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
Our marine breezes have never felt so good :) Now it's a great temperature for all the activity coming our way!
BRAG that you helped donate close to 500 bicycles that will help children in Africa ride to school at last weekend's Alaffia Bikes For Education Drive!
Angela, bike drive organizer extraordinaire! Read more about her efforts to help on her blog.
ENJOY A FARM-FRESH DINNER in Carnation at Dog Mountain Farm (7026 Tolt Highlands Rd. N.E.) Aug. 8, Aug. 22, Sept. 12 and Sept. 26. The five-course, farm-to-table menu is served with local wines in a fruit orchard with a view of the Cascades. PCC Cooks instructors Becky Selengut and Olaiya Land are among the featured chefs. Tickets are $75 per person. Visit dogmtnfarm.com for details.
Tastes from a previous farm dinner!
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.
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
SIP a variety of beer 6:30 to 8 p.m. Aug. 6 during tastings at PCC Issaquah, Fremont and Edmonds.Cost is $5 per person. RSVP at 206-547-1222 x191 or email email@example.com.
How are you beating the heat? Watermelon is my summer savior. Icy cold, from my fridge, cut into slabs, juice dripping from my chin as I munch it on the porch. Great timing, because we just got our first shipment of black-rind watermelon (so named for its deep green skin) from Inaba Farms in sunny Wapato, Wash.
Matt at PCC Fremont sliced one open for me last night. Check out that beautiful color. Even sweeter when it's been chilled.
It tastes as good as it looks!
Watermelon is great on its own. But it's also refreshing transformed into sorbet, in salads and in beverages. Check out this recipe from the latest Sound Consumer.
3 cups fresh organic watermelon chunks
2 tablespoons honey (optional)
2 cups sparkling mineral water
Purée the watermelon in a blender. Strain with a fine sieve into a pitcher, pressing on the pulp with the back of a spoon to extract all the juice. Discard pulp. Add sparkling water to the pitcher and season with honey (if using) and juice of 2 limes, to taste.
Cut remaining lime into wedges and use to garnish four glasses. Serve over ice.
Original recipe by Trina Kaufman, PCC Cooks instructor
Sound Consumer, August 2009
That's one option for the watermelon I bought last night that's currently chilling in my fridge at home. He's a happy little guy. Matt advises you hunt for a watermelon that sounds hollow, like a drum. If the sound is too muffled, the insides may have collapsed. When in doubt, ask any of the friendly produce folks to help you choose, though Joe Hardiman, our produce merchandiser, loves this variety for its consistency. You can pretty much wander up to the display with your eyes closed and you will go home happy, he says.
We also have a huge selection of frozen treats at all our stores, including many that are vegan/gluten-free/dairy free. My new love? Cool Fruits, the natural answer to Otter Pops of yore.
Here's some other cool inspiration via Facebook and Twitter
- Add fresh mint leaves to your ice water (from Priya on our Facebook fan page)
- Stack a chunk of watermelon, cube of feta and a mint leaf, secure with a toothpick and you have an easy appetizer (from @dominiqueb via Twitter)
- Combine a pitted peach, half a tray of ice cubes and enough limeade to fill a 16 oz glass. Blend until smooth. Instant Slurpee! (from my pal Rhean via Facebook)
- Add basil leaves to lemonade for a twist on tradition (from my wedding reception menu ;)
- Pop a bunch of organic grapes, fresh Many Hands blueberries or other small fruit in the freezer for a chilly treat
Please chime in with your tips!
Some of the best book suggestions come from strangers. I'll peek at titles on the plane, on the bus, in waiting rooms, and on best-seller lists. So it's fun knowing what our PCC community is reading! This list is based on the past 12 months of sales at all nine stores. Have you picked up any of these on a shopping trip? How have they affected your life? I already know I want to pick up No. 10 as gifts for artistic friends and No. 3 and No. 9 for my pals obsessed with cooking with local and sesonal ingredients. No. 6 will be my sister-in-law's Christmas gift (no peeking, Kim!).
(courtesy Nikki McClure)
Glad to see so many local chefs, nutritionists, bloggers, artists, gardeners, PCC Cooks instructors and more in this list!
