Co-op Connection October 2012

Co-op Connection

 

Food and Community News
Bloomingfoods Market & Deli

October 15, 2012


At the Co-op

Elm Heights Project Update

Deconstruction
Demolition of the old building which has graced the site of 614 E 2nd street for well-nigh 100 years is now largely complete. It was like a surreal dinner, watching the relentless maw of the excavator literally consume the old building, bite after bite, chewing it up, spitting it into a dumpster, and then returning for yet another mouthful until nary a scrap was left. Here is a collection of photos we took of the building's demolition. This week the cement slab will be broken up and removed, and we'll lay down the solid fill for the new structure.

Member Loan Drive Update
"Members' Economic Participation." It is one of the 7 pillars upon which the co-op industry is based, and the participation to which it refers can take a number of forms. Most recently, in our Elm Heights project, Bloomingfoods members have stepped up generously to participate in the member loan drive we're conducting to raise $800k of the approximately $3m we need to purchase land and construct the new store. To date, more than fifty- members have loaned more than $600k, and an additional $130k has been pledged. We think the loan program is a great way for our member-owners to have a significant stake in establishing a wonderful new neighborhood co-op grocery store while earning their choice of 2%, 3%, or 4% interest.  Please consider making a pledge here, and I'll get back to you very soon. Or better yet, contact me directly with any question you may have or to make an appointment to sit down together and execute a loan.

Wanted: Lighting Fixtures
Our design process for the new store is well underway, and we have started to make decisions about the look and feel we hope to create. One important piece of the design is to create a lighting plan, and we recently decided to incorporate vintage light fixtures in the space.  The classic schoolhouse pendants from the 20’s, 30’s and 40’s are just the look that we are going for, and we need your help finding some. We could use several dozen of the pendants. Do you know of a great source for the fixtures or maybe even just the shade? Do you have some in storage that you would love to see in the new store? We are looking for white glass or white glass with minimal painted decoration, and the dimension of where the shade attaches to the fixture should be roughly 6 inches.  If you are or know of a source, please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Annual Meeting
Each fall Bloomingfoods staff, board, and members gather for our annual meeting. This year the meeting will be held at Wonderlab on Thursday, October 18th from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. 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. Your business is in the midst of very exciting times, and it will be a fine thing to assemble together and celebrate. Please rsvp if you intend to attend, letting us know the number in your party so that we can plan for food and drink. Hope to see you there.

Board Report: A History of Meeting Needs
In this month's board report, Carol Bridges reflects on the phenomenon of co-ops as businesses which give back to, rather than taking from, the communities of which they're a part. Her remarks are based both on many years of observing Bloomingfoods serving our community and on the board's recent viewing of the documentary-in-process, Food for Change.

Wine Tasting
"Too much of a good thing." That's what many of our shoppers have told us about trying to attend both a truckload sale and a wine tasting on the same day, which is how we've scheduled them the last couple of years. Therefore, this year's annual Fall Wine Tasting has been rescheduled to take place in our freshly enclosed patio on Saturday, November 3rd from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m.  We'll offer more than 50 wines, ranging from big dry reds to light sweet and bubbly whites, along with a nice assortment of cheeses and specialty meats, all for a $5 admission fee.

Local Grower Profile:  Musgrave Orchard
Staff member Phoebe Blake had the opportunity recently to visit one of our favorite local producers, Musgrave Orchard. Here's her report on this fine family run and family oriented producer of delicious apple cider and other products.


October--November Member Days & Product Specials
Member day is Tuesday in October and Wednesday in November. These are the October 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.)
The final touches are now being put on the enclosed patio, with lights and fans installed and operational. We think the space has a wonderful feel. We'll open it soon for dining and visiting with friends.  The first big event?  Our November 3rd wine tasting. Hope to see you there.

Until that wine tasting event, check out the nice selection of Oktoberfest and German-style beers we're offering in the store, in addition to several pumpkin beers and ciders.

In our meat department, we now carry the Smoking Goose smoked ham hocks (I can attest they are splendid in soups).  We also have that fine company's smoked turkey breast, which is great for sandwiches. We've also recently expanded our offering of Beeler meats to include delicious pork franks and flavored bacons.

Jacob Wittman (from Grocery) and Mark Jennings (Wellness Manager) visited the Frontier Co-op in Norway, Iowa in mid-September.  Frontier supplies us with the majority of our bulk herbs and most of our bottled spices. Mark had this to say about the visit: “I was very impressed with the extensive scrutiny exercised by the company in the selection of high quality herbs and spices.  I can be assured that, when I purchase an herb or spice from Frontier Co-op,  I am getting an unadulterated, top notch product.”

Spring may seem a long time away, but our seed suppliers need to have our orders within the next few weeks so that the Garden Center can have bulk and packet seed on the shelves in January for early starting. So if there are varieties of vegetable or flower seeds, tools, or equipment you didn’t find at the Garden Center this past season, please let us know ASAP so we can have them available for your garden next spring. 

