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

Beet Read: Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition

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Join us in reading the July Co-op Good Food Book Club selection, Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition by T. Colin Campbell. The Book Club will meet Sunday, July 27, from 7-8:30 p.m. at a member’s private residence to discuss Whole. Email bookclub@moscowfood.coop for more information and directions.

“Dr. Colin Campbell opened our eyes with The China Study. In Whole, Dr. Campbell boldly shows exactly how our understanding of nutrition and health has gone off track and how to get it right. Beautifully and clearly written, this empowering book will forever change the way you think about health, food and science.” So says Neal Barnard, Founder and President of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine about this month’s book. The landmark book, The China Study, spearheaded by Campbell, is now known as the most comprehensive study of health and nutrition ever conducted. With Whole, Colin offers up the next course: a fierce reminder of the interlocked nature of human nutrition, human and global health, and society. He continues to advocate that “the ideal human diet looks like this: Consumer plant-based foods in forms as close to their natural state as possible…eat a variety of vegetables, fruits, raw nuts and seeds, beans and legumes, and whole grains.”

But he goes on to charge our society, and the healthcare system in particular, with “reductionist thinking” when it comes to human health. Dr. Dean Ornish says he “uncovers how and why there is so much confusion about food and health and what can be done about it. His explanation is elegant, sincere, provocative, and far-reaching, including how we can solve our health care crisis. Read and enjoy; there’s something here to inspire and offend just about everyone (sometimes the truth hurts).”

Campbell is a powerful voice with a respected and important legacy. He’s the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University. He has more than 70 grant-years of peer-reviewed research funding and authored more than 300 research papers and is coauthor of the bestselling the book, The China Study: Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-term Health.

Come join us to discuss Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition (BenBella Books, 2013) by T. Colin Campbell, on Sunday, July 27 from 7-8:30 p.m. Remember to email bookclub@moscowfood.coop for the meeting location and directions and/or to receive email reminders about the Good Food Book Club. Whole is also available through your local library. Check out the area’s local used bookstores or visit BookPeople of Moscow where Book Club members receive a discount. For more information about the Good Food Book Club, click here.

From the Market: Radish Dip

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Our Tuesday Growers Market is in full swing and we’ll be bringing you recipes and photos from the market each week. This is the 11th season of our market and we’re very excited to watch is grow and thrive each year. Our market is a great option for local food purchasing and is a nice alternative to the hectic market on Main Street. This is also a great opportunity to talk with the folks who are working so hard to provide our community with fresh and healthy food from within 50 miles of Moscow. The market takes place each Tuesday from 4-6:30pm in the Co-op;s parking lot and is pleased to offer music, food, games, and activities for kids this year. Come on down and join us!

This recipe for the Co-op’s Radical Radish Dip is made using locally grown, bright, and delicious radishes.
To make this dip you will need:
1 lb local radishes, trimmed
1 1/2 cups cream cheese
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
2 tablespoons dried dill weed

Wash and trim radishes and roughly chop. Place them in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Place a layer of cheesecloth in a strainer and drain radishes by squeezing, reserving the liquid. Add remaining ingredients to food processor with half the radishes. Blend until well incorporated.  Add remaining radishes and blend until smooth. Add a little of the radish liquid if dip seems too thick. Serve with sliced baguettes or gluten free crackers.

Crop Mobbing with Deep Roots Farm

DeepRootsCollage2Crop Mobbing is the Moscow Food Co-op’s program that lets community members get a little dirty by helping our local farmers with hands-on projects. The first one this year was brought to us by Deep Roots Farm- a small farm in the city. Marci and Greg work really hard to provide our community with beautiful and delicious, sustainably raised produce, so we thought helping them out for a bit was only fair. Six dedicated volunteers joined us out at the farm to help put 300 tomato plants in the ground in under two hours!
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When asked why they farm Marci and Greg said, “To create something real. We start with soil and seeds and we end up feeding people.” Greg also mentioned that being outside everyday is a pretty big job perk.

