Thanks so much to the scores of you who came out last night for our fall member meeting! Hope you went home with full bellies and full minds. I know I enjoyed hearing from Organic Valley dairyman Jon Bansen about his farm and cows and family. The amount of effort the Organic Valley co-op puts into raising healthy herds makes me proud to be a customer. One man in the audience mistakenly called them "Healthy Valley" during the Q&A session. That actually sums them up quite well!
Here are some photos from the night:
Jill (white shirt) rallying the troops, who hailed from every PCC location
The seasonal menu, created by executive chef Blake Caldwell, deli coordinator at PCC Kirkland,
Birgitte Antonson and Alex George from PCC Edmonds
So satisfying. And, such diversity of nutrients boosts the immune system
PCC Board chair Stephen Tan addresses a packed St. Demetrios Hall
Highlights of what we learned:
- PCC's sales are holding steady in this economy, says CEO Tracy Wolpert (thanks to all of you!). Look for holiday coupons in the coming weeks, and don't forget to Eat Local for Thanksgiving.
- Nutrition Educator Leika Suzumura suggested we use the acronym ACES (Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E and Selenium) at each meal to ensure we're nourishing ourselves properly. And during this cold and flu season, yo load up on pumpkin seeds, butternut squash and mushrooms for Zinc, which helps activate cells and keeps our bodies running at full speed
- The PCC Farmland Trust announced a great matching donation program (a gift idea for the person who has everything and wants to protect organic farmland from development, forever). I will update this blog with details as I get them.
- Organic Valley is the nation's largest organic farmers cooperative, with 1,398 family farms and growing that produce milk, orange juice, meats, produce and more. Jon Bansen's favorite cow is named Rosie (each of his cows on his Oregon farm are named rather than numbered). He exorted us to put the "culture" back in agriculture, to farm with biology in mind rather than chemistry. "You can't cheat nature," he said. "Nature always wins in the end."
<<Jon Bansen, an Oregon dairy farmer, Organic Valley co-op member
But I'm most excited to learn more about the organic dairy industry, and Organic Valley in particular (Jon Bansen, a third-generation dairy farmer from Oregon, is tonight's featured speaker). OV is a co-op, just like us, though on a much larger scale. It started out with seven family farms back in 1988 and now counts nearly 1,400 family farms among its ranks, producing a delicious range of milks, cheeses, creams, meats and more.
There's another chance to catch Jon and fellow dairyman Andrew Dykstra -- 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at PCC Redmond Wednesday, Oct. 28. Pop on by, ask them all you've ever wanted to know about organic dairy, pick up some recipes and treat your kids to a visit to the Kid Picks Mobile!
Four hundred men, women and children entered PCC Redmond's Guess the Weight of the Pumpkin contest. They rocked the orange sphere to and fro, eyed it from all directions, thumped it with their fists. Meet the winner (to the right), smiling big for the camera.
He guessed 367 pounds. Actual weight of that mega squash? 366!
It took four strapping young men to hoist the great pumpkin (the prize for guessing correctly) into the back of the family's Honda minivan says Celeste, the store director. Looks like someone will be toasting a lot of pumpkin seeds in the near future.
In other PCC news, we had a strong turnout for and a great discussion following "The World According to Monsanto" Sunday night at PCC Edmonds, part of our Movies With a Message series. Hope to see you next month for "King Corn"!
The kids have been back to school for weeks now. Don't you think it's time you stretched your brain, too?
Come on over to Edmonds PCC Sunday for a FREE 5 p.m. showing of "The World According to Monsanto," paired with free non-GMO popcorn and beverages. PCC Public Affairs Director Trudy Bialic will lead a lively discussion after the movie about the many issues it raises about the future of farming. Eat! Learn! Knock out your grocery shopping! Everyone wins.
