PT Food Co-op

Port Townsend Food Co-op, 414 Kearney St., Port Townsend, WA, 98368
Open Every Day 8am-9pm
Phone: (360) 385-2883

Archive for the ‘Port Townsend Food Co-op’ Category

DARK Act – The Next Step

July 27th, 2015 by Kathie

Dark ActThank you to all who called your U.S. House representative regarding the DARK Act, aka HB 1599. If you called Rep. Derek Kilmer, it was effective. He voted “no.” However, this legislation did indeed pass the House, and that was expected. Of the 10 Representatives from Washington State, 6 voted “no” and 4 voted “yes.” Here is how the vote went down in the entire House: http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2015/roll462.xml

The next step for the bill is the U.S. Senate. In the Senate, it is calculated that a vote going along Republican party lines would need 5 or 6 Democrat Senators to pass. As the Senate vote draws closer, we will ask you to call U.S. Senators Murray and Cantwell. Thank you!

 

Stop the DARK Act!

July 21st, 2015 by Kathie

gmo hb 1599On Thursday, the House of Representatives will vote on an anti-labeling act for GMOs. Known as the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015 by its advocates and the DARK Act by its opponents, it is more generically known as HB 1599. We oppose this law as does the National Co-op Grocers, the food co-op cooperative of which we are a member.

This law would block mandatory GMO labeling at the state and national levels. You can learn more about the bill by reading “DARK Act is moving through Congress quickly.”

If you are also opposed to HB 1599, we urge you to contact your House representative. If you live on the Olympic Peninsula, your congressman is Rep. Derek Kilmer. He can be reached through the above link or by calling 202-225-5916 (District of Columbia) or 360-797-3623 (Port Angeles). 

Sweet Cherry Pie — Yum!

July 14th, 2015 by Kathie

Valentis-Cherry-Pie-735x380As you may have noticed, fruits and berries are all early this year because of the dry, hot weather. What that means for Washington farmers is an early harvest, especially for organic sweet cherries. For us that means we need to move them out of the store….fast! For you, our customer, that means a SALE! Now, until supplies last, organic sweet cherries are $2.99 lb. Buy as much or as little as you like and freeze some for later! One pound of cherries is approximately two cups. You do want to buy cherries with their stems attached as they keep longer and are fresher.

Let’s say you love cherry pie. But let’s also say that you think you need sour pie cherries for that. Untrue! A lot of people think only the sour pie cherries are suitable for pie, however you CAN make cherry pie with sweet cherries. It might have a different flavor than sour cherry pie, but it’s still cherry pie with less added sugar. And less sugar is a good thing.

Try this recipe for Sweet Cherry Pie from the Smitten Kitchen blog, and see for yourself!

Some folks cook the cherries on the stove before assembling the pie. This recipe for Cherry Pie-in-a-Jar does exactly that. Pie-in-a-Jar makes a great gift when you have run out of ideas or are short on cash, especially if you already have frozen cherries on hand.

One other thing about cherries in general is that they can be a real pain to process for freezing. The trick to making it easier, it has been said, is to de-stem the cherries, but leave the pit in, and freeze. When you decide to use the cherries, let them defrost about halfway and the pits will just pop out. You can also freeze the cherries halfway, pit them, and then stick them in the freezer. It’s six of one, half a dozen of the other.

Here’s another way to pit cherries that looks pretty easy. All you need is a chopstick and an empty bottle.

Cherries are a lot more versatile than you might think, so load up, freeze them, and explore the possibilities!

 

 

Connecting the GMO dots

July 7th, 2015 by Kathie

GMO bookThis month, The Food Co-op adds GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) education to its shelves in the form of red dots. The dots indicate products that may have genetically modified ingredients. The next time you shop, look for the DOT program chart on the end of aisles, and then look for the dots on the shelves. You’ll notice that there are not many red dots. Our buyers have done a great job!

Why Are We Getting Dotty?
We want to give members the information they need to make food choices. This is the number one reason. Reason number two is that corporate agriculture dominates the national discussion, which has led to a lack of regulation about labelling. We must step it up on a local level because it is not being done on a national level. At least 26 countries have banned and/or labeled GMO food, but so far in the US, only Vermont has been able to get a label law passed. Our state tried to pass an initiative for GMO labeling, but corporate opponents of I-522 spent tens of millions of dollars to defeat it. Millions of citizens want to know what their food is made of, but millions of corporate dollars are working hard to keep GMO labeling from becoming law. Until that hopefully inevitable day comes, The Food Co-op is taking its own steps to help members connect the dots and make informed choices.

