Stories

Serving the Land with Cider: Finnriver Farm & Cidery

This story was originally published in the Winter 2017 issue of Grass/Roots. Read the whole issue here!

by Ryan Gaughn, Alcohol Buyer

It was a People’s customer who first clued me in to Finnriver products. Having tried a cocktail featuring raspberry brandy wine, they started to look around the city to buy a bottle, without much luck. I contacted Finnriver, who dispatched a sales rep to our store almost immediately. From the moment I first tasted that raspberry brandy wine, I knew these products were something special, and a cursory view of Finnriver’s business ethics, particularly with land and animal stewardship, fell right in line with our values as a co-op.

In late September 2016 I was invited to participate in a tour of Finnriver’s farms and cidery, located in the beautiful Chimacum Valley in Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. Along with other alcohol buyers and retailers from Oregon & Washington, I was treated to a first hand, in-depth look at how this cidery accentuates a regional growing and production focus, coupled with a commitment to responsible agricultural practices acting in harmony with the region’s lush natural ecosystem.

Finnriver maintains two farms in the Chimacum area. The central hub of production for the cidery is located just 3 miles away from Finnriver’s main apple & pear orchards. This property hosts vegetable, berry, and hoop-house gardening operations which provide supplemental ingredients in Finnriver products. It was here that I received a tour of the cider making process.  Large bushels of apples are primed and pressed, with juice separating from the pulp in a mechanized pressing. From there, the fresh juice is pumped into massive fermentation tanks, where the addition of yeast and other ingredients encourages the magic that brings cider to life. 

This production facility is seamlessly integrated with the certified organic farm that surrounds it. The entire property is also certified Salmon Safe. Through intentional efforts by Finnriver, spawning salmon have recently begun to return to a creek that runs through the property, after generations of absence due to environmental harm from livestock farming in the area. 

Later in our tour, we travelled to Finnriver’s newest property acquisition, a 50 acre certified organic orchard. Finnriver has been integral in converting this lush soil, which was used as dairy land since the late 1800s, into a magnificent orchard of several thousand apple and pear trees.  Many of these trees are traditional, tannic varieties of apples not commonly found in grocery stores. This location is also where Finnriver has its tasting room and bottle shop, where many extra special products not currently available for sale in Oregon can be tasted and purchased. 

Finnriver operates both properties in partnership with the Jefferson Land Trust. This partnership ensures that the land on which Finnriver operates will remain designated for agricultural purposes in perpetuity — an important protective measure in an area of the state where extra-urban development is increasing (the Chimacum Valley is located South of Port Townsend, across the Puget Sound from Seattle). Much like Our Table Cooperative, a farm operation based out of Sherwood, Oregon which also borders areas experiencing urban development, land trusts help integrate food resources, sustainability, and the needs of urban dwellers by maintaining legally binding regulations which protect agricultural land for future generations.

Oh, and Finnriver cider is really tasty, too! I strongly encourage you to try out some of my favorites!

The Contemporary Series of ciders are the most widely distributed and produced of Finnriver’s selection. The introduction of a small amount of organic cane sugar in the production process helps round out the dryness of the cider, without creating an overly sweet “apple juice” like effect. Two of my favorites are the Sparkling Black Currant, which has an amazing, deep purple wine-like color, and the Habanero, an infused cider that leaves a really exciting spiciness in the endnotes.

If you’re looking for something to bring to a special occasion or dinner, consider the Artisan Méthode Champenoise Sparkling Cider. This painstaking cider-making process requires a secondary fermentation process that takes place in the bottle, which results in a very effervescent sparkling beverage similar to champagne. This bottle is a great substitute for wine, and definitely more on the dry end of the cider spectrum.

For something completely different, pick up a bottle of Raspberry Brandy Wine, a higher alcohol content dessert wine. Raspberries grown on Finnriver farms are coupled with apple brandy wine, producing a dessert beverage to be enjoyed in small pours. Finnriver brandy wines are very versatile, and can be used as toppings on ice cream, in homemade salad dressings, and as a lively kick to sparkling water, to name a few.

Definitely keep an eye out for Finnriver’s Seasonal Botanical ciders. This is a rotating series of bottles that feature unique combinations of herbs and ingredients. In the beginning of 2017, keep an eye out for Cranberry Rosehip and Solstice Saffron.

