Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Pistachio recall

Here we go again--the FDA is recalling pistachios processed by Setton Pistachio in Terra Bella, California. This is thanks to a heads up from Kraft, which detected traces of Salmonella in the nuts it purchased. Kraft alerted the FDA. The news broke last night and here is the NYTimes take on the issue.

Ron Zisa, the bulk buyer, contacted our two major nut suppliers, and both of them told us that they do not purchase pistachios from Setton. We don't carry a lot of other products that contain pistachios, and the suppliers that we have contacted were not prepared to give an immediate answer.

For example, I called Larabar regarding their raw pistachio bar. Larabar is owned by General Mills, and I spoke with a customer service rep. She did a quick check and then assured me that they didn't purchase any pistachios from Georgia. After I hung up, I realized that the conversation should have been about California not Georgia. I called back and got another representative who admitted that they did not yet have any information on the recall.

Nuts are very nutritious, and I would hope that the FDA would increase inspections of processing plants. During the recent peanut scare, our members did not turn away from peanut butter--sales remained steady. None of the brands of peanut butter that we sell were recalled. But it was also clear that some people were totally unaware of the peanut recall. I had one mother upset that her child's favorite Cliff peanut butter Zbar (which was recalled) was not available.

We'll try to provide information on the pistachio recall as we receive it.

Monday, March 30, 2009

5 year old Parm available for limited time.

Stravecchio Parmigiano-Reggiano aged 5 years will be for sale this week. Look for it on the Cheese of the week shelf. At $17.30 per pound its a lot more expensive than the Vecchio we normally carry, but the added flavor is well worth it for a table cheese of this quality.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Recipes for Health

When the New York Times speaks, our members shop. We try to keep up to date, but, hey, we didn't know the Times was going to post a recipe featuring farro late Friday. We do sell farro (aisle 6A), but only a case or two a week. So don't expect to find any on Monday--our next delivery will be later in the week.

This week Martha Rose Shulman is featuring recipes using whole grains in her Recipes for Health column. I primarily read the Times online and surprisingly usually do not find this column in the Dining and Wine section. I access it through the Health section. I find her column is a terrific resource--she is systematically going through the vegetables plus other basic foods, usually offering a week of daily recipes of a food, for example beets or even stale bread. These recipes don't require much preparation and include soups, salads, entrees, and sides. The point is that even if you are not a skilled cook and don't have a lot of time, you can make delicious and healthy food. She indicates which ingredients can be prepared in advance, i.e., cook the farro the night before while you are watching TV, and then the dish will be easy to assemble when you get home from work the next day. These recipes are neatly archived on the Times website. Have chard in the fridge? Click on its photo and see your options.

Earlier in the week, she posted a recipe for red quinoa--which she called "royal." Shulman wrote that red quinoa has more protein than white. I did a little Googling, and the nutritional info I came up with showed white and red equally high in protein. Quinoa is one of the highest protein grains. We sell more than 400 pounds of white quinoa/week. Only a case or two of red quinoa (Aisle 6A). Both are organic. I bought extra red quinoa--so give it a try.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Time to get your hands dirty--seeds are here.

Equinox was last week and it is definitely time to start your tomato seedlings. In addition to Brandywine tomatoes, you could branch out and try Amish Paste or Cherokee's Purple. Elinoar ordered seeds from Fedco, a gardening cooperative in Maine. Most of their seeds are organic. We have an assortment of vegetable, herb and flower seeds.

She also ordered small, cheap (25 cents) packets of seeds from Artistic Gardens in Vermont. You only need a few seeds to start tomatoes or herbs. And if you have never gardened before, it is a very economical way to give gardening a try on your fire escape or roof.

In a week or two there will be more flower, herb and vegetable seeds from Seeds Savers Exchange.

Seeds are being sold in the produce aisle near the potatoes. Also look for gardening books in the rack nearby. Topics include container gardening, herbs, organic practices, gardening with kids , etc.

Lactose-free. Gluten-free. Gelatin-free. And Dairy? True Dat!

Those Vermonters, they think of everything.

"What will they think of next?" you ask.

Well, let me tell you: lowfat lactose free yogurt from organic milk of jersey cows from a small family farm just down the street from where the yogurt's made.

"Lactose free?!?"

Yes, it's true. It's TRUE Yogurt.

