Stir-fry blog

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 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 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!

Halloween fun: Greenlake coloring contest!

Remember these? 

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.

Holiday (?!) preparations in full swing at PCC

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! 


PCC Halloween mix supports Woodland Park Zoo

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? 


Fresh Forecast: Local apples, pears, cranberries and winter squash

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.


This week at PCC: Wine tastings, Halloween mix and fall fun on the way

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 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 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!

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