 

Better Business: Earthly Gourmet, Natural Foods Distributor & Social Change Activists

Better Business: Earthly Gourmet, Natural Foods Distributor & Social Change Activists

By: Jenna Chen, Marketing & Design Co-Manager

Earthly Gourmet is a vegan, gluten free natural foods distributing company based out of SE Portland, OR.  Heman and Marlena Bhojwani started Earthly Gourmet in 2006, and in a short 9 years now supply many of the top vegan, organic restaurants and businesses in our city including Laughing Planet Cafe, Sip Juice Cart and Canteen, Harlow and Prasad Cafes, Next Level Burger (a vegan burger joint that just opened on 4121 SE Hawthorne) and your very own People’s Food Co-op.  

People’s Food Co-op was Earthly Gourmet’s first customer.  In 1996, former Grocery buyers Melody Anderson and Sarah Barnard bought fair trade chocolate syrups and ginger chews for the store. They also worked with Heman and Marlena to inaugurate Earth Balance into our bulk section.  Earth Balance did not sell 30 lb boxes of their product until People’s and Earthly Gourmet expressed high demand and guaranteed an order.  This is an example of how values driven businesses can use their collective power to directly impact how something is produced, sold, and distributed – for the better.  

People’s commitment to buying in bulk not only reduces wasteful packaging but is more cost-effective for the consumer and producer.  Now, Earthly Gourmet distributes a wide array of almost exclusively vegan and gluten-free products to the greater Portland area, Olympia, and Seattle, and almost 95% of these products are produced on the West Coast.    

In addition to being a growing, values driven food distributor, Earthly Gourmet is working with Immigration & Refugee Community Organization (IRCO) to employ refugees from Afghanistan, Syria and other places.  They currently have five full-time employees working for them that have come from overseas to seek asylum in the US.  These staff members often were employed as engineers and in other highly skilled trades in their homelands and now work at Earthly Gourmet.  Earthly Gourmet goes through rigorous and thorough questioning and investigation by the IRCO before being permitted to hire.  After they are hired, Earthly Gourmet trains them extensively on job tasks and serves as a resource as they adjust to living in the US.   Heman and Marlena’s willingness to open their workplace and hearts to those less fortunate than us and use their business as an example of how social justice can be actualized is truly inspiring.   

When asked what is next for Earthly Gourmet, a company that is meeting growing demand for vegan and gluten-free natural foods, Heman replies “The question is not how can we grow bigger - it’s how can we grow better”.  As People’s embarks into a future yet to be written, the idea of better growth rings clear and relevant.  How can we stay connected to our roots, our community, support the farmers and food producers around us in a sustainable way and thrive in our city?  The answer is up to us. 

A delicious lunch of vegan, gluten-free pizza, made in Earthly Gourmet's on-stie commercial kitchen which houses the headquarters of gluten-free bakery  Sift .  All ingredients on the pizzas are ones that Earthly Gourmet distribute.  

A delicious lunch of vegan, gluten-free pizza, made in Earthly Gourmet's on-stie commercial kitchen which houses the headquarters of gluten-free bakery Sift.  All ingredients on the pizzas are ones that Earthly Gourmet distribute.  

For the Love of Bulk

For the Love of Bulk

By Kahadish Wa'adabisha, Bulk Buyer, Collective Manager

The History of Bulk

The bulk section at People’s Food Co-op offers a wide array of foodstuffs that are in alignment with values that began in the late 1960’s and early 70’s. Around that time, the number of farms were declining and access to healthy, organic and pesticide-free food was not a primary focus. As a result food cooperatives were established by groups of people who wanted to make decisions about production and distribution of foodstuffs and the quality of food we eat. 

Food co-ops were on the front line of creating what are now known as “health food stores”. And between 1969 and 1970 approximately 10,000 food coops were established throughout the United States (People’s Food Coop being one of these co-ops).

The food cooperative movement, specific to the foundation of People’s, is different than the general health food movement in that it is very intentional. It is based on values, as seen in the Rochdale principles which guide the co-op:

  1. Voluntary & open membership
  2. Democratic Member control
  3. Member economic participation
  4. Autonomy & independence 
  5. Education, training & information
  6. Cooperation among cooperatives
  7. Concern for community

Making Bulk Part of your Everyday Life

In our bulk section you’ll notice a wide variety of organically grown grains, beans, seaweeds, nuts, seeds, vegetable oils and even so called “super foods”, many of which are locally grown (noted by the Foodshed logos in the store). These items are significant in our co-op history, in that at co-ops used to be the main provider of these items to our community. 

