Co-op Connection April 2014

Co-op Connection


Food and Community News
Bloomingfoods Market & Deli

April 15, 2014


At the Co-op

Staff Favorites Program
Do you ever find yourself standing in the aisle of one of our stores, pondering the many options and wondering which version of a particular item really tastes best?  Or maybe you're just in the mood for something new and different, but can't decide what to select. Well, we hope our new "staff favorites" program will help. Among the many benefits co-op staff enjoy is the opportunity to learn about and sample the many products we offer our shoppers.  And we all have our favorites, which we will now be highlighting with special signage throughout the store. We hope it will make your buying both easier and more rewarding.

Patronage Rebate Checks
Patronage rebate checks have gone out to the over 3,200 eligible households. We urge recipients to cash them promptly at any of our locations before they are lost or expire at the end of June.  When that happens, you lose your rebate and the co-op must pay taxes on it, so no one wins except the IRS.  Forgive the boldness with which this message is conveyed, but every year many of our owners fail to get this benefit of membership simply because they lose their check before cashing it. Cash yours now!

Board Election Announcement: Call for Candidates
Do you have an interest in serving your cooperative and your community? Do you share a commitment to your co-op’s mission and values? Are you a conceptual thinker who can grasp the big picture? Can you work in a group to oversee a vibrant developing organization and help it articulate and achieve its end goals?  If all of the above applies to you, please consider this call to service as a candidate for our board of directors.  Board candidate nomination packets are now available in our stores

Spring Truckload Sale
Our spring truckload sale will take place the weekend of May 17th and 18th at our East store location.  This sale will differ from those in the past in having only non-refrigerated items in the tent, while many refrigerated and frozen items will be heavily discounted inside the store. We'll also host a wine tasting that weekend, and the folks from Bee Sharp will again be available to sharpen your knives. Details to come. Plenty of volunteers are needed for the sale, so please email Tom Zeta to get a slot helping out. As always, volunteers will receive a week of 10% discounts for each two hours of service.

April - May Member Days & Product Specials
Member day is Wednesday in April and Thursday in May. You can view the April product specials and member-owner specials online. You can also download your Co+op Deals flyers or find them in the stores.

Eric Mitter Update
We reported last month that longtime Bloomingfoods supporter and Krejci Award winner Eric Mitter had sustained a broken neck and severe neurological damage as a result of a fall. We're pleased to report that Eric has returned home and is recovering nicely. Thanks to the many friends who sent encouraging words of support to Eric during the darkest hours. 

Near West Side Store 
(812-333-7312; 316 W 6th St.)
First, a big thanks to all the members, new and old, who so graciously and playfully shared their "mugs" with us for our new billboard. It has drawn many a smile.

All bird houses and feeders are now being offered at 30% off their original price. Get them while they last! Also offered at deeply discounted prices are the unique t-shirts and hoodies from Ray Troll.

We're also excited to announce the new Bloomingfoods Burger Shack on the B-Line, which will offer fresh grilled fare and cold drinks on Saturday afternoons, beginning May 3rd. We invite you to give it a try as you're traveling the B-Line to and fro from the market.       

In the general merchandise department we have a nice new line of metal lantern candle holders.  We're also very pleased by a selection of greeting cards we've received from Ganapati Studios.  See, too, all the new kitchen items, including big stainless mixing bowls, beautiful ceramic lasagna pans, apple peelers, Atlas pasta makers, and food mills.  And be sure to check out the new line of summery cotton pants we just put out. Finally, we have some fun new beeswax morel mushrooms candles for those who may prefer light to fungi.

And lastly for the Near West Side, we could use a couple of volunteers to bag groceries on Saturdays throughout the market season.  Bloomingfoods volunteers receive a week of 10% discounts for each two hours of service they provide. If you're interested, please contact Rocky .

Elm Heights Store 
(812-822-0235; 614 E 2nd. St.)
There is a lot of good news from the meat department at Elm Heights as we roll into outdoor grilling season, including great new offerings from both Gunthorp Farms and Dewig Meats, plus a delicious line of house-made marinades. And if you haven't yet tried the Fischer Farms Korean short ribs, grab a few the next time you plan to fire up the grill. Marinated or not, they're quick (about three minutes to a side on a very hot grill) and delicious.

We're excited to be bringing in some new coffees at our Third Place coffee bar. We're beginning to work with Rex Coffee Roasters out of Terre Haute. We'll be replacing our decaf espresso with an estate-grown Brazilian variety decaffeinated using a spring water process. Along with the new decaf, we will be featuring new manual brew options from Rex Coffee, including an Ethiopian coffee from the only woman-owned farm in Ethiopian history. We'll also be serving a couple of estate grown beans from two farms in Honduras which highlight the terroir of the region, with aromas of hazelnut and a malty flavor. 

