My mom makes her own plum liqueur, which is divine on the rocks with a dash of club soda. Her eldest sister makes great pickles (and when I think back hard enough to when I was six, I still can remember the tangy scent permeating the air as she processed them). Other aunts make luscious jams and jellies. Me? I lack any of these skills, mainly because it wasn't cool to can, pickle or jam when I was growing up.
Boy, did I miss out.
Thankfully, a group of food lovers up and down the West Coast has set out to change that. They've organized a series of events this month and next they've dubbed Canvolution, in hopes of inspiring fellow food lovers, home gardeners, fresh produce fans and others to try their hand at the delicious art of putting up food (I bet these organic blueberries I'm eating right now would make delicious syrup).
The main weekend is Aug. 29-30, when the Canning Across America group aims to get people preserving from coast to coast. But events abound around town before then. Click here for a list of free classes and demonstrations. Popular blogger Gluten-Free Girl celebrates blackberry season here. Click here for PCC's recipe for no-cook freezer jam, and here to watch PCC Cooks instructor Lynne Vea put up her own raspberry jam.
Maybe you'll get good enough to try your hand at preserving these. Sure would be a treat to pop open this jarful of summer during those dark days of winter.
Photos from the Canning Across America Flickr stream
This week at PCC: A Taste of Edmonds, Grillin' & Chillin' and Healthy Living Fair just around the corner!August 14, 2009 at 10:30 AM — foodette
Summer may be winding down but fun events are still going strong at our stores and in our communities. Come out and play if you haven't already!
RELAX WITH US at A Taste of Edmonds this weekend (we're the official wine garden sponsor!). Our wine guy, Jeff Cox, has handpicked some of his favorites for the occasion. The taste runs 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. today and Saturday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday at 6th Street and Bell Street in Edmonds.
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.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR (and save your appetite) for the Healthy Living Fair, packed with FREE samples from more than 100 vendors handing out more than 600 samples that span nearly every department at PCC Natural Markets, including produce, our beloved deli and our healthy and beauty section (woo hoo!). And don't miss a visit to the Kid Picks Mobile for free kid-friendly samples. The fun runs from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 22 and Sunday, Aug. 23 at PCC Edmonds. Click here for a full list of vendors (here's a sneak peek: 18 Rabbits, Ito En, Napoleon Sunshine Burger, Oregon Ice Cream, Robert's Pirate's Booty, Raw Revolution, High Country Kombucha, Evergreen Pet Supply, Bodyceuticals, BumbleBar). Did I mention recipe demonstrations by PCC Cooks instructors and a chance to meet our board? Can't wait :)
WATCH Chef Lynne Vea cook up seasonal delights on KING 5 TV’s “Gardening With Ciscoe” show Saturdays at 10 a.m. This week: Heirloom Tomato and Lime Salsa, plus Fresh Tomatillo Salsa (Salsa Verde). And check out our new PCC video library for additional cooking inspiration.
SIP FINE WINE AND FUN BEER at various PCC stores this week. Wednesday, Aug. 19 sample Iberia On a Midsummer's Eve, 6:30 to 8 p.m. The next night, Thursday, Aug. 20, it's Beer, There and Everywhere, The Sequel from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at PCC Issaquah, PCC Fremont and PCC West Seattle. Cost is $5 per person. RSVP by calling the reservation line at 206-547-1222, ext. 191, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Twenty-one and over only, please. View all tasting events.
HELP THE HUNGRY. Volunteer your time to package bulk foods purchased with PCC Food Bank Program donations with fellow volunteers from PCC Greenlake and PCC Kirkland. The Kirkland event begins at 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 17 at Kirkland Food Bank 11011 120th Ave. N.E., Kirkland). The Greenlake packaging party begins at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 19 at Greenwood Food Bank (9747 Greenwood Ave. N., Seattle). Everyone is welcome. Contact Community Relations at 206-547-1222 or email email@example.com for more information.
This rainy weather may be gloomy, but it's spurring growth in lots of local gardens. Just check out this kale that Janice, our PCC Board administrator, brought in to show off this week :)
Here's a close up! It was so fragrant.