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Marci and Greg grow vegetables using techniques that promote biodiversity on their farm. They practice an intensive planting rotation to allow plants to support and nurture each other utilizing cover crops that feed the soil and attract beneficial insects. They grow a variety of crops that are well suited to our climate and sell directly to loyal customers, at the Moscow Farmers Market, the Tuesday Growers Market at the Co-op and through a CSA.

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To learn about other Crop Mobbing opportunities be sure to sign up for the Co-op’s e-newsletter.
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Meet The Makers: potting shed creations

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Welcome back to out Meet the Makers series, where we introduce you to the folks in our area who are providing us with food, body care items and agricultural products. Today we’d like to make you more familiar with potting shed creations, ltd., located in Troy, ID. Check out the photos (courtesy of Ann and her husband Peter, owners and founders of potting shed creations) and our interview with Ann below.

When and how was potting shed creations started?
We started in 1998 as the proverbial garage business. Our first big break was creating a seed collection for Smith&Hawkin. They were a beautiful garden supply company with stores and catalog based out of San Francisco. We renovated the old elementary school in Troy and have been located here for the past ten years.

What is your background and how does it translate to what potting shed is/does?
My background is graphic design and illustration. My husband, Peter, has a background in psychology, English literature and photography. Everything we do here, however, is truly a group effort. We are surrounded by an amazing group of people who work together to design, build and sell our products here in the US and abroad. All of our products are handmade in Troy with the core belief that people make better products than machines.

 Making GIBWhy do you do what you do/why are you so passionate about this business?
We have been designing and making product for sixteen years with pretty much the same goal; to create genuine, straight forward, minimal design that distills through material, color, word, hand and function. Our passion is to stay true to that goal as we work on each new product.

How has the business grown since you first started it?
Aside from a more diverse clientele, I think our designs have grown up over the years with the focus on our core passion becoming clearer. We know who we are better than when we started and we hope our customers can see that in our work.

Where do you source your seeds and other materials from?
We are certified organic and buy direct now from growers abroad and in the US. Our holiday bulbs are grown for us in Israel, Holland and South America.
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How do you develop new products?
We are inspired by nature, reclaimed objects, gastronomy, modern culture and Japanese minimalism.

What’s your best selling product?
Best selling products change from spring to holiday and depending upon what type of store but I would say our most popular overall is one of our oldest, the garden-in-a-bag, available at the Co-op for $9.99.

Besides the Co-op, where can people find your products?
We are fortunate to have a wide range of stores that our products seem to work well with. From art galleries, museums, gourmet food and book stores. Some of our favorites are Uncommon Goods in Brooklyn, the Museum of Modern Art and NPR in Washington DC. We also custom design for companies that want to expand their brand. Typically this is for special events and promotions or a seasonal product that they would like to carry.

The Co-op is also proud to carry scatter gardens for $12.99 and herb garden-in-a-pail for $24.99. To learn more about potting shed creations click here.

Celebrate World Fair Trade Day With Us!

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World Fair Trade Day, an initiative of the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO), is a worldwide festival of events celebrating fair trade as a tangible contribution to the fight against poverty, climate change and the economic crisis that has the greatest impact on the world’s most vulnerable populations. This year’s theme is “Fair Trade People”, meaning there is a strong emphasis on the farmers and producers of fair trade, as well as on us, the consumers.

Today we’re celebrating World Fair Trade Day with Alaffia, Alter Eco, Divine Chocolate, Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, Equal Exchange, Guayaki Yerba Mate and Maggie’s Organics. All these brands are committed to fair trade through their entire supply chains supporting small family farmers and trade justice policies. 

Look for great deals on fair trade products at the Co-op today through May 20, when the manufacturers have agreed to donate 1 percent of purchases made at our Co-op to Root Capital. Root Capital is a nonprofit social investment fund that grows rural prosperity in poor, environmentally vulnerable places in Africa and Latin America by lending capital, delivering financial training, and strengthening market connections for small and growing agricultural businesses. The National Cooperative Grocers Association will be matching the manufacturers’ donations as well. Learn more about Root Capital at www.rootcapital.org.

