At the Co-opKnife Sharpening Opportunity
Blade sharpening expert Sarah Spellbring, proprietress of Bee Sharp, will be available at the East store to sharpen your knives from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 8th. Sarah uses a variety of tools in her work, beginning with a Tormek 7 water-cooled grinding wheel that allows the metal to be ground without heat (thereby preserving the temper of the steel). She then finishes off with a sandpaper wheel with a higher grit for polishing, and a paper wheel for honing. Sarah can also sharpen most kitchen scissors and some serrated blades. Price: $5/blade. Few tools are more aggravating and dangerous to work with than a dull knife. Here's a great opportunity to have yours sharpened to a level that will make them a joy to use.
February - March Member Days & Product Specials
Member day is Wednesday in February and Tuesday in March. You can view the February product specials and member-owner specials online. You can also download your Co+op Deals flyers or find them in the stores.
Bloomingfoods Receives Grant
With about a third of our staff biking to work, we're very pleased to announce that Bloomingfoods has been awarded a grant from the Bloomington Bicycle Club (BBC) that will enable us to provide bike repair tools for our employees to use at all our locations, as well as bike accessory prizes for our staff. A big thanks to the BBC for making this possible!
Elm Heights Store
(812-822-0235; 614 E 2nd. St.)
The biggest news from Elm Heights this month is coffee. Coming soon, locally cold-brewed and bottled Uel Zing Cold-Brewed Coffee. Cold-brew uses no heat and a long extraction time to produce a particularly smooth beverage with none of the bitterness or astringency of hot-brewed iced coffee. Convenient, ready-to-drink bottles will be available for a quick zing on your way to class, or for that spring break road trip.
Looking forward to the warmer days ahead, keep checking in for sneak peeks at what the coffee menu might hold in the spring. We're also planning a 'Meet the Roaster' series in April, wherein we'll showcase coffees from local roasters one day each week. Details to follow.
The coffee bar now offers a variety of small tarts from Pie First Bakery. We're excited to be working with Louise and Rick to bring our patrons pastries that are just perfect for a two-person dessert. Pie First uses local ingredients and sources its fruit from Midwestern growers. They create such beautiful treats that we only hope they won't overshadow our pretty drinks!
Last but certainly not least, when next you encounter him holding court behind the counter, please congratulate resident barista Webb Lucas on being named Big Brother of the Year for Monroe County by Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Central Indiana.
Near West Side Store
(812-333-7312; 316 W 6th St.)
We're awash in beautiful and useful general merchandise items, including wooden bowls and other kitchen tools from Monts Made, audacious Alaska-themed t-shirts and hoodies from Ray Troll, Simbi handmade hair-bracelets (a project to provide employment and clean water to some of the poorest women in Haiti), Primal Elements glycerin soaps in an extraordinary array of patterns (pictured left), as well as a new line of soaps from Wavertree and London. Also, we have divers lunchboxes, tote bags, coffee cups, and various paraphernalia commemorating the Beatles' invasion of America back in February 1964 and Dr. Seuss' birthday on March 2nd. Spring is in the air (all this snow, notwithstanding), and we'd like to bring your attention to the lanterns, iron frogs, Buddhas, parasols, and other items we have in stock to brighten your gardens.
Meanwhile, in beer and wine, we're pleased to introduce two lines of organic wine new to our shelves, one from Natura and one from Latue (a growers co-op). We've also recently brought in Big Woods Brewing Company's (Nashville, IN) Hare Trigger IPA, Yellow Dwarf wheat, and Busted Knuckle ale in 4-packs.
(812-336-5400; 3220 East Third St.)
At the East location, the Garden Center lecture series continues with a workshop led by Chris Bobbitt, "All About Seed Starting," Sunday, February 16th at 2:00 p.m. in the Patio Room. Come learn just how and when to get your tomatoes and other plants off to a good start so they'll be nice and sturdy by the time it's warm enough for them to grow outside. The workshop is free, no registration required. And on a related note, February hours for the Garden Center building are Fridays and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Visit our website for information concerning other classes in our education series.
