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.

Ingredients

SWEET POTATO CRUST
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

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

Instructions:

  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

Fermented Garlic Honey

In honor of honey month (and the impending flu season), we thought we’d share an easy immune booster: fermented garlic honey. Raw honey and raw garlic are both renowned for their health benefits, so they make a perfect pair, while fermentation naturally creates probiotics that benefit digestion and immune system health.

With only two ingredients and little preparation, this is a great way for beginners to get into fermentation. Let’s get started.

  1. You’ll need some raw (local) honey and garlic. Raw honey is unpasteurized, which means the beneficial bacteria and yeast responsible for fermentation haven’t been killed from processing. Local honey is ideal because it may help your system build immunity to local pollens (check Aisle 4 for plenty of options). For the garlic, 2-4 large heads should be plenty for a small batch. Here we used several smaller heads with a 16oz honey. Buy organic garlic, since pesticides can interfere with the fermentation process.
  1. Prepare the garlic by lightly bruising each clove by pressing down on top of it with the flat side of a knife. Try to keep each clove intact, so don’t push too hard — you just want to bruise it enough to easily remove the skin. Bruising garlic also kicks off a natural defense process that converts the enzyme alliinase into allicin, an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent.
  1. Fill a clean mason jar ½ to ¾ full with the garlic and pour in enough honey to cover it completely. The size of the jar doesn’t matter much; just make sure you leave an inch or two of free space at the top. The cloves will float at first. Seal the jar, label it with the date, and store at room temperature in a dark place.
  1. Once a day, flip the jar upside down and swirl it to make sure none of the cloves are above the honey for too long. This will prevent unwanted mold growth on the surface of the honey. Once the garlic stays submerged on its own, you can skip this step. Loosen the lid of the jar to release the pressure that builds during fermentation (this is called “burping”), then re-tighten. Do this once or twice a day.
  2. Fermentation time varies by preference, but one month is a good starting point. By that point, the honey should be very thin and liquidy, and the garlic flavor will be strong. Have a taste and see what you think. Some folks let theirs go for a year or more. The garlicky flavor of the honey will intensify over time, while the cloves will lose some intensity and taste sweeter. You can continue to store it at room temperature to let fermentation continue.

 

Eat a spoonful when you start feeling funky or in preparation for flu season. You can also eat the cloves whole. Try using the honey as a glaze for meat or pizza crust. Mix it into sauces and marinades for a sweet, garlicky kick, or with other natural remedies to create a natural health tonic. Make all your friends try it. Have a good time. Be well. (And check back soon for more recipes.)

 

 

 

 

Note that the Center for Disease Control advises against feeding raw honey to children under 12 months old to limit the risk of infant botulism (older children and adults can eat raw honey as they please).

Chickpea Salad

Need a new fresh side dish that the whole family would like? Look no further, this simple chickpea salad recipe is sure to be your new go to! All you need is a few ingredients and a bowl to make this quick and light dish.

 

Ingredients:

15 ounce can chickpeas, rinsed, drained
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small garlic clove, minced
⅓ cup (packed) freshly grated parmesan cheese
Kosher salt to taste

Instructions:

  1. Rinse and drain chickpeas.
  2. Combine rinsed/drained chickpeas, chopped basil, chopped parsley, fresh lemon juice, extra-virgin olive oil, and parmesan in a medium bowl.
  3. Slowly and gently toss to blend all ingredients thoroughly.
  4. Season the chickpea salad to taste with salt and pepper and enjoy!

 

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

 

It’s New! Craft & Cork

We are pleased to share our newest seasonal publication with you– the Craft & Cork. You’ll find information about the enjoyment of beer, wine and cheese. It is produced VERY locally, right here in the store!

All the products you read about can be purchased here at the co-op. There will be a recipe that will use fresh, seasonal, and often local items. We’ll highlight a local producer in our MEET YOUR MAKER section. And, a cheeseboard will be featured in each issue that you can put together using the keyed photograph and descriptions.