And if they don't getcha with the snazzy packaging (those fruits look delicious, don't they? And that pretty vanilla flower, so delightful.), try this on for size: all the fruit in the yogurt is made from real fruit pieces, not purees. Organic fruit is used in the yogurt whenever possible even if it doesn't have the li'l logo. The Vanilla is certified organic, and also deliciously custardy, different from most all other vanilla yogurts that we carry. These healthy treats are also gluten and gelatin free.

"You're lying!"

No. It's True. True Yogurt, in the Yogurt Case.

Frozen stuff is way better than fresh stuff!

I can think of no better way to welcome spring than with new frozen fruits and vegetables from Stahlbush Island Farms. Yep, more sustainably farmed greens (and reds and yellows) from our friends off the coast of Oregon. Look for peas, butternut squash, and whole strawberries.

Amy's Kitchen Empire Still Growing!
I know some of you might have been thinking, "there's just no way this freezer could hold any more Amy's products." Well, I'm glad to tell you otherwise. I somehow managed (magic) to fit two more whole meals in there. I don't know where she finds the time to go to Standford and run a factory but Amy seems to have quite a knack for whippin' up some awsome tex-mex which she proves once again with her new Tamale Verde meals. We have the cheese tamale and the black bean tamale (GF!!!). Both come with rice. So good that Leah gave them an enthusiastic "all right."

rip ))<>((

Thursday, March 26, 2009

In the News.....

Lots of Coop members have cats. Most are concerned about the environment. Probably most have not thought about how feeding fish (or chicken that was fed fish) to their cat plays a significant role in diminishing the ocean's resources, further endangering large ocean mammals, like whales. Paul Greenberg, who is writing a book on the future of fish, points out this problem in an interesting op-ed in the NYTimes 3/21/09. The Coop doesn't apply the same standards to fish, poultry and meat in the pet food we sell as we do for the products for human consumption. Something to think about.

The recent peanut scare highlighted how unregulated the food industry is. Both the Wall Street Journal and the NYTimes detail how many manufacturers do not know the origin of many of their ingredients, even when they are required to document their sources.

And the LA Times weighs in about a similar problem concerning pharmaceuticals. Reporter David Lazarus was unable to track down where his generic acetaminophen was manufactured. Unlike the food industry, there is no requirement to cite the source of ingredients in pharmaceuticals, and many sold in the US are manufactured in other countries. China is a major manufacturer.

An independent lab that tests supplements, ConsumerLab, recently updated its review of fish oils. The good news is that the 52 products that they tested did not have high levels of mercury. However, the free summary on the web hinted that some of these products were more like snake oil than fish oil, i.e., they didn't contain the omega-3's the labels cited. Unfortunately, in order to read the full report you need to spend $$ and subscribe.

Don't Leave Home without your Shopping Bag!

Enviro Sax has new print designs for their bags. Their bags are large, waterproof and sturdy with wide handles that slip easily over an arm. EnviroSax bags roll up easily and have a snap. Unfortunately, the company seems to have difficulty keeping up with demand for the most popular designs.

Chico Bags

The new Vita Chico bag is larger, has a wider strap and they say can carry up to 40#--but it still fits in the handy little stuff sac.

The RePete bag is 99% recycled material by weight, containing 7 soda bottles. Even the aluminum for the carbiners is recycled. It is the same size as the original bag, but is still a sturdy workhorse (up to 25#), but in groovier colors. The bag with recycled content is more expensive than the original bag--costs more to process all those useless water bottles.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Three New British Cheeses

And they're all made with vegetable rennet!

Few British cheeses in recent years have quite so impressed the outside world as multi-gold award winning Old Smales. Made in the Gouda-style (with more than a hint of Parmesan about it), Old Smales is aged for 14 months to reach perfection. Full-flavoured, it has an underlying sweetness, and a wonderful crystalline finish that crunches on the tongue.

Park Farm is in Kelston, just outside Bath. Graham Padfield is a third-generation farmer, but the first in his family to make cheese: he started, back in 1993, with Bath Soft Cheese, and this is now the name of the company.

Wyfe of Bath is a succulent, springy cheese which, according to its makers "is redolent of buttercups and meadows"!

Sharpham Cheeses are near neighbours of Ticklemore Cheese in South Devon, and between them they produce a remarkable range of marvellous products.