Yet, lifestyles have changed over the last fifty years. People are busy and have so many obligations that they’re running between. Food options have been created that fit this lifestyle—there’smore eating out, grab and go, snacks and prepared food. There is less time given to and available for preparing food at home. 

But preparing food as it was originally intended grounds us in the movement that led to the founding of People’s Food Co-op and other food co-ops. Eating food in its whole form helps to fertilize the garden of our own bodies by honoring food preparation, eating the food we prepare, and returning to sharing food as a community.

Where to Start

There is something intentional in the action of preparing food in its most basic form. It connects us with the community it serves and the earth it comes from.  For example, try making beans instead of buying them canned. Through the process of making food from its whole form, you may find yourself having time to enjoy the beauty and colors of the food you eat. You’ll be honoring the fact that many of us have access to healthy, kindly planted and harvested food. You may be using your own containers and bags andtherefore reducing waste (statistics from the EPA show we generate approximately 80 million tons of waste fr om packaging and containers annually). And you’ll be supporting farmers and taking part in a legacy of food preparation that dates back to generations long before us.

Here's a recipe to get you started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups onion 
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons (or more) curry powder and garam masala
  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 cup fresh tomato or 1, 15 oz canned tomatoes drained
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • Salt
  • Olive oil
  • 4 cups water
  • Lime wedges
  • Cilantro

Directions:

Saute onion, garlic, ginger and spices in olive oil. Add squash, lentils, tomato and salt. Then add water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, stirring until the squash is tender for about 20 minutes. Stir in coconut milkand simmer until heated through, about 1 minute. Serve with lime wedges and cilantro and enjoy as this dish makes you comfy cozy

Homemade Cold & Flu Remedies

Homemade Cold & Flu Remedies

By: Cari Eisler, Non-food and Supplement Buyer, Collective manager 

and Malerie Plaughter, Member-Owner

It’s the inevitable time of year when, the common cold and various strains of the flu are being passed around like they’re going out of style. It’s important to take action as soon as you notice symptoms of a virus affecting your body. Why? Because you can reduce the ability of a virus duplicating itself, meaning you can put the brakes on the virus spreading. 

There are many herbal remedies, both in supplement form and do-it-yourself methods, that can help accomplish this and ultimately make you feel a whole lot better.

Elderberries

Elderberries are proven effective against the respiratory and influenza virus. A virus duplicates inside your cells and gains access to your cells using the enzyme nueraminidase. Elderberries are nueraminidase inhibitors and stop replication.  Try the following recipe to make your own Elderberry syrup.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups dehydrated or 4 cups fresh elderberries
  • 8 cups water
  • Raw honey to taste
  • Pinch of cinnamon and cloves (optional)

Directions:

Soak berries overnight if dry. When ready to make, rinse the berries. Combine them with water in a large pot and bring it to a boil. Simmer for about 45 minutes. Let everything cool to room temperature, then strain out the berries, and mash the liquid out. Keep the liquid. Stir in raw honey to taste. Let cool and store in fridge. 

Take 1-2 teaspoons each day for preventative measures. Added bonus? It tastes delicious and you can put it on pancakes. When taken regularly, elderberry syrup is a fantastic supplement during the fall and winter months – even year-round.  (Important note: uncooked elderberries may make you feel sick.)

No time to make your own?  Try our Grab 'n Go Favorite: Rainbow Light’s Counter Attack 

This formula was developed by well-known herbalist Christopher Hobb’s. In the formula elderberry, isatis, sophora root (also a neuraminidase), berberine and andographis mobilize the body’s acute immune response. Included in the formula is a Clear Relief herbal compound that includes sophora root, yerba santa, platycodon, horehound, mullein, Iceland moss, coptis, Chinese lovage, and Chinese licorice. 

Or pick up Mickleberry’s Elderberry Syrup, locally made and available here at People’s.

Ginger 

Similar to elderberries, fresh ginger can stop a virus from spreading. But it is also a hemagglutinin inhibitor, meaning it stops a virus from binding itself to the epithelial cells of the lungs. It’s effective for shortening an infection, thinning the mucus, and slowing the spread of a virus.  Try a ginger juice tea recipe from renowned herbalist Stephen Harrod Buhner’s book, Herbal Antibiotics. According to Buhner, fresh ginger is the most effective form of ginger. 

