5-Spot: Things That Make the Co-op Unique

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Written by Sarah Quallen, Co-op Volunteer Writer

 Moscow’s a pretty special place: it has a low crime rate, there are a ton of activities to do in the area, Moscow-ites are bound to run into a familiar face – or four – wherever they go, and, of course, there is the Moscow Food Co-op. The Co-op has its own appeal, and much of it has to do with what it does differently than other grocery stores and co-ops.

 1. Compost. Yup, the Moscow Food Co-op composts. While a lot of businesses recycle, composting has yet to take off in the business world.

 2. The size of our co-op is impressive, especially relative to the size of the town. Because of its considerable available space, the Moscow Food Co-op is a full-service grocer, deli, and bakery. It has a selection that’s difficult to beat, which is particularly useful if one has special dietary needs.

 3. Yes, the Farmer’s Market is fab, but our local farmers can use every opportunity to make their produce available to consumers, which is why the Tuesday’s Grower’s Market is such a wonderful component to the Moscow Food Co-ops offerings. This is not competition, it is what a co-op is all about: working together to bring local business to local businesses.

4. Co-op Kids. Mama’s and Papa’s. Wine Tasting. Cooking Classes. The Moscow Food Co-op’s “clubs” or activities contribute to its uniqueness. It is not merely a place to shop, but a place to meet people, a place to socialize, and a place to learn. Which brings me to the best “unique” part of the Moscow Food Co-op:

 5. Its Community. We are what makes the co-op unique. We contribute our voices, our personalities, our desires, and our education to a community of people that help others, that respect differences, and that just plain ol’ enjoy life in a small town – and we tend to do it all at the Moscow Food Co-op.

Meet the Makers: Mountain Blue Eye Jewelry

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About ten years ago, Stacy Boe-Miller began channeling the creative energy that’s always been inside her. She had been making jewelry as an outlet, but when people other than her family members started commenting about how much they liked her work, she thought she might be on to something. While on a hike with her husband, Brant and their oldest son, Noah, now 13, she was inspired by the mountain blue-eye grass in the wild, and with a bright set of blue eyes of her own, the name of her business was born.

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With three children, Noah, Juan and Ruby, making jewelry has allowed for both the creativity she craves and the flexibility she needs. And after moving to Moscow in 2011, Stacy has realized this is a great place for local artists. “Moscow is an amazing place to be an artist– it’s such a supportive community.” With the support of her family, especially her sister Daleen who is a woodworker, and her friends in the community, Stacy has been able to watch her line of jewelry grow and learn new skills along the way.

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In a day and a half Stacy and her sister learned soldering skills from Frank Finley at the Salish Kootenai College in Pablo, MT. She had purchased books and watched videos before, but it was the hands-on learning that really made a difference. Stacy says, “Learning to solder and take a plain sheet of metal and turn it into jewelry that someone will wear is so satisfying. It gives me the confidence to call myself a jewelry artist.” While it can be difficult to purchase supplies locally, Stacy gets beads from Lapwai when possible and also supports other small businesses on Etsy- an online marketplace for handmade goods. Since she has an Etsy shop of her own, she knows that you’re more likely to get better customer service and find what you’re really looking for with smaller shops.

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Besides the Co-op, you can find Mountain Blue  Eye Jewelry at Blackbird at the Depot in Potlatch, BookPeople and the Prichard Art Gallery in Moscow and a couple shops in South Dakota and Wyoming. And you can look for Stacy next summer at the Moscow Farmers Market where she hopes to share a booth with her sister. Stacy says that seeing strangers wear her jewelry is so satisfying and that if you love what you do and you happen to make money while doing it, then you’re really lucky. Her husband always asks, “Is this your bliss?”, and for Stacy, she says it truly is.

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Keep your eyes peeled for new pieces from Mountain Blue Eye in the Co-op and if you’re interested in custom jewelry, Stacy can be reached at mountainblueeye@gmail.com.

Food For Thought Film Series: FED UP!

For our September screening of the Food for Thought Film Series, we will be showing the popular new film, Fed Up!

Fed Up, an official selection for the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, is an eye-opening documentary that serves up some hard-to-swallow news: “In 2010, two out of every three Americans were either overweight or obese,” and it is believed that “generations of kids will now live shorter lives than their parents.”

 Filmmaker Stephanie Soechtig and TV journalist Katie Couric lead us through an examination of obesity in America. They discuss how processed food remains cheap and accessible; school nutrition budgets have been slashed while fast food is served in many U.S. schools, and the remarkable amount of sugar being added to most products including those labeled “low fat” or “fat free”. The film also personalizes the problem by introducing us to real people and the frustration and failure many of them are experiencing. University of Idaho dietician, Marissa Rudley, will be in attendance on behalf of Vandal Nutrition with some great information regarding community resources and an interactive sugar display.

The Moscow Food Co-op will also be partnering with Backyard Harvest to host a Fresh Food Drive before and after the film. Backyard Harvest is a local non-profit organization whose mission is to increase low-income families’ and seniors’ access to fresh, healthy foods and the Fresh Food Drive is just one of many ways they are doing this. Movie-goers are encouraged to bring fresh food items to donate in exchange for free entry into the movie. Join us for a night of fun Wednesday September 17th with doors opening at 6:30 PM – hope to see you there!

