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Grocery News

Our grocery shelves are packed with food you love. We know you love them because you are ones who have helped choose what goes on our shelves. Yes, we carry a wide selection of raw, gluten free, vegan, paleo friendly, and alternative items but we go to great effort to stock traditional favorites and pantry staples. We want this to be your one-stop grocery.

We work hard to offer great prices on high-quality products – look for Co+op Deal signs for items on sale and Owner Deal signs for special prices just for Owners. On a budget? Look for the purple Co+op Basics signs on products at rock bottom prices. Didn’t find what you needed? Make a request on our wishlist or ask us to place a special order for you. Your interaction determines what we buy - so speak up! We love to hear from you.

Classic Latkes for Hanukkah

Hanukkah is a commemoration of the revolt of the Maccabees, during which the oil that the soldiers used to light their reclaimed temple lasted for eight days, though it should only have burned for one. Thus, it is traditional to eat oil-fried foods during the Hanukkah season. One of the most beloved are potato latkes. These savory pancakes were originally made with ricotta cheese—it wasn’t until potatoes were widely planted in Eastern and Central Europe during the 1500s that latkes evolved to the crispy potato cakes that are now so beloved!

Latkes taste their very best when made fresh and eaten immediately, but you can make them ahead and freeze them for up to two weeks. Slightly underfry the latkes, then cool and freeze in a single layer (once frozen, they can be put into freezer bags or wrapped in foil). Reheat them in a 375°F oven for about 15 to 20 minutes, flipping once. Sour cream and applesauce are traditional accompaniments. This recipe is easily double or even quadrupled if you are cooking for a crowd.

Classic Potato Latkes

Makes about 3 dozen
Adapted from the New York Times

Ingredients:
1 pound russet potatoes, scrubbed
1 large onion
2 large eggs
½ cup matzo meal or flour
2 tsp. coarse kosher salt,
plus additional fine salt for sprinkling
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Neutral oil such as canola or safflower for frying

Method:
Using a coarse shredding disk on a food processor or the largest holes on a box grater, grate potatoes and onions. Transfer mixture to a clean kitchen towel and squeeze and wring out as much moisture as possible, or you can use a salad spinner. Quickly transfer potato onion mixture to a large bowl and mix in eggs, matzo meal, and salt and pepper.

Heat a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat and add about ¼ inch of oil. The oil is hot enough when a drop of batter sizzles immediately when dropped into the pan. Working in batches, drop batter by heaping tablespoons into the oil, then use a spatula to flatten and shape the batter into discs. Don’t crowd the latkes too much or the oil temperature will drop, making them greasy. When the edges of the latkes look brown and crispy (about 5 minutes), flip them and cook for another 5 minutes. Transfer the latkes to a tray covered with paper towels or brown paper bags to drain; sprinkle lightly with salt. Repeat with remaining batter.

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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.

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Organic Month Vendor Spotlight: Organic Valley & Organic Prairie

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

It all started in 1988. We were a handful of Midwest family farmers fed up with the state of American agriculture. Family farms were going extinct. Our friends and neighbors were discarded by a bankrupt agricultural system, and we were told to “get big, or get out!” Industrial, chemical farming was the only existing option for survival; never mind its effects on our health, our animals, and our environment.

But we didn’t want to be industrial, chemical farmers, and we didn’t want to be at the mercy of corporate agriculture. We had to do something. So one farmer, George Siemon, put up posters calling us to band together, and we did. Family farmers filled the county courthouse (photo below) and we all agreed: there had to be a better way—a more sustainable way—to continue farming in a way that protects the land, animals, economy and people’s health. And that’s how our farmer-owned cooperative was born, with George as CEIEIO.

Before a year had passed, we started selling organic dairy, and people could tell the difference. Our local communities began choosing our premium, organic milk over other options, and we realized that we were certainly right about one thing—people wanted quality food.

Organic Prairie meats are produced by our independent cooperative of organic family farms. We are pioneers of the organic meat industry. We began producing our delicious meats—without the use of antibiotics, synthetic hormones, or pesticides—back in 1996. We insisted on third-party organic meat certification long before federal organic standards were established. We were the first in the industry to ban animal by-products from our cattle’s diet, and we played a vital role in shaping federal organic meat certification standards—the strictest in the industry.

