Co-op Connection July 2012

Co-op Connection


Food and Community News
Bloomingfoods Market & Deli

July 15, 2012

At the Co-op

The Co-op Model E-3 Tractor
Let's open this edition of the Co-op Connection with news of a glorious purchase: Bloomingfoods is now the proud owner of a beautifully restored 1947 Co-op Model E-3 tractor. Manufactured by Cockshutt Farm Equipment Limited in Branford, Ontario, this model was sold throughout the U.S. in the 1940s and 1950s to local farmer-owned cooperative organizations. Bloomingfoods is proud to own and use this beautifully restored tractor, reminding us as it does of the small family farms which we love and the cooperative business model which we practice. We intend to use the E-3 for a variety of chores and events around our facilities and the town.

Membership Report
We're pleased to announce that Bloomingfoods has reached a very significant milestone in the growth of its membership base. At the end of the 2011-12 fiscal year on June 30th, reports generated from our membership database indicated 9,995 members. Since that time, we've added at least 30 new member-owner households, at last eclipsing 10,000. It is a wonderful foundation of fiscal and psychological strength from which to pursue the laudable mission and ends of this co-op.

Elm Heights Project Report
Things are moving apace in our efforts to secure the site of the former K & S Grocery in Elm Heights, and to develop there a neighborhood grocery store, modern in many features yet reminiscent of the small neighborhood stores so many people desire. Project Manager Jennifer Hileman offers these observations concerning necessary approvals from the city, the architectural design of the building, and our work to acquire necessary financing for the project, including the role that member loans will play. We prefer not to accept loans from our members until the ink actually dries on the final documents that have to be signed by the city, the seller, and ourselves. However, in order to get a rough gauge of probable participation levels, we do invite anyone with an interest in making a loan for this project to get additional information about the project, and even to complete a non-binding pledge form.

From the Board
In this month’s board report, Secretary Carol Bridges asks you to consider the factors that account for your being a Bloomingfoods shopper, and she invites you to let us know how the co-op can do a better job of meeting your needs.

Scrip Gift Card Report for 2011-12
The Scrip gift card program is just one of the ways Bloomingfoods helps nonprofit organizations raise funds. We sell the gift cards to the organizations for 95% of the full value of the card; the organization then sells the cards for their full value to participants who, in turn, use them to purchase items from our stores. In this way, Bloomingfoods essentially donates 5% of the card value to the organization. We’re pleased to report that Scrip card purchases for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2012 totaled $251,150, with the discount totaling $12,558. This is an increase of 23% over FY2011. Montessori and the Unitarian Universalist Church were the biggest participants in the program this year, accounting for 47% of the total. Other participants were the Bloomington Developmental Learning Center (BDLC), Bloomington HS North Band Boosters, Bloomington Chamber Singers, IU Lutheran Campus Ministry, Children's Corner Co-op Daycare, Habitat for Humanity, Harmony School, Hoosier Youth Philharmonic, Lighthouse Academy, BHSN Science Olympiad, St. Marks Preschool, Templeton Elementary, Trinity Episcopal, and WildCare.

Back-To-School Truckload Sale at the Near West Side
The two truckload sales we hold each year in the parking lot of the East store are among the biggest and most popular events we conduct. Now we've decided try it, albeit on a smaller scale, in the parking lot at our Near West Side location. The date will be Saturday, August 18th, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. We'll have a 20' x 20' tent erected in the parking lot, loaded with a product mix geared toward helping students stock their larders for a new school year. There will also be a beer/wine tasting event held that day in the adjacent community room.

Bloomingfoods Classes & Workshops
Were you aware that Bloomingfoods sponsors and promotes classes and workshops that are aligned with our cooperative mission and ends. You can stay abreast of all the latest on the Classes & Workshops page of our website.

July-August Member Days & Product Specials
Member day is Thursday in July and Wednesday in August. These are the July product specials, and these are the member-owner specials.  Your Co+op Deals flyers are available here.

East Store
(812-336-5400; 3220 East Third St.)
Each of our stores keeps a staff log book, in which is contained all the necessary news and information staff need to perform their routine tasks. At the East store though, another book is kept, a very special book, the Joy Book (pictured left). The brainchild of cashier Lauren McCallister, the Joy Book is an ongoing chronicle of all the wonderful people and interactions we experience every day, and a reminder of just what a special place this is. We get to witness our customers and friends having babies, and then watching those babies grow up. We get hugs and thank-yous from people who are so grateful for the foods we carry and the service we provide. We hear funny stories, and we cry with people when they are heartbroken. The Joy Book provides a journal in which we can set down a few of these circumstances of the Bloomingfoods family. It reminds us that we are doing something truly meaningful, and we are making a positive difference to a lot of wonderful people in our community.

Forgive our mess.  We're about to begin making major enhancements to our patio area, and we apologize in advance for any inconvenience it may cause. We're very confident, though, that the changes we'll be making will make it all worthwhile.

In the meat department, Josh Hermes is very excited about our selection of high-quality grass-fed bison, and he shares this information concerning this delicious and nutritious meat.

And in the grocery department, look for these new items: Earth Balance coconut peanut spread; Virgil Sodas: Dr. Better, Real Cola, and Orange Cream; Wet Noses, True Chews and Cloud Star pet treats; Manischewitz matzo crackers; Woodstock peanut butters; Brianna’s dressings: Blush Wine Vinaigrette and Blue Cheese;  If You Care paper sandwich bags;  new dry bean varieties, including Tongues of Fire (great at attracting flavors from their cooking liquid but nice and nutty on their own), Jacob’s Cattle-a Prince Edward Island Heirloom (their full flavor won’t wither in the shadow of heavy seasonings), and Scarlet Runner (larger than your typical runner, and are great for soups, salads and side dishes).

