Weekly Newsletter – 11/19/09

HAPPY THURSDAY CO-OPERS!!!! I hope you all survived the 70mph winds last night with out any damage!!!
New items

Our shelves are stocked full from yesterday’s UNFI order. We have two flavors of kefir this week, as well as eggnog and sparkling cider for your holiday gatherings! We also have some new local goodies gracing our shelves; sauerkraut and three varieties of pickles straight from the Skagit Valley! Fresh ground peanut butter, croutons, and dog treats from the Bread Farm in Bow are also making an appearance! Eleanor and I took an adventure off island last week to find all of the above listed. It feels great to see first hand where our products in the Co-op are coming from! Talk about cutting down on transportation distance!!

With the holiday of feasting rapidly approaching, please feel free to lend suggestions for all items you would like to see on your table next week. Also this would be a great week to place wholesale orders for some of the items we may not be able to fit on our shelves.
Cheese Club

Our cheese club idea is finally starting to materialize. We will be ordering a bulk cheese (yet to be decided upon) this upcoming week. This would be a great addition to your Thanksgiving spread! If you would be interested in getting a portion of the cheese please send your name and contact information to apspears27@gmail.com. The number of people we will split the cheese between is limited, so this will be on a first come first serve basis.
Eleanor’s Corner

As the instigator of local foods in the co-op, always on the lookout for local and regional products for our little store, I’ve been asking folks lately how to understand when local trumps organic. It turns out that with concerns about the dilution of the organic label, about food safety, about a sustainable food supply, and about carbon footprint, the answer is “Local is the New Organic”! Anna and I took a most wonderful research expedition to Skagit last Friday and we intend to pursue those leads and make more excursions. Many of you have taken the hundred mile pledge this Thanksgiving and you’ll notice a few more regional items trickling into our shelves and fridges. If anyone wants to join our search and volunteer to transport goods, please let us know! – e.
Golden Glen Creamery

One of the places Eleanor and I were able to venture to on our exploration was the Golden Glen Creamery in Bow. They carry a great selection of glass bottle, cream top, non homogenized milk using a “slow pasteurization” method. They also carry butter, cheeses, and eggs. And although they do not carry an organic label they are local, and small scale. How do Co-opers feel about carrying this product? Personally, I feel that local may trump organic is some aspects. Check out their website http://www.goldenglencreamery.com and let me know your thoughts! This would be a great opportunity to start a website forum discussion on this subject!
New website

Make sure to check out the new and improved web page, developed by webmaster Chris Small! A huge thanks to Chris for all his hard work!!!!

Have a great rest of your week!!!!!!!!!

Anna Spears
SJI Community Food Co-op

Choosing Local Products

The co-op is dedicated to selecting sustainably produced and wholesome foods that are organic when possible and preferably sourced locally. The local part means things that are not brought on the UNFI truck or shipped from Azure.

I find myself wondering how to make choices. Sometimes a fine local product is available but in order to get the version with the organic label it has to be shipped halfway around the world. Many people have expressed the idea that the co-op should select products that are local or regional first and U.S. or North American next, and generally avoid items that come from afar, especially if the conditions of production might be questionable. I have in the past posted a sheet near the wrapping counter along with cut off labels when possible to make source information known regarding the bulk items that are packaged in the store–usually snack items and fruits and nuts. All of those items are certified organic, but at least half of them come from very far away beyond oceans, often from places where organic inspection is not reliable. Occasionally one of these bulk items turns out to be unpleasantly stale.

As far as local items for the co-op are concerned, for the last two years I’ve made every effort to be personally acquainted with our apples in the stem and carrots in the root, our meat on the hoof and our honey in its buzz. I know my own eggs in their feather and my milk in the moo, but getting acquainted with those items brought by truck to the co-op is nearly impossible.

Last week Anna and I made an excursion to Skagit Valley to see what we could find. We visited Golden Glen Creamery in Bow-Edison, a regular old family dairy farm that offers cream-top milk in glass bottles, their own butter and cheeses, and eggs from hens that scratch in the garden behind the office. Please look at their website and consider how the co-op should think about carrying these products: http://www.goldenglencreamery.com/ I’ll have to make a longer visit to ask more questions, actually meet those cows and chickens, and taste the products before I can give any solid information. In general I think I would prefer their unhomogenized small batch pasteurized milk in glass to O.V.’s much transported and comingled product in waxed cartons. I’d choose eggs from a flock I can count over the Wilcox eggs we now carry, which, while certified organic, come from a flock of 800,000 hens in large buildings in Roy, Washington. Others will have different ideas and I’d like to hear what they have to say.