Inside the store, meanwhile, meat buyer Justin See would like to bring your attention to the wide variety of new wild-caught salmon options he's introducing, as well as to the new line of salted (and he assures me it is "very" salty) smoked herring. Do you still have blissful memories of holiday turkeys? You can experience it again, on the cheap. We've got a few frozen specimens that we're letting go for 10% off.
Around TownSoup Bowl Benefit
The 20th annual Soup Bowl Benefit will take place on Sunday, February 16th at 5:00 p.m. at the Monroe Co. Convention Center. This is a great opportunity to break bread with your friends and neighbors, enjoy delicious soups and bread from more than 25 local restaurants, great entertainment, a smorgasbord of beautiful handmade bowls, and all in the name of supporting the Hoosier Hills Food Bank.
The 2014 Trashion Refashion Show will take place on Sunday, April 27th from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater. Fashion designs are now being accepted in two categories: "Trashion" is the result of creatively turning discarded items into fashion; "Refashion" is the result of modifying existing clothing into something more fashionable. Submissions are due by March 1st.
Winter Farmers' Market
The 2013-14 Winter Farmers Market is held every Saturday morning from 9:00 a.m. to noon, from December through March at the Harmony School Gym (909 E Second Street). Visit the market's website for a complete list of upcoming special activities.
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 Dave Rollo, District IV Representative to the Bloomington City Council, will deliver a presentation entitled “Deer at Griffy Woods: Ecosystem Effects and Responsible Stewardship.” The talk will focus on the impact of overabundant deer on the Griffy Lake forest, and what can be done to restore the ecological balance of the degraded woodland. The presentation will take place during the programmed portion of the evening, from 6:00 - 6:30 p.m. on February 26th. Please join us for a snack, a drink, and a thought-provoking discussion of this topic.
In the Co-op WorldBloomingfoods to Host Start-Up Conference
For the fifth consecutive year, Bloomingfoods will host a co-op start-up conference. This conference, which began as a very modest event for folks in states bordering Indiana, now brings together people from throughout the country who are interested in launching cooperatively-owned grocery stores. The Indiana Cooperative Development Center (ICDC) website offers full coverage of the event.
Food, Eating, and Health
Absolutely nothing, as revealed in this delightfully campy video from Only Organic and the Environmental Working Group. It's an amusing look at the ways advertisers attempt to manipulate consumers through the use of utterly meaningless terminology.
TEDx Manhattan: Changing the Way We Eat
Don't miss this year's TEDx "Changing the Way We Eat" webcast on Saturday, March 1st. TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is a small nonprofit organization dedicated to exploring and spreading ideas that can shape a happier, healthier future for our world. At the "Changing the Way We Eat" event, over a dozen leading figures from the sustainable food and farming movement will share their thoughts concerning the work being done to shift the U.S. food system from industrially-based agriculture to something more local, sustainable, and nutritious.
Food: A Project Envision Documentary
"Food" is a 30-minute documentary that investigates how demand for more and cheaper food has dramatically altered the entire food chain. As KPBS’ Joanne Faryon reports, “the food chain no longer looks like it used to. Fish no longer eat other fish, and cattle eat very little grass, which is their natural food source. Instead, cattle eat corn, chickens eat corn and fish, and fish eat cows and poultry. Additionally, international trade in produce is an enormous industry, resulting in massive carbon footprints on much of the food sold in conventional grocery stores.
Sustainable Farming Calls for Business as Well as Agricultural Education
Folks wanting to operate a commercially sustainable organic farming operation (i.e., a professional farmer rather than a hobbyist) need to be more than merely skilled in the production of crops. In a recent interview with Grist, Tom Willey of T & D Willey Farms reflected on the fact that to actually be a commercially sustainable operation requires an understanding and practice of business as well as agriculture. Willey also makes an observation reminiscent of remarks we have heard for years from Polyface Farm's Joel Salatin: "We wanted to serve as an example of a farming couple who worked together as a business, exclusively doing farming, no other sources of income, and to make a comfortable middle class living from it. Because we think that growing other people’s food is as important as, you know, being people’s pastor or doctor or lawyer...So why have farmers always had to take it in the shorts economically?"
