Thursday, October 06, 2005

No new posts until November

Sorry folks. We got busy very fast and hard this fall and I haven’t been able to keep up with everything.

I am going on vacation and will not be posting until first week of November.

New items that have quickly become popular:
Liberte’ yogurts—especially those with the added grains. The Mediterranean, full fat style is delicious, I have been told, and less expensive than the Total yogurts.
Wallaby (Australian style) organic yogurts are also popular.
Food for Life cereals, three flavors, selling very well. They now have a line of pasta, which is just starting to become available..
Vitaspelt sesame sticks, whole grain & Cajun, sold with the pretzels.
Edite is now able to get George’s aloe vera juice—a product that has frequently requested in the past.
Gluten-free is the next big thing—Enjoy Life, Kinninikick, Bob’s Red Mill mixes, cookies.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Lamb is back--got our first delivery in some time this morning. All cuts--round, stew, steaks, chops both loin & rib, boneless leg of lamb and shoulder roast. Total of four sacrificial lambs.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Fresh Alaskan salmon flying of the shelf

Neilu just added fresh salmon fillets, shipped to us direct from Anchorage. It is being sold out of the lower poultry case, below the smoked salmon. Enjoy it while you can--fresh catch season only lasts about two months. We sold almost 100 lbs the first week and most of you didn't even know we had it. She plans on doubling our order this week. It is now $7.64/lb.
Wildcatch follows the Marine Stewardship Council's environmental standards
-Click here for more info-

Monday, August 08, 2005

Bottled water

required reading for those of you who purchase a lot of water in plastic bottles: Aug 1 editorial by Tom Standage, in NYT "Bad to the Last Drop"
-Click here for editorial-

Intersting points are that: tap water, especially NYC's, is more stringently tested than most bottled water. A comparison test of Cleveland's tap water vs bottled waters, found some bottle waters had significantly higher levels of bacteria. Standage notes bottled water is more expensive than gasoline, taste usually not superior to tap and the empty containers are filling up landfills.

Another article in today's Times raises concerns about mercury levels found in birds near watershed areas of NYC water supply.
-Click here to read article-

Coop sells Pur water filters that claim to remove mercury (they are cautious not to say all mercury) from water

Monday, August 01, 2005

Mercury and Tuna

Very interesting article by Peter Waldman in today’s (Aug 1, 05) Wall Street Journal:
Mercury and Tuna; U.S. Advice Leaves Lots of Questions Balancing Interests, Agencies Issue guidance at Odds with EPA Risk Assessment.

There has been increasing concern about accumulation of toxic levels of mercury and methylmercury in fish and shellfish. Industrial pollution is the source of most mercury. Mercury falls from the air and accumulates in the ocean and rivers. In water, mercury is converted to methylmercury, which is absorbed by fish.
The FDA & EPA issued a joint advisory on mercury in fish in March 2004:
-Click here for more info-

Points from Waldman’s article:
The fish industry intensively lobbied the FDA and influenced the wording of the advisory. Not only were these companies worried about decreased sales, but also the possibility of class action suits.

Earlier the EPA had set lower safe levels of fish consumption than those in the 2004 joint advisory. The EPA and FDA scientists apparently had major disagreements.

The FDA’s advisory cautions against eating too much albacore white tuna. It puts light tuna in the low-mercury group, but this may in fact not be true. It may have just been a bone thrown to Bumble Bee and the like, so tuna consumption wouldn't drop further

Levels of mercury content in individual fish vary widely, as might be expected, depending on mercury level in the body of water.

The greatest risk is still assumed to be to developing fetuses, which have been shown to concentrate more mercury in their blood than the mother during pregnancy. However, everyone is at risk--mercury is very toxic.

The American Medical Assoc recommended to the FDA that stores should post warnings where fish is sold. ( I think this info should be provided on the label.) However, Waldman writes that FDA opposes mandatory warning labels. He quotes David Acheson, the FDA’s director of food safety & security: “We feel the best way to get the word out is via the advisory, {which is} an optimal balance between the benefits of eating fish and the risks of mercury.”