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

When you spend your milk money on Organic Valley, we give you fresh food you can trust. It all comes from the family farms of our cooperative. With your support, we make real changes in the world one small step—and farm—at a time.

At Organic Valley, we like to keep things honest and simple. Like dairy produced with no added hormones, antibiotics or toxic pesticides. Produce grown the organic way, with none of the toxins or synthetic fertilizers. And cheese made by farmers and artisans who care about the environment, the animals and you—our customers.

Organic Prairie farmers are committed to providing your family with the healthiest, most wholesome meat, raised humanely in accordance with organic principles and practices—respecting the dignity and interdependence of human, animal, plant, soil and global life. We know that meat produced organically is the safest, best choice for our families, and we’re proud to make it available for yours to enjoy!

Why is organic better?

  • Organic farmers use sustainable methods of pest-control. Non-organic farms use toxic pesticides and herbicides. These chemicals are really harmful to wildlife and human health, contaminating our food, air, and water, and accumulating in our cells. Organic farming practices, however, strictly forbids the use of these chemicals—making bees happier and food more nutritious.
  • Research shows that organic foods are higher in antioxidants and other nutrients, like omega-3 and CLA essential fatty acids. And organic crops have been shown to contain significantly less concentrations of cadmium—a toxic metal on par with lead and mercury. Organic food really is better for you. And it tastes better too.
  • Synthetic hormones and antibiotics are frequently given to non-organic farm animals to change their reproductive cycles and speed up their growth. We believe cows are healthiest and happiest when they’re allowed to live without being pumped full of chemicals—it helps them produce the highest quality milk we pride ourselves on.
  • When non-organic farmers feed their animals antibiotics to keep them from getting sick, they kill many of the pathogens—but not all of them. The germs that survive go on to reproduce, leading to antibiotic-resistant infections that pose a real threat to animals and people alike. Instead of relying on antibiotics, our organic farmers use natural holistic measures to promote and maintain animal health—keeping everyone healthier in the process.
  • Genetically engineered crops are a relatively recent invention with potentially harmful impacts on the ecosystem and on human and animal health. We still don’t know a lot about them and organic standards forbid the use of genetically engineered seeds or animals—including clones.


What else would you like us to know?

  • We’re The Un-Corporation Our farmers own the company. Not the other way around. (That’s why they’re on the packaging!)
  • We’re a cooperative of more than 2,000 small family farms. Organic Valley isn’t a giant corporation. We’re a cooperative of farmers across the country who share the same commitment to growing food the right way. We’re not driven by profits; we’re driven by principles. To make sure we stayed true to our mission, we made our company a cooperative. That means 2,000+ small family farmers own the company, not a bunch of Wall Street suits. And our board is made up entirely of our farmers. One farm, one vote.
  • We used to be a bunch of idealists. And we still are today. We believe in the idea that, if consumers demand high-quality organic food, grown the right way, we could all change the way we treat our land, our animals and our bodies.
  • We’re proudly independent. And we’ll never sell. We’re a bunch of farmers. So, of course we take the long view. We never take short cuts for short-term profits. We’ve always done things our way. And we always will.

SOCIAL NETWORK
FaceBook  Number of Followers: 551k
Twitter Number of Followers:  80k
Instagram  Number of Followers:   41k

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Local Vendor Spotlight: Heyday! Cold Brew Coffee

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

Inspired by work in specialty coffee, and recognizing a need for great tasting natural energy, Kelly & Bart partnered with their good friends to create HEYDAY - smooth and strong cold brewed coffee. They started brewing in their kitchen and perfected delicious recipes that are refreshing, motivating, and best enjoyed anytime. Heyday officially launched in Spring 2017

What are your most popular products ?

Our flagship line of cold brews celebrates whatever good times means to you.  Every can of HEYDAY Cold-Brew Coffee (Original Black, Espresso, Salted Mocha or Vanilla)  is a permission slip to relax and squeeze the good times out of life.