Ginger Juice Tea 

  • At the first sign of infection juice 1-2 lbs of fresh organic ginger. 
  • Combine 3-4 oz of ginger juice with a tablespoon of honey, 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper and 6 oz of hot water. 
  • Drink 2 to 6 cups of this mixture a day

Fire Cider

Fire Cider has been used ever since the 1970s when Rosemary Gladstar, herbalist extraordinaire created it to ward off the bad bugs and keep folks in good health. It’s a spicy mix of alliums and capsicums, fruits, herbs, and warming spices, combined with antioxidant-rich raw honey and the rock star of the health world (no, not coconut oil) - unpasteurized apple cider vinegar.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup each:
  • Minced fresh garlic
  • Grated fresh ginger
  • Diced onion
  • Grated horseradish
  • Chopped fresh parsley
  • 2-4 tablespoons diced hot peppers
  • Half unpeeled orange, sliced
  • Half unpeeled lemon, sliced
  • 1/8 - 1/4 cup each: chopped fresh rosemary, stemmed fresh thyme, chopped fresh turmeric (or2 tablespoons dried turmeric powder)
  • 1/4 cup raw honey
  • 2-3 cups raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar

Directions:

Mix all dry ingredients and honey in a quart mason jar (with a plastic lid). Cover with apple cider vinegar by an inch or so. Shake until the honey incorporates and let steep for at least two weeks, preferably four weeks. After it is fermented, strain out the solid ingredients and store in the pantry or refrigerator (where it will keep for up to a year). Enjoy a swig a day, or more when you are feeling ill.

While you wait for your fire cider to ferment or to avoid making it yourself altogether, check out Gee Creek Farm’s fire cider, which is available at our Wednesday Farmers' Market.

Other Feel-Good Remedies:

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is associated with immune system functioning, viral respiratory infections, depression and a number of other health concerns. It may be helpful to get your Vitamin D levels tested because you may need higher doses temporarily to get up to ideal levels. Increasing your levels can help with depression and stress both of which make a person more susceptible to viral infection. 

Try This!

  • Vitamin D3 from Garden of Life (Vegan)
  • Lanolin Source D3 from Source Naturals (drops) 
  • Vitamin D capsule from Deva (Vegan)

Mycomedicinals (Medicinal Mushrooms)

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), two of this year's most common seasonal flus are influenza A (H1N1) virus and influenza A (H3N2) virus. Cordyceps, a variety of medicinal mushrooms, are known to be a potent antiviral against H1N1.  

Try This!

  • 14 Mushroom Powder (in the bulk herbs section)
  • Host Defense Stamets 7 Daily Immune Support
  • Vitamin D capsule from Deva (Vegan)
  • Host Defense Myco shield spray - designed to protect susceptible oral tissue when traveling with the potent viracide Agarikon

Essential Oils

Simply breathing steam that has essential oils can help improve airflow and thin mucus. Thyme, eucalyptus and rosemary essential oils all have antiviral capacity, and all you have to do is add a few drops of these oils to a pot of water that has just boiled, and breathe in the steam. Your sinuses will thank you. You can find the Veriditas and Snow Lotus lines of essential oils in tinctures People’s, both of which come from organically grown or wildcrafted plants. 

Sinus Blaster

Sinus Blaster tincture sold in bulk at People's. 

Sinus Blaster tincture sold in bulk at People's. 

Another option is our bulk tincture called Sinus Blaster, which contain elderberry, osha, olive leaf, horseradish and other herbs like echinacea augustifolia root.

Moral of the story, don’t wait until the last minute to feel better. Next time you’re at the co-op try one of the many way natural ways to kick that cold! 



Remembering Roots

By Lisa Moes

Farmer at Farmageddon Growers' Collective

Produce Keeper & Collective Manager at People's Food Co-op

 

The Dutch word gezellig has no direct English translation. Mostly it is an indescribable feeling of well being and a sense of ultimate coziness. My Dutch ancestry, my roots, are calling out to me right now, and this season is the height of gezellig for me. Tank tops are being replaced by sweaters, another blanket is going on the bed and hearty root veggies are taking the place of light summer salads. I am gravitating towards all things cozy.   

Often overlooked and under appreciated, root vegetables seem dull and unappealing. But if you have ever sliced a chiogga beet to reveal the amazing burst of pink and white candy cane stripes, smelled the tantalizing aroma of freshly cut celeriac or tasted the rejuvenating power of red beet juice, you know roots have so much more to offer.