We also visited Pleasant Valley Farm and brought home pickles and kraut from right there where they were born in Laconner rather than from vegetables sourced in India. They are delicious but mass produced, without organic claims or certification. Some will disapprove; for others, local sometimes trumps organic, especially when the carbon footprint is considered.

And we visited the IGFC store and plant in Bow where our island-grown meat that is slaughtered on farm by the mobile USDA truck is butchered and packaged for us–just so I could complete the picture.

The more feedback I get the easier it is for me to decide what I should bring to the co-op and what I should pass up. Please add to this conversation and chat with me when we’re in the co-op so I can get a sense of what people want in the store.

Thanks for the input!

— Eleanor

Weekly Newsletter 11/12/09

HAPPY THURSDAY CO-OPERS!!!! What a beautiful day today was!!! I hope you all enjoyed the bursts or sunshine! Those sporadic, beautiful days will make the winter much more bearable!

The Unfi order came in yesterday will two pallets full! of goodies for the Co-op! We have new varieties of Bavarian breads to try, as well as ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves for the upcoming holiday gatherings. We also have some peppermint tea just waiting to be bagged and sold (hint, hint..for all those with a food handlers card).

Make sure to pop in the Co-op this week/weekend to check out some of the new items we will be carrying. We are making a trip off island tomorrow to get some great new products: like sauerkraut, and pickles to name a few!!!

Thanks again to all of you who are new members to the Co-op or renewing with us for the new year. You all will be receiving an email, tomorrow, Friday the 13th, with updated information (such as the new door code! and new wholesale user names). This will also serve as a conformation of your payment and renewal.

Thanks again to all of you for all your support in OUR Co-op!!!!

Have a great week/weekend!!!!

Anna Spears
SJI Community Food Co-op

My Mother’s Celeriac Soup

You’ll need:
1 big celeriac root plus celery greens
1 medium onion
3 large carrots
3 gloves of garlic
3 leeks
4 potatoes
2 bay leafs
oregano (lot’s, fresh & dried)
chix stock (optional)

Sautee onions, carrots & celery greens in pork fat or olive oil. After 10 minutes add leeks, potatoes, garlic and spices. Add water or chix stock, bring to a boil and let simmer for about 15 minutes. Take potato smasher and mush up veggies. I like the consistency much better than blending it.
This is traditionally served with Apfelkuechelchen, apple slices, dragged through pancake batter and fried, then topped with sugar and cinnamon. Wonderful Winter meal.
Guten Appetit,

Weekly Newsletter – 10/23/09

HAPPY WEDNESDAY!! I hope you are all enjoying this lovely rainy day!!! The rain stopped this afternoon, just long enough to get the order unloaded from the truck and put away. Thanks to all of the volunteers who made it out today, your help really expedited the process!! Thanks everyone!!!!!

You are probably wondering whats new at the Co-op this week? Well, we were lucky enough to get a new glass door fridge to replace the old domestic one that just did not want to stay cold!! A HUGE thanks to Arvid and Susan for spending many long grueling hours getting the new fridge Co-op ready!!! It looks SO great!! And it is quickly filling up with new flavors of Synergy, Acai juice, tofu, and more!!! Please let me know any suggestions on products you want to see in the new fridge.

Make sure you all come to the Co-op this week for your milk and half n’ half. With the new found room in the dairy fridge we quickly filled it with a surplus of Organic Valley products just waiting to be bought up!

The time has come once again for the Azure Standard order. I will be placing it tomorrow (Thursday, Oct. 22nd) afternoon and it will be ready for pick up in Anacortes Thursday, Oct 29th. If you would like to add to this order, simply log on to www.azurestandard.com. Once there, use the user name cloud@rockisland.com, password ‘organic’. From there you can follow the same process as when ordering from UNFI. Add items to the basket, ONLY. Do not commit to the order. I will do that tomorrow afternoon.

