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The Latest News from Wheatsville

Winter Owner Drive 2019

Friday, February 15 - Sunday, February 24

Ownership sits at the heart of Wheatsville Food Co-op – it’s what makes us very different from other businesses and we are over 23,000 owners strong! We are hosting an Owner Drive October 5-14 to spread the love to more Austinites!!!

Become a fully invested owner of the co-op and receive a super cool “I <3 my co-op bag” and a 10% OFF one shop coupon!

There are lots of economic benefits when you join the co-op. Owners get loads of exclusive offers, along with co-op wide deals for everyone. We also have Owner Appreciation Days, where owners receive 20% off all shopping trips made during these days. New owners will be ready to take advantage of Owner Appreciation Days in April and October. Just that savings alone can pay for the cost of the investment in the co-op. It pays for itself!

Along with the savings you will get when joining the co-op, you are also becoming part owner, and have a say in the co-op. You can vote for the Board of Directors or run for a seat on the board, and be a bigger part of how we help our local community. Please visit the Hospitality desk at your closest location to find out more details about how you can benefit from ownership.

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Blood Drive at S.Lamar January 27

Wheatsville Co-op South Lamar is hosting a blood drive! Come lend a helping arm and save local lives. It’s easy, just make an appointment online. We’ll be stationed in the Parking Lot.

If you have eligibility questions, check out We Are Blood’s website. If you have more specific questions or would like assistance signing up, call We Are Blood at 512-206-1266.

For questions specific to our drive, contact Erica Rose at
membership@wheatsville.com, or  (512) 814-2888.

*Remember! Eat a full meal before donating and bring your photo ID.

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Local Vendor Spotlight: CLEAN Cause

What does an alcoholic and drug addict from Austin, Texas do after he hits rock bottom? He gets sober and starts a business selling sparkling Yerba Mate energy drinks and water, then donates 50% of profits to recovery from alcohol and drug addiction.

CLEAN Cause’s mission is to create a sustainable source of funding to help individuals recover from alcohol and drug addiction. 50% of their profits fund their giveback initiative coined “CLEAN Kickstarts.” They're 30-day sober living scholarships in high-accountability homes intended to give individuals fresh out of rehab the opportunity to focus on finding a job and establishing a recovery support system, this bridge between rehab and reintegration into everyday life is critical.

As with most startups, profitability is seldom realized in the early growth stages. In an effort to maintain the authenticity of our mission and giveback initiative, we have chosen to donate 5% OF GROSS REVENUES on a monthly basis until we reach profitability (or whichever is greater at that time).

Wes, CLEAN Cause founder’s story

I began drinking and smoking pot in my teens - sound familiar? Shortly after high school I started experimenting with hard drugs. Daily drinking was already the norm, but my drug use started gaining momentum. For the next decade I used almost anything put in front of me. Let’s be honest, most people experiment in their younger years – but the difference between myself and “most people” is that once I started, not only could I not stop, I didn’t want to stop.

Throughout my late 20’s and into my early 30’s, I somehow managed to build a successful cupcake business (yeah, cupcakes!), under the influence of drugs and alcohol almost everyday.

So what was the turning point? It was in the wee hours of the morning. I was in that office, lying on the floor, staring up at the ceiling. My heart did something I had never felt before, an eery fluttering for some time. For the first time, I honestly thought addiction would take my life, that night or eventually.

The next day, I told my wife I didn’t think I was going to live much longer. She had taken the tough love position and had refused to watch me die around her…but that night, she asked me to come home “right now” if I wanted to get CLEAN. I’m not certain exactly why she did, but I feel as though she felt my desperation on a different level. And although the voice of my addiction screamed “no,” I knew it was time.

I’ve found purpose and joy in my work with CLEAN Cause.

M ore about Yerba Mate

Consumed for thousands of years in South America, it contains 24 vitamins and minerals, 15 amino acids and is packed with polyphenols. Quite possibly the “CLEANest” source of natural caffeine, this tea will make you feel legit without the…crap. Our beverages are formulated with the highest quality USDA Certified Organic ingredients. Only 30 calories per serving. Healthy and energizing refreshment never tasted so good. 160 mg of natural caffeine.

When it comes to an energizing ingredient without the jitters, nothing comes close to yerba mate.

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2019 Election Results

The election results are in! Wheatsville has two new Directors and two returning incumbent Directors. We’ve also chosen eleven non-profit organizations to benefit from our Community Action program. Thanks to all of our Owners who voted and congratulations to all four of our election winners: Melissa Sledge, Megan McDonald, Rose Marie Klee, and Brandon Hines. New board members will be seated at the January board meeting, Tuesday, January 29 at 3101 Guadalupe.