And here's something delicious you can do with it (kale with smashed potatoes and butter)
Chris, our Web developer, has hauled in a good harvest this summer
And here's where the magic happened
Email me at karen.gaudette (at) pccsea (dot) com with garden photos of your own to share!
Apparently, PCC is on the minds of many lately, whether we're talking the value of organics, PCC's forays into social media or fresh, local produce. In honor of our loquacious co-op, here's a sampling of recent appearances:
- Joe, our produce guru, explains to listeners of KUOW 94.9 FM why local produce tastes so great. Listen or read more.
- Ricardo, our social media guy, discusses the recent Twitter outage on KIRO 7 TV (Tweeps, we really missed you during those few hours of disconnection!) and his appreciation for Twitter in the Seattle P-I
- Diana, our sustainability director, gives our take on the recent organic study out of the UK
- Edmonds store director Matt on conservation efforts in our Edmonds store
- And in case you missed them, some interesting stories from the past, including how we switched to double sided receipts to reduce paper use and why we choose to sell ethical bananas (that almost sounds like a band name!)
Stay dry out there. A great day to cozy up in the kitchen, isn't it?
Each day I work here it seems I stumble upon yet another good thing PCC does to help the community or environment (Look here and here and here and here for evidence). How exciting to discover that even our wine department is in on the act!
Above is one of two exclusive wines Badger Mountain Vineyards of Kennewick, Wash., produces for PCC Natural Markets under the Powers Winery label. Since May 2007, $2 from each bottle sold of the Powers Cabernet and Chardonnay goes to support the PCC Farmland Trust. The local, nonprofit land trust uses such donations to buy organic farmland and preserve it for future generations. It's a natural partnership, as Badger Mountain Vineyard has been certified organic by the Washington State Department of Agriculture since 1990.
Badger Mountain Vineyard
Thus far, all those bottles purchased by PCC members and shoppers over the past two years have raised nearly $40,000 to help preserve organic farmland, forever. Now that's one of the most pleasurable ways to help the environment I can imagine!
Plenty going on this week wherever you live in the region!
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.
HELP FEED THE HUNGRY by volunteering your time at West Seattle PCC's food packaging work party 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 10 at West Seattle Food Bank (3419 S.W. Morgan Street). Help package bulk foods purchased with PCC Food Bank Program donations from PCC shoppers. Contact Community Relations at 206-547-1222 for more information or email firstname.lastname@example.org
ENJOY LOCAL TUNES every Thursday through Aug. 27, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in West Seattle at Hiawatha Playfield (2700 California Ave. S.W.) with the Admiral Neighborhood Association's Summer Concerts series. Stop across the street en route at West Seattle PCC for portable dinner fixings or catch samples at the Kid Picks Mobile all dates but Aug. 20. View the band schedule at westseattleherald.com
RELAX WITH US at A Taste of Edmonds, where we are the official wine garden sponsor. Our wine guy, Jeff Cox, has handpicked some of his favorites for the occasion. The taste runs 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Aug. 14-15 and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Aug. 16. at 6th Street and Bell Street in Edmonds.
SIP FINE WINES AND BEER at tastings throughout PCC. Try wines from the Loire Valley 6:30 to 8 p.m. Aug. 13 at PCC Edmonds and Fremont and sample beer the same time and date at PCC Greenlake and PCC Redmond. Cost is $5 per person. RSVP by calling the reservation line at 206-547-1222, ext. 191, or e-mail email@example.com. Twenty-one and over only, please. View all tasting events.
CATCH THE KID PICKS MOBILE for free healthy food tasting at noon Aug. 12 during Wonderstage at Lynndale Park Amphitheater (18927 72nd Ave. W. in Lynnwood) where a free summer performance series for kids will be underway, perfect for tots 5-10 years old. Learn more at ci.lynnwood.wa.us. The mobile will also be parked at Family Fun Night, 6:30 to 8 p.m. Aug. 14 at Northshore YMCA, 11811 N.E. 195th St. in Bothell. Learn more at seattleymca.org.
How do you organize your recipes at home? On a good day, I have file folders to hold all the pages I've ripped from magazines, notes I've scrawled on napkins and random recipe cards I've grabbed at stores. Some friends use binders, some use tin boxes and others tuck recipes hither and thither in the pantry or between the pages of dogeared cookbooks.
