PCC blog

Double feature: "King Corn" and "Big River"

Cozy up with fellow local farming fans and catch two fun, informative flicks 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 9. The Phinney Neighborhood Association and PCC Farmland Trust are teaming up to screen "King Corn" and its sequel,"Big River." 

"King Corn" follows two young men along their whimsical quest to understand the farm subsidy system (and, industrialized agriculture) via growing their own acre of corn.  In "Big River" they explore whom they've affected downstream from that acre. Visit www.bigriverfilm.com to see the trailer.

The fun happens at 6532 Phinney Ave. N. in Seattle. Admission is a donation (shared by PNA and the Trust). Call 206-783-2244 for more information.


A PCC Thanksgiving (the world's mightiest potluck)

I'd heard rumblings of the Thanksgiving potluck from the moment I started working at PCC Natural Markets.

Goldie, founder of our PCC Cooks program, churning out one of her dozen or so wholesome, delicious dishes. 

"Goldie gets here at 6 a.m. to start cooking. Six A-M!"

"Last year, there were so many people we had to eat in shifts!"

"We could barely walk afterward."

Man, I couldn't wait. I also got nervous about what to bring. I turned to a tried-and-true recipe -- the Pear Cranberry Cake from the final issue of "Gourmet" magazine.

Packed with organic and local pears and cranberries, free-range eggs, and organic cream for the icing.

Plenty of fresh fruit keeps the cake super moist and flavorful.

But enough about me. On with the show! 

Breakfast bar with French toast squares, meat/veg sausage, fresh OJ, hot coffee, fresh-baked scones.

Just some of the organic produce for the meal!

Root vegetables a-roasting

Cauldrons and pots a-bubbling

Biggest cast-iron skillet I've ever seen (more than 1.5 feet in diameter!). Goldie has many in her collection.

Quinoa-stuffed kabocha a-cooking.

Lining up for dinner! Felt like summer camp -- albeit, gourmet summer camp!

Et, voila! So many great offerings from throughout the office.

And more...

And more...

This beet and pear salad was so fresh and satisfying.

Can you believe I forgot to photograph the desserts?! Oh well. I was too busy feasting :) 


Hope your Thanksgiving plans are shaping up nicely, wherever home is for you. If it happens to be in greater Puget Sound, stop by our stores for any of your T-Day needs, or, order an entire holiday dinner from our deli and spend your day relaxing with friends and family. If you're anything like me, though, the cooking is half the fun :)

PCC Podcasts: Chef Olaiya Land, salt tooth, fan of rustic cooking and PCC Cooks instructor

I first met Chef Olaiya Land at her PCC Cooks Autumn Soup Making class at PCC Greenlake. She taught us how to properly (and speedily) chop an onion. She taught us how to build layers of flavor within our soups. She taught us how our pantries already hold many of the ingredients we'd need to create simple, elegant garnishes that can elevate our creations from great to sublime. Delish!

Flash Player 9 or higher is required. Download it now.

I hope you'll enjoy getting to know her and her passion for food and cooking as much as I have. I especially enjoyed her salt and cookbook recommendations, her stories of cooking with her grandmother growing up in Illinois and why so many of us could benefit from a knife skills class.


More about: PCC Cooks, podcasts

Donate to PCC Farmland Trust: $5 to the Trust for each new donor!

You already eat local and shop local. Why not help preserve local farmland, forever? 

Ames Creek Farm in Carnation, one of three land parcels preserved for agricultural use by PCC Farmland Trust

A donation to the PCC Farmland Trust does just that. The independent, community-supported (thanks to you!), non-profit land trust keeps local farmers farming using sustainable, organic growing methods. Through the end of this year, one generous donor has pledged to donate $5 to the trust for every new donor -- up to $15,000.  This is a thoughtful gift for the person who has everything, for someone in your life who cares about preserving land for agricultural use or for anyone who wants to make a difference in our community but isn't sure where to start.

So far, the trust has preserved three Northwest farms for future agricultural use, including: 

  • The 97-acre Delta Farm in Sequim, farmed by Nash's Organic Produce
  • The 174-acre Bennington Place Farm in Walla Walla, farmed by Thundering Hooves, a grass-fed meat operation
  • The 178-acre Ames Creek farm in Carnation, farmed by Full Circle Farm, Growing Things Farm and Children's Garden Farm.

Stay tuned for exciting news about a fourth farm saved. And click here to donate! 

A happy haunting: PCC Halloween Mix raises $5,000-plus for zoo!

This just in: Those of you who took home our special PCC Halloween Mix to hand out to trick-or-treaters (or snack on yourselves) helped raise more than $5,000 for Woodland Park Zoo's conservation and education efforts! Thank you for supporting an important organization! 

In the bag this year: Fair-trade chocolates from Green & Black and Equal Exchange and delicious energy bar bites from Lärabar. We'll carry on the tradition, started in 2005, again next Halloween!

This week at PCC: "King Corn", Tibetan Healing Fund, Eat Local for Thanksgiving

Happy Halloween everyone! Stay warm and dry this weekend. Thank goodness we're not in Denver, where they'll be trick-or-treating on snow, though it'd be a great excuse to dress as the Abominable Snowman, Bigfoot or Santa Claus. But back to what's going on right here in our neck of the woods...

KING CORN is this week's free movie at PCC Redmond. Join us by 5 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 1 for non-GMO popcorn, beverages and a lively discussion following the film, which follows two young men along their whimsical quest to understand the farm subsidy system (and, industrialized agriculture). Read more about Movies With a Message.

SUPPORT THE TIBETAN HEALING FUND, and PCC's nine Tibetan-American staffers and their homeland, by coming out to a benefit dinner 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 7 at 3902 Woodland Park Ave. N. in Seattle, or a slide show from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 8 at the PCC Office, 4201 Roosevelt Way N.E., Seattle. Saturday's dinner includes a presentation on improving health care in rural Tibet and tickets are $40. The Sunday slide show is free and explores cultural features. Visit tibetanhealingfund.org for details.

TAKE THE PLEDGE to include at least one locally-grown food on your Thanksgiving table and support local, organic agriculture. Visit our Eat Local For Thanksgiving page to learn more and find great holiday recipes from PCC Cooks instructor Lynne Vea.

SIP ON A NEW FAVORITE at $5 PCC wine tastings this week. Thursday, Nov. 5 at PCC Fremont try great wines for everyday pleasure 6:30 to 8 p.m. At PCC Edmonds, Greenlake and Redmond that night at the same time you can sample wines that pair well with holiday meals. Saturday, Nov. 7 at PCC Fremont try Spanish wines from 2 to 4 p.m. Visit our PCC Wine & Beer Tastings page for more details. RSVP at winetastings@pccsea.com or 206-547-2221.

GREEN POWER is now available to customers of Seattle City Light and Puget Sound Energy. PCC has teamed up with both utilities to spread the word to our members and customers and support the expansion of renewable energy. Visit our green power page to learn more!


Member meeting recap: Who knew dairy farming was so fascinating?

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." 

More about: community, Organic Valley

Meet the farmers: Organic Valley dairymen at PCC Redmond Wednesday, Oct. 28

Heading to my first PCC member meeting tonight. Have you seen the menu? Blake Caldwell, our deli coordinator at PCC Kirkland is doing the honors as executive chef tonight. Mmm, mmm good.

<<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! 


More about: membership, Organic Valley

The weight of PCC Redmond's Halloween pumpkin? An offensive lineman, give or take a few pounds

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"!


More about: community, Redmond

PCC Movies with a Message

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!

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