As with any properly functioning democracy, elections are a required and critical part of the process. Most co-ops today are guided by the Seven Cooperative Principles laid out by International Cooperatives Alliance, the basic statement of which were set out by the Rochdale Pioneers in the mid-1800s. The second cooperative principle, and arguably the defining characteristic of a cooperative, is Democratic Member Control requiring cooperatives to be “democratic organizations controlled by their members—those who buy the goods or use the services of the cooperative—who actively participate in setting policies and making decisions.” For Wheatsville, this means that we depend on those Owners who are willing to give the time and energy to participate in this important way.

897 owners voted this year. There are now over 23,000 Wheatsville owners and we know we can do better! Remember, as an owner, you have a voice and every year we need to hear from you when it’s time to choose the owners you want to lead Wheatsville!

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Local Vendor Spotlight: Matr Boomie

What is your origin story? Who started the business and why?

In 2006, Manish Gupta embarked on a journey to create opportunities for marginalized artisans in India to realize their creative, economic, and leadership potential. Through grassroots efforts with a team in India, he and his wife, Ruchi, found master artisans and created workshops to transform unskilled men and women into skilled artisans. We gathered a team in Austin, Texas to create modern product designs inspired from traditional Indian art forms. Today, the little company launched in our Austin apartment is a leading wholesale and retail company in the ethical, sustainable, fair trade market. In 2018, Matr Boomie was awarded the People & Planet Award from Green America. This award is given to small businesses who show dedication to a green economy and worker empowerment.

What makes your products unique? Why should someone buy them?

Matr Boomie makes products that beautifully pair modern design with handmade art forms. We have a design team in Austin that creates and selects designs that are relevant for the market. The designs are then handcrafted by artisans in rural India using traditional art forms that have been passed down through generations. We prefer to work with marginalized groups like women, minorities, and rural artisans so they can have fair access to trade opportunities and fair wages.

Are your products fair trade?

Our products are all fair trade. Many of our products are made from sustainable and responsibly-sourced resources, and several of our products are made from recycled or upcycled material such as cotton, sari, or metal. As part of our mission to create a world that’s more compassionate, kind and connected, Matr Boomie goes beyond fair wages. We also invest in development projects, healthcare, education, skills training, loan programs, and scholarships for women, minorities, and people with special needs. 
Purchases of Matr Boomie’s exclusive products sustain jobs for people throughout India who have been handcrafting artisanal goods for generations. We partner with women’s groups, minorities, people with special needs, urban slums and isolated rural communities to empower artisans through dignified, sustainable employment. Above all, we value:

  • Safe work conditions
  • Education
  • The confidence and well-being of our artisan partners
  • No child labor

What are your most popular products and why?

  1. Jewelry – handmade, unique, India-inspired styles that are affordable, lightweight, and colorful
  2. Bells – handcrafted bells made from recycled tin that are hand-tuned and have a distinct sound that is unlike most bells
  3. Puzzle Boxes – handcarved wood boxes in fun designs that are a puzzle and a small storage space in one

Do you have a special tagline or slogan?

Made by hand. Made with love. Made for good.


How many staff members do you have?

28 – 14 in Austin; 14 in India

Where are your items sold?

Matr Boomie products are sold in fair trade and boutique stores nationwide as well as in several popular online stores, museums, and zoos.

SOCIAL NETWORK
WEBSITE:  https://matrboomie.com
FaceBook @MatrBoomie — Followers: 3,536
Twitter @MatrBoomie — Followers: 4,037
Instagram @MatrBoomie — Followers: 1,977

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Co-op Partner Spotlight: La Riojana

How did La Riojana get started?

Four generations ago, in the 1940s, our ancestors, many of whom were wine growers from Italy, first came to the area of La Rioja in north west Argentina and decided to come together to make wine.
What started out as a small bodega, buying grapes to turn to wine, slowly grew as different families made La Rioja province their home and started planting their own vines.
Hundreds of families have followed in their footsteps, all working together to share their grapes and build what has become the La Riojana co-operative.

How big is the co-op now?

We have over 500 producer partners, many from families that have been part of the co-op since its beginning. Our members help to produce over four million cases of wine a year from over 4,000 hectares of vineyards. Over 80% of them are small-scale producers, with the majority owning no more than three hectares each.

La Riojana is one of the largest co-ops in Argentina and is currently ranked the country’s third largest wine exporter by volume. But for our growers, their families and communities, La Riojana means so much more than just the company to whom they sell their grapes.

  • They are the foundation to the winery’s success. Everything La Riojana does is based on providing help, support and services that allow our members and families to grow and prosper.
  • Co-operative principles are the fundamental philosophy of the business. Every member gets one vote in helping decide what the overall co-operative does regardless of size.
  • We guarantee to provide a higher than average market price for each member’s grapes.
  • We ensure they benefit from lower prices through collective purchasing of services and products, like diesel, fertiliser and frost insurance. We offer financial and credit support to help members through difficult times. We also offer our members technical and agricultural advice.
  • By working closely with our members, we are able to ensure that all our products, from wines, sparkling wines, grape juice, to olive oil, meet the highest quality standards.