Organizing PCC's vast array of recipes online has turned out to be a similar process. On our end we've spent the past few months debating topics like "what makes an entree an entree?" and whether beans and grains deserve categories of their own or should get lumped together. We've scanned plenty of cooking sites for category inspiration. But perhaps the most exciting change to our database will be the ability to quickly search through all the recipes for a specific ingredient rather than combing through category by category. Look for these helpful changes in the coming months.
We've been busy bees at the co-op. Here's a recap of some of the handy functions we've added to the Web since spring:
- Our gluten-free foods and gluten-free health and beauty products databases
- Our bulk foods and healthy and beauty products database
- Our Kid Picks database (great for finding kid-tested and approved foods)
- Our online shopping list (now you can add products directly from our ads, too!)
- Our video library
- Two new online newsletters: PCC Wine: Drink This! and PCC Advocates
- And this daily blog :)
Not bad! Can't get too specific on dates quite yet, but just know that more good stuff is on the way.
Plenty of mouthwatering goodness in our produce departments this week (and I literally can say this, because my mouth is watering anticipating the local Inaba Farms cantaloupe awaiting at home). Here's a sampling of what's in store via my weekly chat with our produce guru, Joe Hardiman:
- Tree-ripened organic red haven peaches from Twin Springs Ranch in Rice, Wash. (I sliced some up with Many Hands organic blueberries atop granola for breakfast with a splash of milk. Yum! FYI, those blues are $1 off per pint this week).
- Plenty of organic local greens from Rent's Due Ranch in Stanwood, Wash., plus organic zucchini (if neighboring gardeners have not already shared their bounty. I have one friend baking a chocolate and zucchini cake tonight!).
- Fresh carrots from Nash's Organic Produce in Sequim, Wash., along with field-grown organic cucumbers
- Organic black-rind watermelon from Inaba Farms in Wapato, Wash.
- LADYBUG slicing tomatoes from Pride of the Umpqua in Roseburg, Ore. (so popular they're hard to keep in stock. Ask in the produce section).
- Still plenty of organic Walla Walla onions, ripe for the grilling (or sandwich making, or adding to salads)
- Bicolor organic corn from Egor Farms of Scio, Ore.
August heat bakes this earth. All around the Northwest, corn and tomatoes are ripening. Plums are growing fat on their branches. Watermelon, plump and happy, fills produce bins. And peaches flood our mouths with a succulence that has been growing, quietly, since the first breath of spring.
A poem for today, in honor of this time.
"From Blossoms" by Li-Young Lee
From blossoms comes
this brown paper bag of peaches
we bought from the boy
at the bend in the road where we turned toward
signs painted Peaches
From laden boughs, from hands,
from sweet fellowship in the bins,
comes nectar at the roadside, succulent
peaches we devour, dusty skin and all,
comes the familiar dust of summer, dust we eat.
O, to take what we love inside,
to carry within us an orchard, to eat
not only the skin, but the shade,
not only the sugar, but the days, to hold
the fruit in our hands, adore it, then bite into
the round jubilance of peach.
There are days we live
as if death were nowhere
in the background; from joy
to joy to joy, from wing to wing
from blossom to blossom to
impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom
It's a threepeat! King County has named PCC Natural Markets a"2009 Best Workplace for Recycling and Waste Reduction" -- the third consecutive year we've been the only grocery store in the county to qualify for this recognition.
What does it mean, you ask? That we follow at least 10 good business recycling practices, including:
- Placing recycling bins at every desk
- Collecting food scraps for off-site composting (that's where my watermelon rinds will go once I post this)
- having internal green teams that support the organization's sustainable operations
All nine of our locations follow well more than two-thirds of the suggested recycling practices, even though some of them aren't necessarily conducive to running a grocery store. Read about many of them here. Congratulations to fellow winners, which include In Harmony Sustainable Landscapes, The Herbfarm restaurant, Honda of Kirkland, Pogacha of Issaquah and Yoga Centers of Bellevue.
Read more about the contest at www.kingcounty.gov/recyclemore