Beet Read: The Soil Will Save Us

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By Rachel Caudill, Good Food Book Club Volunteer Coordinator

“Even the broken letters of the heart spell earth.” ~ Daniel Thompson

 Join us in reading the September Co-op Good Food Book Club book, The Soil Will Save Us: How Scientists, Farmers, and Foodies are Healing the Soil to Save the Planet (2014) by Kristin Ohlson. The Book Club will meetSunday, September 28, from 7:00-8:30 at a member’s private residence to discuss The Soil Will Save Us. Email bookclub@moscowfood.coop for more information and directions.

 What is the most singular and unique thing about the Palouse Region? One could rightfully argue….it is our soil. The Palouse fields and hills hide a remarkable substratum; Palouse soils are deeper than Olympic diving pools. And they’re among the richest, most generative soils in the world. Our deep dirt derives from a violent history of massive ice dam breaches, repeated over thousands of years during the last ice age. Known as The Missoula Floods, these herculean deluges dumped immense masses of soil right here beneath us as the waters from behind the colossal ice age dams crashed out across the landscape in unimaginably huge torrents.

 These soils quite literally make the Palouse the Palouse. They make our region unique and special from its very core. There could be no better choice, then, for this month’s “Unique to the Palouse” theme, than the brand-new book The Soil Will Save Us. Here best-selling author and award-winning science writer Kristin Ohslon threads together the best of what our book club has pondered so far this year. Linking ideas from books like Cows Save the PlanetWhole, and The Omnivore’s Dilemma, her thesis is at once familiar but also breakthrough: She takes us to the heart of the matter. Next to the sun, soil is the core, the root, the generative well-spring of all life on Earth. It has the capacity to heal what ails our planet. And for thousands of years, humans knew it. Today, Ohlson reminds us, it’s time to remember.

 From Rodale: “Thousands of years of poor farming and ranching practices—and, especially, modern industrial agriculture—have led to the loss of up to 80 percent of carbon from the world’s soils. That carbon is now floating in the atmosphere, and even if we stopped using fossil fuels today, it would continue warming the planet. In The Soil Will Save Us, journalist and bestselling author Kristin Ohlson makes an elegantly argued, passionate case for ‘our great green hope’—a way in which we can not only heal the land but also turn atmospheric carbon into beneficial soil carbon—and potentially reverse global warming.”

 Her book “…will inspire everyone to rethink the potential of the ground beneath their feet, as well as the landscapes around them, and to figure out how they can make a difference.”

 Please join us to discuss The Soil Will Save Us: How Scientists, Farmers, and Foodies are Healing the Soil to Save the Planet (Rodale 2014) by Kristin Ohlson on Sunday, September 28 from 7:00-8:30 pm. Remember to email bookclub@moscowfood.coop for the meeting location and directions and/or to receive email reminders about the Good Food Book Club. The Soil Will Save Us by Kristin Ohlson is available through your local library.  If you are interested in buying the book, check out the area’s local used book stores or visit Book People of Moscow where Book Club members receive a discount. For more information about the Good Food Book Club click here.

Meet the Makers: New Co-op Sign

Our Meet the Makers series typically features stories and photos about our local artisans and producers who create and grow products in our community. This time, we’re excited to show you the process for making our brand new Moscow Food Co-op sign, which can now be seen hanging above the front of our store. The reason this sign is so special to us is because it was made by hand by three of our talented Co-op employees. Mark, our Facilities Assistant, Chris, our Kitchen Buyer and Bill, our Facilities Manager worked hard to bring a true piece of art to our community.
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Made from Idaho Forest Group cedar planks, Mark helped guide the process to make sure the planks looked seamless and mapped out a plan to ensure the sign is the most durable it can be. Having our staff make the sign meant that we could keep our costs down, keep our dollars in the local economy and showcase our local talent. They projected the sign’s image onto the planks, traced the image and then Chris went to town free-routing the design, cutting out the image so that it is raised from the background.

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He left the words nice and smooth and added a beautiful texture to the background so that image popped out and was more visually appealing. The sign was then stained and sealed so that it will stand up to our climate and was installed at night after the store was closed.

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The metal mounting brackets were made by Mundy’s in Moscow, so really this sign is truly Idaho made! Stop on by and see it in person and let Mark, Chris and Bill know how much you love it.

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Distribution of the Co-op Dollar

Shopping at the Moscow Food Co-op is definitely a different experience than shopping at a conventional grocery store. But do you know why? Take a look at this breakdown of where your money goes when you shop with us!