The 'Rustic' is semi-hard, matured for approximately 6-8 weeks, giving a light-flavoured cheese with a moist, creamy texture. A thin, natural white rind forms during the maturation process. It's a real delight, and and if you haven't tried it, dare I say: you should!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

New Items from a New Supplier

Saveur D'Anjou is bringing us freshly made soups in pint and quart sizes, and small pecan and sweet potato pies. Look for these items in the prepared food case.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Savory Soy Selections

Several new products for soy-savvy shoppers!

Look in the dairy case for...
  1. Lightlife LightBurgers (currently on sale for only $1.92)
  2. Lightlife Smart Sausages, Chorizo Style
  3. Sunergia Soy Feta: Lemon Oregano
And check the Egg/Tofu Case for...
  • Sunergia Tofu: Savory Portabella
  • Sunergia Tofu: Peanut Ginger
  • Lightlife Tempehtations, Classic BBQ (Yes, you read that correctly -- "tempehtations" are small cubes of marinated organic tempeh, ready to eat!)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Easter bunny coming?

Divine Chocolate's mini-eggs arrived today. We expect to get larger chocolate eggs next week, in both milk and dark chocolate. Divine is a great company, all their chocolate is Fair Trade. They work with a chocolate growing cooperative in Ghana. The packaging is very attractive, while avoiding plastic wrap.

The name of the cooperative in Ghana is
"Kuapa Kokoo" which in the local language, Twi, means "Good Cocoa Farmers Company". Their motto is "Pa Pa Paa" which means "the best of the best of the best". For more info:

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


It's been so long since I last blogged. I don't blog in real life so sometimes it slips my mind to keep my fellow co-owners up to date on all the amazing culinary breakthroughs the South Pole has to offer (you know that's where we get all our frozen stuff, right?)

GF/DF Pizza

Amy's single serve rice crust pizza I chose the single serve because as Kevin pointed out, it's rare that the whole family is gluten free. This way, everyone can be happy on pizza night(or morning, I don't judge).

Frozen Fruits
Woodstock Pomegranate Kernels
What an awesome idea! It wasn't mine but when Janet told me they were coming I freaked out! Just think to what heights the smoothie can sore to on the wings of such a worthy anti-oxidant!
Stahlbush Health Berry Blend
more sustainably grown goodies from the delightful little island off the coast of Washington state. The mix contains raspberries, blueberries, and marion blackberries.

Meat and Fish
Tre Bella Organic Turkey Meatballs Since the supply of Shelton's turkey meatballs is incons
istent, I wanted to find an alternative option as a backup. While searching, I stumbled upon this lady to the right. How could I resist?
Royal Asia Cod Fishsticks These are Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified and come with wasabi aioli and cocktail sauce. The box has a picture of Chef Martin Yan on the side (you know, the "if Yan can cook, you can too?" guy) so I trust it.
Northern Chef Cooked Salad Shrimp Little cooked shrimp that's also MSC certified.

Natures Path Flax Plus Redberry Waffles. The ones without berries sell really well. I figure these will do pretty good also.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Chocolate for Chimps!

Theo Jane Goodall chocolate

We've added two new high quality, Fair Trade chocolate bars from Theo--these bars have Jane Goodall's seal of approval, and the profits support all sorts of good things, including keeping chimps in the wild and not in Connecticut. Aisle 7A, top right shelf.

Acai juice--

Interesting article in the NYTimes yesterday regarding Acai juice. We now have the 32 oz size in the dairy cooler. Diet drink? hmm. Maybe not with 600 calories/32 oz.

-Click here to read the article-

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Krazy for Kale Chips?

There is a new raw food snack in the Coop, but it's so popular that it never seems to stay on the shelf for more than a few hours. So what's the story with these mysteriously appearing and disappearing Kale-in-a-Krunch Chips? Late last year, Alive & Radiant Foods (a small company in Berkeley California) introduced this unusual savory raw snack: organic curly kale, covered in spices, dehydrated to the texture of a chip. They became an instant hit here at the Coop. So why can't we keep them in stock? The answer is that Coop members aren't the only ones who have discovered Kale Chips, and Alive & Radiant Foods can't keep up with the skyrocketing demand. These chips have been blogged about extensively, generally hailed as the tastiest raw vegan snack ever, and even referred to as "kale krack". We increase the order amount every week but every week they sell out within a day or two of delivery. We spoke with Blessing (the founder of Alive & Radiant Foods) and she is moving as quickly as possible to increase supply. She recently purchased two new dehydrators and added a second production shift. She has also created three new flavors: Ranchier, Thai High, and Pleasing Pesto. We will try to stock these flavors as they become available. In the meantime, get them when you see them. They hang in Aisle 7 near the other small bags of chips. And when you can't find them, try making your own -- recipes for raw kale chips are all over the web.

