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!

Grow a Garden with Us!

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The sun is shining, the ground is softening and you’re sneezing 100 times a day… must be time to get planting! Our Wellness Department has everything you need to grow whatever you or your family desires.
1. Flexrake garden tools- $8.49. Click here for more information.
2. Garden in. a. bag. by Potting Shed Creations- $9.99. Made in Troy, ID (yea, local!) these cute packages have everything you need to grow a garden. In a bag. To learn more about Potting Shed Creations, visit www.pottingshedcreations.com.
3. The Vegetable Gardener’s Guide to Permaculture by Christopher Shein- $24.95. Once a fringe topic, permaculture is moving to the mainstream as gardeners who are ready to take their organic gardening to the next level are discovering the wisdom of a simple system that emphasizes the idea that by taking care of the earth, the earth takes care of you.
4. Black Owl Organic Biochar- $18.39. Give your soil a boost with this organic biochar. Great for building soil health, retaining nutrients and putting healthy microbes back into soil. For more information click here.
5. Down to Earth Earth Plugs- $10.49. Made from natural plant materials, these 100% biodegradable plugs promote optimum ventilation and hydration for root development.
6. Down to Earth Vegan Mix- $9.99. This all-natural fertilizer is formulated to contain no animal products or by-products.
For these and more, the Moscow Food Co-op has the products you need to grow a healthy garden this year!

Meet the Makers: Nutritive Body Care

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The Co-op is excited to introduce a new skin care line- made right here in Moscow! Nutritive Body Care is handmade in small batches by Kristy Bonner using the best ingredients around. After a conversation with her mother about her frustration trying to find products for her maturing skin, Kristy decided it was up to her to make a natural, organic product line that led to healthier, younger looking skin.
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Kristy developed Nutritive Body Care, not only to make a safe skincare line for her family, but also to avoid the toxins and synthetic hormones that are in most conventional beauty products today. Kristy has been learning about natural, raw and organic ingredients for close to ten years and it is this knowledge that has led to creating products for her daughter’s eczema, natural salt toothpastes and face and body creams.
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“I have plans for a sunscreen/insect repellent lotion for this spring, maybe some lip balm, deodorant, and a rash/bite/scrape ointment,” says Kristy. Her latest ingredient obsession is red raspberry seed oil due to its significant content of nutritive components including essential fatty acids and antioxidants. Look for her expanding line of products in the Co-op’s Wellness Department!

Feel Good Mondays: DIY Cleaning Products

Making your own cleaning products may sounds like a huge time investment, but these simple recipes for everyday household cleaners are easy to make and are free of harsh chemicals and toxins. Because if you have to clean in the first place, why make yourself sick inhaling the nasty conventional stuff?

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All-purpose Cleaner
• 1/4 cup baking soda
• 1/2 cup vinegar
• 1/2 gallon water

 Floor Cleaner
To clean linoleum or vinyl, combine:
• 1 cup vinegar
• 3 drops of baby oil
• 1 gallon of warm water
Apply using a mop or sponge.

 To clean wooden floors, combine:
• 3 cups vinegar
• 3 cups vegetable oil

 Natural Disinfectant
• 4 tablespoons vinegar
• 1/4 teaspoon liquid castile soap
• 3 cups hot water
Pour into a mist bottle and apply as needed.

 Bathroom Cleaners
• To clean a toilet, add 10 drops tea tree oil and 3 cups white vinegar into the toilet bowl and let sit for 15 minutes.
• To clean a shower, fill a spray bottle with half water and half vinegar. Add liquid detergent for extra strength. Leave the spray for 30 minutes before rinsing off. (Vinegar is an excellent ingredient for homemade cleaners used in bathtubs and showers because unlike soap, vinegar does not leave a residue.)
• A spray bottle filled with club soda makes a perfectly efficient glass cleaner.
• Remove rust stains with a paste made from water and cream of tartar.

 Kitchen Cleaners
For a natural, borax-free dishwasher soap, you will need:
• 1 cup baking soda
• 1/4 c. citric acid
• 1/4 c. coarse salt
• 10-15 drops of citrus essential oil (optional)
Mix first 3 ingredients well in an air tight container. Add essential oil. Mix again.
• To hand wash dishes, use a liquid soap and add 3 tablespoons of vinegar to the soapy water.

 Oven Cleaner
To make a natural oven cleaner, you will need:
• 1 tablespoon liquid castile soap
• 1/4 organic white vinegar
• 1.5 cups baking soda
• water, as needed to make a thick, but spreadable, paste
• 2-4 drops essential oil (optional)
Remove the racks from your oven. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Paint the paste over the entire surface of the oven (using an actual paint brush works well). Let the paste sit for 6-8 hours, or overnight. The paste should foam slightly. Fill a bowl with clean water and, using a sponge or scrubber, wipe away the paste. Repeat until there is no white residue and all the grime is wiped away.