The advisory warns against not eating large fish like shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish. But Waldman notes that according to the FDA’s own chart on mercury content in fish, fresh and frozen tuna contain as much mercury as tinned albacore tuna, which is noted to have high levels of mercury. Large fish accumulate more mercury by eating smaller fish and, yes, tuna is a large fish. -Click here for more info-

Although mercury levels in shark or swordfish are much higher, tuna poses a greater risk to the average person because much more tuna is eaten. How many people do you know who routinely eat shark or swordfish compared to canned or fresh tuna?

Mercury and Tuna is the second in a series of articles written by Peter Waldman for the WSJ on the toxicity of industrial chemicals. The first was on July 25, focusing on how tiny doses of common chemicals raise health issues. It featured Bisphenol A (BPA), Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP), Diethylhexyl Phthalate (DEPH) and perchlorate, all pervasive in the environment.

The WSJ limits articles to be read online to subscribers. Peter Waldman's email address is:
-Click here for article-

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Republican introduces hemp in Congress A bill is being sponsored by a Texas republican to lift federal restrictions on "industrial" hemp farming, which includes food products. Hemp is cannabis bred to remove the psychotropic properties. It is legal to grow hemp in Canada, and it is reportedly a high profit crop there (Gourmet News, Aug). It is increasingly being used in body care products and foods. Hemp is high protein and its oil is high in essential fatty acids. The Coop carries Nutiva hemp nuts, and Dr. Bronner's Alpsnacks feature hemp. We also carry Nutiva hemp oil above the yogurt & are looking into adding Manitoba hemp butter.

Manufacturers who "donate" profits

I'm always suspicious when a company boasts it donates x amount of profit to various causes--generally environmental groups. (Newman's Own is one company I trust actually donates a lot of money.) But the Aug Gourmet News report on Endangered Species Chocolate confirms my mistrust. Apparently the founder is suing the new 51% shareholders, who have fired him. Citing mismanagement of the company, the new owners point out that they were unable to find any records that any money was donated to help save endangered species. Now that is the whole point of that chocolate's appeal--each flavor with a signature attractrive photo, from bats to belugas. Endangered Species chocolate is not Fair Trade, it is not organic, but it has a great marketing hook it is not fulfilling. Apparently he was losing money, not making a profit. Another way to not make a profit is for the owners to pay themselves a big salary. So that is a very iffy statement--donate a percentage of profit. They shouldn't be allowed to state that if there is no profit. There doesn't seem to be any oversight of this claim. Do I feel confident the new owners will do any better--not really. They say the business is in terrible shape, but why did they buy it other than to grab the marketing concept?
Aaron's kosher chicken and meat

Murray's chickens are back and we will still have Coleman chickens. However, we will not be carrying the organic Coleman chickens. They are being replaced by Aaron's (Rubashkin's) kosher chickens. There have been requests to expand the line of kosher chicken cuts. Aaron's will deliver on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We are carrying whole chickens, boneless breasts, split breasts, legs, drumsticks and wings. We currently have a very good price on Aaron's wings--.74/lb.
Aaron's meat is kosher, grass fed with no hormones or antibiotics, grown in Uruguay. It will be sold out of the freezer. Cuts are kebabs, stew, ribeye steak and thin-sliced.
Visitors/students Throughout the year we get a number of visitors wanting to learn about how the Coop works. Each year we get students from Clark University studying urban planning. July was particularly busy, and Joe Holtz met with a number of groups.
A coop member who teaches adults about nutrition brought his class.
A reporter from Montana public radio came to the Coop because Joe has been working with a group in Missoula who are trying to form a coop based on our model. Joe has consulted with them a number of times, and last year one of the group came to visit. Joe is pleased they are going slowly, working on their financial projections, securing a space, doing lots of planning. They anticipate opening in a year.
Six students and a teacher from Groundworks, a program in East New York, came for advice on handling perishable food. They plan to open a market two days a week selling perishables. Groundworks introduces kids to various businesses.
We also have three students working for seven weeks at the Coop this summer. Daniel, Kevin and John are being paid by NYC Summer Youth Employment Program. They have been very reliable and eager to learn.
Kashi has discontinued Kashi Medley (very popular at the Coop) and changed the packaging on their other cereals. A quick check confirmed that the ingredients are the same for one product--Kashi Seven in the Morning, now Kashi Seven Grain ( a Grapenuts knockoff). We don't have any old packaging for the other flavors, but I would guess Kellogg's is just changing the box and the name. In case anyone is confused, Kashi cereals are not made solely from buckwheat (kasha)--but from 7 grains, including wheat high up on the list. They are not organic and are owned by Kellog's.

