At the Co-opElm Heights Project Update
Member Loan Drive
"Awesome" has become a somewhat hackneyed expression in recent years, bandied about and casually applied to phenomena hardly more remarkable than mundane. So it is with just a little trepidation that I observe that member-owner response to the member loan drive has been nothing less than awe-inspiring. To date, almost 100 people have stepped forward and made over $900,000 in loans in support of the Elm Heights project. Their enthusiasm for and confidence in this project have been wonderful to experience, and it inspires all of us working for the co-op to do our absolute best to protect your investment and to deliver a store that will quickly become a vital and beloved cultural hub in the neighborhood. We intend to call it a wrap at the end of the month or when we reach $1 million, whichever comes first.
Property Development and General Contractor
There is almost a sense of lull in the project as we head into Thanksgiving. The loan drive is wrapping up, our construction documents are ready, and we're on the threshhold of hiring our general contractor. Things will take off again very soon. To stay abreast of developments, and to see a pretty extensive set of pictures documenting the demolition of the site, visit our BloomingtonElmHeights page. We'll maintain a chronicle there of the unfolding of the project.
Thanksgiving News and Volunteer Request
With the Annual Meeting passed, Thanksgiving is our next big event, and the inventory and spirit in the stores reflects it: wonderful food and good cheer abound. Did you miss the pre-order deadline for your centerpiece dish? Don't despair, but don't wait too long. We have quite a few extra turkeys, hams, ducks, and vegetarian alternatives, but we'll be moving them on a first come, first served basis beginning Sunday, November 18th. In addition to meats, our delis and bakeries will be offering a nice selection of side dishes.
I'm told, too, that we could use a few more volunteers at the East store, Sunday through Wednesday of Thanksgiving week. Drop a line to our front-end manager, Tom Zeta, if you're interested in being part of the fun during this wild and exciting week. As always, volunteers will earn a week of 10% off shopping for each two-hour shift they work.
In this month's board report, Carol Bridges, board secretary and recent recipient of the Krejci Award, gives her thanks to the membership, the staff and management, and to board liaison Darcy Harvey, who recently submitted her letter of resignation in order that she may pursue adventure on the far side of the globe.
The annual meeting held last month was a very pleasant celebration of food, wine, friendship, and the success of your co-op business. Our special thanks to chefs Kai Bookwalter and Dan Borders, and to the entire Bloomingfoods kitchen team that once again assembled such a bountiful and delicious assortment of food and wine. Thanks, too, to the folks at Wonderlab for making their entertaining facility available to us. Finally, congratulations to Bob Flynn and Carol Bridges, most worthy co-recipient of this year's Krejci award.
November--December Member Days & Product Specials
Member day is Wednesday in November and Thursday in December. These are the November product specials, and these are the member-owner specials. Your Co+op Deals flyers are available here.
Safety in the Stores
We're pleased to report that we recently installed new first-aid cabinets in our stores. In addition to the usual assortment of bandages and disinfectants, we've also added an Automated External Defibrillators to our toolbox. So if you notice someone in our stores clutching his chest, bring it to the attention of one of our staff. We might actually be able to help.
Mother Hubbard's Cupboard Food Drive
We're now in the midst of our 6th annual "Share the Harvest" campaign in support of Mother Hubbard's Cupboard (MHC). MHC is the wonderful organization in our city that provides food, gardening and nutrition education, and life skills support to clients needing a helping hand. This is a "donated dollars" campaign, during which we have coin containers placed prominently at all our cash registers. Please give, as your conscience and pocketbook suggest.
(812-336-5400; 3220 East Third St.)
In addition to a fine assortment of local apples and other fruits and vegetables, the produce area of the store is now awash in sweet, juicy, delicious tropical fruits, including baby pineapple, pepino melon, dragon fruit, strawberry papaya, guava, passion fruit, Buddha's hand, cactus pear, sugar cane, California navel oranges.