The Autumn issue is just out and you can pick up a copy in the store, or read it HERE.

Why run for the FCFC board?

Guest Blogger: Jason E. Ybarra, Ph.D.

Maybe, like me, when you first joined the co-op you didn’t think much about what happens behind the scenes; but perhaps you were aware that as an owner you help select those who govern the co-op on your behalf. One of the cooperative principles that FCFC follows is democratic member control; that is, member-owners actively participate through electing a board of directors, but also this can include running for a board seat.

 

Why did I run?

I am currently finishing my first year on the board. I ran because I wanted to deepen my investment in the co-op. For me the co-op is not just a grocery store, it is an organization that reflects my values of sustainability, investment in the community, buying local, and environmental stewardship. I was motivated by the desire to serve in a capacity that leverages my expertise and experiences. As a scientist and educator, I continuously evaluate information, assess procedures, think forward, and make informed decisions. It is these skills that I wanted to bring to the board.

So far, the experience has been very rewarding. My fellow directors are a group of wonderful, kind,  conscientious, and talented people that love their co-op as much I do. We work closely and cooperatively to ensure the co-op is meeting its ends policies – and have fun at the same time! I have enjoyed the satisfaction of contributing to the overall success of the co-op.

 

Why should you run?

Maybe you never considered running for the board, or maybe just gave it a passing thought. Let me ask you the following questions: Do you have a unique perspective, talent, or set of experiences? Do your values align with those of the co-op? Are you interested in helping the co-op thrive? Do you have experience working closely with like minded individuals toward a set of common goals? If you answered yes to these questions, you should consider running!

 

How to run

Perhaps the first and most important thing to do when considering running for a board seat is to find out how the board operates. The best way to do this is by attending the August board candidate information session, or attend the public session of any regular board meeting if you’d like to learn more and possibly run for the board next year. Hope to see you there!

Have more questions about running for the board? Feel free to email us at board@friendlycity.coop

 

Jason E. Ybarra
FCFC Owner and Board Director
Assistant Professor of Physics, Bridgewater College

Good To Know – How To Know If It’s Good

How do you know which is the very best tasting cantaloupe and which tomato will be the most tomato-ey? Here’s a guide to helping you decide which piece of produce to select when shopping – whether at the food co-op, a farmers market, or in your own garden!

 

CORN
Don’t peel the husk- instead, feel it to see that the kernels are plump and there are no gaps in the rows. Green and tight leaves are best.

 

CANTALOUPE
Look for one that is very fragrant around the stem when you smell it. It should feel hefty for its size.

 

EGGPLANT
Choose those with shiny and taught skins. Avoid big blemishes and brown spots.

 

WATERMELON
It should feel heavy for its size, and a thump should produce a hollow sound, not a dull thud.

 

BLACKBERRIES
Look for a deep color black and the berries should be firm and plump which equals ready to eat!

 

TOMATOES
Pick one up- it should be aromatic and feel heavier than it looks.

 

STRAWBERRIES
Look for fragrant berries that are evenly sized and have very little white at the top. Steer clear of the super big ones.

 

PEACHES
A ripe peach should smell peachy good!

Avocado Pasta

This simple pasta recipe can be made in less than 15 minutes! Aside from being easy, it’s a healthy alternative to pasta made from wheat. It’s made with chickpea noodles and a delicious avocado tahini sauce.

Ingredients

1 box of Banza pasta
1 large avocado
⅓ cup tahini
1 ½ tsp honey
Splash of almond milk
Dash of pepper

Instructions:

  1. Cook Banza pasta following the directions on the box.
  2. While the pasta is cooking add avocado, tahini, honey, almond milk and pepper to blender. Blend ingredients together, this will form your sauce.
  3. Once the pasta is done cooking drain the water and pour the pasta back into the pot. Add the sauce to the pasta pot and stir thoroughly.

Notes:

*Feel free to also sauté veggies such as spinach, tomatoes, pepper, etc to add into the pasta! I chose to add a little spinach to mine.

 

Guest Bloggers: James Madison Dietetics

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