The WFTO is asking us, the consumers, to spread the word by making a poster using their online poster generating app and sharing it on social media. It’s simple! Visit www.wfto.com/wftday/people and upload a photo of yourself. Add your role in the fair trade movement—even if you don’t have a professional role, you’re still a “supporter” or a “campaigner”—and a message that you want to share with your friends. Click submit, and your poster will appear. Share your photo with the Moscow Food Co-op’s Facebook page for the chance to win a fair trade prize!

Beet Read: Fair Food: Growing a Healthy, Sustainable Food System for All

FairFoodBookCoverWritten by Rachel Caudill, Good Food Book Club Volunteer Coordinator

Join us in reading the May Co-op Good Food Book Club book, Fair Food: Growing a Healthy, Sustainable Food System for All (2011) by Oran B. Hesterman. The Book Club will meet Sunday, June 1, from 7:00-8:30 at a member’s private residence to discuss Fair Food. Email bookclub@moscowfood.coop for more information and directions.

With May’s newsletter theme being “Fair Trade” we could hardly pick a better book to read for this month’s Book Club. Publisher’s Weekly says, “Intended as a practical guide for community food activists who want to take the locavore movement across race, class, and city lines, this book illuminate ways in which consumers can become ‘engaged citizens.’ Especially important (and rare) is Hesterman’s willingness to work constructively with corporate giants like Costco and the Kellogg Foundation….The dedication to social justice is clear, genuine, and logically argued as a food issue. A helpful and hefty final chapter of ‘Resources’ provides readers with a comprehensive national listing of organizations to join, support, or replicate.”

Written by the President and CEO of Fair Food Network Oran B. Hesterman, Fair Food reminds us that, as consumers, making conscious food choices is not enough anymore.  His aim is nothing less than to galvanize eaters to action: action to solve and heal a widespread crisis in food justice that impacts poverty, hunger, race, and class, as well as countless animals and the land we all depend on. As is becoming clear in areas such as the climate crisis, his overarching point is that individual change is not enough, we need systemic policy change. And he shows us how to do it.

The New York Times says Hesterman “displays a wide-ranging knowledge of production, consumption, natural resources and public policy. He also writes about reform efforts with contagious energy and palpable authority…this is an important, accessible book on a crucial subject. Food for thought and action.”

Please join us to discuss Fair Food: Growing a Healthy, Sustainable Food System for All (2011) by Oran B. Hesterman, June 1 (in respect of Memorial Day Weekend on the previous Sunday) 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. Fair Food by Oran B. Hesterman 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, check out the Outreach section of the Co-op website at www.moscowfood.coop.

How-To: Plant Onion Sets

OnionSets2Even though the weather is wonky, it’s a great time to get your onions in the ground! Not only do we have onion sets available in the store for $2.99 each, but they are local and come from Ellensburg, WA.  Here are some easy tips:

  1. Onions grow best in full sunlight or partial shade and need good drainage.
  2. Mix a two-inch layer of compost into the soil before planting.
  3. Set plants 1-2 inches deep, making sure that they are well covered, but that their necks are above the soil.
  4. Place plants 6 inches apart.
  5. Onions roots are pretty shallow and not very efficient at taking up moisture, so they need a steady supply of water. Although they can recover from drought and start growing again when watered, it’s best to keep the soil consistently moist until the bulbs grow.
  6. You can harvest onions early (just a few weeks after planting) if you want scallions or “spring onions.
  7. Onions can be harvested when the bulbs are big and the tops are yellow or have fallen over.
  8. Pull them out of the dirt and let them cure, with the tops still attached, in a warm space with good air flow.
  9. Let them cure for 7-10 days, until the roots dry out.
  10. Enjoy!