What Makes a Food Kosher?

For a food product to be considered kosher, it must be prepared in accordance with guidelines specified by Jewish dietary law. We carry plenty of kosher certified foods at the Co-op, but how do you tell if a product is certified? What does it mean for a food to be kosher?

Kosher foods can fall into one of three categories: meat (including all meat byproducts), dairy, and pareve, which refers to foods that contain neither meat nor dairy and includes eggs, fruits and vegetables, pasta, canned beans, and most of the other products we sell.

Kosher meats must come from animals that chew their food and have split hooves, like cows, goats, and sheep. Chickens, ducks, turkeys and other non-predatory fowl can also be considered kosher. For their meat to be kosher, animals must be slaughtered, inspected, and prepared by a schochet, an expert with special training in kosher slaughtering rituals. Blood from the animal must be drained, which is typically done by soaking the meat in cold water and then salting it. All of the equipment used by the schochet must also be kosher.

To be considered kosher, dairy and meat cannot be mixed, so dairy products cannot contain gelatin or animal rennet. Anything containing even trace amounts of meat or dairy are classified as such. Since insects are not kosher, certain fruits and vegetables must be inspected before earning their certification. There’s even a unique certification process for wine!

The exact requirements for Kosher certification can vary can vary depending on the organization—that’s why there are so many different symbols on various products throughout the store. OU Kosher and OK Kosher are some of the largest Kosher certification organizations. To see if a product is kosher certified, check the label for a certification symbol.
For more information on kosher certification, visit www.oukosher.org or www.ok.org.  

Bacon Wrapped Brussels Sprouts with Cranberry Dipping Sauce

Looking for a way to use up leftover holiday ingredients? Searching for a quick and easy recipe to throw together for a holiday gathering? Look no further. This quick and easy appetizer is sure to please and put everyone in the spirit!


  • 20 Brussels sprouts
  • 20 bacon slices
  • 1 cup jarred (or homemade) cranberry sauce
  • 2 tsp orange zest
  • 3 sprigs of thyme, leaves removed and chopped



  1. Preheat oven to 400 ℉
  2. Wash and dry Brussels sprouts
  3. Wrap each Brussels sprout with one piece of bacon and secure with toothpick
  4. Place Brussels sprouts on a baking sheet and place in the oven for 40 minutes
  5. In a small bowl, add the cranberry sauce, orange zest, thyme, and stir
  6. Place the cooked Brussels sprouts on a serving dish alongside of the cranberry sauce and enjoy!


Guest Bloggers: James Madison Dietetics
Alexandra Balbontin, Taylor Coleman, Julia Danisewicz, Emily Salvaggio, and Taylor Singleton


Wine Pairings for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is nearly upon us, and whether you’re a host or guest, you might be considering bringing a bottle (or two, or six) of wine. From sparkling to white to red, we’ve got you covered, with delicious wines handpicked to complement every part of your meal, all at prices you’ll be thankful for.


Light and refreshing, sparkling wines are a great way to start and end a meal. Pair with pre-dinner appetizers or sweet desserts (or everything, honestly).

  • Mas Fi Cava Brut Rosé, $12.99. A nice dry rosé is one of those wines that “goes with everything.” Let the fresh, clean flavors of this brut rosé accompany your meal from appetizers to dessert and beyond.
  • La Vielle Ferme Sparkling Brut Reserve, $16.99. Bright and balanced with a floral nose and notes of stone fruit, this is a refreshing “all day” kind of crowd-pleaser. Hand a glass to your guests as they arrive.



A good Thanksgiving white wine needs to stand up to the rich and bold flavors of the meal without taking away from anything.

  • Oxford Landing Pinot Grigio, $9.99. Pinot grigios are a perfect pairing for heavy, rich flavors like stuffing or garlicky mashed potatoes with gravy. This one from Oxford Landing Estates brings a medium body and notes of apple, pear, cinnamon, and spice. It doesn’t get more festive than that, right?
  • Yalumba Unwooded Chardonnay, $9.99. Unwooded chardonnays are bright and fruit-forward, so they won’t overpower your Thanksgiving flavors with oakiness, but they’re still full-bodied enough to hold their own. This unoaked chardonnay from Yalumba fits the bill perfectly, full and creamy with a sharper citrus finish.