Near West Side Store
(812-333-7312; 316 W 6th St.)
The details aren't in yet, but keep your eyes peeled for great deals on summer clothes. We're going to mark them way down soon. In the Health & Wellness area, we now have beautiful and fragrant Sābūn soaps, produced locally by the Soapy Soap Company.

Around Town

Heirloom Tomato Tasting
The Bloomington Farmers' Market's annual Heirloom Tomato Tasting event will be held on Saturday, August 4th, from 9 - 11:30 a.m.  From the classics to the almost unbelievable, the options just go on and on, with colors, textures, and flavors as unique as their names.  This is a great opportunity for you to sample varieties such as Mortgage Lifter, Black from Tula, Green Zebra, Aunt Ruby's German Green, and Red Grape.

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, Terry Usrey of the Southern Indiana Renewable Energy Network (SIREN) will give an update on the ever-growing solar capacity of our community during the programmed portion of the evening, from 6 - 6:30 on July 25th.  SIREN has invited local solar installers and manufacturers to attend, and they will answer questions after the presentation.  Please join us for a snack, a drink, and a thought-provoking discussion with your friends and neighbors.

Bloom Front Page Challenge
The Bloom Front Page Challenge is a city-wide effort to raise money for 25 member agencies of the United Way by raising awareness about the local need for "Education, Earnings, and Essentials." Bloomingfoods is happy to be competing in the "large business" category, and working to earn a spot on the cover of this year's Bloom Holiday issue.

Food, Eating, and Health

Corn on the Cob, Clean & Easy
Do you love corn on the cob, but hate the mess of shucking and silks? Then this video is for you!  Who knew?

Food Keeps Getting Cheaper, but at What Cost?
NPR's Planet Money recently reported that whereas Americans spent about 12% of their income on groceries in 1982, today they spend only about 9%, with a major factor in the decrease being the dramatic decline in meat prices. Grist's Tom Laskawy reminds us of the ethical, nutritional, and environmental prices we're paying for this cheap food.

State of the Food Nation
On a related note, physician Mark Hyman offers this assessment of the current state of food and eating in our country, asking "Why is it that we believe we can feed our bodies industrial, nutrient-depleted food-like substances empty of life and be healthy? How did we come to believe that food industry chemicals and processing could replace nature-made foods?"

Knives Out
Few kitchen tools are used more or make the work more fun than knives. Normally when we think of high quality knives, we think of the German and Japanese models, but here's a very nice article from Matthew Rudofker, the chef de cuisine at Momofuku Ssäm Bar, concerning Americans now making some of the very finest hand-made kitchen knives in the world.

Farm Bill 2012
The American Farm Bill is the single most significant piece of agricultural legislation, and the latest generation of the bill is currently being developed in the House of Representatives. Early drafts of the bill were noteworthy for their minimal support for programs that would promote the production and consumption of healthy foods, protect the environment, or help feed the needy.  Now we learn from the folks at Just Label it that the chemical companies have been successful in getting GMO crop riders attached. The provisions are intended, of course, to circumvent the normal regulatory process and to allow genetically engineered crops to enter the marketplace with only minimal oversight. If you’re opposed to this and would like to make your voice heard, they make it easy to send an electronic message to the leadership of the House Agriculture Committee.

Environmental News

June Heat Records and the Midwest's Drought
The month of June saw 2,284 daily maximum temperature records broken and a further 998 tied, according to Grist and the National Climatic Data Center.  For the year, 23,383 record high temperatures have been set, compared to 13,582 at this time last year.

And this heat is more than merely a physical and psychological discomfort. Taken together with the drought conditions experienced especially throughout the lower Midwest, it is causing crop failures virtually certain to result in significantly higher prices down the road for all the foods comprised of corn and soy (both of which are major constituents of most processed foods), but also for the meat, dairy, and eggs derived from those grains. Of course, the same conditions bedevil our own local truck farmers, and so we may see hikes in the prices we must pay for our favorite produce items as well.

Sockeye Salmon Return in Record Numbers
Sockeye are returning to the Columbia River Basin this year in astounding numbers, with more fish crossing the river's dams in a single day than previously crossed in a season.  Scientists attribute the resurgence to habitat improvements in the Okanagan River Basin, improved dam operations, and favorable ocean conditions.*

And yet the battle to protect critical natural areas and the species they support is never-ending. Just up the coast a few hundred miles from the Columbia River Basin, restaurateurs and environmentalists have launched an effort dubbed "Savor Bristol Bay," part of the larger effort opposing the development of an open-pit gold and copper mining complex proposed by the Pebble Limited Partnership. The operation would span about 20 square miles at the headwaters of the bay’s most productive salmon rivers, and would compromise or destroy miles of salmon streams and thousands of acres of wetland habitat. You can dive into more information and the arguments here, on the EPA's site.

Closing Thoughts

"The best advice is to avoid foods with health claims on the label, or better yet avoid foods with labels in the first place."
~ Mark Hyman, MD

*Why should you care, as an eater, if there are wild salmon, when their farm-raised brethren are always available? Here is one reason:
"I was shown two specimens of salmon, one manufactured by Nature, the other by man. They wore the same garment of silver spangled with black patches. The giveaway was the tail fin. On the fish which had made prodigious bounds to speed towards its future loves, this appendix is a veritable fan, in which one senses an enormous force. On the fish which idled in the pens, which had not pursued intruders threatening its eggs, which did not hunt its own food, in short this fish living on its dividends in fresh water, the tail fin was atrophied. It was hardly larger than a playing card. [This salmon] was no longer a hard-bellied athlete. You could sink a finger into its flesh as if it were an eiderdown coverlet."
~ James de Coquet, gastronomic editor of Le Figaro

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