Our produce department stocks a variety of organic roots to fortify and get you through the cooler season ahead. We are fortunate to receive weekly farm-direct root deliveries from amazing growers like Wobbly Cart, Groundwork Organics, Gathering Together Farm, Northwest Organics, and Our Table Co-op.

Below is a list of root veggies with nutrition facts and recipe suggestions. Since I eat all my food raw, I’ve included no-cook ideas to show how versatile and flavorful roots can be. By adding nutritious and tasty roots to your meals, my you find your own version of gezellig for the coming months!

Beets absorb minerals directly from the soil, making them rich in nutrition when grown organically. They are high in potassium, magnesium, calcium, sodium and phosphorus. And save the beet tops! They are good sources of Vitamin A, calcium and iron.

Preparation: Beets can be boiled and served with vinegar or lemon, or they can be made into the well know soup borscht. I enjoy beets sliced thin and pickled with apple cider vinegar. A mix of red, chiogga and golden beets shredded with cabbage and carrots, tossed with ginger tahini dressing makes a filling winter salad. Juice them for a quick nutritious power on their own or add apple and carrot for sweetness.  Use chiogga beet slices to make raw ravioli circles and fill with a variety of nut cheeses, spreads and veggies.

Turnips are high in Vitamin C, and have a stronger, peppery flavor than rutabagas.  Turnips contain beta carotene and turnip greens are rich in Vitamin A.

Preparation: Rutabagas and turnips are similar and can be used in recipes together. Both are good roasted or mashed with potatoes. I enjoy raw turnips and rutabagas when ground into small pieces and used like rice.

Celeriac, sometimes called celery root, is still a bit unknown to a lot of people. Containing Vitamin C, essential minerals such as phosphorus, iron, calcium and copper, celeriac is an important part of the winter diet.

Preparation: Celeriac adds flavor to soups, stews and is nice mashed as a side dish. Enjoy as a more filling version of celery or make a raw version of potato salad using peeled and diced celeriac instead of potatoes.

Radishes are a good source of Vitamin C and are also naturally low in calories.

Preparation: Radishes are not usually cooked, however black radishes lend themselves to roasting quite well. Other than eating them fresh, radishes are wonderful pickled or fermented. Daikon and watermelon radishes are two of my favorites to include in kim chi, and ground horseradish makes for a spicy condiment to help clear any stuffy sinuses.

Carrots, a staple root, are known for beta-carotene which converts to Vitamin A, essential for healthy eyes and good bone and tooth formation.

Preparation: Carrots are often added to stews, roasted with potatoes or other roots, or made into muffins or cakes. Raw carrots are always an easy snack. I add carrots when I make kim chi for depth and sweetness. I also make a raw carrot ginger soup that is especially warming this time of year.

Burdock is high in potassium, B6, magnesium as well as a good amount of calcium, phosphorous, iron and copper. Burdock also contains the beneficial fiber called inulin, which promotes the growth of helpful bacteria in the large intestine, thus improving the immune system. This is especially important during the cold and flu season. 

Preparation: Peel and slice burdock and add to stir fries, soups and salads. Make into a healthful tea. I enjoy adding burdock to various raw meals, either shredded or chopped. And since it contains Vitamin B6, which regulates mood, burdock is helpful when the days may seem a little too dark and gloomy.

Parsnips need cold weather to convert the starch in the root to sugar, so they are at their best when the temperature drops. Like many root veggies, they contain a variety of essential minerals.

Preparation:  Use in soups, cut into cubes and puree for an added bit of sweetness. Roast or mash with other roots. My favorite parsnip recipe is to make them into chips - I slice them thin, toss with a little olive oil and salt and dehydrate until crisp. Yum!

When in doubt - roast 'em!  Cut veggies into similar sized pieces 1-2 inches, drizzle with olive oil, toss with salt, pepper, fresh rosemary, and roast at 425 for 30-40 minutes, or until tender.  Share with loved ones.   Co-op Tip! Leftover roasted root veggies transform splendidly into breakfast hash or burrito filling. 

When in doubt - roast 'em! Cut veggies into similar sized pieces 1-2 inches, drizzle with olive oil, toss with salt, pepper, fresh rosemary, and roast at 425 for 30-40 minutes, or until tender.  Share with loved ones. 

Co-op Tip! Leftover roasted root veggies transform splendidly into breakfast hash or burrito filling. 

