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.
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.
Stay tuned for our Full Circle Farm producer profile video! In the meantime, check out our collection of other PCC videos.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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.
I still remember feeling like a genius the first time I deviated from the standard root-beer-and-vanilla-ice-cream float combo back in elementary school and paired rainbow sherbet with Orange Crush: YUM! Twenty years later, it's still fun to concoct new floats, especially with the wealth of high-quality, all-natural ice creams and carbonated beverages at our disposal. With PCC Chef Lynne Vea leading the way, I knew we couldn't go wrong. Check out this float demonstration we did yesterday (click the picture) on KING5's "New Day Northwest":
That voluptuous float above? A refreshing combo of Ciao Bella blood orange sorbet, Coconut Bliss "Naked Coconut" coconut milk ice cream,
fresh fruit and Reed's Double Ginger ginger brew. Fantastic!
Doing this segment brought to mind a wealth of other combo ideas (rhubarb Dry Soda and strawberry gelato, anyone?). What are some of your favorite float combos? I also learned just how you make real ice cream look good on live television: sccop in advance and re-freeze!
Sorbet and coconut milk ice cream, getting ready for the limelight.
Hope your July 4 was a blast. For us at PCC, it's another sign that we're in our high season of events and fun. Here's an update on all the new ways to join in! And don't forget to check our events page for all the great happenings, from wine tastings and summer parades to fund raisers and bike drives.
PCC Kid Picks is now on Facebook and Twitter! Now you'll always know where the Kid Picks Mobile will be next, along with updates on product tastings and fun photos from events, like the Pride Parade and Kirkland Half Marathon. One of my favorites: Watching the Kid Picks Mobile get a soapy bath:
It takes a lot of elbow grease.
Producer Profile Videos are back! Ricardo, our social media guru, and I are traveling around the region to share the stories of some of your favorite local PCC producers. We launched the series with with a trip to Snoqualmie Gourmet Ice Cream in Maltby, Wash. Did you know their butterfat content is around 19 percent? To compare, most premium ice creams are around 14 percent. No wonder it's so decadent.
PCC Farmland Trust has a new website! And it's a beaut. Now it's even easier to see all the great work they've done preserving local organic farmland. Did you know that the purchase of certain PCC products (including Choice Organic Teas, Talking Rain sparkling water and the Farmland Trust Vegetable Platter from our Deli) sends even more money to their farmland fund? Check this page to see how you can help on your next shopping trip.
Have you listened to a PCC Podcast? We have a selection of audio stories from PCC Cooks instructors, the Cascade Harvest Coalition and more. Have a listen and learn more about topics such as eating organics on a budget, the history of food policy, and how some of our chefs first learned to cook.
We're so proud of local soapmaker Ballard Organics Soap Company. Chief executive Ben Busby-Collins is donating a thousand bottles of his certified-organic soap to the Gulf oil spill relief effort, where it will be used by environmental groups to clean oil-soaked seabirds.
"It's just astounding the volume of oil they're having to deal with in this disaster," Ben told told KOMO4 TV this week. And a tip of the hat to the neighborhood blog My Ballard, which reported it first.
We've known Ballard Organics soap was good stuff for quite some time. PCC was its first retail partner, and we sell its soap in each of our nine locations and even offer it in each store's restroom. It's free of animal products, synthetic fragrances, artificial preservatives and dyes -- meaning fewer chemicals against your skin each and every day.