We've also done some reorganizing, etc in the cereal aisle. Always a dilemma about whether to arrange shelves alphabetically or by type, ie, all the muesli's, all the raisin brans, all the cheery little o's.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Amy Hepworth’s truck was totalled on the Manhattan Bridge this morning, full of fresh produce for us. The driver of the tractor trailer behind Hepworth’s truck fell asleep, rear ended Hepworth’s truck, which then plowed into a stalled Mitsubishi car, propelling them forward more than 100 feet on the bridge. Fortunately, no one was killed and Ben, Amy’s driver, wasn’t injured. Just took hours to extract the vehicles, helicopters hovering—bridge closed. They’ll be loading the produce on another truck for us—lots of lettuce, greens, cucumbers, eggplants, beans, parsley, squash, tomatoes, basil and minimally treated nectarines. Amy very distraught--not easy being a farmer plus having to deal with the Big City.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Repellents, sun tan lotions--the CDC recommended the essential oil lemon eucalytpus as a critter repellent that does not contain DEET. It is part of their West Nile precautions.
-Click here for more info- However, they didn't specify how to use it or dilute it. A member requested we carry this product, and we have Aura Cacia brand with the suntan lotions on the back end display across from the meat. I tried it on a birding trip in the Catskills, used it sparingly on my ankles, wrists, neck--it seemed to work, wasn't too smelly, a little like citronella, but not so strong. However, it stung briefly when I put it on my face--it is concentrated, strong, one of those products not recommended for pregnant women, small children.

Natures Gate suntan lotions, the Coop standard, has changed its packaging--you may not recognize it. It is on sale now.

Now the pendulum seems to be swinging to the position that too little sun is not good either. Vitamin D is manufactured by the body when exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D is currently being touted as having a role in preventing various maladies, including PMS, osteoporosis and prostate cancer. On a routine exam, my Vitamin D level was tested for the first time, and it was determined to be mildly deficient. And at at the same time being warned to stay out of the sun, I opted not to take a heavy duty Vitamin D supplement, as I was told it is an accumulative vitamin and you can take too much, so followup tests would be needed. What to do? A little more sun and Carlson's cod liver oil. I'm assuming a teaspoon of Carlson's lemon cod liver oil is safe, the lemon masks the fish taste and the bonus is all the those essential omega-3 fatty acids.
No longer available items--Miso mayo tops the list--maybe, maybe another supplier will be carrying it. Less certain are rice vinegars, haven't been able to get either Eden or Spectrum. Spectrum's shortening & Spectrum spread haven't been available from manufacturer. I suspect that this has something to do with the trans fat, hydrogenated oils issue--lots of companies are redoing their products. More on than later..

On the plus side, Spectrum coconut oil, organic, semi-refined for cooking is back.

Coop t-shirts--there was a snafu with the order--the t-shirts didn't get printed (and the person I spoke to left the company), so we're selling blank organic Patagonia t-shirts, very good price, get them while they last. Will be working on coop t-shirts.
New items…Good Health Quilts, a tasty Triscuit type cracker , low salt, being sold top shelf Aisle 6B.
Equal Exchange does not have any Ethiopian coffee beans right now but we are selling it ground in the packaged coffee area, under the teas, at a sale price of $4.24/12 oz. We are filling the empty bulk bin, with Zapatista medium roast beans—let us know if you like it.
New beverages—Teas’ green jasmine & white tea, both unsweetened, on shelves with bottled teas, across from the beer, Aisle 2. I was surprised by how much I liked the combination of green tea & jasmine, it adds a slightly sweet flavor & doesn’t require sugar. I like Numi’s Monkey King green tea & jasmine tea bags, sold aisle 5B. Its flavor holds up well with lots of ice cubes.
Also a new Ceres flavor—papaya.

The Switch sodas--only the lemonade has been in stock, black cherry & tangerine not available the past couple of weeks.