10. "Things to Make and Do: A Journal" by local artist Nikki McClure
9. "Local Vegetarian Cooking: Inspired Recipes Celebrating Northwest Farms" by Debra Daniels-Zeller
8. "Gluten-Free Girl: How I Found the Food That Loves Me Back ... And How You Can Too" by Shauna James Ahern
7. "Prescription for Nutritional Healing" by Phyllis Balch
6. "Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook" by Isa Chandler Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero
5. "Juicing, Fasting, and Detoxing for Life: Unleash the Healing Power of Fresh Juices and Cleansing Diets" by Cherie Calbom, MS and John Calbom, MA
4. "The Juice Lady's Guide to Juicing for Health: Unleashing the Healing Power of Whole Fruits and Vegetables" by Cherie Calbom
3. "Washington Local and Seasonal Cookbook" by Becky Selengut, Jen Sayers Bajger, James Darcy and Jennifer Ogle
2. "Feeding the Whole Family: Recipes for Babies, Young Children and Their Parents" by Cynthia Lair
1. "The Maritime Northwest Garden Guide" by Rob Peterson and Carl Elliott
(Selection varies by store. Call your local PCC to check on supply).
Speaking of books, I'm still trucking through "In Defense of Food," Michael Pollan's latest food-related tome. I'm in the Bad Science section, cringing as I remember how much margarine I ate as a child. It makes me wonder what we're eating now that we'll regret 20 years into the future? Or perhaps it will be the vessels from which we eat it? Reading his timeline of "nutritionism" in this country makes me smile, thinking how even how as a third grader I sensed no one should eat that much oat bran!
On tap for next month: "Farm City: The Education of An Urban Farmer" by Novella Carpenter. Thanks to local Zagat Survey and Northwest Palate Magazine editor Alicia Arter (@aliciaarter on Twitter) for the suggestion! Ping me (@nwfoodette on Twitter) or comment on the blog to suggest future books we can enjoy together!
Lots to do in the week ahead, especially with more great weather on tap. Here's a sampling of the fun to come!
BUILD AND FLY A KITE at KiteFest, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at Magunson Park's Kite Hill (7400 Sand Point Way N.E., Seattle). Music, a juice garden and, of course, the Kid Picks Mobile. Visit kitefest.net for more info.
HELP AFRICAN CHILDREN GET TO SCHOOL by donating your used bike or spare parts to the Alaffia Bikes for Education drive Saturday, July 25 at PCC Edmonds and Sunday, July 26 at View Ridge PCC. Empty garage? Buy a raffle ticket for baskets filled with Alaffia's shea butter-enriched health and beauty products. Read more at in July's Sound Consumer.
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 Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center and YWCA Trinity Place Apartments.
- Raw Foods: Thai Extravaganza
- Sushi Rolls Made Easy
- Fall Harvest Juicing and Raw Soups
- The Gluten-free Kitchen
- Fall Equinox Detox
- Locavore's Holiday Table
- Vegetarian Holiday Feast
- Armenian Adventure
Joe Hardiman, our produce merchandiser, has been on the phone nonstop this week. It's the time of year when he's running like crazy to keep favorites in stock so you can barbecue, picnic and lunch without fear of running out of staples: summer corn, organic salad greens, local berries and more.
He's excited that bunch carrots from Nash's Organic Produce in Sequim have arrived! They're a perennial Kid Picks item due to their sweetness and crunch.
Other produce news:
- Many Hands organic blueberries are still in stock. Don't miss enjoying these beauties with your breakfast oatmeal or quinoa, in smoothies, in a crisp or slump or, of course, in pancakes.
- The first of the local, organic peaches will arrive next week. Look for local, organic nectarines around the first week of August.
- Organic Blue Lake variety green beans should arrive next week from Rent's Due Ranch.
- Hope you've been loving that crazy-good organic garlic that sold so quick. Look for another good variety toward the end of August from Rent's Due.
You never know what you'll overhear in a co-op office. Yesterday, it was Scott, one of our merchandisers, reminding his family over the phone to "turn on the scarecrow."
Turns out it had to do with Scott's chickens. They've been the apple of his eye since he brought them home as chicks around the end of March, fluffy golf balls with beaks and lil' stick legs. Here's Dizzy back in the day (all photos courtesy Scott's daughter, Kylie):
And here's Dizzy now!
That "scarecrow" is a modern-day gardening device that emits bursts of water when a motion sensor notices the chickens have clucked too close to their family garden, lured perhaps by the scent of ripe strawberries on the breeze.
