A can of tuna is a can of tuna is a can of tuna? No sirree, Bob. At least, not at PCC.
Like anyone who tries to walk the walk as well as they talk the talk, we're in a constant state of analysis and self improvement. This time around, we're making sure the canned seafood we carry is just as sustainable as our fresh options.
That's a bunch of us trying myriad cans and jars of tuna on a recent afternoon. Skipjack, yellowfin, big eye, albacore, yum. If you've never opened several varieties of tuna at once, try it sometime. You'll be surprised by the variety of textures and flavors, just like you'd find at a sushi counter. Your mind might whir with menu possibilities. Or, you might just stand there and eat it right out of the container.
What makes a great can of tuna, like so much in life, is subjective. We wanted to make sure at least one option we carry is low in salt. We wanted pleasing texture and flavor. We wanted the tuna caught in a manner that causes the least distress to other sea life. We wanted the fish processed as little as possible to retain its natural flavor and nutrients. We wanted to keep at least some varieties within the budgets of the broadest number of our shoppers. And then there's the packaging. We were pleased to discover Wild Planet tuna, for instance, comes in BPA-free cans. The fewer chemicals between us and our food, the better.
It took me awhile at first to get the concept of a cooperative. I grew up thinking that all retail stores were owned by companies, backed by either private funds or the money of shareholders. Then I became an REI member in college. And then I discovered PCC.
The more I learn about my new employer, the more there is to like. Being a member makes you a co-owner of a local institution that's been in the Puget Sound area for more than 50 years. It gives you a voice in PCC's future via whom you choose to represent you on the board of directors (vote by tomorrow at your local PCC or at the office). The larger PCC's membership, the more weight we have in requesting positive changes to food safety, food production methods, quality standards and the like from producers, Congress and local leaders. Plus, you get a monthly discount and support community farms and sustainable farming methods (plus, many, many community groups in the nine neighborhoods in which our stores operate).
Pretty nifty if I say so myself.
It's not truly summer until someone's firing up the grill. Notice I said "someone." To me, food often tastes even better when it's lovingly prepared by someone else ;) Luckily this summer, PCC is going to do just that with barbecues nearly every weekend at the Redmond and Edmonds stores!
The Powers That Be have dubbed this new community event Grillin' & Chillin'.
Grillin' = The sockeye salmon, burgers, veggie dogs, portobello mushrooms and Fiesta Chicken sizzling away atop those grills. Chillin' = what you'll be doing with fellow PCC fans, friends, neighbors, countrymen. Click here for schedules and to see what's cookin'. And per PCC tradition, a portion of each meal's price will go to support community groups, like the Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center and the Edmonds Arts Festival Foundation.
Stop by on your way home from the ferry or hiking or biking or garage saling or stocking up at PCC!
Anyone with a special diet is a pro at reading ingredient labels. You have to be. It's your health at stake, after all. But it sure can make a trip to the store take forever!
In honor of gluten-free month, we're making it easier to find all the gluten-free goodness at PCC. Fremont and Redmond already have these new orange shelf tags up, with the other seven stores soon to follow.
(photo courtesy of Janice Parker)
One more thing to make life a little easier. Let us know what you think!
Kids Day Out: at Kids Day America, 12-3 p.m. May 16 at Rainier Community Center, 4600 38th Ave. S., Seattle. KDA is an international health, safety and environmental awareness day with fun activities for kids, including a healthy taste testing at the Kid Picks Mobile.
Try this: PCC Cooks Chef Lynne Vea’s recipe for Caribbean Spice Chicken (at Fremont, Edmonds, Issaquah, Redmond and West Seattle this weekend). Learn about this and other fun food demos here.
Vote: For your new PCC Natural Markets board by May 22. Learn more here.
Taste test: to a Kid Picks tasting 4-8 p.m. May 18 at Fremont PCC and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. May 19 at Issaquah PCC.
Watch: PCC Cooks Chef Lynne Vea prepare Creamy Roasted New Potato Salad With Green Beans, Walnuts and Smoked Salmon10 a.m. May 16 on KING 5’s “Gardening With Ciscoe” show.
Take the kids: Students at Madrona K-8 (9300 236th St., S.W., Edmonds) showcase art from this school year. Enjoy live music from students and a taste-testing with the Kid Picks Mobile 6-8 p.m. May 21.
Help: Donate at PCC checkstands through May 31 to help a community kitchen pilot project in Seattle’s Rainier Valley that will encourage food bank recipients and local WIC families to cook together, learn new cooking skills, practice meal planning and provide food to take home. Call Leika Suzumura at 206-214-8892 or email email@example.com for more information on how to get involved.
First off, part of the reason I picked up this teensy container of Montlake Mousse was because of its snazzy name. Say it out loud: Montlake Mousse. Love that alliteration. But the real reason is that I adore dessert in all its forms. All-Natural Dessert, like its cousins Vegan Dessert and Gluten-Free Dessert, somehow seems less sinful to boot.