Thursday, June 30, 2005


Natural Acres ground beef, both organic and from grass-fed cattle, is currently our least expensive ground beef, at $4.40/lb. It is sold in the freezer, top shelf. I like adding lots of chopped parsley and a little salt & freshly ground pepper to hamburgers. Gives them a little nutritional boost plus adding flavor.
Also in the freezer, perfect for grilling, are McDonald's Farm summer sausages and various other cuts of meat, including occasionally Dine's delicious hot dogs. So if you don't find what you want in the fresh meat area, check out the freezer.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Energy Bars

Energy bars, "nutritional" bars, granola bars, candy bars—sometimes it is hard/impossible to distinguish. However, there have been some positive trends: fewer ingredients, less processing of ingredients, some with organic ingredients, and less sugar. However, these bars are not a free ride in terms of calories, fat and sugars. The new bars are being sold on the end display across from the cheese.
Larabar bars are very popular, containing five or fewer raw ingredients. Their mantra is "Eat human food—it enlivens the soul." They have no added sweeteners, but, like most of the others in this list, dates are a primary ingredient. Calories, fat and sugars vary, but they all seem to have 5 gm of protein and under 15 gm of sugar.
Cliff’s Nectar bars contain few ingredients, all organic. Dark chocolate & walnut is tasty, with around 160 calories and under 20 gm of sugar.
ThinkOrganic! bars are all organic with raw ingredients, except for the chocolate.
Raw Indulgence bars are raw, gluten free, organic and kosher. The Heavenly Whole Food Brownie is sweetened with agave nectar and weighs in at 254 calories, 20 gm of sugars, 15 gm of fat, 6 gm of protein.
Alpsnack bars, from the Dr. Bronner peppermint soap family, may have more than 10 ingredients, but they are recognizable foods and are organic.
Cliff Luna bars were recently reformulated with 3 gm less sugar and one more gram of fiber.

Attempting to find and read ingredients & nutritional content is a real pain—the Kind fruit & nut bars are printed on a clear wrapping over the multicolored bar, making it impossible to see. Therefore you may not know that glucose & honey are added to these bars. The nutritional info for the Oskri sesame bars is for one of the three wafers included in the 1.9 oz package—so do the math.

Another surprise, Real Green, an organic fruit & veggies bar, contains a reasonable 160 calories, but does contain 30 gm of sugar. Real Green’s label says four servings of fruits & vegetables are contained in the single serving bar—not sure about that math.

The old standby, Tiger’s Milk protein-rich bar, has a long list of ingredients more familiar to a chemist than a gardener, with high fructose corn syrup leading the list.

And when you want something really tasty for the calories, there is a terrific selection of chocolate in Aisle 7A.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

The energy saving compact florescent light bulbs have recently been moved from aisle 4A and now hang nearby above the yogurt case along the back of the Coop. The Coop sells Satco Mini Spiral Compact Florescent Bulbs in four sizes. The 13 and 15 watt bulbs are equivalent to 60 and 65 watt incandescent bulbs and sell for $2.36 and the 18 and 26 watt bulbs are equivalent to 75 and 100 watt incandescent bulbs and sell for $3.25. The bulbs have a life of 6000 hours and a color temperature of 3000K which provides a warm white light.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Overheard at express checkout: very young woman to fellow young worker as she scanned my Bunny Luv carrots:
"Where do baby carrots come from?"
He: "From big carrots. They cut them out."
She: "But isn't that wasteful!"
Maybe we should offer farm tours.....
New local organic produce:

All lettuces (green and red romaine, green and red leaf, boston, and mixed
variety of baby lettuces)

Other vegetables-collards, green and purple kale, bok choy, Chinese cabbage,
radishes, mint, bunched or baby arugula (both limited), broccoli rabe (limited),
sugar snap peas, Japanese bunched turnips, garlic scallions, loose spinach,
and yellow zucchini are all from local farms.
Parsley, cilantro, chards, herbs, lacinato kale, and baby bok choy are
starting to arrive from the local farms, and will soon be entirely local.

Organic strawberries from our closest local farm, Hepworth Farm in New York,
have begun their brief season

Organic fruits from tropical southern Florida: Lychee nuts, and sapodillas.

Not organic and certainly not local food from around the globe: chanterelle
mushrooms from Europe, and clementines from Chile.