How We Got Dotty
It is easy to buy safe produce when you know the farmer who grew it. That’s also true of processed products carrying the USDA organic or the Non-GMO Project label, but what about everything else on the shelf? Last year the Co-op’s Product Research Committee (PRC) began reading the labels of all the products in the store, searching for ingredients that might be GMO – non-organic soy, cottonseed, beet sugar, corn, canola, alfalfa, and papaya. If any of these suspects were listed in the top five ingredients, we contacted vendors and asked questions. The PRC drew a line at the top five ingredients because those usually constitute 90% or more of a product’s contents, and we believed checking the first five ingredients was doable (and much more thorough than the top three ingredients that a survey at the Ashland co-op had done). To see the full survey, look for the notebook located under the Boards board at the front of the store.

Getting answers wasn’t easy – larger corporations don’t always want to be forthcoming, and smaller businesses may not have the personnel to ferret out the answers or the money to go through the Non-GMO Project verification process. Plus, the landscape is changing for the better all the time, so the PRC had to keep circling back to recheck products.

Some companies nimbly skirted the question until our persistent queries forced them to answer, but a few ignored our inquiries. If, after three requests for information, we receive no answer, or if they respond that they do not source non-GMO ingredients, their product gets a red dot. These items won’t be taken off the shelf, but they will be flagged, allowing Food Co-op members to choose.

The Good News
When we began this process, we were a little nervous because we’d all heard the stories about how 70 percent of products probably have GMO ingredients. While that might be true of conventional grocery stores, it certainly wasn’t true of our beloved co-op.

Good news to keep in mind:

  • Our audit revealed only a small percentage of products needed additional research. Our buyers have done a notable job steering clear of GMO ingredients.
  • Most products flagged in the audit were verified by producers as being non-GMO.
  • We have now recorded over 1,000 Non-GMO Project verified products and many more USDA organic products.
  • Our buying process prevents any new products from inadvertently slipping GMO ingredients into our store in the future.

The Work Continues
The PRC is not done with this task. We are still gathering information on some sections of the store, and we will continue to update our information as well as the binder. The ability to make healthier choices—and changing the market through those choices—is the point of this extensive exercise in transparency. So, go forth and change the world by changing the market place!

The Food Co-op Product Research Committee

 

News form the Board – Facilities Evolution Update July 2015

June 30th, 2015 by Rachel Williams

Hello, Fellow Member-Owners,

The Food Co-op Board has decided that even though there may not always be fresh news to tell, we should write an Evolution Update each month to let you know how things are going as we explore our facilities options. So here is the first update!*

Last fall, we formed a committee to map out the process for the Co-op’s evolution, comprised of our general manager, Kenna Eaton; our board assistant, Rachel Williams; and four board members, with board member David Wayne Johnson as committee chair. We named ourselves the Evolutionary Road Crew, or ERC—who says boards can’t have a sense of humor?

ERC divided the work on our facilities into several stages:

  • Phase 1: Define our facility needs
  • Phase 2: Identify a short list of options for feasibility study
  • Phase 3: Evaluate options, then board decision on preferred option(s)
  • Phase 4: Preliminary design and budget; ask for member approval
  • Phase 5: Pre-work work: contracts, permits, etc.
  • Phase 6: Remodel or construction or ?

We completed Phase I in the spring, and so we are currently working on Phases 2 and 3. As we’ve noted before, there is no perfect option. We are searching out all the feasible options, so that we can pick the most likely possibilities and study them more thoroughly. Since this process sometimes involves real estate or other organizations, we cannot always go into detail. If you are too open about your ideas and plans, the perfect piece of property might be snatched up before you can agree to purchase it! And sometimes the details are not ours to share.

To help with Phases 2 and 3, we are enlisting community members with expertise in various pertinent areas to be part of a work group to study our options. Summer is a busy time, but we plan to convene this work group as soon as we can.

We are trying to be comprehensive in our exploration of options, and we welcome any ideas a member might have on some new possibility. Maybe you and several of your friends want to start a development cooperative and build the perfect community center to include the Co-op! We love to hear all ideas, especially ideas that benefit everybody.

In addition to this blog and the Commons, you can check the Board’s Board at the front of the store (next to the bathrooms) for updates, information, and events. As a for instance, we are in the process of planning some events next fall where members, staff, and the board can learn about various topics pertinent to our co-op and then talk about them:  Organic: What Is It and Why Is It Important? (And how does it differ from natural?); Financial Literacy: What Do Those Numbers in the Annual Report Mean?; P6: Labeling Local, Small, and Cooperative Products (Is it for us?);  and we also plan to cover food topics this winter, such as Healthy Food Access.

