Co-op Connection September 2011

Co-op Connection

Food and Community News from Bloomington Cooperative Services

September 15, 2011

At the Co-op

Annual Meeting
Each fall Bloomingfoods staff, board, and members gather for our annual meeting. This year the meeting will be held in the splendid atrium area of the IU Fine Arts Museum on October 20th. Please join us there for an evening of hors d'œuvres, wine, beer, awards, and a brief report on the condition of your co-op. See the October newsletter and our website for details, including how to get the tickets you'll need in order to attend. Your business is enjoying halcyon times, and it is meet that we should assemble together and celebrate. Hope to see you there.

Board Election and Annual Survey
The 2nd cooperative principle states "Cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members." In compliance with that principle, we are now conducting our annual board election; this is your opportunity to participate in selecting the men and women who guide our business at the highest level. By now you should have received your board election packets.  (If you have not, you can get one at any of our stores.)  Please take some time in the days ahead to read carefully the candidate statements, and then select your choices for our board. Board secretary Carol Bridges describes here the voting process.

Board elections are just one way in which you can participate in guiding the course of your co-op. Another is by sharing your opinions in our annual survey. Please take this opportunity to tell us what you think we're doing well or could be doing better. The opinions expressed in the survey are both strictly confidential and highly influential in guiding our operations.

Membership Drive Results
Each year between August 15th and September 15th we conduct a formal member drive at our stores.  This year's drive was a fine success, with 211 families becoming member-owners.  The total for August was 196. Total membership in the co-op is now in excess of 9,200 households.

Great New Products: Peacetree Mountain Chocolates and Chocolate Moose Ice Cream
We're pleased to announce we've just taken delivery on a line of chocolates from a new local business, Peacetree Mountain Chocolates. Handmade by three local mothers with a love of cooking and business, the chocolates are made with the finest chocolate and dairy products available. (I had an opportunity to participate in an "advance tasting," and I'm delighted to report that they are absolutely exquisite.) Plans are under way to do public tastings in the East and West stores sometime later this month.

And just as it is fine to offer our shoppers products from a new company, so too are we pleased to now carry ice cream from that bulwark of the Bloomington food scene, the Chocolate Moose. Flavors now in stock include vegan vanilla coconut, stonecutter's coffee, and key lime. In order to familiarize you with this product, we'll be offering in-store demos on Saturday, September 17th from 9:00 to noon at the West store and about 12:30 to 3:30 at the East store.

Fall Truckload Sale is Just Around the Corner
When I pulled the last 12-pack of 7th Generation toilet paper from the case last week, I knew it could only mean one thing: time for another truckload sale. And so it is. Our fall truckload sale will take place October 15th and 16th. Plan to stock up on all your favorite items at the best prices we can offer. Additionally, on Saturday the 15th, from 5 to 8 p.m., on the patio, we're going to stage a tasting of the heavily discounted wines we'll be offering.

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.

Monroe County United Ministries (MCUM) Report
The sixth annual “Each One, Feed One” Community Food Drive to benefit MCUM’s food pantry was a wonderful success, raising 16,305 pounds of food, hygiene items, and cleaning supplies. Both Bloomingfoods and MCUM would like to take this opportunity to say "thanks" to all our shoppers for their generous donations.

Sept. - Oct. Member Days & Product Specials
Member day is Tuesday in September and Wednesday in October. These are the September product specials, and these are the member-owner specials.

East Store
(812-336-5400; 3220 East Third St.)
Let's open this month's East store report with grocery manager Martha Philion's report on Forbidden Flavors ice cream, Joan's [luscious] Caramels, Earth Balance coconut spread and mayo, American Sweet Bean Edamame, Luna burgers, Udi's pizza crusts, and Riehle’s Select Popcorn.

Outside, the garden center is now fully stocked with a wide array of trees, shrubs, and perennials, all ready for fall planting. Our asters and mums are looking great in shades of yellow, bronze, white, and purple. And if you missed the fantastic hardy pansies last year, treat yourself to a few this year: they come in beautiful shades white, yellow, and orange, and will spring to life early next year to bring color to your early summer garden.