Organic grapes have returned. Prices are still high, but the flavor is
already there (we avoided the early sour weeks). All seedless, green and
black are in stock, and red will arrive 6/15.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Water Filters & Beverages on the move

Water Filters have been moved from the household Aisle 4A to Aisle 2A, next to the bottled water. We hope that this will encourage you to use a water filter rather than filling up the landfills with many plastic containers of water.
We dropped the 16oz Poland Springs 6 packs of water & added Keeper Springs 16 oz.
In order to make room for the water filters, Jenna and Matt reorganized the juices and soy drinks in Aisles 2A & 3B. Martinelli has joined the other tall sparkling juices across from the beer. Condensed milk & Crisco migrated to the baking section in Aisle 2A for a week but are now back in Aisle 3. And don’t believe Yuri when he says that we’ll keep moving them every week so no one will ever know where they are.

All the regular sodas are now in Aisle 3A. I am trying out some sparkling juice/sodas—Switch, to possibly replace Blue Sky sodas. Also new--Boylan sodas on front endcap, in response to member request. Let me know what you think of these products.

New in Refrigerated Cases

Emerald Valley: salsas, hummus and black bean dip being sold out of the salad case at the rear of the store. All are organic.
Wildwood baked tofu is replacing most of the Sunergia brand tofu's with the exception of the Sunergia Indian Masala flavor. Sunergia tofus are being replaced because of spoilage problems. Wildwood tofu comes in baked aloha, savory and teriyaki plus smoked teriyaki.
Wildwood soy smoothies have been added to the yogurt case. These smoothies are made of both organic soy milk and organic fruit. Wholesoy soy drinkables do not have organic fruit and the company has been having some production/quality problems. Wildwood flavors: key lime, berry, and vanilla.
Wallaby yogurts are also new in yogurt case: banana vanilla, blueberry, strawberry banana and vanilla.
Murray's chickens--what's happening? re jennie, we have now changed over from Murray chickens to Coleman's, which is judged to be as good or better than Murray's. Coleman poultry arrive already priced, which means that they can go directly to the shelf. We have two types: antibiotic and hormone free and organic. Key organic=green packaging and antibiotic-free=orange. After this weekend we will no longer be selling Murray's.
New from Uruguay Grateful Harvest beef; it is the only beef we carry that is both grass fed and organic.
Bulk and spices

Frontier asafoetida powder and organic bac'uns bits are being sold in jars on top of the spice area. Asafoetida is frequently called for in Indian receipes--a little goes a long way.
Organic crystallized ginger has replaced the conventional candied ginger we had been selling in the bulk spice area. The organic is less expensive and is loved by all the ginger people.
organic deglet noor dates, organic jumbo thompson raisins and apple juice-sweetened cranberries are available in packages, hanging above the packaged dried fruit.
Hunza apricots are finally available. They are small, but buyer be aware--they have a big pit!
almond price went up again--there is a severe shortage. There was a large crop failure in Europe last fall, which greatly raised the price of California almonds.
Raw peanuts are not available due to the hurricane that destroyed the Georgia crop last year. China had a good supply of peanuts, but they have been purchased by the large peanut butter manufacturers.
New products--odds & ends..

Green Forest Facial Tissue is replacing Krasdale facial tissue, which has been discontinued by our distributor. Green Forest products are made from 100% recycled paper paper, with 20-30% post-consumer content. Seventh Generation facial tissue has a similar recycled content: 100% recycled, with 20% post-consumer. Because Seventh Generation is significantly more expensive than Green Forest, we will be discontinuing Seventh Generation facial tissues as well.

Suzanne's ricemellow creme is available on the front end display across from the eggs. A marshmallow cream substitute, it contains: brown rice syrup, soy protein, natural gums & flavors. Gluten-free, non-dairy, vegan.

Rico empanada in the freezer. You may have had a chance to sample these last night at a demo in the coop. Made in the Bronx, there are three flavors: chicken pot pie, rice & beans, and corn & cheese. They are working on a meat empanada.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Welcome back Soken sea vegetable salad and Soken sea vegetable and vegetable chip. Unfortunately we are no longer able to get the Soken ramens. The Soken products, imported from Japan, are not always in stock at our distributor and importer, UNFI. I have added several flavors of Koyo ramen.
Frozen treats—ice cream….

