Co-op Connection December 2012

Co-op Connection


Food and Community News
Bloomingfoods Market & Deli

December 15, 2012

At the Co-op

Elm Heights Project Update

The Loan Drive
The member loan program in support of the Elm Heights project is now closed, and we have only a very small number of pledged loans to execute. Total raised: a whopping $1,285,000. Thanks so much to all our member-lenders for your enthusiasm for the new store and for your desire to see your co-op continue to grow and enhance its capacity to serve our community.

Property Development and General Contractor
Bids from general contractors interested in constructing our new store are due by end of day, December 18th. With that information in hand, we'll be able to quickly select our contractor, and construction should begin shortly thereafter. Check the Bloomingfoods Elm Heights page for all the latest developments.

Christmas News
Trees and Greenery
We still have a few Christmas trees and wreathes at the East and West locations, but they're going fast. Stop in soon for yours. They'll lend a very festive and fragrant air to your home this holiday season.

Gift Ideas
As described in more detail below, the stores are offering a fine array of gift items this year, including lots of beautiful and useful items from local craftspeople, artists, and authors (see Peter Bane's new work, The Permacultural Handbook). Can't decide? Consider a gift basket (perhaps one of our handmade, fair-trade African baskets?) filled with the work of local artisans. Of course, a Bloomingfoods gift card is always a welcome gift.

Belgian Waffles
Come to the East Deli on Boxing Day, (December 26th) for our fabulous Belgian waffles, usually only available on Saturdays. Enjoy your waffle Almost Naked (powdered sugar/maple syrup) or with one of our house-made topping, such as Spicy Blueberry Sauce or Chocolate-Hazelnut Topping.  

Holiday Hours
We'll be keeping somewhat abbreviated hours at all our locations over the Christmas and New Year holidays. Here are the details. Please note, too, that we'll be closing our stores at 9:00 p.m. on December 20th in order that our staff may attend the Bloomingfoods holiday party.

I'm told that we could use a few more volunteers at the East store between now and Christmas to help bag groceries. Drop a line to our front-end manager, Tom Zeta, if you're interested in being part of the fun during this festive season. As always, volunteers will earn a week of 10% off shopping for each two-hour shift they work.

From Your Board: A Mini-Retreat Report
Each December the Bloomingfoods Board of Directors holds a one-day retreat. In this month's report, Carol Bridges describes how the retreat this year was devoted to examining the role currently played by Bloomingfoods in our community and exploring directions in which that might evolve in the future.

Location Staff Trained in First Aid, CPR, and AED Usage
We reported last month on the new first-aid cabinets and automated external defibrillators (AED) we installed in our stores. This month we're pleased to let you know that 13 of our staff are now first aid/CPR/AED certified through Cintas, in partnership with the American Heart Association. Here we see them honing their chest pumping techniques.

Mother Hubbard's Cupboard (MHC) Fund Drive Report
November is the month in which Bloomingfoods conducts its annual Share the Harvest campaign in support of MHC, giving our shoppers the opportunity to make a donation, big or small as their wallet and conscience suggest, to that fine organization. We're very pleased to report that this year's drive raised a total of $4876.29 to help MHC provide healthy, nutritious food to people in need. On behalf of MHC and Bloomingfoods, thank you for your generosity.

December--January Member Days & Product Specials
Member day is Thursday in December and Tuesday in January. These are the December 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.)
In the grocery department, manager Martha Philion and her staff (Jared, Susan, Jacob, Greg, Maggie, Ben, Matt, Justin, Erin, Brenton, Chris, Nic, Paul, Josh, Nicki, Jake, Sean, Tyler) bid you all a very happy holiday and a hope that the season will be filled with family, friends, and love. Martha files this report on all the products - old and new - that we're featuring this season, including McClure's pickles, Reed’s Culture Club kombuchas, McCabe's granola, Martinsville Candy Canes, Traders Point Egg Nog, Silk Nog, Divine Chocolate Bars, Panettone, Chocolate Dusted Truffles, Gingerbread House Kits, Seabear Salmon, Holiday Cookies, 240 Sweet Marshmallows, and Peacetree Mountain Truffles.

Were you aware that our new enclosed patio is now open? It's a little cool in there on the coldest days, but otherwise it's a lovely space for eating lunch or having your morning coffee with friends.

The produce department is very pleased with the new house-made guacamole it is producing, and judging from the way it is flying off the shelves, so too are our shoppers. Also now in stock is a wide range of winter citrus: satsuma mandarin, clementine, minneola tangelo, blood orange, cara cara, and kumquats.

In the meat department, you'll now find an especially rich array of choices. Specifically, we have fresh Black Forest hams, Smoking Goose boneless city hams (also available sliced, in packages, and, according to reliable report, absolutely fabulous fried with a couple of eggs and toast), Virginia hams, and Black Forest ham nuggets. We also have frozen Bowman & Landes, Gunthorp, Schacht, and Organic Eberly Turkeys, as well as frozen Gunthorp and Bell & Evans ducks. No pre-orders: just first come-first served. Also, check out the Specialty Meat case, where you can find great holiday salamis and sliced specialty meats.

Near West Side Store
(812-333-7312; 316 W 6th St.)
Trying to wrap up your Christmas shopping? We're loaded with items your family and friends would love. For instance, we have fantastic hand-printed tee shirts by David Ebbinghouse ("Curse of the Black Scorpion"). We also have many great items from "Kikkerland," including music boxes, paper pencils, and night lights. Then, too, we have a nice selection of coffee cups, "relativity watches," and pill boxes from The Unemployed Philosophers Guild (UPG). Want something simple and basic for friends who cook? Check out our collection of kitchen gadgets, cookie sheets, and pie dishes. We also have the new line of "Vessel" drink ware, some beautiful fair trade handmade glass bead jewelry, a great array of beautiful coats and jackets from Kathmandu Imports, and "Green Toys" constructed of 100% recycled plastic. And let's not forget all the "Decomposition" books ( made from 100% recycled paper), including cork-covered journals, and the lovely fair trade leather journals from Handmade Expressions. And if you're looking for that perfect finishing touch for your tree, pick up one or more of Christmas ornaments, hand-crafted by the artists of Volta Glass Studio, located just down the street from our store.