Why is Fair Trade so important?

The Fair Trade Minimum Price guarantees growers and producers a fair price for their grapes, which aims to cover their average cost of sustainable production, or the market price, whichever is higher. They also receive the Fair Trade Premium, where wine producers and their commercial partners will pay additional money to help invest in social and economic initiatives in their communities.


How does La Riojana contribute to it’s community?

Argentina is still a developing country and large parts of its wine production relies on growers and their workers living and working in small, remote, rural, poor communities, with often basic local services. They are often in need of a constant water supply and clean drinking water in what can be hot, hostile and difficult conditions.

By following Fair Trade principles, we have been able to raise funds to invest in vital services, for not just our immediate La Riojana growers and workers, but for their families, friends and the wider communities in which they live.

To date, La Riojana has invested in over 30 different projects to benefit our members, workers and their families as well as our local communities. These projects include:
Education

  • Local Community Improvements 
  • Production Improvements
  • Healthcare
  • Socio-economic improvements
  • Administration & training

“Fair Trade allows us to expand our role in terms of social responsibility, it allows our workers who live in rural areas access to good standards of health and education, and also allows them to improve their general standard of living.” Rodolfo Griguol, chief winemaker

There are three projects that particularly stand out:

  • The Tilimuqui water project which has brought a reliable supply of fresh drinking water for the first time to the local community where many of Riojana’s workers and their families live. This project involved the building of a deep well, a reservoir and a water storage tank to provide enough pressure to serve the wider community.

“Before the water project we only had water every so often. We now have a water tank installed in our house giving us a reliable running water supply. Our community now has drinking water 24 hours a day, every day of the year.” — Rene Alejandro Garcia, vineyard worker

  • The Tilimuqui school project which funded the construction of the area’s first secondary school, therefore enabling teenage children in the area to stay in the community and has a current intake of over 400 children.

“The school has given me the opportunity to learn many new skills and a good education. When I leave school I want to study agricultural engineering and eventually work as an agricultural engineer.” — Angel Leonel Morales, Tilimuqui School student

  • Construction of a new health clinic started in 2016 to bring healthcare to 10,000 people living in the villages of Tilimuqui, Malliagasta and Riojana’s wider communities.


A few words from Wine Buyer Shane Shelton:

By bringing these wines to the US and selling them exclusively to co-ops, La Riojana hopes to continue to make a positive impact. This includes creating sustainable villages with solar power and organic certification for its farms. This is great and I haven’t even got to my favorite part, the wines!

They’re fantastic! The Malbec is medium bodied and exceptionally smooth. The Chardonnay is vibrant and delicate. The Cabernet Sauvignon is smooth and fruity. The Bonarda/Malbec blend is a smooth and medium-bodied wine.

All of the wines from La Riojana are fairly priced wines of exceptional quality. When you buy La Riojana you are getting more than just a great value, you’re also helping to make positive change. From co-op to co-op!

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Spicy Butternut Squash Soup with Lime Crema and Roasted Seeds

This is an adaptation of a soup I made at Thanksgiving a few years back that was the star of the meal! It can easily be made vegan by substituting olive oil for the butter and coconut or almond milk for the milk—omit the crema or use non-dairy sour cream and milk. Best of all, all components of the soup can be made at least a day in advance! Enjoy!

Ingredients

Lime Crema:
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup sour cream
1 Tbs fresh lime juice

Soup and Seeds:
2 med. to large butternut squash
1 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
½ tsp salt
6 Tbs butter or olive oil
6 cup finely chopped onions
2 cups whole milk
2 tsp crushed red pepper
8 cup chicken or vegetable stock
Additional salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line two rimmed baking sheet with foil or parchment and set aside.
  2. To make the lime crema, whisk together heavy cream, sour cream, and lime juice. Cover and chill for at least two hours. The crema can be made up to a week ahead of time.
  3. To prepare the squash and seeds, cut each squash in half lengthwise (it is easiest and safest to cut from about the middle of the squash to one end, then turn the squash and repeat on the other side). Scoop out seeds and fibers from the inside of each half and set aside. Place the squash halves cut side down on a prepared baking sheet. Roast for 45 to 60 minutes (it may take a bit longer if your squash are very large). Meanwhile, remove fibers and pulp from seeds (they do not need to be completely clean!). Discard fibers. Rinse seeds and pat dry, then toss with olive oil, cumin, chili powder, and salt. Spread in single layer on second baking sheet. Once squash is tender, remove from oven and lower oven temperature to 325°F. Put seeds in oven and roast, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes, until seeds are golden and starting to pop. When squash is cool enough to handle, scoop the flesh from the skin and place in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth.
  4. Melt butter or heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until translucent, about 10 minutes. Mix in butternut squash puree, milk, and crushed red pepper. Working in batches, puree mixture, then return to pot. Add broth and simmer for 10 minutes to blend the flavors, stirring occasionally. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if desired.
  5. To serve, ladle soup into bowls, drizzle with crema, and sprinkle with
  6. pumpkin seeds. Serves 12 as a starter.