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

Our goal is to bring a new lens to the coffee category in terms of vision, voice & taste. We want to answer the call from consumers that seek out better-for-you products from brands they trust. Our original line of low calorie cold brew bridges the gap for people looking for natural forms of energy and are unwilling to sacrifice flavor. HEYDAY is a dynamic brand that is all about celebrating the good times and inspiring people to make better drinking decisions through design, authenticity and joy.

Are your products fair trade, organic, co-op made, non-GMO?

Our coffee is Fair Trade Certified, Organic and non-GMO.  We do our best to source organic, non-GMO and fair trade (when applicable) ingredients for each recipe.

How many staff members do you have? What would they say is the best part about working at your company?

12 now.. we are growing! “It is much more than working for a coffee company, it is an inspirational brand, where we are encouraging people to live their best life and make every day their HEYDAY.” Taylor Denman, Area Sales Manager

What do you love about Wheatsville?

Wheatsville was our first account! Big shout out to Adrienne for giving us a shot.

Anything else we should know?

Brewing the best, most delicious coffee is more than a passion. It's why we get up every morning. Because if we can make your day better, then you've made ours.

CONNECT TO HEYDAY

WEBSITE: drinkheyday.com
FaceBook @drinkheyday
Twitter @drinkheyday
Instagram @drinkheyday

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Local Vendor Spotlight: Siete Family Foods

Many thanks to Siete Family Foods founder, Veronica Garza for answering  our questions about their business.


1. Why did you start Siete Family Foods?

Siete was formed when my family and I embarked on a health journey that included exercising together and adopting a low-inflammation, grain free diet, to help alleviate the autoimmune conditions I had been experiencing. As a Mexican-American, I grew up eating tortillas on a daily basis, and I have many wonderful memories of visiting my grandmother, always being welcomed with a batch of homemade flour tortillas. Eating gluten free and grain free meant that all tortillas were literally off the table for my family and me. While this may seem trivial, it wasn’t for us. In a way it felt like we were excluded from a part of our culture that we loved, being able to partake in delicious Mexican food. To fill this “tortilla void,” I experimented in the kitchen and developed a tortilla that we could eat. Over the next few years I modified the recipe numerous times, producing the first product we put to market, a grain free, gluten free, almond flour tortilla. I made them on weekends for many years, sharing them with my family and friends. In 2014 my family and I decided that we wanted to share our tortillas with more people outside of our circle of family and friends, so we found a buyer (Wheatsville!) for our products and started a business. 




2. What makes your chips and tortillas different from others on the market?

We make grain free Mexican-American food, utilizing nutrient dense, real food ingredients as much as possible. Our tortillas are currently made with ingredients such as almonds, coconut flour, cassava, chia seeds, coconut oil, and avocado oil. Our tortilla chips are made with cassava and coconut flour and cooked in avocado oil. All of our products have been created because they filled a void either in our own diets or for our core consumers. We sell products that we love to eat and hope that our customers feel the same way.


3. Are Siete Tortillas and Chips vegan? Non-GMO? paleo-friendly?

At Siete we try to make products that are as inclusive as possible. We’ve designed our products to allow people with a variety of diets, dietary restrictions, and backgrounds to gather around the table to enjoy Mexican-American foods. Currently, all of our products are gluten free, grain free, vegan-friendly, paleo-friendly and verified by the non-GMO Project.


 4. How do you choose your ingredients?

With all of our products, taste and quality are paramount. We care about what we put in our bodies and, because of that, we’ve gone to great lengths to scrutinize and carefully select every ingredient that goes into our products. I personally oversee all of our product development and spend the majority of my time testing the perfect combination of ingredients and finding the best partners to source ingredients from, all to offer our customers products we can be extremely proud of.

 5. Can you tell us the story about Siete getting started with Wheatsville?

After years of making an almond flour tortilla for friends and family out of my kitchen in Laredo, Texas, we decided to turn a recipe into a business. In 2014, I made a batch of tortillas, put them in a ziplock bag, and drive from Laredo to Austin to approach the buyer at Wheatsville Food Co-op. The grocery buyer loved them and asked how soon they could start selling them. We had no business, no brand name, and no idea how to start a food business. My mother, brother (Miguel), and I joined forces and within a couple of months had our first product on the shelves. We started off by renting space at a commercial kitchen in Austin, driving up from Laredo every weekend to make tortillas by hand and then deliver them to Wheatsville. Since then the rest of my family members have come onboard to help move Siete along on its mission to becoming a healthy Mexican American food brand.

