Stir-fry blog

This week at PCC: Back-to-school ideas, parties and anniversaries aplenty

Hope you enjoy this last spurt of summer. Look for plenty more local, organic bounty in produce when you return :) 

CELEBRATE with Seattle Tilth at the nonprofit's annual Harvest Fair, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 12 at Meridian Park, 4649 Sunnyside Ave. N. in Seattle. What you'll find: tasty treats, urban livestock, workshops on growing and preserving food and live music, along with the Kid Picks Mobile, the PCC Farmland Trust and PCC Cooks. Visit for details.

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY WEST SEATTLE PCC! Celebrate 20 years from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 13 with a free barbecue, cake, PCC Cooks mini classes and product sampling. For more info visit our Web page.

LEARN new twists on back-to-school recipes from PCC Cooks Chef Lynne Vea on KING 5 TV's  “Gardening With Ciscoe” show Saturdays at 10 a.m. And check out our new PCC video library for additional cooking inspiration. This week: Organic Tomato, Cucumber, Spinach and Turkey Pinwheel Sandwiches and Nectarine and Grape Salad with Honey-Lemon Dressing.

LISTEN to nutrition education manager Goldie Caughlan discuss how to shop for organics without breaking the bank in the first podcast of our new PCC Podcast series on Stir-fry!

SAMPLE new products on your next shopping trip. Visit our store demos page to learn what's happening at a PCC near you this weekend.

A peek inside the Kid Picks Mobile!

If you shop PCC, no doubt you've come across our merry, green-and-purple RV that enables us to travel from festival to school to store with scores of food samples to be taste tested by Puget Sound kids for our Kid Picks program. It's the one, the only, the Kid Picks Mobile!   

Lo and behold, there it stood at last month's Healthy Living Fair at PCC Edmonds. I decided to take a peek inside. Don't tell me you haven't been curious!

Inside is cheery and bright, with a place for everything.

Here are the cards indicating how everyone voted (smiley face or frowny face)

Kim, decked out in Kid Picks attire

Little cubbies and drawers for every little item!

Thom encouraging visitors to have a taste

Vanilla pudding! Not a hard sell.

And what could be more American than voting your preference? Check our Kid Picks database for a full list of kid-tested-and-approved foods. Click here to learn more about bringing the Kid Picks Mobile to your school or event!

More about: community, Kid Picks

PCC Podcasts: How to shop for organics without breaking the bank

We're introducing a new feature to Stir-fry today: podcasts! Look for them the first Wednesday of each month as we introduce to you (or reveal more about) interesting people within our PCC community, from the diverse team of chefs within our PCC Cooks team to the men and women who grow, raise and produce your favorite products in our stores.

We're kicking off the series with Goldie Caughlan. She writes the Insights by Goldie column in each month's "Sound Consumer" newsletter, founded our award-winning PCC Cooks cooking school program and manages our nutrition education program. You may have seen her in our stores answering questions about this or that. She's a font of knowledge about all things food and nutrition related, and we're lucky to have her. In honor of National Organic Harvest Month, we ask Goldie an age-old question: How do we shop for organics without breaking the bank? 

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

Hope you enjoy it! Look next month for an interview with one of your favorite PCC Cooks instructors :)

More about: Goldie

What makes us No. 1 in sustainable seafood, nationwide

We're still smiling about this news: Greenpeace USA has named PCC Natural Markets the #1 retailer in the United States for our sustainable seafood policies and initiatives! We received a higher rating than any other grocer in the country. How cool is that? 

 Wild Alaskan salmon. Mmm...

I've learned a few of the reasons why we're tops:

  • We were the first official retail parter of the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch Program back in 2004 (they're folks behind that handy dandy folding chart you'll find at our seafood departments that categorizes ocean creatures so that we know which are plentiful enough (and safe) for us to continue eating).
  • We only work with local fish suppliers who also follow Seafood Watch guidelines 
  • Our canned seafood, from salmon to clams, follows the same high standards as our fresh seafood
  • We carry only sustainable canned tuna, including Sweet Creek, Pelican's Choice Tuna Guys and Wild Planet
  • Our sushi also complies with the Seafood Watch program. We've worked closely with Southern Tsunami/AFC Sushi to source wild Alaskan salmon, real (Jonah" crab, cuttlefish, handline-caught Yellowfin tuna and capelin roe (Masago) which all are "best choices" or "good alternatives" under Seafood Watch standards. We discontinued sushi made with sea eel (wild caught in China), octopus, farmed Yellowtail tuna and shrimp not from the United States or Canada because they're not considered sustainable.

