Stir-fry blog

Sample scores of your favorite PCC products at our FREE Healthy Living Fair!

I know where I'll be this weekend: 

It'll be my first Healthy Living Fair and I'm bringing my appetite. More than 100 vendors will hand out free samples of more than 600 products that span nearly every department in our stores, from produce and our beloved deli to our health and beauty department. Have you seen all the fresh produce rolling into our stores this time of year? My mouth waters just thinking about it.

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? And  the Kid Picks Mobile parked nearby offering free, kid-friendly samples?

The fun runs from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 22 and Sunday, Aug. 23 at PCC Edmonds. Ricardo, our social media guy, and I will be roaming around interviewing vendors and hopefully some of you! Come say hello!

More about: community, Edmonds

Join the Canvolution: Free classes around town teach you to can, jam, bottle and pickle

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

More about: canning, community

This week at PCC: A Taste of Edmonds, Grillin' & Chillin' and Healthy Living Fair just around the corner!

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.

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.

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 winetastings@pccsea.com. 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 communityrelations@pccsea.com for more information.

More about: community

How does your garden grow?

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! 

More about: community

Our take on the value of organics, ethical bananas and more

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:

Stay dry out there. A great day to cozy up in the kitchen, isn't it? 

 

More about: community

Powers Winery: Every bottle sold helps preserve farmland, forever

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!

More about: agriculture, community

This week at PCC: Grillin' & Chillin', A Taste of Edmonds, West Seattle concerts, help the hungry

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.

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.

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 communityrelations@pccsea.com

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.
LEARN NEW COOKING TECHNIQUES with the award-winning PCC Cooks program. Many of your favorite instructors plus guest instructors George De Pasquale of The Essential Baking Company and Sabrina Tinsley of Osteria La Spiga. Topics are vast and include cooking raw, gluten free, for the holidays and with kids.
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 winetastings@pccsea.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.

We're making it easier to find our recipes

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: 

Not bad! Can't get too specific on dates quite yet, but just know that more good stuff is on the way.

Fresh Forecast: Local and organic cantaloupe, slicing tomatoes and more

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.

Lucky us! 

A poem for summer

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

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