In the deli, meanwhile, you'll find that the sandwich menu has been tweaked to more closely match the offering at our other locations. The deli also is now serving hot breakfast sandwiches every day from 7:30 to 11:00 a.m.  Currently offered are bacon, egg, and cheese, sausage, egg, and cheese, and we'll soon have a vegan option.  And just in time for summer, we've expanded our seating through the addition of five new picnic tables in the plaza.

East Store 
(812-336-5400; 3220 East Third St.)
The East store garden center is now in full swing, open every day of the week from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 pm.  Chris Bobbitt tells here of seed potatoes and onion sets, floating row cover, Jaguar fescue grass seed, over 500 varieties of vegetable, herb, and flower seed, bedding plants, bird seed, sprouting seed, hydroponics, pottery, and house plants.

Fabian Shrimp will return to the East store parking lot on Wednesday, April 16th from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m. (or when the shrimp runs out). We'll be sharing recipe cards for fantastic foods that incorporate shrimp and seafood, including Fredo's Alfredo, the signature dish we developed to celebrate the Jacobs School of Music's production of La Traviata.
We once again have granola, granola bars, and muesli from Muddy Fork Farm bakery! As many people know, on Friday morning, March 22, a fire broke out at the Muddy Fork Bakery in Bloomington, destroying the entire building. Katie and Eric lost their workspace, including their oven, cooking gear, and office supplies.  In standard Bloomington style, friends of the Farm made generous donations both in our store and on the gofundme website, raising more than the goal of $15,000. With those donations, Muddy Fork will be able to rebuild its bakery. In the meantime, Katie and Eric are producing their granola products in our Bloomingfoods commissary kitchen. They are extremely grateful for everyone's support.

Around Town

TEDx Bloomington Explores "What Goes 'Round"
Presenters at this year's TEDx Bloomington event will speak to big ideas concerning topics that are metaphorically or literally round, spherical, global, or cyclical! The program is designed to spark discussion and motivate attendees to be more active in both local and global communities. It all takes place on Saturday, April 26th from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater.  You can register here for a full day of presentations by a diverse array of thought-provoking speakers, including Bloomingfoods board member Danielle McClelland.
Going Solar Presentation
Are you interested in renewable energy, climate change, and reducing your utility bills?  Well here's an opportunity to learn about the costs, financial incentives, and carbon savings for solar and geothermal systems, have your questions answered by local green energy volunteers, and join the growing community of solar adopters. This free program, sponsored by the nonprofit group Southern Indiana Renewable Energy Network (SIREN), will be held on Thursday, May 1st from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Monroe County Public Library, room 1B.  Please RSVP by April 22 to reserve your spot.

Trashion/Refashion Show
While the Bloomington community will host a number of events in celebration of Earth Day, none will be quite like the 2014 Trashion Refashion Show, is set to take place on Sunday, April 27th at 7:00 p.m. at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater. The show is a community fashion event that challenges designers to change the landscape of the fashion industry with designs made from fabrics and other materials rescued from the landfill.

Arbor Day Tree Giveaway
Sycamore Land Trust (SLT) and Bloomingfoods invite the public to visit either our Near West Side or East location on Friday, April 25th between 4:00 and 7:00 p.m. to receive a free seedling.

Green Drinks Bloomington
Here's our regular reminder that Green Drinks Bloomington meets the 4th Wednesday of every month from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at the Banquet Facility at Upland Brewing. A $5 donation is requested; some food is provided. This month Heather Reynolds, Associate Professor of Biology, will deliver a presentation entitled “The Bloomington Urban Woodlands Project: Restoring Urban Woodlands, Reconnecting People with Nature.” The Bloomington Urban Woodlands Project works with campus, community, and business to bring our local woodlands to life with wildflowers, butterflies, and birds. With funding from Audubon's Toyota TogetherGreen program and the George E. Archer Foundation, we're planting thousands of woodland wildflowers that support native wildlife and human well-being, conducting ecological research, and using innovative educational and marketing programs to educate people about native food webs and the landscaping choices that support them.  The presentation will take place during the programmed portion of the evening, from 6:00 - 6:30 p.m. on April 23rd.  Please join us for a snack, a drink, and a thought-provoking discussion of this topic.