Why does this all matter? We want to enjoy the ocean's bounty while leaving some for future generations. We hope we've made it easier for you to find seafood that's not only flavorful, fresh and nutritious, but sustainable.




More about: seafood, sustainability

This week at PCC: Last weekend to Grill and Chill at Edmonds and Redmond!

Come on over to PCC Edmonds or Redmond this weekend for the grand finale of our Grillin' & Chillin' community barbecues! Hard to believe it's almost September. Thankfully, no one seems to have told the weather :)

Thanks so much again for coming out to our Healthy Living Fair at PCC Edmonds over the weekend! Good times. Click here for a recap of some of our favorite new things, and feel free to add your own discoveries.

The crowd at Healthy Living Fair, sampling hundreds of delights

LEAVE THE GRILLING TO US and come on down to PCC Redmond and Edmonds for Grillin' & Chillin' community barbecues on weekends this summer (all meals include a vegetarian option). This month's proceeds benefit The Edmonds Art Festival Foundation and Friends of Youth on the Eastside. Enjoy grilled sockeye salmon or portobello mushroom with a variety of tasty sides, all for $7, with $3 going to local charities.

WATCH Chef Lynne Vea cook up seasonal delights on KING 5 TV’s “Gardening With Ciscoe” show Saturdays at 10 a.m. And check out our new PCC video library for additional cooking inspiration.

SIP FINE WINE AND FUN BEER at various PCC stores this week. Thursday, Sept. 3 try a selection of our wine department's favorite organically and biodynamically grown wines at PCC Fremont and Redmond from 6:30 to 8 p.m. At Edmonds the same night and time, try wines that are easy to drink and easy to buy. Cost is $5 per person, paid at the door, and includes 1-ounce pours of each wine offered. RSVP by calling the reservation line at 206-547-1222, ext. 191, or e-mail Twenty-one and over only, please. View all tasting events.

SAMPLE new products on your next shopping trip. Visit our store demos page to learn what's happening at a PCC near you this weekend.

More about: community

Improving school lunch (and introducing our PCC Advocates e-newsletter!)

Think back to school lunch. Did you bring yours in a brown bag? A shiny lunchbox? Or, did you buy hot lunch? I used to love the tink sound when I dropped my quarter into an old coffee can to buy a pint of milk in our cafeteria. I didn't love the nauseating aroma of fishsticks whenever they came up on the menu. 

 (found an image of one of my first lunchboxes! I also had a pink plastic Smurfette lunchbox back in the day).

I remembered all this while reading our latest e-newsletter, PCC Advocates, written by Trudy and Eli, the women behind each month's Sound Consumer. If you like staying in the know about national food and environmental policy and helping to make a difference, you should subscribe.

There are several ways you can help improve lunchtime options for kids, as this month's issue details: 

  • You can ask Congress to support healthy, sustainable school food policies by supporting Slow Food's Time for Lunch initiative
  • Sign the Center for Science in the Public Interest's petition
  • Join Food & Water Watch's campaign to rid school milk of rBGH

Now is a prime time to act, since the the Child Nutrition Act expires Sept. 30 and is up for review and reauthorization for the first time in five years. Locally, the Seattle School District has a food policy that bans soda and junk food sales and makes fresh, local, organic, non-genetically-modified, non-irradiated, unprocessed food a priority. Trudy and Eli will help connect parents who would like to take charge and work with local schools to make sure these policies are enacted. Email eli.penberthy (at) pcc.sea (dot) com, and they'll connect you.

More about: community

See how much you raised for local nonprofits whilst Grillin' & Chillin'

Have you grilled and chilled with us this summer at PCC Redmond or Edmonds? This is the final weekend.

