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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

Sweet, buttery, and creamy.

Baking, roasting, and steaming.

Carnival Squash

Sweet, nutty, and buttery with a texture similar to sweet potatoes.

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


Owner Appreciation Days October 2018

Not an owner yet? Now’s a great time to join!

More information available at check-out or the Hospitality Desk.
Owner Appreciation Days FAQ:

  • 20% OFF OWNER shops including Co+op Deals & Owner Deals
  • Discount can be used on ALL OWNER SHOPS 10/18-10/21/18
  • Discount can only be redeemed  10/18-10/21/18
  • Discount cannot be stacked with other case discounts
  • ALL Co+op Basics EXCLUDED (prices are already as low as we can go)
  • Sorry, we cannot issue RAINCHECKS on out of stock items.

Thanks for being a CO-OP OWNER!



The next time you are enjoying your food on the porch at Guadalupe or in the community room at South Lamar, be sure to look up and notice the flags that display our seven Cooperative Principles. To support and highlight these principles, we’ve created unique ways for owners to get to know their co-op and engage with the Board of Directors. “Yay!” for Co-op Principle #5 Education, Training and Information!

From eating with a Board Member on Thursday’s $5 Dinner, to owners visiting 4th Tap Co-op for a brewery tour (Woo-hoo! Principle #6 Co-operation Among Co-operatives), to visiting with owners during Wheatsville’s Ice Cream Social compliments of Nada-Moo, we have had fun opportunities to learn and enjoy what the co-op has to offer!

Afraid you missed all of the fun? Not a chance! Let’s not forget principal #2, Democratic Member Control. Coming up October 6th is our BIG CO-OP FAIR and ANNUAL OWNER MEETING. This is where your Board of Directors demonstrates accountability to the membership. You will hear the Wheatsville financial report, listen to board candidates speak, and enjoy some stories about how Wheatsville positively impacts our community (Principal #7 Concern for Community...sweet!). It will also be a great opportunity for you to cast your vote in our annual election, hint, hint…

Plus, Wheatsville will have some fun surprises to make the gathering a great way to spend your day and celebrate all things Cooperative.  The board’s Owner Engagement Committee is working hard to plan for the next year so be sure to stay informed by signing up for the weekly email (upper right corner of our website or  follow us on Facebook, Twitter,  or Instagram – either way, stay connected!

The next time you participate in an event, come up and introduce yourself. Board members are first and foremost Wheatsville owners, just like you! We look forward to having a conversation and learning more about our owners and co-cooperators! —MeriJayd O'Conner, Board Member


Celebrating Co-op Month

October means it’s time to celebrate co-ops and help more people know what we’re all about. So…what are co-ops all about? CO-OPS are independent businesses that are owned by a community of people. All CO-OPS operate with SEVEN PRINCIPLES that help us maintain an ethics-based business that is both socially responsible while being economically beneficial to the people that use it and the community it supports.

Through every decision we make, Wheatsville Food Co-op is working towards making progress on our BIG Direction Goals of

  1. More Local, Organic, and Sustainable Food,
  2. More Co-op Economy and
  3. More Happy People.

That’s why we have 2,000 local products in store and a produce department stuffed full of organic, energy saving LED lights, doors on refrigerators, and buy Green Choice energy that invests in wind power!

Co-ops are also independent, democratic, and autonomous businesses. We are members of business co-ops, use co-op banks, and learn from and promote each other as much as we can – in fact hundreds of hours are invested into strengthening co-ops both locally and nationally.

But cooperation doesn’t stop there – we also sell goods that are made by other co-ops such as 4th Tap Beer, Frontier, Organic Valley, Organic Prairie, Blue Diamond, Equal Exchange, Once Again Nut Butter and Aura Cacia – just to name a few! In addition, your membership at Wheatsville Food Co-op means that you are eligible to become a member of University Federal Credit Union too! The more we can help each other, the better we all are.

Co-ops aren’t owned by any person, family, or corporate entity. We’re here because YOU’RE here. Together co-ops make a difference in the way business gets done and there’s only one thing you have to do – PARTICIPATE in a way that works for you. Shop at the co-op, tell your friends about the co-op, VOTE in the co-op election (maybe even consider becoming a Board Member), bank co-op, buy co-op. TOGETHER we do AMAZING THINGS! Thank you for participating!


October Is Co-op Month

Every October, Co-op Month gives me a chance to reflect on our special institution – built by thousands of people over the years – and how we fit into the greater co-op world.
By pooling our resources together we create the better, kinder world that we want regardless of outside forces that have different agendas. Last year through your amazing generosity we raised over $155k to support non-profits and community groups here in Austin and have already raised over $100k this year! With over 22,000 Owners we are able to create impact with just pennies and nickels.

Co-op impact nation-wide is impressive too and helps make the world a better place. One recent example is the $150,000 donation made by National Co+op Grocers for the reconstruction of Puerto Rican cooperative businesses destroyed last year by Hurricane Maria. Not only is it a perfect example of Principle 6) Cooperation Among Cooperatives, but also illustrates how our success, support, and commitment locally affects people globally.