Bike to Work Day
On Friday, May 16th from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., we will once again take to the streets for our annual Bike to Work Day block party, on Madison Street adjacent to our Near West Side location. The event is free and open to the public. Bloomingfoods will be grilling out, and local libations from Bloomington Brewing Company will be served. The City of Bloomington, as well as various bike friendly folks such as Revolution Bike and Bean, Salt Creek Cycles, the Bloomington Bicycle Club, JL Waters, and Mountain Folk Adventure Series will be present to demo cool bikes, do bike repairs, and award prizes. Local celebrity Charlie Bird will also be making a special appearance on his bike! Winners of a $50 gift certificate to one of Bloomington's finest bike shops will be announced, as well. To enter the drawing, register online or at one of several 'Refueling Stations' hosted by bike-loving businesses and groups on the morning of May 16th.  Information about other Bike Month events in Bloomington is available here.

Bike Repair Demonstrations
Our friends from Revolution Bike and Bean will be setting up shop at our Near West Side Community Room from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 7 and again on Saturday, May 31st from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. for free bike repair demonstrations. These events are limited to 30 participants on a first-come, first-served basis, so please RSVP here. And remember, all Bloomingfoods member-owners receive a 10% discount at Revolution Bike and Bean!

Edible Lotus
Edible Lotus will be held Friday, May 2nd at Deer Park Manor from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m., and tickets are on sale at all Bloomingfoods locations.  This event showcases a fabulous auction and fine food and drink from the best of Bloomington's independent restaurants.  All proceeds will support Lotus Blossoms Education Outreach and the Lotus World Music & Arts Festival. Ticket price: $65.

In the Co-op World

Co-op = Community
Food co-ops have impacted their communities in many ways, including providing community outreach, education, paying a living wage, and supporting local farmers and vendors. But virtually none of these things would be accomplished without a strong connection to their local community.  That’s why Carol Collins of the National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCG) argues in this short video that it’s the co-op’s partnerships that will enable food co-ops to continue to grow.  She likens local food co-ops to third places, institutions in a community where people come together outside of home and work. As food co-ops look to greater participation at all levels, a focus on the community will not only continue the work that’s been accomplished, but expand its influence.

Food, Eating, and Health

Russia Says "No" to GMOs
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev stated recently that Russia will not import GMO products, adding that “If the Americans like to eat GMO products, let them eat it them. We don’t need to do that; we have enough space and opportunities to produce organic food.” At the end of February, the Russian parliament asked the government to impose a temporary ban on all genetically altered products in Russia, and agriculture minister Nikolay Fyodorov has already expressed his opinion that Russia should be GMO-free.

Meat Prices Rising Dramatically
USA Today reports that pork prices are expected to rise by as much as 15 percent in the next few months as supplies are slashed due to a new swine virus that is affecting herds throughout the nation.  Thus far, farmers in 26 states have reported herds infected with the highly contagious and deadly porcine diarrhea virus known as PEDv. In addition to the piglets being lost directly to the virus, the FDA is reportedly considering slaughtering most of the piglets born in the next few weeks in an effort to eradicate the disease.  The virus poses no risk to humans. Beef prices, too, continue to rise, largely as a result of producers culling their herds in response to drought conditions since 2010. NPR has the story on this.

Delicious Vegetarian Dishes for Spring
So, if the meat news is rendering it distasteful to you, don't despair. Saveur offers these many meat-free recipes that will help you capture and enjoy the essence of spring flavors.

Environmental News

The Airlander: The New Look of Air Travel?
Combining the best features of airplanes, helicopters, and airships, the enormous HAV304 is 302' long, can lift off without a runway, travel about 100 mph, has a payload of over 22,000 pounds, and is calculated to be "70 per cent more environmentally friendly than a cargo plane.  And it has such shapely lines.  Initial plans call for the production of ten HAVs per year for the next few years. The ability of the plane to remain aloft for up to three weeks at a time, to carry large loads, and to land on a dime make it ideal for the delivery of aid packages throughout the world.

Bag of Fresh Mountain Air
The air quality index (AQI) in Zhengzhou, China recently was a whopping 158. To put that into perspective, in Bakersfield, CA, the city in America with the highest levels of air pollution, the AQI was a mere 45. Little wonder then that the citizens Zhengzhou recently stood in line for the privilege of breathing from the bright blue bags of fresh air were shipped in from Laojun Mountain, 120 miles away. The Wall Street Journal has the story.

Whales Get a Break
 For the first time in about a century, whales in Antarctica will be free of whaling pressure next year. Most nations had ceased whaling operations in that area almost thirty years ago, but the Japanese continued to issue "scientific" whaling permits that allowed its fleet to continue taking thousands of whales. Recently, under pressure from the Australians, the International Whaling Commission ruled that Japan should revoke all permits for whaling in the Antarctic.

Closing Thoughts

"Sit quietly, doing nothing.  Spring comes and the grasses grow by themselves."
~ Zen proverb


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