In the grocery department, manager Martha Philion reports this month on the wide array of new products she has brought in, including Flax and Spelt, Sesame Sunflower, Lentil Grain and Whole Wheat breads from One Degree Veganic Foods, a family-owned company in Abbotsford, BC dedicated to producing simple, sustainable and transparent foods. We also have in stock Noosa Yoghurt, brought in at the request of a customer and now virtually flying off the shelf. In our bulk section we have lemon almonds and mango almonds, allergen-free dark chocolate chips, and dairy and gluten-free Pamela’s Whenever Bars. Note, too, that we now carry gluten-free and vegan Bakeman Brownies, in Espresso Rum, Raspberry, Amaretto, and Triple Dark Chocolate flavors. The beer and wine department is also loaded with new offering, and don't miss the new line of Peacetree Mountain Truffles, flavored with the beverages of several local wineries (they played to rave reviews at our last wine tasting). There's also news concerning new pet products we've introduced from Mr. Buck's and from Holistic Select.
There is news, too, from the meat department, where Josh Hermes reports on the line of organic chicken from Miller Amish Farms he has on sale, a new line of frozen beef, lamb, and goat from This Old Farm, and on the seafood he has brought in from Supreme Lobster.
Although we're heading into the dark and cold period of the year, things are hopping in the garden center, where Christmas trees will be available beginning Tuesday, November 20th. We also have a fine selection of bird seed, bird feeders, composting gear, tools, and many items that would make fine gift items for the holidays. Beginning in January, our stock of bulk seeds will begin arriving, and we'll launch a series of garden-related classes, as described here by Chris Bobbitt.
Finally, the folks in our Health & Wellness area have asked me to share this study with you, the findings of which suggest vitamin D deficiencies among diabetics can negatively affect arterial health.
Near West Side Store
(812-333-7312; 316 W 6th St.)
We're closing in on December now, so it's not too early to be thinking about Christmas, and our General Merchandise area has some great options for you: first, a new line of beauty products from Antho, including wonderful bath salts. soy candles, and body butters. Folks with a taste for the zaney will love the "Relativity Watches" provided to us by The Unemployed Philosophers Guild (UPG), and likely to come in very handy if ill fortune should take you through Franz Kafka International Airport during your holiday travels. See, too, our full line of UPG mugs, including the perennially popular Dr. Who disappearing tardis mug. And this just in: a big order of wonderful patchwork bags/purses and backpacks from the Kathmandu Clothing Co., as well as some very colorful and warm jackets and coats, not to mention the crazy fun white rabbit and donkey winter hats for kids and adults. Next, we now have in stock 5 lb. bags of birdseed. Don't have a feeder, you say. No problem. Those will be in soon. Also, we'll soon have hand-blown glass Christmas ornaments, hand-crafted by the artists of Volta Glass Studio, located just down the street from our store. How's that for local!
Another big development at the Near West Side store is the construction of a 16' x 26' walk-in cooler in the section of the building that once housed the glass store. This cooler will permit the store to purchase produce, bulk, dairy, and meat in much great quantity and variety than has heretofore been the case. Buying in larger quantities will allow us to negotiate better prices on many items, which we can then pass along to our customers.
(812-336-5300; 419 E Kirkwood Ave.)
Bloomingfoods is delighted to have new employee Heather Beery now at the helm of the Kirkwood store. Here is Heather's report on developments there.
First, we are mixing it up in the deli with grab n' go items. We've added quesadillas, breakfast wraps (such as the Chocolate Monkey - a wrap with bananas and Nutella), and an occasional deviled egg (or 6) packaged and ready to go. Next, we have a number of new items we think you'll like: PB2 powered peanut butter, with 85% less fat calories in plain and chocolate (of course we still carry our other yummy full-fat peanut butters in jars or bulk). We also have EVOL BBQ Chicken and Mozzarella flat bread, containing cage-free chicken and hormone rBST-free cheese. And for the holidays we have local persimmon pulp and Tofurky Roasts, and an ongoing supply of local apple cider (great heated up with our bulk cinnamon sticks, allspice, and touch of nutmeg). Finally, for daily updates on soups and sandwich specials, follow us on Twitter (@bfoodskw) and/or like us on Facebook (Bloomingfoods Kirkwood). See you there and in the store.
Around TownFields of Agape Event
Our friends Anna and Keith of Fields of Agape are currently busy harvesting the organic black beans destined to become the milled flour you'll find in our stores. However, that isn't preventing them from hosting a Holiday Artisan Market on Saturday, November 17th, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the beautiful old Tweedy Lumber Mill that is now home to their processing facility. Steve Peckinpaugh of the Downstream Project (a great organization documenting and educating about the expansion and damage in Indiana from industrial farms) and folks from the Caprini Creamery will be at the event throughout the day, as will an artisan baker, and a friend of Anna's who will conduct a class on essential oils at 1:30. There will also be local arts, crafts, and antiques. Consider making the short drive up to 201 E 2nd Street, Carthage, IN for a fine event.
