Stir-fry blog

NEW: Watermelon eating contest at PCC Redmond!

It's a showdown, and you're invited. At high noon Saturday, Aug. 21, bring your A game and your appetite to PCC Redmond for a watermelon eating contest! Prizes are ripe for the winning for eaters in two groups: ages 14 and up, and ages 13 and younger. The entry fee is $3 for children 13 and younger and $5 for everyone else. Contact P.J. Cawley, Celeste Coxen or Justine Busse to sign up by 11:30 a.m. Aug. 21.

Meanwhile, pick up some of our marvelous local organic melon, make like Mr. M and practice munch-munch-munching your way to victory!

Thien from the Redmond Deli and I honed our watermelon-eating skills during this PCC Quick Bites video.

More about: community, Redmond

Watch "Evening Magazine" attempt to outbag PCC Redmond's bagging champion

Catch Fabian Morales, grocery bagging champion at PCC Redmond, take on "Evening Magazine" host Meeghan Black in a battle of the baggers 7 p.m. tonight (Tuesday, Aug. 3) on KING5 TV. This friendly faceoff is in honor of the Seattle screenings of the grocery bagging competition documentary "Ready, Set, Bag!". Each ticket sold at Seattle's Central Cinema will generate a $1 donation to Food Lifeline, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending hunger in Western Washington. The film is playing Aug. 6 to Aug. 12 in Seattle.

Who will win? Tune in to "Evening Magazine" tonight at 7 p.m. on KING5. Photo courtesy Diana Crane.

I bagged groceries for the first time over Thanksgiving. A lot of people compare it to playing Tetris, that great Gameboy game of yore that requires the quick and strategic stacking of blocks, and I definitely agree. One tip to make life easier for baggers at your store: Send your reusable bags down the checkout line ahead of your groceries. It will help them anticipate how best to safely and evenly distribute your purchases.

More about: community, Redmond

PCC Redmond and Issaquah: Oases for hikers

As you head out for weekend fun, remember the two PCC locations en route to many hiking trails that make for a great snack and beverage oasis: PCC Issaquah and PCC Redmond. Swing by to pick up iced tea, espresso, fresh-baked cookies, cheese, trail mix from our bulk bins, our all-natural deli salads and sandwiches or a hot slice of pizza. Or, just stretch your legs (and rest awhile). 

A whole pack of hikers trekking from Seattle to Snoqualmie last weekend ambled into Redmond's classroom to do just that.   

Redmond's classroom offers natural light and more importantly, a way to take a load off!

They were taking part in an event called The Long Walk, a three day urban/suburban/exurban journey that organizers call an unscripted encounter with a place we think we already know. Odwalla donated snacks and juice to the hikers and PCC Redmond served up samples of Turkish Garbanzo Bean Salad, plus slices of fresh nectarines, peaches and plums. 

A snacking bonanza.

Hope your weekend includes making great use of the sun! And because I can't resist, click here for photos of some stunning oases in deserts around the globe.

More about: community

NEW: Local milk from a grass-fed, all-Jersey herd

We're always on the lookout for great new products that meet the needs of our members and shoppers. So we were thrilled to discover Pure Eire Dairy, nestled in the heart of the Columbia Basin. Jill and Richard Smith raise an all-Jersey, 100-percent grass-fed herd for luscious and nutritious milk. Find it now at PCC Redmond, Edmonds and Issaquah, with other stores soon to follow. Now, meet the herd!

The ladies go for a stroll (All photos courtesy Dani Smart, ShoptheNorthwest.com).

Pure Eire (pronounce the Eire like "era," Jill says) is the culmination of the couple's dream to create a product they'd be proud to stand behind. Both hail from farming families (Jill's parents grew "everything from corn to hay to peas" in Othello, Wash.; Richard's parents emigrated from Ireland to Florida and ran dairies, a tradition he has carried forward).

"It was always our dream to have a little thing we could probably even do together into our retirement. This is how we want our kids to grow up," Jill says. For now, every drop of milk from the 180-acre spread is spoken for. But as the herd of 35 grows in the future, the Smiths hope to add butter and farmstead cheese to their offerings.

WARNING: Cute alert.

 

A wee little calf.

What makes this milk special? Jersey cattle are one of the world's oldest breeds and produce a milk easily described as decadent. Dairy from grass-fed cows is high in nutrients, including conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a beneficial fatty acid which has been shown to have cancer-fighting properties and helps inhibit the formation of body fat. Pure Eire's milk is free of antibiotics and added hormones, is vat pasteurized, and is non-homogenized (which helps it retain its farm-fresh creaminess). Through careful pasture management, the herd munches grass even in the winter months.

"We milk our cows just once a day," Jill says. "The lower stress our cows have, the higher quality the milk."

The herd doing what it does best.

Here's looking at you, cud.

 

 

More about: local food, milk, pastured meat and dairy

Meet the founder of Full Circle Farm

If you've eaten fresh, organic salad mix at PCC, you've enjoyed the bounty of Full Circle Farm. Our camera crew headed east to Carnation last week to shoot a producer profile video about farmer Andrew Stout and his team and, to record a new podcast. Here's some of the beauty that we saw on that crisp and foggy (then, suddenly sunny) summer day.