 
6. What’s is your favorite thing about Wheatsville?

Before starting Siete Family Foods we had zero experience in the food industry. Wheatsville was instrumental in helping us get our start. Knowing we were just getting started as a business, the buyer provided guidance on many of the steps we had to take to get our products on the shelf. We love the warm, welcoming feel we get when walking into Wheatsville as customers and now as vendors/partners that have the privilege of selling our products to their customers.

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This Month’s Vendor Spotlight: Sjaak’s Organic Chocolate

Many thanks to Jessica Holten for answering our questions!

Who started Sjaak’s Organic Chocolates?

Jacques Holten and his daughter Jessica started Sjaak's Organic Chocolates in 2003, after discussing their passion for organic foods, they both felt like it was the right direction to go. They wanted to create a delicious chocolate that was also organic, thus being healthier for the consumer, farm workers and the earth.

How long has Sjaak’s been in business?

Jacques has been creating culinary confections since the age of 12, when he began trade school in his native country of Holland. We joke that he has been making chocolate forever, which is somewhat true. He has been in the confectionery and culinary industry most of his life; either working for himself in various businesses or for chocolate houses throughout Europe.

What is the meaning of your windmill and tulip logo?

The Sjaak’s logo is rooted deep in family history. Jacques, the owner and creator of Sjaak’s Organic Chocolates, was born in the Netherlands and grew up next door to the family grain mill. The original wind mill that is represented in the   Sjaak’s logo was named Antonius Mollen, a family name to this day. This mill was destroyed in World War II, but it was   replaced by a mechanical mill. The tulip in the forefront is iconic of Holland, the largest producers of tulips in the world.

What makes Sjaak’s Organic Chocolates different from other chocolates on the market?

Most importantly, what sets Sjaak's Organic Chocolates aside is taste.  We pride ourselves on creating incredibly delicious chocolates. Sjaak's is also completely organic, vegan, kosher and is a small family owned and operated business.

Does Sjaak’s use Fair Trade and non-GMO ingredients?

All of Sjaak's ingredients are organic, therefore non-GMO. We use Fair trade cocoa and sugar. Sjaak's Organic Chocolates aims to create the highest quality gourmet organic chocolates possible while simultaneously supporting a positive work environment, fair trade practices and encouraging sustainable agriculture through the use of organic, non-GMO ingredients. It is also the goal of Sjaak's Organic Chocolates to build a socially responsible, profitable business that can be carried on for generations to come.

Are your chocolates vegan and Kosher?

All of Sjaak’s Organic Chocolates are vegan products, including chocolate bars, gift boxes and Holiday treats. This means they contain no animal ingredients, such as milk, butter, eggs, and gelatin. We have created a vegan 'Melk' chocolate that that is completely dairy free and is delicious! Even the sugar that we use is non bone char.  Our products are certified Kosher by Earth Kosher.

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Local Vendor Spotlight: Big Swig Sparkling Water

Crisp & Clean Sparkling Water from Deep in the Heart of Austin,Texas

Big Swig balances thirst-quenching bubbles and fresh flavor for a crushable beverage enjoyed any time of day. The can is bold but the bubbles are refreshing, not overwhelming. It’s perfect for hydrating during a weekend at Zilker Park, a weekday lunch, a night out, and everything in between. Anywhere around Austin, Big Swig sparkling water brings a bubbly zip and burst of flavor, delivering Texas-Sized refreshment. Crack one open!

Big Swig Sparkling Water is available in 12-packs of 12oz can.

Original Sparkling Water — A timeless classic. Like a good pair of blue jeans, our Original Sparkling Water always feels right and goes with just about anything.

Key Lime — Sparkling water with a refreshing zip to get you up and running. Light, bubbly, and delicious without any calories, sugar, or worries.

Ruby Red Grapefruit — A sparkling citrus explosion, with a hint of sweetness. Made with no sweeteners, no calories, and no bull—but plenty of love and care.

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