Thanksgiving dinner is one of the heaviest meals you’ll eat all year—and we wouldn’t have it any other way. But it does call for a lighter, more drinkable red to accompany it.

  • Root 1 Pinot Noir, $10.49. Pinot noir is an all-around great Thanksgiving red, thanks to its versatility. Pair with turkey and stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, or mac & cheese. If you’re going with just one red for Turkey Day, a pinot noir is your safest bet. Root 1’s is a beautiful ruby red color, with berry and cherry aromas and notes of vanilla and spice that’ll pair nicely with turkey and all sorts of sides.
  • Goose Ridge Vineyards StoneCap Merlot, $9.99. While not as versatile as the pinot noir, a heavier-bodied merlot pairs beautifully with mashed potatoes or sausage stuffing. The ripe berry notes from the StoneCap Merlot are great between bites of turkey. Who even needs cranberry sauce? (Okay, just kidding, we all do.)


Stick with sparkling, go all red or all white, mix and max—whatever works for you and your guests. Everyone has their preference, after all, but these wines are a great place to start. The best part? If you buy six, you get 10% off. Check out these wines and more on our Friendly Prices endcap at the end of Aisle 7.

Twice Baked Rosemary & Roasted Garlic Infused Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and if you’re like us, you’re already creating a mental blueprint of your dinner plate, with approximately one third of that space dedicated to the best side dish: mashed potatoes. But not just any mashed potatoes. Next level mashed potatoes. With brown butter infused with roasted garlic and rosemary. Topped with butter and baked to golden brown perfection. Then mixed up and baked again for even more crispy goodness. Serves 8-12

Why it’s good:

  • Roasting the garlic takes the flavor to the next level while softening it so it incorporates smoothly.Using cultured butter adds a pleasant, subtle tang and richness.
  • Browning the butter enhances the flavor, and infusing it with roasted garlic and rosemary carries these flavors throughout the potatoes.
  • Scraping the surface with a fork and topping with butter before baking creates craggy surface area that promotes more browning.
  • Mixing and repeating spreads that flavorful goodness throughout (so you and your guests don’t have to fight over it).


  • 6 lbs Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes (Use starchy Russets for fluffier texture, and smooth Yukon Golds for creamier texture. Or use both like I did.)
  • 2 heads garlic, unpeeled
  • 1 tbs fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1.5 cups room temperature heavy/whipping cream or milk (you may add more or less depending on texture preference)
  • 3 sticks cultured butter
  • Salt & black pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Prepare garlic by slicing off a small amount across the top of the heads, exposing the tops of the cloves without peeling. Wrap them in foil and place on a baking sheet. Roast for 30 minutes. The cloves will be lightly browned on exposed areas, soft in texture, and should be easy to remove from the skin.

  2. While you wait, peel the potatoes, removing any eyes. Cut them into approximately 1-inch chunks, rinse thoroughly with cold water to remove excess starch, and place in a large stock pot. Cover completely with water, leaving enough space at the top so the water doesn’t boil over.

  3. Generously salt the water, cover the pot, bring to a boil, and remove the lid. Boil for 15 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender. Cooking time varies by potato type and size.

  4. While you wait, heat a medium pan on medium-low. Mash the roasted garlic into a paste. Melt 2.5 sticks of butter, bring to a low simmer, and mix in garlic paste and rosemary. Adjust heat as necessary to prevent burning the butter or aromatics. Lightly brown the butter and remove from heat.

  5. Drain potatoes and rinse with quickly with warm water. Transfer to a large bowl and mash to desired consistency using a potato masher or ricer. Add butter, rosemary, and garlic, and mix until incorporated. Add and mix in cream in small amounts (you may use a hand mixer, but avoid over-mixing) until desired textured is achieved. Add salt and black pepper to taste.

  6. Transfer potatoes to Dutch oven or other large oven safe dish and spread evenly. Scrape the surface with a fork to create a rough texture. Cut remaining butter into cubes and distribute half of it across the top. Broil on low, about 10 minutes, rotating as necessary until evenly golden brown. Keep an eye on it to prevent the butter from burning. Mix, add remaining butter across the top, and broil again on low until golden brown. Garnish with chopped parsley or rosemary and serve immediately.