A kale plant grows in Carnation.

Kevin and Ricardo work hard to get just the right shot of what will grow up to become fresh, organic salad mix!

Farmer Andrew Stout takes us on a tour of his greenhouses.

Absolutely lovely.

Stay tuned for our Full Circle Farm producer profile video! In the meantime, check out our collection of other PCC videos.

More about: Full Circle, local food, organic food, podcasts

'Nuff said

Follow Kid Picks on Facebook and Twitter so you'll always know the latest!

More about: community, Kid Picks

Register Monday for fall PCC Cooks classes

Since winter, I've learned to a) cook a mean Pla Sam Rod b) make homemade tamales c) craft homemade ramen noodles from scratch d) wield a kitchen knife like a semi-pro e) cook up vegan Japanese delights and f) make a summery bread salad with Bing cherries. This is all thanks to PCC Cooks, our wonderful (and wonderfully affordable) cooking school.

Blogger and author Orangette (aka, Molly Wizenberg) teaches us to make French-style yogurt cake with lemon.

And the aforementioned bread salad with Bing cherries, chevre and arugula. YUM!

Carrots are tasty, no matter how you slice 'em (and I learned four methods at Knife Skills!).

Slicing homemade ramen before we stretch the noodles out. Chef Christina Chung will teach Chinese steaming techniques this time around.

Fresh ramen salad!

Monday is your chance to register for fall classes and expand your cooking repertoire. Will you learn to bake holiday biscotti for your family and friends? Cook up a comforting Thai dinner? Add more beans and grains to your diet? Learn to cook foods that encourage a healthy hormone balance? You'll find all these and more come Monday morning in our online catalog and in print at each of our nine neighborhood PCC locations.

More about: PCC Cooks

Donate a bike; help kids in Africa get to school

This is the time to do something with that bike. You know, the one that sits unused in your garage or basement, gathering cobwebs. Your bike would be so much happier in Togo, Africa, where hundreds of other bikes donated over the years from generous PCC shoppers are helping disadvantaged rural Togolese children get to school (before bikes, many students faced up to a 10-mile walk to school each day. It's small wonder many are forced to drop out).

Girls received the majority of last year's donated bicycles. Photo courtesy Alaffia.

Bring your functioning, adult-sized used bicycle to the Alaffia Sustainable Skin Care Bicycle Donation Drive 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, July 24 at Kirkland PCC (10718 N.E. 68th) or 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, July 25 at Seward Park PCC (5041 Wilson Ave. S., Seattle). Your bike will help someone like 14-year-old Mawoumbe' Laba reach her classes. And that's a great feeling.

Since 2005, Alaffia has distributed more than 3,000 bicycles to Togolese students so they can continue their educations and break the cycle of poverty. Call 360-866-0080 or email bikes@alaffia.com for more information.

More about: Alaffia Sustainable Skin Care, community, health and body care products

Our lettuce can take over the WORLD!

So sayeth Dan Johnson, our PCC Greenlake produce coordinator. 

Goooo Rent's Due Ranch! These gorgeous specimens hail from their organic fields in Stanwood, Wash.

More about: Greenlake, lettuce, produce, Rent's Due Ranch

Up next: How-to videos about produce

Do you remember your New Year's Resolutions? The one I've managed to keep all the way into July is to try cooking with something new (to me) each week, both to challenge my mind and expand my repertoire (parsnips, celeriac/celery root, bison, fava beans, etc.). But with cooking, the more I learn, the more I realize there is to learn. So, in the name of learning, our crack web team is shooting a series of quick how-to videos: How to choose the perfect cantaloupe; how to preserve a ripe avocado; you get the picture. And last week, we headed to PCC Redmond to get the picture for you. 

Thien and me, getting ready for our close-up.

We opted to launch with two front-of-mind questions this time of year: How best to select and slice summer melons and how to select and preserve fresh avocado. We're planning fall segments now, including how-to videos about winter squash and pumpkins. We'd love to hear about the produce that puzzles you! As for me, I can't wait to learn more about cooking with romanesco

Once more, with feeling.

Did you know Thien from the Redmond deli used to be a hand model? No joke. Here, he poses before he artfully carves up that fine specimen.

And here's Ricardo, our social media guru, teaching us the Way of the Avocado.

Ricardo teaches us a handy trick with avocados and limes. You'll have to watch the video to learn his mother's secret!

Behind the camera with Ricardo as P.J., Redmond's produce coordinator, teaches us how to select the perfect melon.

We had many from which to choose!

Setting the scene. Can you believe the size of that light? No wonder everyone looks so nice and awake on TV.

Look how many bags it takes to haul all this stuff around. We definitely deserved a cookie.

I learned a lot about creating backdrops that day. Kevin, our cameraman extraordinaire, noted that most stylists iron everything that will be in a scene. I haven't ironed in ... four years! Guess it's time to bust that out.

Again, if there's a produce item you've picked up and put down again for lack of knowing what to do with it, let us know! We might feature it in an upcoming episode. Life is too short to miss out on all the great things in the produce department.

More about: avocados, produce, watermelons

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