We've got a great one for November, too -- "King Corn," a jaunty-yet-enlightening look at all that goes into growing corn in this nation, from actual farming techniques to bureaucracy. My nephew saw it at age 10 and loved it (I saw it at age 29 and loved it, too).
Catch "King Corn" (might I remind you that it's FREE) 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 1 at PCC Redmond and 6 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 8 at PCC Edmonds.
PCC has screened movies before (maybe you remember seeing "The Future of Food") but a series is new for us. We like being part of our community, whether by providing great, nourishing food or helping to spread the word about how the food industry operates (and the ways we hope it will improve). Hope to see you Sunday!
I never won, but sure loved seeing my artwork plastered to the windows of my neighborhood Thriftway back in the day. I spied this while shopping at PCC Greenlake over the weekend. It's open to little artists just old enough to pick up a crayon all the way up to age 12. Don't forget to turn it in by October 28! There are prizes to be won, after all.
This is my first time working in a retail environment, which means it's my first experience with the crazy run-up to the holiday season. I have never spent so much time thinking about Thanksgiving in my life -- starting in September, no less!
It's almost time again: Last year's Thanksgiving ad.
Now that it's October, we've also added Christmas to the mix of responsibilities. That means even more questions (and meetings). Which meats shall we offer in our meat case and in our ready-to-heat meals sold in the deli? Which wines pair best with Field Roast? (answer from our wine guy: anything). How many sides should there be? What should the sides be? What types of pie should we offer?
There are meals to plan and price, Eat Local for Thanksgiving campaigns to help organize, photos to shoot, gift ideas to compile, Web pages to design, ads and newsletters to write and recipes to organize into handy lists.
A sneak peek at our upcoming holiday pages!
The impending holiday season also means a lot of neat new products are rolling into our stores in the coming weeks, like Zoe's Meats in our deli, Boat Street Pickles from right here in Seattle, a new line of fresh-baked pies from our bakery, great new locally smoked salmon and these awesome snacks.
Hopefully I still have the energy to roast my turkey when the day finally rolls around!
Most of us who grew up trick or treating had favorites, whether it was Now and Laters, mini Crunch bars, candy corn or Smarties (I was a big mini Twix fan). We knew which house had the best loot, and beelined there with our plastic pumpkins and pillowcases in tow.
Since 2005 we've tried to offer something a little different at PCC -- a mix of Halloween treats that are more in line with our health and environmental goals (but still count as treats). This year, our mix is a blend of Lärabar energy bar bites and fair-trade chocolate from Green & Black and Equal Exchange. And for the first time, 100 percent of the profit from the mix (more than $4,000) will benefit Woodland Park Zoo’s efforts in conservation and education.
Who knew a sweet tooth could be a good thing?
It's rainy and cozy today in our little part of the globe, the perfect time to fire up the oven and bake -- pear and hazelnut tarts, warm and spicy apple dumplings, a warm salad with roasted butternut squash, you name it. Why resist fall when you can embrace its positive points? Fresh, aromatic vegan pumpkin pie never hurt anyone.
I checked in with Joe Hardiman, our produce merchandiser, for a full report of what's now in store:
APPLES: Our local, organic fall crop includes Golden Delicious and Red Delicious grown by Scott Leach of Scott Leach Orchards in Zillah, Wash., Galas from the Otte family in Tonasket, Wash., Granny Smith, Braeburn, Fuji, Jonagolds and Honeycrisp. Pink Ladies will be along soon, Joe says, when they have a bit more chilly weather to further their bright red blush. He recommends you try the Orin variety -- green like a Granny Smith, but sweet rather than sour.
PEARS: Local Organic green Bartletts from Scott Leach, Bosc from the Otte family, Forelles, red Bartlett, Red Crimson and itty-bitty, glowing Seckel pears.
CRANBERRIES: We're proud to carry local cranberries this season from the Coquille Indian Tribe in Coos Bay, Ore. Look for them beginning this weekend.
