED Peoples Market!