Funny how some of the most wonderful flavors in the world are often also the most misunderstood. Flavors with character, the distinct accent of their particular home terre – and more soul than the waiting room in purgatory – flavors that have been unjustly tarred with bad press in the forum of conventional wisdom and that bear the ignominy of the of pseudo-sophisticate’s scorn.
I’ve had Beaujolais on my mind these days. New releases from some of the region’s best producers have been showing up in town almost weekly, and as our thirsts have been whetted, La Copine and I have had the opportunity to open a bottle or two. It’s been a treat, as always – one of those little pleasures that don’t cost a heckuva lot, but that provide a unique kind of loveliness that is beyond quantifying with any price tag.
Think ripe fruit. Not bursting with sugar ripe, but the almost tangy, vibrant flavor of berries or cherries when they’re at that solstice – like instant when sweet fruit, the earth it grew in and the sun that nourished it all seem to come together in a harmony so delicious that it’s best enjoyed at mezzo piano. Just enough volume to hear, the intrigue and allure of the flavors prompting you to open your senses and “listen” more intently.
Meanwhile, Beaujolais Nouveau is days away from making an appearance. Traditionally, this is the first red wine of the just completed vintage – and an opportunity to taste what a season in the vineyard has bestowed upon the region’s growers. Nouveaux or “primeur’ wines from honest, scrupulous growers can be lovely, youthfully bright expressions of the vintage that give a good idea of what the growers more “serious” wines will be like(although Nouveau from many of the region’s best growers are plenty “serious” in their own right).
Sadly, however, the good name of Beaujolais Nouveau – and the region in general -- has been trashed by the exploitation and marketing wizardry of Georges DuBoeuf, whose ersatz, factory-made, manipulated, wine-like product has come to virtually define the region by dint of its ubiquity. (If I were a Beaujolais grower, I’d lobby for M. DuBoeuf to be exiled for treason. Stripped of his French citizenship and given the boot. Adieu, pour toujours.)
But enough trash – talking. We’re here to talk about real wine. The nouveaux arrive today, and will vanish into waiting glasses before the year is done – but there’s plenty of gorgeous Beaujolais to be had year-round. And while great Beaujolais is delicious in any season, the contrast of its bright sunny fruit, with the smell of fallen leaves and the early dark and chill of an early evening is soul-warming. We’re thirsty now – and counting the minutes ‘til the day’s work is done…
Enjoy. Life is short – make every glass count!
We're off to a strong start in our efforts to get I-522, the GMO foods labeling initiatve, placed on the November 2013 ballot in Washington. Here's a quick update on where we stand, by the numbers:
- 150 plus = The number of PCC partners, including creameries, organic bakeries, restaurants, health and body care producers, chocolatiers, pasta makers, dairies, coffee roasters and so many more who have endorsed I-522 and support the labeling of genetically engineered foods. See them all here.
- 241,153 = The number of valid signatures backers of I-522 (hopefully, including you!) must submit to get the initiative on the November 2013 ballot.
- 50,000 = The number of signatures PCC wants to collect, with your help, in the month of October.
- $100,000 = The sum PCC contributed to the signature-collecting effort.
- 70 = Percentage of non-organic, processed foods that already contain some, or several, genetically engineered ingredients.
Learn more about I-522 and why we support it here. Want to sign a petition? Check this map for locations around Washington state or visit any PCC store. Want to get involved? Email us: GMOvolunteers <at> pccsea.com
We know it's an uphill battle to collect more than 240,000 valid signatures by year's end to put I-522, the GMO foods labeling initiative, on Washington's November 2013 ballot.
But it's worth it.
I-522 would require producers to tell us whether any food we buy from stores was created via genetic engineering. We already know knowledge is power: think how much better we understand what we eat since 1990, when calorie and nutritional information was required on labels, and since 2002, when country-of-origin labeling was required.
PCC has pledged $100,000 toward the signature-gathering effort and has petitions available to sign at all nine of its stores and at its University District headquarters in Seattle. If you'd like to help gather signatures (and we'd love your help!) email GMOvolunteers <at>
It's green. It's wacky. And for math fans, it's even a fractal!
Mmm... Delicious logarithmic spirals...
It's romanesco broccoli, an especially eye-catching member of the brassica family, and when you spot it in the produce department on occasion throughout fall, you don't want to miss your chance to enjoy its slightly sweet, earthy flavor with your pasta, in your stir-fry, or alongside other roast vegetables.
Bacon is on our minds often here at PCC, especially now that stew and chili season has just about arrived.
Here are more than a dozen delightful PCC recipes that call for bacon, including Fresh White Corn, Bacon and Cheddar Popovers and Pan Seared Brussels Sprouts With Red Pears, Bacon and Cranberries.
Here's my favorite chili recipe of all time (Smoky Beef-and-Bacon Chili, from Sunset Magazine).
Here are five great picks from our bacon selection. Did you know all bacon sold at PCC must meet the same high standards as the rest of our meat department? That means bacon from animals not treated with antiobiotics or added hormones and preserved with naturally derived nitrates. More on that.