If you haven’t tried Julie’s organic ice cream—consider doing so. We’ve been selling it at a great price—cheaper than purchasing a single cone in Park Slope. Good flavors too: blackberry, caramel, choc, mint fudge, mocha java, strawberry and vanilla. Julie’s has an organic ice cream sandwich and both vanilla & chocolate ice cream bars. Unfortunately the bars & sandwiches have been out of stock. Let's Do Organics waffle cones have not been available.

Three new flavors of Haagen Dazs light ice cream: cherry truffle, mint chip and vanilla bean. Below is the breakdown of total calories, and grams of fat and sugar per serving—and remember, each pint contains four servings..

Lite vanilla: 7 gm fat
Sugar 26 gm
Cal 200
As compared to regular, full fat delicious Haagen Dazs “classic’ vanilla:
18gm of fat
Sugar 21
Calories: 270.

Also new is Haagen Dazs frozen yogurt:
Coffee: 2.5 gm of fat (pretty good)
Sugar: 20 gm
Calories; 200
Haagen vanilla frozen yogurt with raspberry sorbet.`
2.5 gm fat
24 sugar
170 cal (lowest in calories, but high in sugar)

Nutritional comparison with other vanilla ice creams we sell:
Ben & Jerry’s: 15 gm of fat
Sugar: 19 gm
Calories: 240
Ciao Bella’s gelato: 12 gm of fat
Sugars: 20 gm
Calories; 210
Julie’s organic ice cream: 14 gm of fat
18 gm of sugar
Calories: 220

Stonyfield’s frozen yogurt scores lowest in all categories:
Fat: 0
Sugar: 19 mg
Calories: 100

And if you don’t care about calories, Ben & Jerry’s has a new flavor: Half Baked Twister: vanilla and chocolate ice cream with pieces of chocolate brownies plus chocolate chip cookie dough.
Fat 14 gm
Cal 280
Sugar 26

New delicious Blue Moon sorberts from Vermont:: grapefruit campari, mango passion, peach melba and pear ginger.
0 fat
Sugar; 23 gms (varies slightly)
100 calories.

Palapa frozen fruit bars are replacing some of the Froz fruit bars. These bars are quite substantial with more fruit. Flavors: mango, Mexican papaya, pineapple, strawberry and watermelon. Again, zero fat, around 17 gm of sugar and 100 calories.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

lamb is back

Meat update from Jennie, the meat buyer. Lamb from upstate NY--North Country Meat-is back. Cuts include stew, kebobs, lamb steaks, shoulder roast, loin & rib chops, shanks, bone in legs. Jennie says the lamb sausages, both breakfast & sweet are so good. Lamb is delivered on Wednesdays.

Andy’s new organic sausages—very delicious. Flavors include hot, parsley & cheese; sweet, chorizo. They also have a bracciole.

Lakeville poultry. We are in the process of switching from Murray’s to Coleman poultry. Lakeville is comparable in price and quality is deemed to be better. Lakeville is the branded name of Coleman, and soon the name will change to Coleman poultry.

Primo Naturale hard salami without nitrites or nitrates is sold on the display shelves in the back of the store across from the meat cases. It is shelf stable until opened, and is a great choice for those picnics in the park, camping trips and backpacking. There are several flavors, with wine, plain or coated with pepper or herbs.

Dines Farms hot dogs made of beef & pork have that back to the 50’s flavor. Terrific grilled or broiled.

New West buffalo and ostrich meat has changed its packaging and label—they will no longer be boxed as patties. The ground buffalo will be sold in one pound packages under the name Tender Bison.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Whole grain pasta

Whole grain pastas

In today’s NY Times, Marion Burros writes about the improved whole grain pastas. She gives a thumb’s up to Bionaturae wholewheat pasta, of which we carry a good selection, and I’ll add the fettuccine, which she especially liked. My favorite cut is the wholewheat chiocciole. For the wheat-free, we carry Tinkyada’s brown rice pastas.
Soups: we’ve reorganized the soup shelves and added canned soups. New, very low sodium (under 75 mg of sodium/serving) soups are Health Valley organic black bean, lentil and vegetable. New, reduced sodium flavors of Amy’s organic soups are butternut squash, cream of tomato and lentil vegetable. Amy’s fire roasted southwestern vegetable and corn chowder (regular, i.e., high sodium) were also added. Most of these soups are also low in fat.