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5 Ways to Improve Your Farmers Market Experience

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The 5 Spot: Ways to Improve Your Farmers Market Experience
By Sarah Quallen, Co-op Volunteer Writer

If I’m in town, and if it’s not too cold and rainy, I spend Saturday mornings downtown cruising the Farmers Market. My children are used to this routine and, since we have designated Saturday as “treat day,” they
have come to expect either mini-donuts or a scoop of ice cream upon our arrival. My children are three and five; prior to this year it has taken most of my husband’s and my energy just to keep them from getting lost. So
now that we can focus more on the complete Farmers Market experience, I’ve collected some ideas on how to make the shopping part as good asthe social part.
Arrive Early: But not too early. As the saying goes, the early bird gets the worm. Well, at the Farmer’s Market, early birds don’t get the worm, rather, they get the best possible produce and vendors still have their full
selection of products. But if they get there too early, then shoppers get vendors who aren’t completely ready to serve customers.
Arrive Late: Seems a little contradictory to my first suggestion, doesn’t it? Late arrival does limit one’s selection, but it can provide more frugal shoppers the opportunity to get lesser quality produce (usually the stuff
that’s bruised or damaged in transportation) at a lower price. Since it is the end of the farmers’ day, they may also be willing to sell at a lower price just to clear out their inventory.
Bring Cash: Often vendors accept cash only, and if everyone pays with large bills their change gets depleted quickly. Having exact change expedites the transaction and helps the line move quickly. And remember,
small bills are always appreciated!
Bring Your Own Bags/Boxes/Coolers: While vendors often have something to package your purchases in, it raises their expenses (and therefore, yours), and it’s just one more way you can participate in reducing
waste. Another helpful move is to bring your empty boxes from last week back to the vendors so they can reuse them.
Try Something New: The Farmers Market provides an excellent opportunity to step outside of your comfort zone. If you have questions about a food–like how to cook or prepare it or what to pair it with–ask
the farmer. Talking with the farmers is also an excellent way to show your appreciation for them.
While this list focuses on improving your shopping experience, remember that our Farmers Market is about so much more than shopping for produce—it’s also about community, socializing, and fun.

Beet Read | Turn Here Sweet Corn: A memoir on growing local, organic food

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By Rachel Clark, Good Food Book Club Volunteer Coordinator

Join us in reading the August Co-op Good Food Book Club selection, Turn Here Sweet Corn: Organic Farming Works by Atina Diffley. The Book Club will meet Sunday, August 31, from 7:00-8:30 at a member’s private residence to discuss Turn Here Sweet Corn. Email bookclub@moscowfood.coop for more information and directions.

With all of the support for farmers’ markets and local farming movements in our area, we couldn’t pick a better book. Atina Diffley’s courageous and vivid account of her journey to successful organic farming offers an inside view of the nitty-gritty challenges and extraordinary satisfactions that come with local, organic farming. Publisher’s Weekly says, “”In addition to being a charming memoir of love and living off the land, Diffley’s debut is a timely tale of modern farming, the growing organic movement, and the problems that arise when urban development runs up against fertile fields. Equal parts anecdote and practical organic farming guide, this book is a powerful testament to the Diffleys’ passion for their work and a terrific guide to the trials and tribulations of sticking to the land…and going organic.”

If you’re itching for the pleasures and inspirations of armchair farming—the kind that just might nudge you to growing and selling your own food—this book’s for you. Plus, it’s more than just another farming tome. This book’s a page-turner, complete with a gripping opening scene:

“An explosion of light rips me out of a deep sleep. Behind the flash is a deafening boom. The sky sparks again, a fused web of tearing lines…Damn.  I look at the date on the clock. June 8, 2005. Not now.” It’s a hail storm; hitting her farm with the fury of “cold, hard water.” And she’s got to deal with it.  Right then. Right there.

Deborah Madison, author of Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating from America’s Farmers’ Markets, writes, “What strikes me most about this amazing memoir is that for those of us who aren’t farmers but who are versant in such issues as organics, soil building, diversity, GMOs, certification and more—it is utterly different to hear how the farmer herself grapples with them in her daily life. Unlike reading about the same issues in an article, it’s immediate, powerful, tender, heartbreaking and above all, encouraging.

Come join us to discuss Turn Here Sweet Corn (University of Minnesota Press, 2012) by Atina Diffley, Sunday August 31 from 7:00-8:30 pm. Remember to email bookclub@moscowfood.coop for the meeting location and directions and/or to receive email reminders about the Good Food Book Club. Turn Here Sweet Corn is also available through your local library.  Check out the area’s local used book stores or visit Book People of Moscow where Book Club members receive a discount.

 

What Will You Spend Your Dividend On?

One of the greatest perks about being an owner of the Moscow Food Co-op is the patronage dividend at the end of the year. Each year our Board of Directors votes whether or not to disperse dividends to owners and this year they voted that owners would receive dividends! In order to receive your dividend, please make sure that your address is correct in our system at the customer service desk. You can expect to receive your dividend at the beginning of September and it must be redeemed within 90 days. Not sure what to spend this extra cash on? Here are some ideas!

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1. PACT Socks (Organic Cotton)- $10.00
2. Cards from Good Paper- $4.99
3. The Feel Good Business, Hammered Copper Hoop Earrings (locally made)- $30.99
4. Bequet Caramels- $0.39 each
5. Le Creuset Mug- $14.99
6. Constellation & Co. Cards- $4.69
7. Constellation & Co. Cotton Bag- $4.99
8. Maika Pouch- $11.99
9. Torch Illumination Co. Candles, Sugared Eucalyptus- $9.99