Adapted from Epicurious

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Winter Squash Guide

It’s that time of the year, once the weather starts getting a little cooler, or at least out of the 100s here in Texas, that our winter squash season begins. They come in many shapes, sizes and varieties, too many to mention here. They also have many uses, from being used as decorations, to being  made into soups, pies, used as a pasta substitute or just roasted as a side dish.

  •  Acorn  Mild, slightly nutty flavor.
  •  Butternut  Very sweet flavor, a crowd favorite. 
  •  Spaghetti  No it doesn’t taste like pasta, but it’s very mild flavor and stringy texture makes it an excellent substitute for spaghetti.
  •  Delicata  Sweet nutty flavor that has a hint of corn.
  •  Kabocha Much like Acorn, sweet slightly nutty taste.
  •  Pie Pumpkins  Sweet flavorful, best squash to use to make pumpkin pies.

When picking your squash, try to find one that feels heavy for its size, and still has a nice stem attached. Stay away from squash that have any soft or moldy areas on the outer flesh.
If you are not going to use your squash right away store them in a cool dry area away from direct sunlight; the bottom of your pantry would be best in most homes.

Easy Winter Squash Cooking Techniques

Squash is super easy to cook, delicious, and good for you, too! Pair with nuts, brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, bacon, cheese, pretty much everything!

Roast It!

Squash is easy and delicious when roasted in the oven.

  • Preheat your oven to 425 degrees
  • Peel and cut squash into evenly-sized pieces
  • Put squash in a pan or oven-safe skillet
  • Toss with a little olive oil.  You could add some herbs, spices, salt, pepper, etc
  • Throw it in the oven! Check for doneness by poking with a fork.  Use your nose and ears, too!  The kitchen should smell like nicely cooked veggies

Steam It!

  • Fill the bottom of a large pot with about 1” water. Insert your steaming basket. The water level should be below the steamer basket.
  • Heat water to boiling, then reduce to a simmer.
  • Peel and cut squash into evenly-sized pieces. Put them into the steamer basket and cover the pot.
  • Test for doneness by poking with a fork. It should take about 30 minutes.

Squash Guide

Acorn Squash

FLAVOR AND TEXTURE: Tender-firm, holds up when cooked. Versatile, mild flavor

USES: Baking, stuffing, mashing.

Butternut Squash

FLAVOR AND TEXTURE: Sweet and slightly nutty.  Smooth texture, falls apart when cooked.
USES: Soups, purees, pies.



Butterkin Squash

FLAVOR AND TEXTURE:
Sweet, buttery, and creamy.

USES:
Baking, roasting, and steaming.

Carnival Squash

FLAVOR AND TEXTURE:
Sweet, nutty, and buttery with a texture similar to sweet potatoes.

USES:
Best roasted, but can be steamed or pureed.

Delicata Squash

FLAVOR AND TEXTURE: Rich, sweet; tastes like chestnuts, corn, and sweet potatoes. Edible skin.
USES: Sauté, bake, broil.

Hubbard Squash

FLAVOR AND TEXTURE: Yellow flesh is moist.
USES: Generally peeled and boiled, cut up and roasted, or cut up small and steamed or sautéed: longer time baking in the oven is needed. Perfect for pies.








Kabocha Squash

FLAVOR AND TEXTURE: Similar in sweetness and texture to a sweet  potato.
USES: Soups, curries, stir fry, salads.








Pie Pumpkin

FLAVOR AND TEXTURE: Mildly sweet. Creamy, rich texture
USES: Pies, custards, baked goods, curries, stews.




Red Kuri Squash

FLAVOR AND TEXTURE: Chestnut-like flavor, mildly sweet. Dense texture holds up shape when cooked.
USES: soups, pilafs and gratins, baked goods, curries.




Spaghetti Squash

FLAVOR AND TEXTURE: Stringy, spaghetti-like strands.  Not very sweet with a mild, versatile flavor.
USES: Baked and the strands separated, then mixed with tomato sauce, pesto, or your favorite pasta topping.

Sweet Dumpling Squash

FLAVOR AND TEXTURE: Rich, honey sweet flavor. Dry, starchy flesh similar to a potato.
USES: Baking with cinnamon and butter

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