A 14.1 oz can of Amy’s soup is listed at two servings. One serving of Amy's reduced sodium lentil vegetable soup yields 340 mg of sodium; the whole can 680 mg. Amy’s regular lentil soup contains 590 mg of sodium; a whopping 1180 mg if you eat the entire can, which is likely. Progresso’s minestrone soup comes in a larger can, 19 oz. One serving at 7 oz yields 720 mg of sodium; 14 oz serving = 1440 mg and the entire can = almost 2,000 mg of sodium. So if you are on a salt-restricted diet, Health Valley no salt added soups are the way to go. However, some of the other soups may win on flavor.

Produce Tidbits 5.17.05

From Allen, new this week in the produce department: Local organic greens: organic baby arugula (very zesty), organic baby gai lan, which is also known as Chinese broccoli, organic baby tatsoi, and organic baby hon tsai tai. All very tender and edible raw. Also organic baby mixed lettuces. All of these, except for the arugula, are limited in supply from Amy Hepworth in Hudson Valley.

The first organic sugar baby watermelons arrived this week. A little too
big, too expensive, but excellent flavor and very good sugar. Expect better prices even as soon as Friday, as well as smaller sizes. Organic nectarines will start 5/18. The $2.22 price, is probably excellent for this early in the season, and is only possible because we are selling small-size fruit.

Organic celery returned this week. Shortages still exist, prices are still
high. Celery stalks are small, but have an excellent dark green color right
now (5/17). Hopefully we will continue to have access to not just supply at all, but from a premium quality grower as well.

The organic watercress season is ending in Florida and our local farmer has
lost her entire crop. We are trying a new watercress this week. It is
hydroponically grown and pesticide-free. The quality is outstanding and
flavor has a lot of zing.

We may experience shortages of some product from Florida this week. The truck that carried a great deal of product that we intended to get (grapefruit, oranges, zucchini, yellow squash, etc.) was destroyed with all of its contents in a crash. The driver wasn't injured.

Next week: Local organic asparagus from Hudson Valley and also from close to the Canadian border. Local organic rhubarb, and possibly local organic baby frissee, and local organic field cress.

Friday, May 13, 2005

New in the Freezer

New in the Freezer

It isn’t easy browsing the freezer—new products are difficult to spot. You might have missed some of the most recent additions:

Frozen vegetables: Cascadian organic "petite" whole green beans have been substituted for Cascadian green beans with almonds. I just microwaved a box—they are slender (not exactly haricot verte), but tender and tasty. They come in an 8 oz box, sold on shelf above the bagged vegetables.
Cascadian organic Chinese stir-fry—containing green beans, broccoli, carrots, onions, red pepper, mushrooms and bamboo shoots.
C&W pepper strips—not organic but a colorful mix of red, green and yellow pepper strips ready to throw into a stir fry with no waste. They are a bargain at under $2.00 for a pound.
Alexia organic sweet potato fries—a good way to bump up the nutritional value of the fries and add a little variety.
Cascadian organic peas remain our number one selling frozen vegetable—250 bags per week.

Frozen fruit and juices: Woodstock organic mango—chunks ready to throw in the blender for a smoothie.
Sambazon Acai—frozen juice concentrate with no added sugar and no caffeine. We have also added 16 oz Sambazon Amazon Cherry juice that is being sold out of the dairy case.

Gluten-free frozen:
Ian's Alergen-free Chicken Nuggets
Amy's Garden Lasagna (gluten-free rice pasta)
Amy's Rice Crust Cheese Pizza (gluten-free)
Nature's Hilight Brown Rice Pizza Crust (gluten-free)

Meat-substitutes frozen:
Gardenburger Riblets (BBQ)
Moringstar Farms Breakfast Strips (fake bacon)

South of the Border:
Buenatural Green Chili and Cheese Enchilada
Leona's Organic Corn Tortillas
Organic produce update

First organic greens of the year out of Hudson Valley from Hepworth Farms. This week baby braising greens and baby mustard. Next week baby arugula. All limited.

Chives and occasionally sorrel are coming from Finger Lakes Organic Growers Cooperative. Maryland has started with mint, spinach, collards and kale. Hoping for more next week. Pennslyvania organic spinach will probably start next week.

Last year's organic russet potato supplies will be exhausted a good 2 weeks
before this year's crop begins. New crop of red organic potatoes is very limited. We will carry new whites during the absence of russets. Also new crop yukons. All new organic potatoes will be limited, very expensive but beautiful.