  • Short on time? Do everything but the baking the night before the big day, cover the dish with foil, and store in the fridge. Before serving, complete the first broiling step and mix. Then set the oven to 350°F, place the remaining butter on top, and bake until golden brown on top and hot throughout.
  • Cheese fan? Add some Parmesan. You can grate it on top before baking to create a crunchier crust that pairs excellently with the aromatics. Or try mixing in cream cheese or sour cream to create a tangier flavor.
  • Use freshly ground black pepper, and lots of it—it’s worth it.

Our Co-op Is Expanding!

No, it’s not a rumor – our co-op is expanding! Our aisles are crowded and we need more space for our fresh, local produce; meat; grocery and wellness items. We’ll also upgrade our deli kitchen and have more cafe seating!

In order to make this expansion a reality, we need the support of our owners – that’s you! Borrowing from our owners (vs a bank) is something all co-ops do, is more flexible and in alignment with our cooperative principle of “members’ economic participation.” Our owner loan campaign goal is $1 million by November 16.  

So why should you invest in the co-op?

  • It’s a truly responsible investment, with significant local benefit: every $1000 invested with us becomes $1600 in local benefit as it keeps getting spent around our community
  • You earn a return (more on that in a minute)
  • You’re participating in something good, that aligns with your values

While we can’t promise you anything, you can trust that we have done our due diligence including 10 year financial projections. We aren’t overdue on any of the loans owners made to help us open our doors – and our sales continue to grow each year we are open.

You can find all the details in the “Loan It” brochures available in the store, but here are the basics:

  • You must be a member-owner and a resident of Virginia
  • The minimum loan amount is $1000 but we’ll need some owners to loan $5000, $10,000, $25,000 and even more to meet our goal of a $5000 average loan.
  • You can choose a repayment term between 5-10 years (available on a first come, first serve basis).
  • You choose your interest rate! Between 0-4% depending on loan amount (keeping in mind that a lower interest is of greater benefit to the co-op).

Co-ops all over the country are successfully raising $1 million or more, so we are confident we can do it too! Click here to see how we’re doing; we encourage you to make a loan to help us reach the goal, plus help us spread the word!

To ask questions or commit to making a loan: come into the store and ask for a loan packet or call/email our general manager Steve Cooke at (540) 801-8882 or steve@friendlycity.coop.


Guest Blogger: Lindsay Martin, Board Member

Whole-Wheat Creamy Pumpkin Pasta with Sausage and Kale

October means fall and fall means everything pumpkin. Add it to pasta in this recipe and enjoy the splendid autumnal combination that is pumpkin, rosemary, andthyme. It is a feel good dish that will leave your belly full and your family happy!



1 lb whole wheat chiocciole pasta

1 lb pork sausage without the casing (I used a blend containing rosemary and thyme to mimic other flavors of the dish, but use whatever you prefer!)

1 (15 oz) can pureed pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)

1 ½ tsp minced garlic

1 minced shallot

4 cups lacinato kale (or a variety of your preference)

½ cup chicken broth

½ cup pasta water reserved

3 tbsp non-fat Greek yogurt

½ cup parmesan cheese

1 ½ tsp fresh thyme

1 tsp fresh rosemary

¼ tsp cayenne pepper

2 tbsp olive oil

Salt, Pepper


  1. Heat a large pot of salted water to boiling. Cook the pasta according to package instructions.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Sauté the minced garlic and shallot for 1-2 minutes until slightly soft.
  3. Add the sausage to the skillet. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until the sausage is close to done, breaking it apart with a fork or spatula.
  4. Add the kale to the skillet. Cook the kale until just wilted about 2-3 minutes.
  5. To the skillet add the can of pumpkin, chicken broth, thyme, rosemary, cayenne pepper, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Let simmer on low heat until the pasta has finished cooking.
  6. Collect ½ cup of cooking water from the pasta pot and set aside. Drain the pasta and add to the skillet.
  7. Add the pasta water, yogurt, and parmesan cheese to the skillet.
  8. Stir thoroughly to coat.
  9. Top with extra cheese if desired, plate, eat, and enjoy!