CHEMICALS TO AVOID (from National Geographic’s Green Guide):

Ammonia: cuts grease
Why Avoid It: derived from petroleum and known to cause asthma
Green Alternative: vinegar

 Chlorine: disinfects
Why Avoid It: lung and skin irritant, lethal if ingested, releases mercury
Green Alternative: vinegar, lemon juice, tea tree oil, eucalyptus oil

 Monoethanolamine: helps cleaners penetrate grime
Why Avoid It: derived from petroleum, irritates respiratory system
Green Alternative: soy, corn, or coconut-based surfactants

 Glycol Ethers: dissolve soil
Why Avoid It: causes nerve damage and infertility, air contaminant
Green Alternative: eucalyptus oil

 Alkylphenol Ethoxylates: helps cleaners penetrate grime
Why Avoid It: hormone disruptor, damages fish in US streams
Green Alternative: soy, corn, or coconut-based surfactants

 Phthalates: synthetic fragrances
Why Avoid It: hormone disruptor, damages fish in US streams
Green Alternative: essential oils, baking soda deodorizers

 Triclosan: disinfectant in antibacterial cleaners
Why Avoid It: forms possible carcinogen, builds up in soil and fish
Green Alternative: hot soapy water, vinegar

Meet The Makers: Landgrove Coffee

 We are so lucky to have such passionate and talented local producers in our area and we’re thrilled to bring you profiles on them in our new series called “Meet the Makers”. Landgrove Coffee is roasted in Troy, ID by Hannah and Jon Binninger. Since 1998 they have been roasting the finest beans from Kenya, Ethiopia and Indonesia with a focus on sustainability.

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Landgrove is a family operation. Here are Hannah and Jon with their two kiddos, Flora and Clem (not quite coffee drinkers… yet.).

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Hannah says that one of the most important things they do is “making people aware that a good cup of coffee means something.”

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To learn more about the Binningers and Landgrove Coffee visit www.landgrovecoffee.com or come in to the Co-op and sample a cup in our deli.

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Eat Your Greens, Part 2

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All hail the mighty kale! In this second part of our Leafy Greens Guide you’ll learn more about this veggie that’s getting all the buzz.

Lacinato Kale (center): Part of the Brassica family. Also known as Tuscan Kale or Dinosaur Kale. It has an earthy and is more delicate in flavor than curly kale.  Kale contains large amounts of vitamins K, A and C which benefit your blood, your bones, your eyes and your immune system. All varieties of kale offer cardiovascular benefits because of its cholesterol lowering abilities. Makes great kale chips!

Curly Kale/Curly Purple Kale:  Same great health benefits of lacinato kale. Makes a great addition to soups.

Tip: If using in a salad gently massage the leaves before tossing it with other ingredients.  This will alleviate some of the toughness associated with kale.

Eat Your Greens, Part 1

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Because so many greens are at their peak in winter, now’s a great time to start adding them into your diet. And if you feel like a rabbit munching on a bowl of greens, we’ve got some great tips for how you can incorporate them in more interesting ways.

Bok Choy: Also known as Chinese cabbage, it not only provides abundant amounts of vitamins A, C and K, but also provides calcium, folate and antioxidants. While calcium aids in bone health, folate, a B-vitamin, is essential in cell production and nerve function. Folate is also good for mental fatigue, insomnia and depression. Bok Choy makes a great addition to stir-fries — cook both the leaves and the stalks!

Green Butter Lettuce:  Although its name sounds fattening, butter lettuce only has 15 calories for 3 ounces. It is a member of the aster or sunflower family. It is sweet in flavor and firm in texture and is lovely layered in a sandwich. It is a very good source of dietary fiber which is essential for healthy digestion.

Spinach: Spinach is one of the most nutrient dense vegetables around, and with its new-found versatility (take a look at our smoothie recipe on the blog), it’s easier than ever to benefit from. While high in vitamins K and A, it’s also a great source of manganese. Spinach is known for its bone-strengthening properties (vitamin K and manganese) and its energy producing properties (vitamin B6 and iron). Green Monster Spinach Smoothie can be found at here.

Rainbow Chard: Extremely popular in Mediterranean cooking, chard is characterized by its large leaves and colorful stalks, ranging from green to yellow to orange. Though the stems are beautiful, it is not recommended to eat them, as they are tough in texture. Chard, though not as popular as some other leafy greens, is one of the most nutrient-dense foods around, aiding in bone health, heart health and regulating blood-sugar levels. To cook chard, rinse the leaves under cold water and slice the leaves away from the stems in 1-2 inch pieces. Toss the leaves into risotto or quinoa dishes for an extra boost of color and nutrients.

Hostess Gift Idea: Kitchen Items, Naturally

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Here’s another hostess gift option for the friend who loves to entertain at home and appreciates a natural aesthetic. These items are all available for purchase in the Co-op’s mercantile department. From left to right we have:

Sustainable Threads napkins, 4 for $19.59. They are 100% cotton, machine washable, and made with Fair Trade, handwoven on bamboo looms.
Global Crafts Olive Wood Spreader, $5.99
Le Souk Olive Wood Serving Spoons, $8.99 each

Wrap them up together in some nice jute or twine, hand them off and pat yourself on the back.

Beet Read: VB6 by Mark Bittman

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Oprah’s got a book club, Gwyneth Paltrow’s got a book club… and so does the Moscow Food Co-op! The Good Food Book Club to be exact.  Coordinated by fabulous Participating Owner, Rachel Caudill, this book club is sure to offer something for the health, eco and community minded reader. All book club selections can be purchased at BookPeople of Moscow, 521 South Main Street and are discounted for book club members.

The November Good Food Book Club selection is VB6: Eat Vegan Before 6:00 by Mark Bittman.  You can read Rachel’s review of Bittman’s book after the jump. [Read more...]