Letters to editor, April 2004 | PCC Sound Consumer | PCC Natural Markets

Letters to editor
Sound Consumer | April 2004

Letters must be kept to 250 words or less and include a name, address and daytime phone number for verification or they cannot be published. We reserve the right to edit for space, clarity and accuracy. Please e-mail letters to editor@pccnaturalmarkets.com.

Corn bread recipe

Please pass this on. I just made the recipe you featured in your January issue for Sour Cream Cornbread and it is the best cornbread I have ever eaten! It is such a perfect recipe in its flavor and texture that it even cooks up wonderfully in a wheat-free version (a very difficult challenge for most recipes).

I used equal parts of spelt flour and rice flour (to make 1 cup) and I will add one more egg (total of 3) and another tablespoon of the syrup (total of 4 tablespoons) the next time to compensate for the change in flours. Way to go, PCC!
— Lea Keyes, Bremerton

Editor: Find recipes under "Resources" on the drop-down menu.

Start a cooking club?

Does PCC have some type of cooking club where people explore new cookbooks, share recipes and have a potluck style get together? I just got back from the first potluck of a newly formed cookbook club at Third Place Books. It was fun in that we were able to try a lot of new dishes. I would like to try and find something a little more earthy, though.

If PCC does not have anything like this, do you know who might? I took a class from you once and I loved it — just to let you know! Thanks,
— Cathy Marsh

PCC Nutrition Education Manager Goldie Caughlan replies: Thank you for the compliment on our FoodWorks cooking classes — they are terrific! But PCC doesn't have a cooking club as you envision it, yet what a great idea it is. Actually, when I started shifting my way of eating 30 years ago, I fell into a situation with four or five other folks I met through PCC. We informally formed a once-a-week vegetarian potluck "club" and it went on for more than a year. It was so much fun and such good eating. We occasionally did share cookbooks, but since there weren't many vegetarian cookbooks back then, mostly we just shared experiences with food and shared recipes — ours and hand-me-downs — and so on. These days, with the plethora of cookbooks and recipes on the Web, perhaps some variation would be how you would go.

Is anyone reading this interested in forming a cooking club? If you write or call, I'll put you in touch with Cathy to explore the idea. Reach me at 206-547-1222, or by e-mail

PCC Web site

Just discovered your Web site. It is terrific.
— Alexandra

Editor: For anyone who hasn't looked lately, PCC's Web site is terrific! It's beautiful, easy to navigate and packed with sound information.

Plastic water jugs

Question: I bought a polycarbonate gallon jug at PCC and have been refilling it at the Custom Pure station at my local PCC store. Recently I read an article about plastic water bottles in the Green Guide (www.thegreenguide.com/doc.mhtml?i=101&s=plastic) that said #7 polycarbonate bottles are to be avoided. Is that true?
— Meredith Waring

Pat Fox, Custom Pure Water Company replies: Custom Pure still carries glass bottles and they are available to PCC customers on a special order basis. I'm afraid the bottles wouldn't survive the gravity feed bottle display currently available at most of the stores.

My review of the literature leads me to conclude that if you are going to use plastic bottles, the polycarbonate is the best — as long as you aren't freezing or boiling the water. I will be going to our national conference in a couple of weeks. I'll see if there is any more information available to share.

Product choices

I am writing to express my concern over a disturbing new trend in PCC's product selection.

For years I've been buying Fairhaven Cooperative Mill's organic brown rice flour. (When I'm in Bellingham, I also buy their organic millet flour, which is wonderful, and which you don't stock down here.) Recently, the Greenlake co-op has stopped offering Fairhaven's products. There is now no organic brown rice flour on PCC Greenlake's shelves.

I asked about this at both Greenlake and Fremont co-ops (same problem there, although at Fremont they do offer Fairhaven soy flour) and the employees didn't have very clear answers. In the meantime, I have observed a proliferation of non-organic flours in the bulk section of both stores — a lot of Bob's Red Mill and some gluten-free "mixes," neither of which are organic or locally produced.

Fairhaven Coop is a local and committed-to-organic company! Also, you have stopped carrying Earth House Foods' organic garbanzo flour, packaged by R&K Foods, another Seattle company, and we now have Bob's Red Mill non-organic as the only garbanzo flour offered.

I've been shopping exclusively at PCC for over 20 years and PCC's commitment to organic and local food suppliers is one of the most important reasons for my loyalty. I am really upset that these non-organic, non-local companies are currently taking over the baking segment of the bulk foods section. I hope I am speaking for many members when I express my extreme frustration and disappointment.
— Linda Waterfall

Stephanie Steiner, PCC Grocery Merchandiser, replies: "Rest assured that organic brown rice flour is available once again at Greenlake and Fremont PCCs. Its temporary absence was caused by interruptions in the supply, not a change in product selection. When you wrote, we had just experienced extensive "outs" on all Fairhaven flours.

PCC tries hard to support organic and local suppliers, including Fairhaven Co-op Mill, which we have stocked for many, many years. Understand, however, that sourcing truly local and organic flour is very difficult. The Fairhaven Co-op Mill gets rice for the rice flour from California; the whole-wheat pastry flour is from Washington grown soft white wheat, but the hard, red winter wheat flour is from Montana.

Bob's Red Mill also is a Northwest producer, based in Oregon. As for why the organic garbanzo flour from R & K was replaced with non-organic from Bob's: the organic garbanzo flour came in 50-pound sacks, which had to be divided and repackaged by hand into bags for individual sale, and ultimately 50-pounds was simply more garbanzo flour than is wanted or needed at one time. The non-organic Bob's can be purchased in a more manageable "minimum" size order and is already packaged.

The gluten-free "mixes" you refer to, while not organic, are produced in the Northwest and meet the needs of specific consumers.