March Produce Parable
Adam Calder, Produce Manager
Despite the best efforts of a couple of polar vortices this
winter, spring is just around the corner.
As such, it is the time of the year when gardeners begin planning and
plotting their gardens. To help (or
maybe hinder) those garden plans, Wheatsfield has doubled the amount of seed
varieties we offer, from 64 to 128 varieties!
In the past, it has been extremely difficult to pick out
only 64 varieties from the glossy Seed Savers catalog, but as our seed rack
only contains 64 slots, 64 varieties was all we could fit. With the addition of a second seed rack this
year, we have expanded the seeds we can offer to you.
Instead of picking out one or two heirloom basils this year,
we got them all! Not content to offer
just a few flower seeds, we now have a dozen different kinds. We still have everyone’s favorite tomato
seeds like Brandywine and Cherokee Purple, and we also got in some exciting new
ones like the Green Grape and Wapsipinicon Peach. Check out the expanded selection of herb
seeds like German Chamomile, Stevia, Greek Oregano and lemon balm. We’ve got parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
seeds too for all those Simon and Garfunkel fans out there.
even a funky new gourd seed called the Dinosaur Gourd. It is not edible, but the gourd has shiny,
green peel that looks like dinosaur skin so it would make a great ornamental
addition to any garden. These gourds have
a long, gracefully curved neck and are great for crafty folks who like to make
on in and check out these fun new items, as well as the usual assortment of
kales, cucumbers, peas, beans, peppers and carrots that we have always
had. Start dreaming big for your garden
this year, and get a head start by coming in soon and buying some Seed Savers
Exchange seed packets.
February Produce Parable
By Adam Calder, Producer Manager
Fair trade roses arrive at the co-op on Tuesday, February 11th.
Equality. Fairness. Love. All
are simple words, profound ideas, and sometimes seemingly untenable goals. As we approach St. Valentine’s Day and
eagerly await the tokens and baubles of affection, both given and received, it
is sometimes difficult to look past the surface of that ruby red rose or that
scent of that box of chocolaty, ebony heaven to the reality of how those items
got from where they were to your hands.
At Wheatsfield Cooperative, we are proud to offer Fair Trade
roses (and chocolate too!) to the Ames and surrounding communities. Such beauties, these flowers, be they pink
like a blushing cheek, white as pure snow, red like lips pursed for a kiss, or
orange and yellow as the setting sun.
This beauty is, fortunately, not skin deep.
The beauty of these flowers extends from here and across the land,
across the ocean, all the way to Ecuador.
It is there the flowers are grown with attention and care, but also
fairness and equality. It is there the
people who work the land reap the benefits of their hard labor. At One World Flowers, women and men are paid
a fair living wage for the work they do, $500 a month compared to the average
wage in Ecuador of $240 a month. The
women can work fearing neither exploitation nor abuse nor discrimination simply
because of their sex. The men know they
will be punished and fired if they do not treat their female coworkers with
Our roses should arrive at the Cooperative on February 11th, just in
time for the holiday. We will have the
classic red rose, some bi-color reddish-orange yellow roses for those Cyclone
fans, purple roses, pink roses and some new white roses we’ve never offered
before. At $2.49 a stem or $27.49 a
bunch, these roses are as affordable as they are fairly grown. If flower buying is on your list of things to
do for St. Valentine’s Day, then please stop in to Wheatsfield Cooperative and
pick up some of ours. You will be giving
so much more than mere flowers.
Chicken Noodle Soup
by Adam Calder, Produce Manager
If you are looking to hunker down this winter with some warm comfort food, what could be better than a steaming hot bowl of homemade chicken noodle soup? While the richest stocks and soups do come from simmering whole, bone in chicken pieces for a couple of hours one can make an absolutely delicious soup from simple ingredients that don’t require you to be in the kitchen for very long.
If you don’t have time to make this recipe, then you might want to try our Pacific brand Organic Chicken Noodle Soup. It comes in an aseptic package so it doesn’t taste like a can, but is still conveniently shelf-stable. It tastes almost like it’s homemade, and if you sprinkle in a few fresh or frozen peas and a pinch of fresh herbs right before serving, you will still get a hearty, hot meal that looks and tastes great!
Chicken Noodle Soup
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 lb chopped raw chicken breast
- 2 c chopped celery
- 1 c chopped onions
- 1 c sliced carrots
- 1 c fresh or frozen peas
- 12 c water or chicken broth
- 8 oz. uncooked egg noodles
- 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
- 2 tsp chopped fresh sage
- 2 tsp salt & pepper (or to taste)
Heat olive oil in a soup kettle. Add next four ingredients, sauté for 7-10 minutes. Add water/stock to kettle, bring to boil. Simmer 15 minutes. Add egg noodles, chopped fresh herbs, salt & pepper. Simmer 5 more minutes or until egg noodles are cooked.
January 2014 Produce Parable
by Adam Calder
It’s January, so that means it is also time for a flurry of resolution related changes in peoples habits and routines. This is one of those times when jumping on the bandwagon is a great idea, as there are many great reasons to start a healthy new diet for 2014.