We are still looking for a volunteer to go to Anacortes next Thursday to pick up the order. If you think you might be able to do this contact me (Anna) at apspears27@gmail.com. This is a great volunteer opportunity and a huge help for the Co-op! The order is able to be stored for up to a day in Anacortes, so the pick up could work to coincide with a trip, already planned, to go off island! As I said, let me know! Thanks!!

A REMINDER: Could everyone make sure that they are sending a conformation e-mail to apspears27@gmail.com after placing wholesale items in the UNFI basket. Some mysterious items have been appearing at the Co-op with the weekly order that seem all too much like an order one of you Co-opers may be expecting. The extra moment it takes to send the e-mail is so appreciated on this end!

A BIG THANK YOU! to all those new Co-op members who signed up this month, as well as those loyal members who renewed their membership for the new year! Thank you all for supporting OUR Co-op. That support is what keeps us up and running; it allows for our beautiful island to have this great lil’ place to shop!!!!

Have a great week!!!!
Anna Spears
SJI Community Food Co-op

Weekly Newsletter! 10/17/09

HAPPY SATURDAY CO-OPERS!!!! I hope you are all staying dry and warm on this rainy, rainy day. What a great day to snuggle up by the fire!!! Swing by the Co-op for everything you need to make a yummy Chai tea or to bake some yummy cookies, which seem to be the best remedy for fighting the rain and cold.

You may be wondering why the Newsletter is coming out on Saturday?? I have been out of town and just got home. It sure feels good to be back on island and get in the swing of things again! I want to give a HUGE thanks to everyone who helped out while I was gone!! It was so appreciated!!!!

There has been some brainstorming going about and some thoughts about starting a Cheese Club. A place where cheese could be ordered through the Co-op in large quantity (say 7lbs for example), taken from the Co-op, then split up, and shared between the group. As we speak there is a beautiful block of Parmesan (at $7.14/lb) just waiting to be split up and shared!!! If you would be interested in starting/joining you can leave your name at the Co-op or e-mail either sanjuancoop@gmail.com OR apspears27@gmail.com. I hope to hear from you!!!

Thank you to all of you who have be joining and renewing your membership for the new year!! If you have not yet renewed make sure you make it in by the 31st so you are sure to get the new door code!!!

Also keep the suggestions and comments coming on what you would like to see in the Co-op! They are great and so helpful!!!!

Enjoy the rest of the rainy weekend!!!!!!!!

Anna Spears
SJI Community Food Co-op

Curried Squash, Carrot and Apple Soup

I just recently made this soup at a housewarming potluck and everyone raved about it, so I thought I would share the recipe with the rest of the coop. I managed to get all of the ingredients locally, except for the coconut milk (obviously – got that at the coop).

I should note that when I cook, I don’t really measure anything out. I just sort of play it by ear, taste it as I go and, ya know, improv. So, bear with the vague measurements.

Ingredients –
* 1 acorn squash (any kind of squash would work fine though)
* ~2 lbs of carrots
* ~1 lb of yellow apples (picked from the tree across from the farmers market : )
* 1 can coconut milk
* ~1 med onion

Spices –
* Salt to taste
* 1 or 2 tablespoons turmeric
* 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon (or to taste)
* 1/2-1 tablespoon of curry seasoning
* dash of cayenne
* teaspoon of ground pepper

Start a fairly big pot of water boiling (you’ll want to adjust quantities to the amount of water obviously – I did about 3L – a gallon?). Peel the squash shell off with a knife while the water is getting hot, chop it up into pieces and throw em in the pot. Once they are really mushy, beat them into the water so that a nice base is formed. Mix in the coconut milk. Add the carrots, onions and spices, then a bit later (as the carrots are starting to soften) add in the apples. Simmer for a while longer and enjoy : )

This soup comes off the stove a lovely yellowish orange color if you use yellow apples and is a nice to look at as it is to taste (in my opinion). You can modify this recipe to your heart’s content (obviously), but some ideas that I thought about but didn’t carry out were adding garlic and/or ginger.

Hope you like it! It’s a good one for the onset of the rainy season!

Shared by Christopher Small