Guest Bloggers: James Madison Dietetics

Alexandra Balbontin, Taylor Coleman, Julia Danisewicz, Emily Salvaggio, and Taylor Singleton


October is Virginia Wine Month

Virginia is the second largest wine producer in the South, thanks to exponential growth over the last few decades. Though the state has been growing wine grapes since the earliest colonial settlements, its reputation as a major wine producer is a relatively recent phenomenon, bolstered in part by major investments from big names like Jean and Steve Case, who founded AOL long before opening Early Mountain Vineyards in 2012. Today, there are more than 250 different wineries in Virginia, up from just a half dozen in 1979. The growth and presence of local wineries is undeniable, but it raises a question: why Virginia?


The Climate Poses Certain Challenges. While the climate bears similarities to those of some world-class wine regions in Europe, Virginia still poses a challenge for growers. Excessive heat, humidity, and rain during the growing season can create mold and rot. It’s a battle against nature where it’s not unusual for growers to experience major losses by harvest time. But year after year, they do it anyway, with no signs of slowing down. Why? Simply put, for all the challenges the climate can sometimes pose, growers know the grapes are well worth the trouble.

Virginia winemaking is a labor of love, fueled by the desire to create something beautiful and truly unique. Known for both Old World and New World styles, Virginia winemakers adapt traditional methods to the new climate and even native grapes like the Norton. To quote Jim Law, a Virginia wine veteran, it’s “a blending game.”


The Wine Will Just Keep Getting Better. With current technology, techniques, and a greater depth of experience growing grapes locally than ever before, Virginia wine is better than it has ever been. And it’s only going to keep getting better. There’s no better time to experience a rapidly growing wine culture that is recognized internationally by some of the biggest names in the wine industry, including famous wine critic Steven Spurrier.

We’re proud to carry over 40 wines from 14 Virginia producers. And in celebration of Virginia Wine Month, they’re 10% off all October long.

If you’re interested in experiencing more of what Virginia has to offer, be sure to visit the store every Thursday from 4pm-7 for our weekly sampling. Each week we offer a free tasting of beer, wine, or cider, with a focus on highlighting local producers and other co-ops. We also offer store-wide samples of cheese and other snacks, as well as live cooking demonstrations.


Don’t Miss Tasty Thursdays. Like our page on Facebook to keep up with each week’s Tasty Thursday sampling lineup, as well as new classes, events, and blog posts.

No Tricks, Just Treats!

We love Halloween here at the Co-op. The changing leaves, beautiful fall weather, costumes, and plenty of candy. What we don’t love? Artificial sweeteners and coloring, high-fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils . . . all common ingredients in popular Halloween candies. Now that’s spooky. But it wouldn’t be Halloween without candy, so stop by and check out the endcap stocked with these all-natural gummies, candy corn, chocolates and more (including plenty of vegan and gluten free options). 



Enjoy Life Variety Pack
These mini chocolate bars are made with ricemilk, making them vegan-friendly, and they contain no soy lecithin. This pack comes with a regular and dark chocolates, as well as a crunchy bar made with crispy rice.

YumEarth Organic Gummy Fruits
These creepy crawly-shaped treats include three flavors and are vegan, gluten free, and nut free. They get their colors from organic fruit & vegetable concentrates.

YumEarth Organic Candy Corn
No Halloween candy list would be complete without candy corn. Some love it, some can’t stand it, but there’s no denying it’s a staple. And any staple should be made from the best stuff around, right? These contain no corn syrup, artificial dyes, dairy, gluten, or nuts.

Wholesome Organic Lollipops
These ghost and skull shaped lollipops are fair trade certified and made with only five all natural ingredients. Sometimes, less is more.

Wholesome Surf Sweets Organic Spooky Shapes
When it comes to gummies, we like options. There are four fruit flavors, all vegan and free from the top ten allergens.

Made Good Chocolate Chip Granola Mini Bars
If you want to go a healthier route this Halloween (without giving your household a bad reputation among local trick-or-treaters), this is a great option. These bars are certified organic, are made with gluten-free oats, and don’t contain nuts.

