Faces of Bloomingfoods

Meet the people who make Bloomingfoods tick.

Our Member-Owners make Bloomingfoods special. You can read their stories here.


Faces of Bloomingfoods: Mary Beth Haas

Twelve years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I elected to have a lumpectomy, but after extensive research declined the prescribed radiation and chemotherapy because those treatments would further compromise my obviously overwhelmed immune system. Instead, I did everything natural I could find to cleanse my body of toxins and build up my immune system so that I would not get cancer again. I am thankful for the wake-up call cancer gave me to change my life and I am very grateful to Bloomingfoods for helping me save my life and regain my health. I no longer fear cancer and I am healthier in middle age than I have ever been.

The co-op provided me with a diverse and abundant selection of delicious organic fruits and vegetables, organic dairy products, nuts, seeds, oils, quality prepared foods, vitamins, homeopathic remedies, and non-toxic cleaning and body care supplies long before the chains realized there was money to be made in organics. Even now, with the subsequent growth in organic availability, when I travel to other towns, it is rare to find a store that can compete with our local co-op for quality and organic abundance.


Faces of Bloomingfoods: Local Food Heroes

This year we will also introduce the winners of our first ‘Cooperate for Community’ contest. We asked you to nominate Local Food Heroes, and our winners were selected in late September by a team of three judges: Gwen Dieter, Carol Shapiro, and Craig Stewart.

Keep reading to find out who our winners are! 


Faces of Bloomingfoods: Katie Zukof

From Argentina to an Urban Garden: Cultivating a Love of Local & Seasonal Foods
by: Katie Zukof

I got hooked on local foods when I moved to Argentina in 2005 to volunteer for two seasons on a couple of organic farms. Without a lot of money to spare, the families that I lived with ate what they had in abundance – and that meant they ate seasonally and locally.

When I arrived in late winter, our salads were mainly comprised of escarole, leeks and chicory and the watercress that we foraged from the banks of a stream. But as spring came, we enjoyed tender asparagus, robust artichokes, fresh fava beans and succulent English peas. Summer brought us mountains of fruit – strawberries, apricots and cherries, followed by peaches and plums, and in the fall we picked apples directly off the tree for our breakfast or mid-morning snack.

Not only did my Argentine sojourn change my diet, but it also changed my style of cooking. Previously, I had always cooked from recipes, planning our menu and writing detailed grocery lists, then shopping for those specific ingredients. In Argentina, we cooked with what we had. That meant we had a repertoire of basic meals for which we kept some staples around (grains, beans, pasta, and so on) and then we added to the dish whatever vegetables happened to be in season.


Faces of Bloomingfoods: Jamee Deford

The baking begins early in the morning every day of the week at the Near West Bloomingfoods, where Head Baker Jamee Deford and her assistant, Jay Record, rotate responsibility for baking dozens of scones, muffins, pies, brownies, and other desserts for both the Near West and the Downtown stores.

Jamee is known to Bloomingfoods guests as the Encore baker who perfected many of their favorite desserts. . . . 


Faces of Bloomingfoods: Justin Goellner

 Livin' la Vegan Loca(l)! - Cultivating a Love of Local and Seasonal Foods

Justin Goellner is the popular front end manager of Bloomingfoods East. Customers are often astonished when he tells them their member number, or remembers details of conversations from earlier trips through the check-out line. He is participating in the Eat Local America Challenge through August 15th, eating a vegan diet with local overtones.

I've been mulling over catchy phrases for my veganized version of the Eat Local America challenge for about two weeks. Eat (without Meat) Local! wasn't quite catchy enough, even with the internal rhyme. Hmmm... I've never been one to turn down a chance at a tongue-in-cheek pop culture reference, so LIVIN' LA VEGAN LOCAL(L) it is!
My initial panic at the 80% ingredient challenge was sourcing local vegetarian protein. Despite the large number of local soybeans, edible and/or organic ones don't really seem to be readily available. Maybe local wheat to mill into gluten flour to make seitan? Yikes! I could also just do a raw foods kick for a month, which would make everything really simple.