In the meats department, Ducktrap River smoked shrimp and smoked mussels are now available at great introductory prices, and for all of you spicy sausage lovers, don't miss the Fischer Farms chorizo sausage, a new item from Fischer Farms that has the perfect amount of spice.

Our new wine and beer manager, Matt Beall, reports on Oktoberfest beers, Teillery Winery's Organic Merlot, the La Marca Prosecco from Italy (one of the few proseccos to receive a score in the 90s and make Wine Spectator's top-100 list), and Stellar Winery's "Live A Little" white.  To introduce you to these and other new wines we have in stock, we'll be offering a wine tasting on our patio on Saturday, October 15th from 5 - 8 p.m. So shop the truckload sale, then enjoy the tasting and very special prices we'll be offering on wine and beer that day.

Near West Side Store
(812-333-7312; 316 W 6th St.
There's plenty brewing at the Near West Side, including Octoberfest and pumpkin beers, several new wines from Italy and Spain, and a new cheese buyer, Mary Roosma, who notes that the Carr Valley cheeses are eating particularly well these days.  You'll find it all in store manager Jason Hill's report.

Downtown (Kirkwood) Store
(812-336-5300; 419 E. Kirkwood Ave.)
The big news this month is breakfast.  Within just a few days, we'll be offering a nice range of breakfast items, including breakfast burritos, yogurt-granola parfait, and biscuits and gravy.  We also have a great selection of local apples, plus handmade sushi, and the Peacetree Mountain Chocolates and Chocolate Moose ice cream.

Around Town

Mark Winne, Food Policy Analyst, to Speak Thursday, Sept. 15th
Acclaimed food policy specialist and author, Mark Winne, will deliver a presentation entitled "America's Food System: A Cause for Concern, a Time for Action" at 7 p.m. in the Duke Energy Room of the Monroe County Convention Center on September 15th. The event is free and open to the public. Boxcar Books will host a sale of Winne's books and a book signing at the event.

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. This month, Jacqui Bauer, Sustainability Coordinator for the City of Bloomington, will provide an update on the City’s sustainability efforts and discuss strategies for effective advocacy for change during the programmed portion of the evening, from 6 - 6:30 p.m. on September 28th. Your input is welcome, so please stop in for a snack, a drink, and a thought-provoking discussion with friends and neighbors.

Lotus World Music & Arts Festival
For lovers of food, wine, diverse music, and revelry, nothing that occurs in our community can compare to the annual Lotus World Music Festival. This year's festival will run from Thursday, September 22nd through the 25th. Here is the list of artists we'll be seeing this year, and here is the performance schedule. Tickets are available at all Bloomingfoods locations.

Farmageddon: There's Still Time to See It
"Farmageddon" will receive two more showings in Bloomington, on September 16th &17th at 7:00 p.m. at the IU Fine Arts Theater.  Sponsored by Bloomingfoods and Ryder, it is part of "Lifelong Learning Week 2011: Food for Thought." What is it about? "Farmageddon tells the story of small, family farms that were providing safe, healthy foods to their communities and were forced to stop, sometimes through violent action, by agents of misguided government bureaucracies..." This film is just about guaranteed to evoke in viewers that feeling so aptly described by Mencken: “Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit upon his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.”

Salsa Contest Results
A splendid time was had by all at the 23rd annual salsa contest and tasting.  The winners of this year's event were Andrew Henterly and Alejandra Lance (cooked), George Poe (raw), and Arlyn Llewellyn (specialty). Arlyn also took 2nd place in the raw category and 3rd in the cooked.  Here is a fuller account of the event, including the winning recipes.

People and Animal Learning Services (PALS) Event
PALS is holding its 11th annual Fun Show on October 15th. In addition to being fun, the event provides participants an opportunity to learn more about the valuable services offered by PALS.