Near West Side Store
(812-333-7312; 316 W 6th St.)
"Hey, Steve, can you believe it? I've got 15 different kinds of bacon for sale!" exulted Jim Woodard, our Near West Side meat manager, as I sauntered peckishly in front of the deli counter.  Perhaps we should organize a bacon tasting event in order to better appreciate the subtleties of each.

And we have almost that many varieties of apple. Due to an unusually warm spring and a most inopportune frost, Appleworks out of Trafalgar, Indiana, our major supplier of local apples since 2007, lost a large percentage of their apple crop.  We regret their loss and certainly wish them an exceptional year next year to make up for it. In the meantime though, to meet the needs of our customers, we conducted an extensive search for another relatively local apple supplier, which led us ultimately to Garwood Orchards, a 6th generation family farm outside LaPorte, Indiana. We're very pleased to be offering up to eight varieties of their apples, all of which we've discovered to be both beautiful and delicious. We hope you'll be pleased.

Musgrave cider is also available, following the orchard's first press on Saturday 9/29/12. As with Appleworks, Musgrave was hard-hit by the weather this year, but they'll do their best to keep their products on our shelves for as long as possible.

See, too, the many new products in our general merchandise area, including hemp/cotton reusable cloth diapers, made in the USA, and available to us via The Willow Store. And from Green Toys, we now have 100% recycled plastic toys, also made in the USA.  See too our new line of tea infusers.

Around Town

Local Growers Guild Harvest Dinner
The Annual Harvest Dinner is the major fundraising effort in support of the Local Growers Guild and its projects. This year's dinner will be Thursday, October 25th at Upland Brewery, and will consist of an elegant five-course meal featuring locally grown food prepared by Alan Simmerman (Bloomingfoods), Seth Elgar (Upland Brewery), Damian Esposito (Indiana Memorial Union, Alisha Mustafa (Mustafa Pie Co.) and Jeff Gross (The Chocolate Moose). Tickets are available at all our stores, at Upland, and on the LGG website.


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 Bill Brown, Indiana University Director of Sustainability, will deliver an address entitled "Negawatts, Negatons, Negagallons: Using Less, Thriving More” during the programmed portion of the evening, from 6 - 6:30 on October 24th.   Bill  will discuss how to save millions of dollars and have fun conserving natural resources.  This October Green Drinks Bloomington is sponsored by the Siam House, and is the last one for 2012.  Please join us for a snack, a drink, and a lively discussion with your friends and neighbors.

Going Solar Presentation
Have you been thinking about “Going Solar” but don’t know where to start?  On Tuesday, October 23 at 7:00 p.m. in room 1B of the Monroe County Public Library, you can join others who wish to shift their homes to clean energy. SIREN (Southern Indiana Renewable Energy Network) volunteers will talk about the costs, financial incentives, carbon savings, and other considerations for installing solar and geothermal systems.  Learn what is involved, have your questions answered by local green energy experts, learn about free energy audits available in our area, and sign up for a free, solar pre-assessment to determine the solar potential of your home. Please RSVP by Friday, October 19th.

Never Grow Up FUNdraiser
Join Monroe County United Ministries for great food, beverages, and fun at its first annual "Never Grow Up!" FUNdraiser on Thursday, November 8th from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. The young and the young at heart will ejoy this event that supports affordable, high-quality childcare for low-income children and basic needs assistance for families in crisis.

In the Co-op World

It's Co-op Week in Indiana
And it's co-op month in the U.S. and International Year of the Co-op throughout the world. It's a wonderful thing to see our business model enjoying so much positive recognition.  And, next, a report on new studies that will reveal the details of why the co-op model is such a powerful and beneficial force in the world.

Co-op Studies to Provide New Insights
The results of a series of groundbreaking studies about the cooperative sector will be released at this year's International Summit of Cooperatives in Quebec, Canada, October 8-10. Consulting firms Deloitte, Ernst & Young, McKinsey & Co., and Canada and Oliver Wyman will each present the findings of one or more studies, as will two research institutions in Quebec—the University of Sherbrooke (IRECUS) and Quebec University (UQAM).

Food, Eating, and Health

Refrigerator Preserves
If you love home-made fruit jams and preserves but are daunted by the boiling water, risk of contamination, general mess associated with hot water bath canning, consider refrigerator jams.  Melissa Clark, in a New York Times article, explains that they're quick, safe, easy, and very delicious.

Why Can't Africa Feed Itself?
Wonder why a continent with 400 million hectares of agricultural land waiting to be cultivated is starving to death?  Here's the tale of bad history, bad bureaucracy, and bad policies and institutions that together conspire to create a perfect storm of absurdity and misery.

Proposition 37: To Label or Not To Label GMOs
Opponents of Proposition 37, the California bill that would require the labeling of genetically modified foods, declare it "confusing, costly, and misleading." Civil Eats, on the other hand, recounts all the reasons the bill and the practice of labeling of genetically engineered foods is a good thing.  Michael Pollan, probably the foremost food writer of our time, discusses the issue in this New York Times essay, entitled, aptly enough, "Vote for the Dinner Party."