So, until our next blog, we’ll see you at the Coop!

Cooperatively Yours,

Janet, Monica, Henry, David Wayne, Patricia, Peter, and Lisa

Coop Evolution

*To see earlier blogs on Co-op Evolution, including why we are looking to improve our facilities, please follow the links below, or scroll back through the blog and look for the Co-op Evolution image.

News from the Board: We Finished Phase 1 (4/13/2015)

News from the Board: Advisory Poll Responses (2/10/2015)

Your turn – Advisory Poll on Facilities (1/16/2015)

News from the Board – Consciously Choosing Tradeoffs (1/13/2015)

News from the Board – Co-op Facilities Evolution (12/26/2014)

 

Summer 2015 Co-op Commons

June 30th, 2015 by Kathie

COMMONS-Summer-2015-coverIn this issue, we introduce our new Jar Saver program, learn about wild edibles, discuss why B vitamins are important for our health, and give you some alternative refreshing drink recipes.

Annual Meeting May 31: Meet Our Guest Speakers

April 28th, 2015 by Rachel Williams

The Food Co-op Annual Meeting will take place Sunday, May 31, 3-6pm at the Northwest Maritime Center. Please join us!

Meet Our Guest Speakers:

Beth Robinette & Joel Williamson

“When I think about ‘local food system rock-stars,’ I think of Beth.” says Rachel Williams, the Food Co-op’s board assistant, who attended Bainbridge Graduate Institute (BGI) with both Robinette and Williamson.

“Beth is one of the most passionate, intelligent, hard working and inspiring people I know working on building healthy local food systems from the ground up. I’m very excited about what she and Joel are doing with Local Inland Northwest Cooperative (LINC) Foods, and I can’t wait to have them share their successes and vision with our co-op community here in Port Townsend.”

Beth Robinette and Joel Williamson are the co-founder of LINC Foods, a co-op that distributes food from member farmers in the Spokane area to restaurants, school districts, and university food service.

Since launching in the summer of 2014, membership has grown from 13 to 28 farmers and producers. They have provided local food to all of the area school districts, and Gonzaga University Food Service is an enthusiastic customer.

Joel & Beth of LINC Foods

Beth is a fourth-generation rancher managing Lazy R Ranch where her family uses holistic management practices to raise grass-fed beef. Joel is also an area native with roots in agriculture. They met while earning master’s degrees from Bainbridge Graduate Institute at Pinchot and decided to work together to launch LINC Foods. They recently won a $25,000 award through a business accelerator program at the University of Washington called the Jones Foster Business Accelerator for their great work with LINC.

Annual Meeting Agenda:

3-4 pm: Review of The Food Co-op in 2014 by Board President Janet Welch and General Manager Kenna Eaton, plus questions and member discussion.

4-5 pm: Keynote by guest speakers Beth Robinette and Joel Williamson, founders of LINC Foods, a new cooperative food hub in Spokane, WA, followed by an overview of our local food system by Food Co-op board member David Wayne Johnson, summarizing The State of Our Local Food System Report, prepared by The Food Co-op’s Food System Development Committee. (View PDFs here: Report Draft 5.31.15, Appendices 5.31.15).

5-6 pm: Mingle while snacking on bites of local foods, explore an online interactive map our local food system, and play “People Bingo” (perhaps win a prize!)

Clean Green & Save

April 21st, 2015 by Mindy

cleaning green flowersYou can save money this week on cleaning products in the store. We have several clean, green products to choose from.

To make your own and save even more, see the recipes below made with household ingredients. A nice touch is to add essential oils for fragrance.

 

All-purpose Cleaner

• 1/4 cup baking soda
• 1/2 cup vinegar
• 1/2 gallon water

Floor Cleaner

To clean linoleum or vinyl, combine:
• 1 cup vinegar
• 3 drops of baby oil
• 1 gallon of warm water

Apply using a mop or sponge.

To clean wooden floors, combine:

• 3 cups vinegar
• 3 cups vegetable oil

Natural Disinfectant

• 4 tablespoons vinegar
• 1/4 teaspoon liquid castile soap
• 3 cups hot water

Pour into a mist bottle and apply as needed.

Bathroom Cleaners

• To clean a toilet, add 10 drops tea tree oil and 3 cups white vinegar into the toilet bowl and let sit for 15 minutes.