And now for that Bacon Number. Perhaps you've played the game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, the goal of which is to discover the shortest path between any Hollywood type and veteran actor Kevin Bacon, who has appeared in films across a startling array of genres. Google recently made this game even simpler: type "Bacon Number" into the search engine, followed by the name of any actor, and it will reveal their connection.
What are your favorite ways to enjoy bacon? One suggestion: sprinkle bacon bits atop this Maple-glazed Popcorn.
As PCC shoppers, we're famous for wanting to know exactly what we're eating, from the berries that top our oatmeal to the salmon that sizzles atop our grills.
Now we have a chance to require producers to tell us whether any food we buy from stores was created via genetic engineering: Initiative 522.
Through December, you can sign this petition in any of our stores to help get I-522 on the state ballot. Or, download the petition (see below for link) and help gather signatures in your community.
Our director of public affairs, Trudy Bialic, sums it up nicely:
>> "The People's Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act," I-522, is simple. It would require food sold in retail outlets to be labeled if produced through genetic engineering. Calorie and nutritional information was not required on labels until 1990. Country-of-origin labeling wasn't required until 2002. The trans fat content of foods didn't have to be labeled until 2006. These labels are accepted now as important, and consumers use their information every day.
Since the Food and Drug Administration says we must know if our orange juice is fresh or from concentrate, doesn't it make sense that foods engineered with foreign bacteria, viruses, insect, plant or animal genes should be labeled, too?<<
Visit this page to learn how you can help, whether it's with a donation, gathering signatures, or sharing this information with your community so that like-minded friends can help the cause and get I-522 on the November 2013 ballot.
Hey all! Thanks so much for shopping PCC, for following this blog, and for sharing your stories, thoughts and questions with us via our website, Facebook and Twitter. It's a pleasure getting to know you.
I'll be away on leave for a few months but look for some fun new features in this space when I return. One new trend: each PCC location is offering its own selection of super local products, delectable items like eggs from pastured hens, coffee roasted right in the neighborhood, and meat and poultry from small local producers (for example, Edmonds PCC shoppers, I hope you've become familiar with Spring Rain Farm & Orchard's organic stewing chickens by now! Trudy, co-editor of the Sound Consumer, just raves about their flavor when simmered in a traditional coq au vin).
Enjoy the sunny days ahead, and make each meal great in your own way!
Did you catch the recent 60 Minutes piece on sugar? If you have, no doubt you're pondering your own relationship with sweeteners. Here are a few popular resources from PCC to help you learn more about this sticky-sweet subject.
- Read more about natural sweeteners including honey, agave, barley malt syrup, and maple syrup in this PCC product how-to brochure.
- Wondering how to kick the sugar craving? Look no farther than this helpful Sound Consumer article from local naturopath Tom Ballard.
- Even better for those trying to quit sugar: take a PCC Cooks class on this very topic! Space is still available this spring for Tame Your Sugar Beast with instructors Birgitte Antonson and Karen Lamphere.
- Our staff nutrition educator, Nick Rose, speaks in greater depth about added sugars and how to strike a healthy balance in your diet in this Ask the Nutritionist podcast.
- For those searching for a less-processed version of sugar for your cooking and baking, check out this great list from Sound Consumer co-editor Eli Penberthy.
Coffee at PCC is something special: whether bagged, brewed fresh or pulled as espresso shots, our entire selection is organic, shade-grown, fairly traded and locally roasted. Now we've added three new blends from Tony's Coffee & Teas in Bellingham, Wash. to our line up; during the month of March come on in and try an 8-ounce cup of drip in our delis for only 50 cents.
We're also debuting a new espresso roast from Tony's at our certified organic espresso bars. Choose from Organic Valley milk or from four organic milk alternatives — soy, rice, almond and coconut — at no extra charge. (Note: the soy, rice and almond milks available also happen to be unsweetened!).
If you like what you taste, head over to the grocery aisles where you’ll find each blend available in bulk, ready to take home and brew.
Foursquare, Facebook and Yelp fans: each check-in at a PCC store in March nets you a FREE 8-ounce organic drip coffee. Happy sipping!
Our recent spate of sunny weather lulled many of us into fantasies of springtime. Hold those thoughts, people. It's time to clean out your closets and dressers and bring clean and gently used sweaters, coats and cold weather gear to any PCC through Sunday, Feb. 12 to donate to the annual Mister Rogers' Neighborhood Sweater Drive.
That's just what Brownie Troop #42920 did as a community service project. After they combed through their own wardrobes, they enlisted the help of friends and neighbors. Check out their haul, which they recently lugged into PCC Issaquah, triumphant.
Just look at those smiles!
Their total haul:
- Kids sweaters: 40
- Kids coats: 24
- Adult sweaters: 30
- Adult coats: 23
- Scarves: 6
- Hats: 14
- Gloves/mittens: 19 pairs
What could you donate to help those in need stay cozy until spring truly does arrive?