On the International GMO Scene
While the U.S. squabbles over the advisability of allowing and labeling genetically modified foods, France is making a call, based in part on the damning findings of a recently released study conducted in France. The French GMO study concluded that "rats fed a lifelong diet consisting of Roundup-containing genetically modified corn suffered serious consequences." Opponents "found significant and systematic flaws with both the experimental approach and the data."  Elsewhere in Europe, Nation of Change reports that Hungary, Poland, Peru, and, most recently, Russia, have already taken steps to ban the use of Monsanto's seeds.

Meat Map Helps You Avoid Antibiotics
So, you've decided you want to eat meat, but only clean meat.  But how are you to know, especially if you're traveling? Robert Kenner, director of Food, Inc. recently created this useful map that invites you to enter a zip code in which you'd like to identify stores, farms, restaurants, and markets where you can get "clean" meat.

Pink Slime Producers Sue ABC
Speaking of bad meat, did you know that the makers of the dreaded "pink slime" are suing ABC News for at least $1.2 billion in damages it alleges were caused by the network's use of the derogatory expression "pink slime" to describe the, well, slimy pink substance they were inflicting on a mostly unsuspecting public that made clear they didn't like it when they became aware of it. 

Environmental News

Bobcats in Gibson County
There is hardly a greater threat to species diversity than the loss of natural habitat. It is therefore very exciting and encouraging to witness the return of native species to areas being allowed to revert to their natural states. One such site is in Indiana, in Gibson Co., where the Sycamore Land Trust has acquired a 1,043 acre tract adjoining Patoka River National Wildlife Refuge, one of only three national wildlife refuges in Indiana. See these magnificent photos of two bobcats spotted in the top of a dead tree by Steve Gifford during a recent hike. And just to be safe: better bring the dogs inside tonight, ma.



Fracking in France
Well, it seems there'll be no more fracking around in France. At the same conference at which it was declared that France would not permit the use of Monsanto's GMO grain, French President François Hollande declared a ban on fracking, stating that "no one could be sure that fracking was free from "serious risks to health and the environment."

Germany Sets New Solar Power Record
While not exactly a recent event, we hadn't seen it until now, so it was news to us and may be to you as well: According to this Reuters article, 22 gigawatts of solar power per hour were fed into the national grid on a consecutive Friday and Saturday in May, 2012, thereby meeting almost 50 percent of the nation's midday electricity needs. This is a very significant achievement, demonstrating that one of the world's leading industrial nations "was able to meet a third of its electricity needs on a work day, Friday, and nearly half on Saturday when factories and offices were closed." Germany abandoned nuclear power after the Fukushima nuclear disaster last year, immediately closing eight plants, and scheduling the shutdown of the remaining nine by 2022.

Closing Thoughts

"I mind my own business, and I don't eat junk food."
~ 116-year-old Besse Cooper of Monroe, Georgia, the oldest person in the world.

"When the heat of summer's over and the coolin' fall is here." So it was said by Indiana's own local poet, James Whitcomb Riley, in his celebration of this most beautiful time of year.

"When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock, 
And you hear the kyouck and gobble of the struttin' turkey-cock, 
And the clackin' of the guineys, and the cluckin' of the hens, 
And the rooster's hallylooyer as he tiptoes on the fence;
O, it's then the time a feller is a-feelin' at his best,
With the risin' sun to greet him from a night of peaceful rest, 
As he leaves the house, bareheaded, and goes out to feed the stock, 
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock. 

They's something kindo' harty-like about the atmusfere 
When the heat of summer's over and the coolin' fall is here
Of course we miss the flowers, and the blossoms on the trees, 
And the mumble of the hummin'-birds and buzzin' of the bees; 
But the air's so appetizin'; and the landscape through the haze 
Of a crisp and sunny morning of the airly autumn days 
Is a pictur' that no painter has the colorin' to mock
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock. 

The husky, rusty russel of the tossels of the corn, 
And the raspin' of the tangled leaves as golden as the morn; 
The stubble in the furries—kindo' lonesome-like, but still 
A-preachin' sermuns to us of the barns they growed to fill;
The strawstack in the medder, and the reaper in the shed; 
The hosses in theyr stalls below—the clover overhead!— 
O, it sets my hart a-clickin' like the tickin' of a clock, 
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock. 

Then your apples all is gethered, and the ones a feller keeps
Is poured around the cellar-floor in red and yaller heaps; 
And your cider-makin's over, and your wimmern-folks is through 
With theyr mince and apple-butter, and theyr souse and sausage too!... 
I don't know how to tell it—but ef such a thing could be 
As the angels wantin' boardin', and they'd call around on me
I'd want to 'commodate 'em—all the whole-indurin' flock— 
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.
~ James Whitcomb Riley





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