For too long, the word “diet” has taken on the negative connotations of denial, hunger and despair. Those diets are fads, designed to line the pockets of whoever dreamed them up, not to help anyone become healthy. A real diet is a way of living and thinking. Your diet should be the total of what you put in your body to balance all of your complex physical and emotional needs, not a restrictive list of what is and is not acceptable to achieve some abstract, idealized version of ourselves that likely can never be.
Starting a healthy diet is befuddling simple. All you have to do is pick out something to eat from the hundreds of options in the produce, bulk, meat and dairy departments as these are the departments that feature the least processed items.
Perhaps that is why fad diets are so popular, they narrow down the list of what you have to think about eating. If you eat healthy, you have more to think about. Will this food have enough fat, carbohydrates, salt, spices, color, texture and flavor to make me actually enjoy eating it? How does one eat more kale? When should I buy fresh produce and when should I use canned or frozen? Is this pseudo-meat product with three dozen manufactured ingredients really better for me than this piece of grilled chicken? This home-made meatloaf is delicious, but should I eat that once a week or maybe just once a month?
If you want to eat healthy, and still eat all of your favorite foods, then now is a good time to start learning how to make all of your favorite foods. Do you love potato chips? Make your own! By the time you wash, slice and fry or bake up a batch, you will be less likely to eat a whole bag of them. Do your lettuce salads drown in ranch dressing? It’s great that you are eating a salad, so why not try making an easy vinaigrette of cider vinegar and olive oil instead of who knows what is in that ranch dressing. Love cookies? Bake some up, eat a few and share the rest. Is eating a package of store-bought cookies really more fun than that?
You’ll likely find that once you start making home-made versions of all your favorite foods, you will eat less but still feel full. You will know exactly what goes in your food, so you won’t be eating any unknown or unnecessary preservatives, colorings, flavors or ingredients. It’s ok to eat convenience foods once and a while, and Wheatsfield Cooperative does its best to stock our grocery, frozen and deli departments with convenience foods that are also free of artificial ingredients. Come on in soon, and we will help you get started on a healthy new way of life.
With citrus in season, enjoy these five citrus-based recipes
from the New York Times including a Beet, Orange, and Arugula Salad, a
Grapefruit Vinaigrette, and a Grapefruit and Navel Orange Gratin.
Looking for a post holiday detox? These eleven resolution-approved recipes
from Food 52 will help start the new year out right with a green
smoothie, a celery and mushroom salad, and rainbow chard with
maple-vinegar, and more.
November 2013 Produce Parable
By Adam Calder
This year, we’ve seen more local produce come into our
department than ever before. We are not done yet either! Our horn
of plenty is overflowing with high quality locally grown produce for
Thanksgiving this year, so get ready to fill your table up with
absolutely delicious vegetables.
On the top of the list: carrots! We are nearly done with the
carrots from Growing Harmony Farm (thanks Gary!) and then we will
transition to carrots from Table Top Farm, One Step at a Time Gardens
and Small Potatoes Farm. All are sweet, crunchy and just the thing
to liven up your weeknight dinner, midday snack or dressed up in your
fanciest glazed carrot recipe for your Thanksgiving feast.
We’ve also gotten our hands on a great supply of certified
organic sweet potatoes from Small Potatoes Farm. These sweet
potatoes bake up soft, sweet and fluffy and will be a welcome guest
at your table. They are every bit as delicious as the sweet potatoes
we get year round from California, but due to the high concentration
of organic matter in our fertile Iowa soil, the skin on the sweet
potatoes from Iowa tend to have dark splotches on them. These
splotches are purely cosmetic, skin deep and in no way affect the
taste, quality or shelf life of the potatoes.
Look for Brussels sprouts too, certified organic in bulk and on
the stem from State Line Produce in Lime Springs, Iowa. The stems of
Brussels sprouts have about three pounds of sprouts on them and can
be used as an eye catching piece to a fall centerpiece, and then
either roasted whole and served as an attractive side dish or picked
off the stem and cooked however you like them best right before your
meal. We’ve also got some blue potatoes (high in antioxidants!),
delicate red French fingerling potatoes, 5 lb. bags of russet
potatoes, bulk russet, gold and red potatoes too.
Don’t forget the certified organic Iowa grown chestnuts from J&B
Chestnuts . These large, glowing auburn treats are truly the star of
autumn. They are only available for a couple of months and then they
are gone until next year. If you like chestnuts, then you really
don’t want to miss out on these. Pick up a pound or two for your
stuffing , for roasting and snacking or try tossing peeled chestnuts
with Brussels sprouts and roasting them together with a little bit
of oil and serving as a hearty side dish.
The pie pumpkins are rolling steadily in, and they are as good
this year as they ever have been. Don’t forget pumpkin’s tasty
cousins red and green kabocha, spaghetti squash, butternut, acorn and
delicata squashes. One Step at a Time Gardens grows copious amounts
of these savory cucurbita for us, and every year we are reminded of
just how sweet these fall gems can be. Not only are the squash good
in pies, they are also great additions to soups, stews and roasts.
If we can’t actually have a
magical cornucopia, constantly overflowing with a deluge of wholesome
produce, then be glad we can have so many successful and productive
local farmers to give us a taste of such mythical bounties, if only
for a few months out of the year.