Winter Farmers' Market
The 2012-13 Winter Farmers Market will take place every Saturday morning from 9:00 a.m. to noon, from December 1 through March 30 (closed Dec. 29th and Jan. 5th), at the Harmony School Gym (909 E Second Street). Join us there for breakfast and local produce, meats, baked goods, dairy, and the companionship of neighbors and friends.
In the Co-op WorldRoanoke Natural Foods Co-op Purchases Heritage Point Farm
Here is wonderful and inspiring news: Roanoke Natural Foods Co-op Grocery has long served southwestern Virginia as a champion of natural foods, sustainable environmental practices, and local farmers and businesses. Now, with its purchase of Heritage Point, a 24.5 acre urban farm in Roanoke City, it will continue to improve the local food infrastructure. According to its website, "The Co-op plan calls for a fruit orchard, honey, cut flowers, nursery and bedding plants, and off-season vegetable production. Free-range chickens will supply the Co-op with egg production and fertilizer for the farm. Since the group utilizes sustainable farming techniques, it will not use harmful commercial fertilizers or pesticides."
Food, Eating, and HealthThanksgiving Recipes
Whether you're looking for traditional standards or innovative ideas for your holiday dinner, you'll find them in Epicurious' collection of top-rated Thanksgiving recipes, as judged by its readers. Epicurious offers both a great array of turkey recipes, as well as a wonderful selection of side dishes.
And if you'd specifically like to skip the meat course at this year's dinner, you'll never miss it with these vegetarian and vegan dishes from the Daily Green, including cream of pumpkin soup topped with curried pecans, butternut squash-chestnut soup with caramelized pears, corn bread, tofu spinach lasagna, Chesapeake tempeh cakes, and Moroccan couscous with saffron.
The archives of the New York Times are also a wonderful, easy-to-use resource for thoughtful food essays and delicious recipes for every conceivable course in your holiday meal, from hors d'oeurves to stuffing, to sides, to meats, and desserts.
Finally, if you find you're still in possession of Halloween pumpkins, you may appreciate these eight recipes from the DailyGreen.
As we come into the winter and holiday seasons, cooking and hot food seem particularly appealing. Here though are eight foods that are both delicious raw in any season and that are much more nutritious when eaten in a raw state.
Proposition 37: To Label or Not To Label GMOs
One victim of the recent election was California's Proposition 37, which would have required the labeling of genetically modified foods. California voters rejected it 53% to 47%. Here's a nice analysis from NPR, and Grist offers these observations.
NPR files this interesting story about matchmaking services that attempt to unite underutilized farm areas near big cities with small organic farmers who need an affordable place to grow food that is close to a major urban market.
In the Whole Foods Parking Lot
We know it gets a little hectic around our stores sometimes, but we hope it isn't quite this bad.
A Cheese Tray to Remember
It just isn't a party without a cheese tray, but they're not all created equal. So with the holiday/entertaining season in front of us, we may all benefit from reading the thoughts of Laura Werlin, James Beard Award-winning author of five books on cheese, who offers these thoughts on assembling a cheese tray that will delight your guests. It's a very nice article, full of thoughtful advice and a recipe I can't wait to try for the "ultimate cheese spread" (cheese, butter, wine).
Environmental NewsFood: An Atlas
The Atlas is a collection of over 60 maps (and growing!) co-created by the guerilla cartographer community, a loose band of people who are passionate about food and geography. The Atlas endeavors to map food in its myriad contexts and conditions at all scales of research and geography. It fuses traditional cartography, poster art, info graphic, and map as narrative in its exploration of the geography of food. It's a successful Kickstart project.
Sweden Runs Out of Garbage. Must Import from Norway
Sweden, a nation of approximately nine million people, heats a quarter million of its homes via the incineration of waste. The problem? So diligently and efficiently do they also recycle that they've actually run out of burnable waste, compelling them to import the waste of their neighbor to the west. Mother Nature Network has the story.
Closing Thoughts"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
~ Margaret Mead