Chocolate mousse and I go way back. I remember visiting my aunts and cousins in Japan when I was, oh, six years old. To my detriment, no one told my pigtailed self "No" when I asked each of my three aunts for yet another giant bowl of chocolate mousse at the restaurant we were visiting. My mom had to give me the "everything in moderation" lecture when I summarily lost my mousse on the sidewalk shortly after (poor Mom).
This dainty container is a shining example of moderation, a great size for after lunch or for a taste of something sweet at night.
Most of us lead double, even triple lives. Lawyer/Mom/PTA president. Brother/weekend fisherman/Boeing engineer. PCC employee/dog owner/published author.
You may recognize Val Mallinson from her bubbly personality behind the registers at West Seattle PCC. If you're a local dog lover, you may recognize her byline from pieces she's written for Seattle Metropolitan magazine, BARk magazine and the two latest editions of her guidebooks for traveling with (wo)man's best friend (for Val, it's her team of daucshunds, Cooper and Isis). Here she is with her latest tomes, "The Dog Lover's Companion to the Pacific Northwest" and "The Dog Lover's Companion to Seattle."
I bought my Mom (and Sony, her yellow lab) "The Dog Lover's Companion to the Pacific Northwest" for Mother's Day. She's already excited to get in the car and try out dog parks with high "paw" rankings.
I admire people like Val for finding ways to carve out time in their busy days to create, whether its art, music, gardening, design, cooking, writing, you name it.
Stay tuned for profiles of PCC employee/band leader, PCC employee/father/chicken owner and PCC employee/capoeira maestro.
Lots happening at all the stores. Here are some highlights:
- Kid Picks taste test, 2-6 p.m. May 13 at West Seattle PCC
- PCC board candidate meet and greet, 5:30-6:30 p.m. May 12 and 13 at Redmond PCC and Issaquah PCC, respectively. PCC is a cooperative, which means, like REI and other cooperatives, members get to pick the leaders who will keep PCC moving toward its goals. A chance to do your shopping and share your thoughts.
- Kids Day America, 12-3 p.m. May 16 at Rainier Community Center, 4600 38th Ave. S., Seattle. KDA is an international health, safety and environmental awareness day with fun activities for kids, including a healthy taste-testing at the Kid Picks Mobile.
- Wine tastings: Wines of Spain and Portugal, 6:30-8 p.m., May 14 at PCC Fremont and Redmond, $5. RSVP on the reservation line at 206-547-1222 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, new releases from Northwest producers, 6:30-8 p.m. May 14 at Edmonds PCC. Same deal.
- Plenty of tasty demos this weekend, including Caribbean spice chicken at West Seattle PCC from 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. May 16-17.
Fresh produce is streaming in from all directions this month, though the height of our Washington harvest won't come until July/August/September (so hard to wait!). Here's what's new this week from the desk of PCC produce merchandiser Joe Hardiman.
- California organic cherries: Look for them by the end of this week. Washington Bings should be available in about a month
- Organic apriums (that tasty cross between an apricot and a plum)
- Organic Vidalia sweet onions from Georgia: by the weekend. Our own Walla Walla sweets will be here in July. Joe likes the Vidalias sliced on salads, in burgers and in sandwiches.
- Driscoll organic strawberries from Watsonville, Calif. (I've been snacking on these nearly every day). Local strawberries will be here in late June.
- Organic white peaches
- And local asparagus is still going strong, as is organic salad mix from Full Circle Farm.
A bell rang in my head when my friend Laura bought PCC vitamins a couple months back.
"Dude, did you know you helped fight childhood blindness?" I asked her via Facebook.
"Oh really? That's great! No, I had no idea. I didn't see a sign or anything."
Alas, too often at PCC we neglect to let people know the big and little ways that shopping here nourishes your body *and* contributes to the community. Back when Laura bought those vitamins in March, 25 cents from each sale of vitamins and supplements went to support Vitamin Angels, a nonprofit group that aims to eliminate childhood blindness by 2020 by distributing vitamin A to kids at risk.
In a similar vein, you've probably helped Children's Hospital this month without knowing. Through June 15 five percent of all Kid Picks purchases goes to support pediatrics at Children's as part of PCC's Families Helping Families program. Here's the essence of how Kid Picks works: Kids taste test a variety of foods and those that receive thumbs up from two-thirds of testers are flagged as Kid Picks items in our stores. Plenty of adults make a beeline for KP stuff as well (myself included).
Here's just a handful of the 1,500-plus Kid Picks options:
Hero jam, my favorite! I recommend the strawberry.
Who doesn't love English cucumbers? So good cut into sticks for a snack with salt or a creamy dip or sliced atop salad.
How now, Brown Cow?
I need to learn more ways to cook up polenta. It's such a pleasant comfort food.
Turkey bacon: One of life's great compromises.
I wish I'd tried more cereal like this as a kid. Perhaps it would have diminished my sweet tooth.