Our co-op keeps our shared values in mind as we operate our businesses. It’s a challenge to keep all the plates spinning by: 

  1.  being a financial value to you, our members and shoppers,
  2.  bringing fair prices to our farmers and producers
  3.  offering Livable Wages and Benefits to our front line staff while adjusting to the rising costs of doing business in Austin and
  4.  keeping in mind the various needs of all of our shoppers.

Our product selection spans the gamut from paleo to vegan, from gluten-free to allergen-free. For some, fair trade and organic is the primary decision driver, while for others it’s price. I think we do a pretty good job on this tight rope but because we’re YOUR co-op do want to hear when we’re stumbling. We take your feedback very seriously inside the greater context of all the co-op owners.

Please take a moment this October and soak in the goodness and special-ness of our local co-op and the co-ops of the world. Together we really do a lot of good and we can’t do it without you!


Co-op Month Vendor Spotlight: Equal Exchange

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

Equal Exchange started with an idea: what if food could be traded in a way that is honest and fair, a way that empowers both farmers and consumers? Our founders – Rink Dickinson, Jonathan Rosenthal and Michael Rozyne – asked this question as they envisioned a trade model that values each part of the supply chain. So they took a big risk and plunged full-force into changing a broken food system. In 1986, they started with fairly traded coffee from Nicaragua and didn’t look back.

Three decades later (and with several product lines in the mix), we still face vast challenges. Consumers have been overloaded with labels and certifications, while the Fair Trade movement has been watered down in favor of corporate interests. The whole food industry has continued to consolidate into the hands of just a few big players, allowing concentrated power and deception of choice.

Tell us about Fair Trade.

Fair Trade is a voluntary program utilized by coffee importers and food companies to create an alternative market for traditionally disadvantaged producers in developing countries, usually small scale farmers. The components include:

  • Targeted purchasing of coffee through democratically organized farmer co-operatives.
  • Agreed upon commodity floor prices that provide for a dignified livelihood.
  • Direct exports by producers.
  • A promise by importers to make affordable credit available to the farmer cooperatives.
  • A world-wide network of non-profit certifying organizations.
  • A fee paid by importers and wholesalers to cover the cost of certification.
  • A seal that assures consumers that the product was fairly traded.

Your purchase of fairly traded coffee helps build pride, independence and community empowerment for small farmers and their families. A coffee processing plant in El Salvador, community stores in Colombia, the training of doctors in Mexico, new schools in Peru – these are examples of initiatives co-ops have taken in their own communities with the income from Fair Trade.

Is your coffee certified organic?

All of Equal Exchange’s organic coffee is certified by Oregon Tilth. Oregon Tilth Certified Organic (OTCO) is an internationally recognized symbol of organic integrity. The purpose of organic certification is to ensure that the agreed upon conventions of organic agricultural systems are being practiced not only by growers, but also by all the people who handle and process organic food on its journey to the final consumer. To accomplish this, OTCO provides a system which combines strict production standards, verifiable third party inspections and legally binding affidavits to protect the producers and buyers of organic products.

What steps does Equal Exchange take to ensure top quality coffee?

Our concern for the quality of farmers’ lives is matched by our concern for the quality of our coffee. Through our long-term relationships with the farmers and yearly visits to the co-ops, we maintain an intimate knowledge of the coffee harvest and the quality of the beans.

We have a rigorous system for quality control from bean to cup. Each pre-shipment sample is evaluated to meet our standards. When the approved shipment arrives, it is evaluated again for consistency and preparation. After each coffee is roasted, it is individually “cupped” to ensure consistency in the roast and the flavor profile needed for that particular coffee.

Other than coffee, what other products does Equal Exchange produce and what makes them unique?

Most teas come from large plantations where workers have little say. Our delicious organic, Fair Trade teas are sourced from small-scale farmer co-ops in India, Sri Lanka, and South Africa. We are helping to build a different system that values the voice of small farmers, their products, and democracy in trade.

Equal Exchange tea, bag, tag and string are compostable. Or if tea leaves are removed, the bag, string and tag can be recycled. No glue or staples are used in our tea bags.
Our Fair Trade chocolate bars are rich in flavor with a smooth, creamy texture that melts in your mouth. Our organic cacao and sugar are sourced directly from small-scale farmers co-ops in Latin America.

Anything else we should know?

At Equal Exchange we believe that we should expect no less from ourselves and each other than we demand of our farmer partners. For that reason we have organized ourselves as a democratic worker cooperative, now one of the largest in the country.

A worker cooperative is an alternative for-profit structure based upon standard democratic principles. It is not designed to maximize profits, nor returns to investors, but rather to bring to the workplace many of the rights and responsibilities that we hold as citizens in our communities.


October Owner Drive

Friday, October 5 – Sunday, October 14

Ownership sits at the heart of Wheatsville Food Co-op – it’s what makes us very different from other businesses and we are over 22,000 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” stuffed with goodies from our vendors!

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 starting on October 18 through October 21. 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. The Wheatsville Election runs from September 9th through November 9th! Cast your vote when you join! 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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