In the Co-op World

Businessweek Reports on Cooperative Grocery Stores
The co-op grocery industry is thriving: old, established co-ops are experiencing unprecedented growth; new co-ops are springing up everywhere. And increasingly, mainstream business media outlets are noting and reporting on this phenomenon. One report in particular which caught our eye recently was this one, from Businessweek, which attributes the growth to price concerns, a growing interest in local products, and a desire on the part of consumers to "own and control the means of providing the services they want."

Columbus Cooperative Grocery & Market Report
We're delighted that our friends next door in Columbus are a vital part of the burgeoning of co-ops, as they continue to make great progress in launching their grocery. Their membership is now over 470, and they recently signed a letter of intent with Cummins, Inc. to operate their new store out of a downtown building owned by that pillar of their community. It speaks very well for a community, we think, when its corporate and co-op businesses interact and, well, co-operate in this fashion to the benefit of all.

Food & Eating

French Dairy Products: Cultured Milk Makes the Difference
Have you ever had the experience of eating a fine French cheese, and wondered just how on earth it can taste so good, possessed of a special je ne sais quoi that is absent from our own fine domestic counterparts? It could be the manner in which they culture their milk. We just don't go to these extravagant lengths in America.

Chinese Honey: Tainted and "Counterfeit"
Even as colony collapse disorder continues to decimate U.S. hives, we now learn from Grist that a significant proportion of the honey consumed in the U.S. is likely to have been smuggled in from China, through India, and may be tainted with heavy metals and antibiotics. In addition, much of it is not even pure honey, but rather a cheap, mongrel blend of honey, sugar water, malt sweeteners, corn or rice syrup, jaggery [a type of unrefined sugar], and other additives. A "honey" label is slapped on it, and it is purchased by unscrupulous U.S. honey dealers who know they'll be able to undercut the prices their competitors must charge for legitimate product.

Greeley Colorado Schools
Over the course of the last 50 years, school cafeterias around the country have devolved from true kitchens in which real meals were produced from raw ingredients into mere microwave centers in which highly processed foods of the lowest nutritional quality are warmed up for students and faculty. But the New York Times reports that civic leaders in Greeley, Colorado have taken a stand, determined to offer their kids something better. This year Greeley’s schools will be producing approximately 75% of their meals from scratch; next year, when ovens and dough mixers are up and running, they hope to bump it to fully 100%.

On the Health Front

Omega-3 Fatty Acids Reduce Anxiety and Inflammation
A study conducted by researchers at Ohio State University reports that omega-3 fatty acids -- the kinds associated with fish oils -- significantly reduced both inflammation and anxiety in the young adult subjects to whom it was administered.

Use Aerobic Exercise to Control Stomach Fat
Confirming the findings of earlier studies, researchers at Duke University have found strong evidence that aerobic exercise is much more effective than resistance training in reducing the stomach fat which has been associated with increased risk for heart disease, diabetes, and some kinds of cancer. Resistance training, on the other hand, was found to be better for improving strength and increasing lean body mass.

Environmental News

Wind Turbines and Eagles
Here's an environmental controversy that you may have missed. Wind turbines offer a clean, promising energy alternative to fossil fuels, but in some areas it comes at a disturbing price: the death of thousands of birds, including golden and bald eagles. The L.A. Times offers this rather disturbing report on affairs at the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area. On the other hand, REVE offers a strong rebuttal to claims that wind turbines constitute a serious threat to avian population.

On a related note, Evansville Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel announced recently that a windmill turbine producer, Global Blade Technology USA, will take over the 45,000 square foot building in his city that was previously occupied by Whirlpool.

"Gasland" Takes an Emmy
Josh Fox has been awarded an Emmy for "Outstanding Direction for Nonfiction Programming" for Gasland, his documentary on the practice of natural gas fracking. You can see it now on HBO.

Closing Thought

"When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet at last, "what's the first thing you say to yourself?"
"What's for breakfast?" said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?"
"I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet.
Pooh nodded thoughtfully. "It's the same thing," he said.
~ A.A. Milne

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