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.

Preserve the Season: Ginger Pear Preserves

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We have boxes of beautiful local pears in store right now, and if the thought of eating 14 pounds of pears seems a little daunting, here’s an idea to preserve the harvest. These Ginger Pear preserves are sweet and spicy and would make a beautiful gift for someone. The pears develop a delicious caramelized flavor that pear pair nicely with a sharp and salty blue cheese- lovely for fall.

To make the preserves you will need:

3 pounds pears, peeled, cored and sliced
4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 candied ginger, finely chopped
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated

In a large pot place the pears, sugar, lemon juice and fresh ginger. Cook over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add the candied ginger to the pot and stir to combine. Increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring often, until the mixture is thick coats the back of a spoon, about 45 minutes. Pour into sterilized jars and process in a hot water bath. Without being processed in a hot water bath the preserves will keep in the refrigerator for 5 days.

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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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Panzanella (Tomato Bread Salad)

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It’s bread… it’s salad… it’s bread… it’s salad! Two words that don’t typically go together, but we think should. And really, who’s favorite part of their salad isn’t the croutons? This recipe for panzanella, or Tuscan tomato bread salad is a great way to use up old bread and use all those tomatoes and peppers from the garden or farmers market. It’s incredibly simple to make– the hardest part is letting the salad rest for an hour while it absorbs the dressing.

To make the panzanella you will need:
1 baguette or loaf of 1-2 day old bread
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pint of cherry tomatoes, sliced in halves or quarters
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup chopped basil leaves
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Tear or chop bread into bite-size pieces and coat with two tablespoons of olive oil. Spread bread in a single layer on a baking pan and toast for 10-15 minutes. Let cool. In a small bowl whisk together the vinegar, oil, garlic, salt and pepper until well combined. Place bread, tomatoes, peppers and basil in a large bowl. Pour dressing over the top and toss gently to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for at least an hour, or until the bread has absorbed the dressing.  Garnish with more basil.

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Cucumber Salsa

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Our kitchen’s made-from-scratch products are ever changing and growing as we develop more relationships with local growers and this cucumber salsa is a perfect example. We’re able to use local cucumbers, herbs, onions, tomatoes and peppers to highlight the flavors of the season. And now we’re sharing the recipe with you!

To make this salsa you will need:

1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded & diced
1/2 pound cucumber, peeled, seeded, & diced
1/4 pounds red onion, finely diced
1/4 pounds fresh tomato, seeded & minced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely diced
1/4 cup fresh mint, finely diced
1  fresh jalapeno, seeded & minced
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon safflower oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Peel the cucumbers, cut them in half lengthwise, and remove the seeds with a spoon. Then finely dice them. Prep the rest of the vegetables as directed and place them all in a large bowl. Whisk together the safflower oil, lime juice, salt, and pepper. Toss with the vegetables, adjusting salt and pepper to taste. Serve with tortilla chips or as a refreshing topping for tacos.

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Preserve the Season: Spicy Dilly Beans

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Dilly beans- cute name, but they sure can pack a punch. These are a simple, quick pickle recipe (we don’t like to work too hard) that use local beans, local garlic and local peppers. WARNING! The cherry bomb peppers are pretty dang spicy, as one staff member can attest to, so either omit them and opt just for chili flakes, or prepare accordingly! Dilly beans, while delicious straight out of the jar also make a delicious addition to cheese boards and, our favorite, Bloody Marys.
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To make these Spicy Dilly Beans you will need:
2 overflowing handfuls of beans (enough to fill 2 jars)
1 cup distilled vinegar
4 teaspoons peppercorns
6 sprigs of fresh dill
1 teaspoon chili flakes
1 cherry bomb pepper cut into rings
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons salt

Divide ingredients in half and place in jars. Add vinegar to each jar and cover the rest with water until ingredients are submerged. Cover with lids and gently shake to dissolve salt and sugar and to move the ingredients around. Let stand in refrigerator for a couple days. They’ll be good for 2-3 weeks.

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.

Preserve the Season: Fridge Pickles

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If tang and crispness is what you crave and simplicity is your style, then we have the perfect recipe for you! A bunch of our local growers have a ton of cucumbers right now (along with garlic) and this fridge pickle recipe is an easy way to put them good use and to make them last a bit longer. Although after we made them, the jar was gone within the day!
To make this recipe you will need:
8-10 firm cucumbers
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon coarse salt
2 tablespoons sugar
3-4 sprigs of fresh dill
2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
1 tablespoon peppercorns
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
Slice cucumbers into very thin rounds, about 1/8 inch thick. Place them in a large jar with a lid. Add all ingredients then add enough water to cover the cucumbers. Place the lid on and gently shake to move the ingredients around. These were delicious even about 15 minutes after making them and became more delicious as the day went on. And they’ll keep for about 3 months in the fridge (if you can keep your paws out of the jar!)
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