Weather still horrible in California. Organic lacinato kale, kale, collards, spinach, chards, celery all limited and very expensive. Organic celery is almost
non-existent. The current excellent price and quality of orgnic strawberries
will probably end next week, due to rain

Sunday, March 20, 2005


Oranges. The temple orange crop is finished for the year. Temple oranges have a lot going against them--hard to peel, full of seeds, but all that is overruled by the delicious, slightly tart flavor that makes them a staff favorite. Tangelos and blood oranges remain in good supply.

Apples. Allen thought Mutsu apples were no longer available, but Amy Hepworth, our upstate apple grower, just opened another storage room and they'll be back this week. Allen also recommends trying Pink Lady--crisp like a Fuji but a little tart. Fuji is our most popular minimally treated apple and Gala #1 of the organic apples.

Vegetables. Lacinata kale is the hands down winner of the greens available. It is easy to prepare and cooks quickly. I strip and discard the main vein, chop greens and put in a pan with a crushed dried hot pepper, a little olive oil, salt & a little water. It remains a rich, deep green unless seriously overcooked.

Beets with tops have been beautiful, organic cauliflower and fennel are available but pricey. Lady Moon organic grape tomatoes are so delicious--should be at $3.93 (and the price may continue to rise).

Redwood Hill never has enough goat milk during the winter months to meet the demand for their yogurt. It is the birthing season & the (goat) kids come first.

Organic Valley is not always able supply enough milk for their products--most notably butter and lactaid milk.

Knudsen juice packs I received notice weeks ago that juice for some of Knudsen's popular lunch packs was in short supply. Smucker owns Knudsen, After the Fall and Santa Cruz. Earlier in the year, Smucker discontinued the After the Fall lines of juice packs and spritzers. We still have the Santa Cruz, Apple & Eve, and Vruit juice packs. Horizon has recently introduced some organic juice packs, which we will substitute for Knudsen. I anticipate that the Knudsen juices will return--not sure how far in the future.

There isn’t enough organic meat available, especially in the winter, to meet our members’ needs.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Discontinued Products

Glaceau is changing their fruit-flavored water by adding fructose. Glaceau water is no longer available from our major health food distributor--Glaceau wants to deliver it via local soda distributors. We won't be carrying Glaceau because a) they added sweeteners (and calories) to the fruit flavored drinks and b) it is too difficult for us to have many small delivery trucks jockeying for space & blocking Union Street.

Horizon organic puddings Horizon will no longer be making them. Horizon is now owned by a large corporation, Dean Foods, and the spokesperson was unable to tell me why or if this was a permanent or temporary decision. Unfortunately there are no other organic puddings currently available from our distributors. Natural by Nature used to make organic puddings, but they cut the product from their line several years ago.

Grade B Maple syrup For some craazy reason it is apparently against the law to sell Grade B maple syrup in New York State. I was told by the owner of Coombs maple syrup that this law has been on the books for many years, but that recently some bureaucrat decided to enforce the law when he happened to see it on sale in a store in upstate New York. Our distributors are not allowed to sell Grade B syrup to me, but they can sell it in Pennsylvania, Vermont, etc. This is not a health issue. Apparently there is some "protectionist" element to the law--wanting to protect the price of NY maple syrup from Vermont or Canadian syrup producers flooding the market. However, NY producers aren't allowed to sell syrup labeled B either, so it sounds like a no win situation for everyone. I was sent some incomprehensible info on spectrographic grading of maple syrup--it included no reason why syrup labeled Grade B could not be sold as such. My limited understanding is that NY state only recognizes two grades, Grade A and Cooking Grade, which is considered to be inferior to Grade B.

Soken products are imported from Japan by our health food distributor, United Natural Foods (UNFI). Frequently the products have not been available--probably due to the constraints of importing, including longer delays in ports for container inspections since 9/11. About 2 months ago UNFI informed me that they will no longer be importing the ramens from Soken because of low sales, but that they would continue to carry Soken chips. I asked them to reconsider the ramens as they were popular at the coop, but to no avail. And UNFI still has not had the chips available.

Pacific beef broth has been discontinued because it does not meet with the coop's standards for beef products. The coop sells only organic beef and grass fed beef.