Kirkwood Store
(812-336-5300; 419 E Kirkwood Ave.)
There's more than coffee brewing at KW, as store coordinator Heather Beery reports. First, we're continuing to introduce new items, such as the Peanut Butter Bruce Lee grab-n-go sandwich (peanut butter and house made kim chi on whole wheat bread), as well as grab-n-go breakfast treats such as Superfood (an oat-based just-add-water cereal). GF signs have been placed throughout the store to help customers more easily identity our gluten-free products. We have added many items for holiday gifting, including a manual coffee grinder (to fulfill your post-apocalyptic coffee needs) that would go great with a coffee press or single cup brew cone/travel mug set. For the non-coffee drinker we have hats, scarves, and gloves from Down to Earth, holiday candles, incense, water bottles, and travel mugs, Tibetan prayer flags, and kitchen items. We've also re-arranged the upstairs, offering more communal/comfortable seating. With free wi-fi, great sandwiches, soups, and snacks, it's a great place for small meetings or studying. Finally, for daily updates on soups and sandwich specials, follow us on Twitter (@bfoodskw) and/or like us on Facebook (Bloomingfoods Kirkwood).

Around Town

Winter Farmers' Market
The 2012-13 Winter Farmers Market will be held every Saturday morning from 9:00 a.m. to noon, from December through March (closed Dec. 29th and Jan. 5th), at the Harmony School Gym (909 E Second Street). Join us there for breakfast, coffee, snacks, and local produce, meats, baked goods, dairy, and the companionship of neighbors and friends.

Food, Eating, and Health

The Monkey on the Left
It's all about fairness. Hardly a day passes on which our sense of justice is not assaulted by some report or another of ethical shenanigans on the part of Wall Street, big government, the agriculture-food industry, the medical-pharmaceutical industry, or some other entity which seems to enjoy preferential treatment from "the system." And like the capuchin on the left in this fascinating video, our reaction tends to be...well, see for yourself just how deep-seated and elemental is our sense of fairness. God help the "let them eat cucumber" masters when the monkeys escape their cages.

The 25 Cookies of Christmas
Among the many culinary traditions associated with the holiday season, one of the most enduring is baking cookies. Whether they're to be given as gifts, shared with your office mates, or simply provide you an opportunity to share a fragrant kitchen with family and friends, it's a fine way to pass a few hours. Epicurious offers this selection of 25 of its readers' most popular cookie recipes: everything from biscotti to gingersnaps to brownies to thumbprints to stained-glass ornaments. The complete set of Epicurious Christmas recipes is also excellent, by the way, and should be able to inspire and instruct you in the preparation of about any kind of meal you desire.

Pesticides: Now More Than Ever
Here is a very thoughtful opinion piece from Mark Bittman, published in the New York Times, regarding our growing reliance on pesticides in spite of the growing body of evidence that they are almost certainly harmful to us. In the wake of the highly controversial study out of Standford purporting that organic food is no healthier than conventional, Bittman's thoughts certainly bear consideration.

Environmental News

Virtuoso Recycling in a Paraguayan Landfill Community
Here's a tale of inspiration to warm the cockles of the heart of even the most cold-hearted Scrooge. Cateura, Paraguay is an impoverished village situated, literally, on a landfill. Don't miss this three-minute teaser to the soon-to-be-released documentary, Landfill Harmonic, which details how the children of the village have organized themselves into "The Recycled Orchestra," performing beautifully on violins, cellos, and other instruments they have hand-crafted from the refuse beneath their feet. And if the metamorphosis of waste into art is of interest to you, see the award-winning Waste Land, which documents the work of artist Vik Muniz with the recycling "pickers" of Jardim Gramacho, the largest landfill in Brazil.

Public Transit Use is Up, Again
Though it isn't exactly taking the country by storm, use of public transit has grown substantially for the last seven quarters, according to a report for the American Public Transportation Association. More specifically, heavy rail use enjoyed a 3.6% increase in ridership, light rail use increased 4.2%, commuter rail saw a 2.4% increase, and even buses enjoyed a 1.8% bump in ridership.

50 Machines for a Do It Yourself Civilization
Do you like working with your hands and hate paying high prices for products, some of which have even been carefully engineered to break down before too long, thereby ensuring that you'll need to buy yet another? If so, then Open Source Ecology (OSE) may be right up your alley. Marcin Jakubowski, a fusion physicist and 2011 TED fellow, has assembled a network of farmers, engineers, and other supporters dedicated to creating a Global Village Construction Set (GVCS) (click for the great introductory video), an open source, low-cost, high performance technological platform that allows for relatively easy, do-it-yourself fabrication of the many various machines necessary to construct a sustainable civilization with modern comforts. Think of the GVCS as a life-size lego-set of modular tools useful on a farm, construction site, in urban redevelopment, or in the developing world.  Tractors, sawmills, milking machines, brick makers, hay cutters & balers, heat exchangers, engines, and printers: prototypes and open source plans for these and many other tools are in the works. Here's an excellent three-minute video from Focus Forward Films looking at this fascinating program.

Closing Thoughts

"I don’t understand why asking people to eat a well-balanced vegetarian diet is considered drastic, while it is medically conservative to cut people open."
~ Dr. Dean Ornish