SQUASH: You name it, it's here: Sugar Pie pumpkins from Rent's Due Ranch in Stanwood, Wash., as well as local and organic Butternut, Acorn, Delicata, Spaghetti, Blue Hubbard, Kabocha, Sweet Dumpling and many other types of squash.
POMEGRANATES: Are fresh and in our stores from California. Click here to learn how to eat them without ruining your shirt.
LAST CHANCE: Local and organic Dappled Dandy pluots, fresh corn, summer squash and bell peppers are just about done for the year. Same with Keitt mangoes (the green, sweet ones that are smooth inside) from Mexico and California figs.
The air is crisp and the ground crunchy with leaves. Local apples and pumpkins are flooding our produce department. Our special Halloween mix is back on the shelves. It's definitely fall, and time for cozy pursuits.
SUPPORT WOODLAND PARK ZOO by purchasing PCC's Halloween mix, bags of fair-trade chocolates from Green & Black and Equal Exchange, along with some delicious bites from Lärabar. All profits from the mix will benefit the zoo's efforts in conservation and education. And look for the Kid Picks Mobile at the zoo's annual Pumpkin Prowl event Sunday, Oct. 25.
SIP AND DISCOVER new favorites at one of our wine tastings. Thursday, Oct. 15 the theme at Edmonds PCC is Easy to Drink, Easy to Buy while over at Redmond PCC it's A Taste of the Loire. Cost is $5 per person, paid at the door. Your tasting fee includes 1-ounce pours of each wine offered. RSVP by calling the reservation line at 206-547-1222 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. These informal tastings take place from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Twenty-one and over only, please. View all tasting events.
HELP FEED THE HUNGRY by volunteering your time at the West Seattle PCC food packaging work party. Meet at West Seattle Food Bank (3419 S.W. Morgan St.) at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 12 to help package bulk foods purchased with PCC Food Bank Program donations from PCC shoppers like you. All are welcome! Call Community Relations at 206-547-1222 or email email@example.com for more information.
MEET THE KID PICKS MOBILE and then GET A BIKE HELMET FOR $5 or get your current helmet fitted to a T from 2 to 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 16 at Redmond PCC. Sizes toddler to adult will be available but supplies are limited, and wearer must be present to purchase a helmet. Sponsored by Seattle Children's Hospital and PCC.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR for Movies with a Message, a free movie series held at our Edmonds and Redmond stores. At 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 25 it's "The World According to Monsanto" at Edmonds PCC. Public Affairs Director Trudy Bialic will be on hand following the movie for a lively discussion. Space is first-come, first served ... and did I mention free non-GMO popcorn and beverages? Come on down!
After work a recent crazy Tuesday, I found myself at peace in a classroom high above Greenlake PCC, dicing onions, chopping cilantro and peeling carrots as part of a fragrant PCC Cooks class called "Soup Making For Autumn."
Chef Olaiya Land taught us to make a trio of soups and flavorful garnishes I'd proudly serve to any dinner guest. Even better, we devoured them at the end of class, despite it being nearly 80 degrees outside (fall will come soon enough, I remember thinking). I learned an easier way to chop onions and to save Parmesan rinds in the freezer to drop into my simmering soup kettle whenever I need an extra flavor boost. And, I discovered many of my classmates were PCC Cooks groupies, who consistently follow a particular instructor through each new season of classes, or who have taken classes with the Cooks program for years. Now I get it.
The women behind our award-winning PCC Cooks program
In honor of PCC Cooks, we're starting up a new podcast series here on Stir-fry. Each month we'll bring you an interview with one of our PCC Cooks instructors that that sheds some light on how they came to love food.
We're kicking things off with Becky Selengut, a local chef, blogger, cookbook author (find the "Washington Local and Seasonal Cookbook" on our shelves at PCC) and all-around fascinating person. Find her on Twitter as @chefreinvented or at her blog.
Flash Player 9 or higher is required. Download it now.