OCHO Organic Minis Variety Pack
This variety pack includes three chocolate covered, bite size candies: caramel in milk chocolate, peanut butter in milk chocolate, and coconut in vegan dark chocolate. Can’t beat the classics, right?

Get Out and Vote

One of the many great things about being a member of Friendly City Food Co-op is that you are a member of a democracy. Members of a democracy carry the right, the responsibility, to vote for the members who help steer the organization. In the Co-op’s case, these members are the Board of Directors.

It is the board’s job to make sure that the co-op is on track to succeed in its goals of providing the community with a vibrant, local economy; fair and friendly relationships; healthy, informed consumers and producers; and a healthy environment; in a way that is profitable, responsible, ethical, and efficient. Therefore, ideally, the board should consist of a group of leaders who bring to the table a variety of skills including, but not limited to, business administration, marketing, law, accounting, economics, agriculture, public relations, race relations, health sciences, food and nutrition, education, public administration, city planning and development, social justice, and food justice. Whatever it takes to build a successful community, it also takes to build a successful community co-operative grocer. Our board of directors may include anyone who is passionate about the co-op’s goals and is able to contribute to its success.

Every year you will be given the opportunity to vote for your Board Members at the Annual Meeting. It happens in the Fall, usually in October, this year it will be on October 6th from 4:00-5:00pm. But don’t just come for the meeting; if you can, come for the party that starts at 2:00pm. This year’s event will be held in the Friendly City Food Co-op parking lot. There will be food, games, prizes, and the opportunity to VOTE!

The Nitty Gritty: We have nine seats on the board, terms are served for three years, three seats renew each year. A board member may serve for three consecutive terms, after which the seat must be vacated. After a break of at least one year, the member may run again for the board. An early resignation may leave an additional seat open. This year we have two members of our board resigning, added to the three renewing seats, we have five seats to fill. We have six candidates running for those five seats.

You will have to make a decision. One candidate will not get elected in this cycle. It is not a decision that you are making alone. You are making it with other owners of the co-op. When more owners of the co-op vote, the outcome of the election becomes more democratic. We also need to have a certain percentage of votes for the election to stand. We have written it into our bylaws to ensure a fair election process. To help you with the decision-making, short biographies of and statements from the candidates will be published in an upcoming newsletter as well as online, and you will get to hear the candidates tell you why they are running for the board at the Annual Meeting.

We are grateful to the candidates who are serving their co-op community by running for the board of directors. We are grateful to all the owners of our co-operative. We hope to see you at the annual meeting. We strongly encourage you to vote. Be one of the voices in our co-op community’s democracy. You can do so at the meeting or in store throughout the month of October. Thank you!


Submitted By Board Member/Secretary: Aniko Safran

Sweet Potato Pizza Crust

Craving pizza, but also want to get in your serving of veggies? Well then, this pizza is for you! This pizza is so fun because it has a sweet potato crust and can be personalized by choosing to top it with your favorite sauce and veggies.


1 medium sweet potato
1 egg or flax egg
½ cup oats or ¼ cup oats and 1 ½ tbsp. coconut flour
½ tbsp. oregano
Dash of garlic powder
Dash of onion powder
Dash of basil

1 tbsp. hummus of choice
Dairy free mozzarella cheese
Handful of spinach
Chopped peppers
Cherry tomatoes


  1.      Preheat oven to 350.
  2.      Microwave sweet potato and peel off skin.
  3.      Add all of the sweet potato crust ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth.
  4.      Line an 8-inch cake tin with parchment paper and pour the crust mixture into the tin, spreading it evenly across the bottom approximately ¼ inch thick.
  5.      Cook the crust for 25 minutes.
  6.      Remove the pizza, make sure the top is no longer squishy, and add toppings. I chose to add beet hummus, dairy free mozzarella cheese, spinach, peppers, asparagus, tomatoes,         and broccoli, but feel free to add whatever veggies and sauce that you please!
  7.      Stick the pizza back in the oven for 10 more minutes.
  8.      Remove from the oven, let cool, and enjoy!


Guest Bloggers: James Madison Dietetics

Alexandra Balbontin, Taylor Coleman, Julia Danisewicz, Andrea George, Emily Salvaggio, and Taylor Singleton