Vegan Treats

Vegan brownie-eaters may have noticed the disappearance of the Smart Treats Brownies. The Smart Treats company transformed itself in 2008 into a dedicated gluten-free facility, which required changes to many of their recipes. Sales of their brownies then slowed significantly until our supplier stopped distributing them entirely. Not wanting to deprive vegans of their brownies, we have begun stocking Frankly Natural Baker Brownies in three vegan flavors: Chocolate, Misty Mint, and Wacky Walnut. The mint and walnut flavors are gluten-free as well as vegan.

Also new are the vegan Betty Lou's Fruit Squares in two flavors: Apricot & Blueberry. You can try one for less than $1.

Look for these new vegan treats in Aisle 7 near the other vegan cookies.

Tofu & Tempeh, totally new

We recently began carrying a new organic tofu made by a worker-owned cooperative located on 400 acres in central Virginia (which makes them local by Coop definition). Twin Oaks Community Foods happens to be one of the businesses of the economically self-supporting Twin Oaks Intentional Community, which has existed since 1967. Twin Oaks also supports local agriculture by using only Virginia grown soybeans. You can find Twin Oaks Extra-Firm Fine Herb Tofu in the Egg & Tofu Case.

Another delicious addition to our selection of soy foods is also from Twin Oaks. Vegetarian Chorizo Sausage can now be found in the Dairy Case near the other non-meat "deli" items.

Tempeh lovers now have a second option in addition to the Lightlife brand. Look for organic Soyboy 5-grain Tempeh in the Egg & Tofu case.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Jasper Hill Farm Cheeses

From the Jasper Hill Website:
Constant Bliss is based on a Chaource recipe, which we modified to suit our production schedule and cheesemaking facility. The result is a cheese which hardly even resembles a Chaource. It is a slow ripened lactic curd made only with fresh, right out of the cow, uncooled, evening milk. We actually begin the cheesemaking process before the cows have finished milking. Constant Bliss is made with raw whole milk. This is not a double or triple crème cheese as is sometimes thought. Seasonal variations in the milk result in variations on the surface and flavor of the cheese. We like to use Constant Bliss to highlight our milk, and rather than overpowering the natural microflora of our milk with cotton white mold, we prefer to see a mottling of diverse molds and yeasts, which are prevalent particularly in the summer months when the cows are out on grass. It is aged 60 days before it leaves the farm, and is a ‘sell it or smell it’ item for retailers.

We named Constant Bliss after a revolutionary war scout killed in Greensboro by native Americans in 1781. He was guarding the Bayley Hazen Military Road with his compatriot Moses Sleeper, who died with him.

Bayley Hazen Blue is a natural rinded blue cheese. It is made with whole raw milk every other day, primarily with morning milk, which is lower in fat. Ayrshire milk is particularly well suited to the production of blue cheese because of its small fat globules, which are easily broken down during the aging process. The paste of a Bayley Hazen is drier than most blues and the penicillium roqueforti takes a back seat to an array of flavors that hint at nuts and grasses and in the odd batch, licorice. Though drier and crumblier than most blues, its texture reminds one of chocolate and butter. It is aged between 4 and 6 months. We developed this recipe by starting with a Devon Blue recipe, changing its shape, and altering the aging process to end up with a stable rind that will hold up under typical retail conditions.

Bayley Hazen is named after an old military road that traverses the Northeast Kingdom. The road, commissioned by General George Washington was built to carry troops to fight the English on a Canadian front. Though no battle ever took place, the road brought Greensboro its first settlers and continues to be used.

Look for these on the shelf today!

Monday, March 09, 2009

Meyenberg Goat Cream Cheese

New to the Co-op! Just in this week! Goat Cheese Alert!

This creamy goat cheese spread is available in the cheese case on the shelf that the other cream cheeses are sold from. Don't overlook this product to use in place of regular cream cheese, or in recipes that call for regular cream cheese.

$4.63 for a 5oz tub. Buy yours today . . .

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Smoked Paprika

We have these three Spanish smoked paprikas available in aisle 2A, above the other teas and spices. $1.94 for a 2.83 oz size tin. Delicious!