Marlboro Man Dies at 72
Eric Lawson, who portrayed the rugged Marlboro man in cigarette ads during the late 1970s, died January 10 at his home in San Luis Obispo, Calif. He was 72.The cause was respiratory failure caused by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Soda Sales Down
In the face of overwhelming evidence of tobacco's deadly consequences, the smoking rate in the U.S. has declined from roughly 42% to 21% since 1965. Now Americans may also be wising up to the effects of soda pop. Sales of regular soda were down 2.2% in 2013 and diet soda was down 6.8%.
America's Love Affair With Hot Sauce
What's hot on the American food scene these days? Since 2,000, sales of hot sauce have grown 150%, more than for ketchup, mustard, and mayo combined. What's behind it? Experts attribute it to our passion for hot wings (we now eat 25 billion/year) and to growing numbers spice-loving of Asians and Latinos. Thanks to Bloomington's own Chili Woman, Susan Welsand, for this report.
Farmed and Dangerous
Chipotle Mexican Grill next month will release “Farmed and Dangerous,” a four-part comedy series on the TV-streaming service Hulu that takes a satirical look at industrial-scale farming." According to Grist, "The web series takes on Big Ag, presenting a fictitious dilemma: A major beef producer starts feeding its cattle petroleum-based chow, but a cow explodes, and the security footage of the explosion goes viral." The NY Times has this to say about the series.
Industrial Beef Recall
Speak of the devil, Rancho Feeding Corp in California recently recalled 8.7 million pounds of beef products--its entire 2013 output--because they processed diseased and unhealthy animals without federal inspection. According to the L.A. Times, customers of the company were specialty meat stores and meat markets catering to Latino customers.
Chapul, Cricket-Based Gourmet Energy Bars
Do bugs represent the protein source of the future? In some quarters, including the U.N., it is argued they might (see here the executive summary of a report recently released by the U.N.'s Agriculture Organization, or download the entire document). Intrigued by the possibilities and concerned by what he regards as America's wholly unsustainable water use, hydrologist Pat Crowley founded Chapul Gourmet Energy Bars, the protein source for which is cricket flour. According to some scientists, "insects convert grain and grass into edible protein as much as 10 times more efficiently as cows (300 million slaughtered annually) and pigs (1.4 billion slaughtered annually), are rich in key nutrients such as omega-3 acids, and are low in fat. CNN Money conducted a very interesting interview with Crowley, and the New Scientist offers this Q & A session. Of course some, including Science 2.0's Hank Campbell, are skeptical of the whole "let them eat bugs" message.
Farm Bill Finally Passes
Following two agonizing years of congressional wrangling, the new Farm Bill was signed into law this month on the campus of Michigan State University. The editorial board of the Washington Post opined of the almost $1 trillion bill, “It is only a slight exaggeration to say that this legislative grotesquerie gives to the rich and takes from the poor.” And yet, in the end, it found broad--if not enthusiastic--support from a disparate array of bedfellows that ranged from mainstream agriculture groups such as the American Farm Bureau Federation to conservation groups such as the National Wildlife Federation, to such "alternative" farm groups as the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. Grist offers this thoughtful examination of how the bill's passage ultimately came down to compromises and to concessions by most of the interested parties.
Environmental NewsPete Seeger
America lost one of its great human treasures last month when Pete Seeger died at the age of 94. The New York Times offered this obituary. Seeger has for years been recognized around the world as a singer, songwriter, and social activist, but many people aren't aware that he was an dedicated conservationist, focusing especially on cleaning up his beloved Hudson River Valley.
Monarch Numbers Wintering in Mexico At All-Time Low
Monarch butterflies spend November through March hibernating in Mexico’s temperate forests. According to this report out of the University of Minnesota, the extent of the area inhabited by monarchs this year suggest a 44% drop in population from last year and are at the lowest level recorded since surveys began in 1993.
Los Angeles Implements Ban on Plastic Bags
Beginning on January 1, Los Angeles joined approximately 90 other towns in California in banning the use of plastic bags by grocery stores. Henceforth, LA shoppers can bring their own reusable bags, boxes, or suitcases, or they can opt for paper sacks for which they'll be charged $0.10 each.
Closing Thoughts"It’s bad education to give people food for less than its true value — and in this society, as a key food policy ever since World War II, we’ve been doing it."
~ Tom Willey, organic farmer in California’s San Joaquin Valley.