Those of you who have, thank you for supporting your community! We donate $3 of each $7 meal (as well as the total from each $3 kids meal) to charity. Here's how it's added up so far this summer: 

Here's Roxanne, the organizational powerhouse behind all those great in-store demos, at Edmonds with the July menu:

Daniel, modeling a tasty meal:
Plenty of fresh sides:
Hope to see you this weekend in Redmond and Edmonds for our grand finale!

More about: community

Healthy Living Fair: Hope you had as much fun as we did!

I attended my first PCC Healthy Living Fair at PCC Edmonds over the weekend. What fun it was! 

 The crowd!


Kim and Thom, sharing the wealth at the Kid Picks Mobile

Theo Chocolate plying their chocolately goodness

Plenty of organic goodness on the PCC grill

Thanks to everyone who came out! It was fun putting faces to some names and getting to know more of our community, especially beneath such gorgeous skies.

This being a fair with so many dozens of samples, I made some new discoveries.

  1. I really like Odwalla's Carrot Juice.
  2. My freezer will soon be stocked with The Greek Gods ice cream (a.k.a. Pagoto Ice Krema).
  3. Our new PCC Organic Beef is mighty fine. The bottom sirloin I tried yesterday was seasoned only with salt and pepper yet was super flavorful.
  4. Why have I never tried Emerald Valley's salsa? So fresh, with a pleasant kick.  
  5. Cassava chips are really good! I like how light they are compared to potato chips, and they're gluten-free to boot.

What were some of your discoveries? 

More about: community

Stuck in a lunch-making rut? Some visual inspiration (a.k.a., the Lunchtime Diaries)

In elementary school, there's always that kid whose lunches inspire envy. As an adult, my colleague Jackie, PCC Cooks writer,  is one of those kids. I love to peek over her shoulder to see what loveliness she's pulled together on her plate (and lately, I've been documenting it for fun). Here's your chance to peek over her shoulder at some of her prettiest lunches of the past few weeks.

Steamed golden and red beets with dill vinaigrette, fresh arugula salad, English muffin.

Steak salad topped with steamed crookneck squash and tomatoes; crostini with fromage blanc and dill.

Pasta salad with fresh arugula, cherry tomatoes and mozzarella, plus a side of organic peaches.

Vietnamese sandwich gussied up with fresh radishes and arugula and a side of cucumber and tomato

Open-faced ham and fromage blanc sandwich with heirloom tomatoes with a side of steamed heirloom carrots, topped with dill (someone loves dill!).

Cajun-spiced pork ribs with pasta salad and a side of cantaloupe with organic, local blueberries (dang!)

The beans and grains meal! (that's my homemade chicken fried rice on the left, with fellow PCC Cooks whiz Rachel's curried beans with yogurt and Jackie's tabbouleh).

Leftover tabbouleh with homegrown cucumber, black and red radishes from PCC and halibut with salsa and cilantro a-plenty.

What are some of your favorite lunchtime creations? Send me a pic of your best lunch at karen.gaudette (at) pccsea (dot)com and maybe you'll see it on this blog! 

More about: beets, salad, tomatoes

Fresh Forecast: Organic Hawaiian pineapple, black mission figs and more in store

I couldn't get enough pineapple on my last trip to Hawai'i, and I'm sure a lot of you feel the same:

So what a treat it's been to find fresh, organic pineapple in our stores this summer! A word of caution: Cut it small, wear an apron or be near a source of water for cleanup. It's super juicy, and I've spent the past 10 minutes cleaning my keyboard after every bite sent pineapple juice airborne. YUM!

Here's what else you'll find this week at PCC:

  • Organic tomatoes from the Walker family in Roseburg, Ore. They're under the LADYBUG label.
  • Organic corn from Scio, Ore. (yellow and bicolor, just right for this recipe)
  • The very first local organic apples from around the state (Galas, likely to come into stores this weekend)
  • Organic Bartlett pears from Scott Leach Orchards
  • Organic Nash's carrots from Sequim, Wash.
  • Organic Black Mission and Adriatic Green figs from California (the latter taste as though they're filled with raspberry jam, says Joe, our produce guru)

Coming in September: Local and organic pluots (in Flavor King and Dapple Dandy varieties, love those names!).

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