• To clean a shower, fill a spray bottle with half water and half vinegar. Add liquid detergent for extra strength. Leave the spray for 30 minutes before rinsing off. (Vinegar is an excellent ingredient for homemade cleaners used in bathtubs and showers because unlike soap, vinegar does not leave a residue.)

• A spray bottle filled with club soda makes a perfectly efficient glass cleaner.
• Remove rust stains with a paste made from water and cream of tartar.

Kitchen Cleaners

For a natural, borax-free dishwasher soap, you will need:
• 1 cup baking soda
• 1/4 c. citric acid
• 1/4 c. coarse salt
• 10-15 drops of citrus essential oil (optional)

Mix first 3 ingredients well in an air tight container. Add essential oil. Mix again.
• To hand wash dishes, use a liquid soap and add 3 tablespoons of vinegar to the soapy water.

Oven Cleaner

To make a natural oven cleaner, you will need:
• 1 tablespoon liquid castile soap
• 1/4 organic white vinegar
• 1.5 cups baking soda
• water, as needed to make a thick, but spreadable, paste
• 2-4 drops essential oil (optional)

Remove the racks from your oven. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Paint the paste over the entire surface of the oven (using an actual paint brush works well). Let the paste sit for 6-8 hours, or overnight. The paste should foam slightly. Fill a bowl with clean water and, using a sponge or scrubber, wipe away the paste. Repeat until there is no white residue and all the grime is wiped away.

CHEMICALS TO AVOID (from National Geographic’s Green Guide):

Ammonia: cuts grease Why Avoid It: derived from petroleum and known to cause asthma Green Alternative: vinegar

Chlorine: disinfects

Why Avoid It: lung and skin irritant, lethal if ingested, releases mercury
Green Alternative: vinegar, lemon juice, tea tree oil, eucalyptus oil

Monoethanolamine: helps cleaners penetrate grime

Why Avoid It: derived from petroleum, irritates respiratory system
Green Alternative: soy, corn, or coconut-based surfactants

Glycol Ethers: dissolve soil

Why Avoid It: causes nerve damage and infertility, air contaminant
Green Alternative: eucalyptus oil

Alkylphenol Ethoxylates: helps cleaners penetrate grime

Why Avoid It: hormone disruptor, damages fish in US streams
Green Alternative: soy, corn, or coconut-based surfactants

Phthalates: synthetic fragrances

Why Avoid It: hormone disruptor, damages fish in US streams
Green Alternative: essential oils, baking soda deodorizers

Triclosan: disinfectant in antibacterial cleaners

Why Avoid It: forms possible carcinogen, builds up in soil and fish
Green Alternative: hot soapy water, vinegar

 

Spring 2015 Co-op Commons

April 14th, 2015 by Kathie

COMMONS Spring 2015 coverIn this issue, we introduce one of our cashiers, Sierra; talk about the Co-op’s next direction; and tell you how the Co-op makes a difference out in our community. Also, as is usual in the spring issue, we introduce candidates for the Board of Directors.

Clean Up a Beach to Celebrate Earth Day

April 14th, 2015 by Rachel Williams

Beach CleanSaturday, April 25th, from 1-5pm

The Food Co-op invites you to celebrate Earth Day by collecting garbage from local beaches on Saturday, April 25th. You’ll receive a $5 Co-op coupon/voucher, as our way of saying ‘thank you.’

To participate, meet outside the Co-op sometime between 1 and 4 pm, where volunteers from the Marine Science Center will give you instructions and the supplies you need. Then head out to any local beach to pick up trash.

Be sure to sign in by 4:00pm at the latest, so you will have time to collect trash before the event ends at 5:00pm. After you’ve collected a nice bag of trash, return to the Co-op at 5:00pm, where volunteers will help you sort your trash for recycling and give you your voucher.

Vouchers are good toward anything at the Co-op. Get a snack at the deli after your hard work, or a refreshing beverage, or just take $5 off your purchases. (NOTE:  Vouchers are good for a one time purchase. No change will be given if you don’t use the entire amount. They expire at the end of April.)

In addition, at 5:00pm we’ll have a drawing and give away two $25 Cooper Cards, good for Co-op purchases. (Must be present to win.)

This event is sponsored by the Marine Science Center and the Food Co-op. The Food Co-op’s participation is a joint effort of S.U.R.F. (the staff Sustainability Resource Fellowship) and MEC (the board Member Engagement Committee). See you there!

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