The chicken idea came to roost after Scott's dog Gunner, a Chesapeake Bay Retriever, passed away last winter after 12 years with his family. After that sadness, they thought long and hard about what type of pet would bring them joy. Scott pondered whether a pet could also produce something practical -- like eggs. Soon, the flock was in their life, wandering the yard, nibbling stalks of grass, pecking beneath the sunshine.
"It's nice to go out with a glass of wine and watch them scurry around," Scott said -- a dust bath here, a little piece of strawberry leaf there. Beyond their organic feed, he's learned they like treats of grapes, oatmeal and yogurt. Yogurt? "You put it in a bowl and then stand back. It gets messy." He's watched them squabble over freshly shelled green peas.
They'll begin to lay at about 5 to 7 months of age, depending on the breed (Scott has Araucana and Plymouth Rock, both from his local Grange in Issaquah). He finally found a good home for the roosters after discovering them in his brood.
Apparently, Penny and Sparky like people watching as much as Scott's family enjoys chicken watching.
I'd like to introduce you to a neat person I met Monday at Tent City 4, the roving homeless camp that has settled at St. Jude's Parish in Redmond. His name is Paridon Williams, but PCC Redmond shoppers may better recognize him as the friendly man who often sells "Real Change" newspapers outside.
He volunteered to help the crew from PCC Redmond serve dinner to homeless folks Monday night. Afterward, he shared one of the many lists he's created over the years to remind shoppers and other people he encounters of 50 small ways they can help one another (and ultimately, humanity).
Here's a close-up of that list (he even has versions printed in Arabic and Chinese). "Applaud someone who is trying" really hit me. How often do we recognize the people around us for their efforts to change, or to improve themselves and their communities, to learn something new? It doesn't have to stop just because we're no longer small children.
Paridon believes in positive energy to the extent that he'll push himself to smile even when he's feeling down. Smiles are contagious, he says. Now he's putting together a book of "Paridon Williams' 50 Ways to Help Another" that will include a piece on voting written by Redmond store director Celeste Coxen and pieces written by others in the community.
You can't hear me, but I am applauding someone who is trying.
What did you enjoy for dinner yesterday? And where?
Last night I joined more than 50 homeless folks for dinner in the basement of St. Jude's Parish in Redmond, the site of the roving Tent City 4 homeless camp. Volunteers from nearby PCC Redmond served up a hot meal of PCC vittles: Meatloaf crafted from fresh-ground buffalo, a Cuban black bean torta, creamy potato salad, ripe red Washington cherries and jugs of icy cool Odwalla lemonade.
Did I mention the organic green salad, served by Justine?
And the fresh blueberry crisp?
Delicious. And a gut check for myself and others for whom full bellies are something taken for granted. Talking to Karl, a recently homeless former welder from Detroit, put life into perspective (he's in the hat on the right).
Here's a man who had to leave behind everything he knows, including friends and family, in hopes of a second chance at a career. "I've never been so down in my life," he said. "I've been through a few of these things and I've never seen it so bad as far as the economy."
It makes you want to do more. Last night, the Redmond team was able to bring a smile to Karl's exhausted face via five helpings of meatloaf he said reminded him of Mom's cooking. What will we do tomorrow to help our neighbors in need? Here are a few ideas.
Celeste, the PCC Redmond store director, was thrilled by how many store volunteers stepped up to help. Some came in over the weekend to prep in the deli on their days off. The produce manager came in early to bake dessert. Paridon Williams, a Real Change vendor at the Redmond store, volunteered to serve (he's the tall fellow with the smile like a sunbeam below). Even the idea to bring dinner to Tent City came internally, from the mother of courtesy clerk Tim, whose family has attended the parish for decades.
"Working at events like this is an eye opener because we work in a place bursting with great food. To have people who are hungry -- that's really sad," said Celeste. "And if we can help alleviate that, that's really great."
BRING THE KIDS to compete under the sun in the PCC Kids Triathlon, 10:30 a.m. Sunday, July 19 (5902 Lake Washington Blvd. S., Seattle). Each participant (ages 6-12) gets a t-shirt, medal and a PCC gift card. The Kid Picks Mobile will sample an array of healthy foods starting at 7 a.m. Learn more and register online at seafair.com