Here's your chance to support a great co-op startup

We just found out about a great startup co-op. It'll be a Transgendered Latina-led Worker Co-op, which will provide opportunities for trans women to own part of a business that provides beauty services throughout the New York City area. This is extra important, as transgendered people face high rates of discrimination in terms of getting jobs and assistance, and death rates are much higher for trans people than non-trans people. These statistics are even more stark for those trans people who are people of color.

This co-op is using the cooperative model just as it was intended: to bring more economic justice and stability to its owners. We hope this group's story inspires you as much as it inspired us.

"My name is Jennifer de la Cruz, and I am a leader in the fight for equality in the workplace for all LGBTQ immigrants in New York City and across the country.  And like most Americans, I believe that no one should be denied a job because of their gender identity or gender expression.  After enduring years of discrimination and unemployment, I am standing up for myself and my community to launch the first of its kind Trans-Latina Worker Cooperative– a historic worker-owned cooperative business that will provide professional beauty services throughout the NYC area."

Check out this link for more information.

School Aid Fruit: 90% Proceeds Go To Local Schools

School aid apples and pears, which fill a bin at People’s every fall, seem too good to be true. The little fruits embody everything that the Co-op stands for.

They’re organic. They’re local. At only 99¢ a pound they’re affordable. They’re delicious. But best of all; more than 90% of what you pay for them goes straight to schools in our community. Essentially, when you buy school aid apples and pairs you are making a donation to local schools, and getting local organic fruit in return.

The program is simple. A local farm sells the fruit to the Co-op and donates 100% of the price to community schools. The produce buyers at People’s are committed to buying and stocking these fruits—fruit that the store makes no money by selling—year and year again. Our produce department saves space on the crowded sales floor and sells (they usually add 10% to cover losses) and folks like you chose to buy the school aid fruit instead of any of the other plethora of choices in the produce section. School Aid works because a farmer, a store and shoppers all make the choice together to support their community.

The School Aid apples and pears can make a powerful difference in our communities. However, to understand the School Aid fruits and the program they make possible you have to know where they come from.

The apples and pairs that fill People’s School Aid bins all come from Mt. Hood Organic Farm. The farm lies to the south of Hood River, 6 miles, as the crow flies, form the summit of Wy’east. To call the orchard beautiful is an understatement.

The farm is as unique as it is picturesque. The orchard is the first property to draw from the east fork of Hood River. The melt water that irrigates the trees is as pure as it gets. Mt. Hood Organic Farm’s altitude means that the fruits grown there are usually smaller, but sweeter, than those produced by other orchards. Just like wine grapes from different vineyards, apples and pears from different orchards—with their unique micro-climates—have very different properties. The fruits’ size and unique flavor makes them perfect for light snacking or for school lunches.

One of the most unique things about the farm is the man who runs it; John Jacobs. He exemplifies the old proverb about good deeds: “don’t let your left hand know what your right is doing”. The school aid program is his invention; he just doesn’t want any credit.

John Jacobs has an inspiring vision for the world and in his words it looks a lot like “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood.” In the Neighborhood, people know one another, and take care of each other. The philosophy informs everything that Mt. Hood Organic Farm does. The orchard was the first to grow and organic apples and pears in the region. Despite the financial challenges of farming in this way Mt. Hood Organic has worked tirelessly to be good to their neighbors downstream, their environment, and their customers.

Mt. Hood Organic Farm also gives back to their communities directly. Through the School Aid program thousands of dollars are donated every year to education. A few times a year the farm even hosts classes of kids who come out and pack bags of fruit to sell which raise money for class trips and other educational opportunities.

In Jacob’s neighborhood “People’s is the only grocery store.” The Co-op fits well into the vision of neighborliness that he describes. The Co-op has been buying organic apples and pears from the farm for 30 years. People’s has always given him the best price for his fruit. Produce buyers from other natural grocery stores consistently try to barter and undercut the asking price for the produce—making the difficult job of organic farming harder. The produce buyers at People’s, according to Jacobs, have never tried to haggle with him or buy fruit for less than the Farm knows they need to cover their costs and make a living.

People’s is also the only store in Portland to currently sell School Aid fruit. The store makes no money selling it, and gives up valuable retail space to do so. But offering School Aid apples and pears year after year is something that our produce team believes in.        

The little School Aid fruits stand for something huge. They stand for strong communities, for a long-term commitment to affordable organics, for high quality foods, and for a much-needed people before profits approach to life and business. It’s not often that a few little fruits can stand for so much good—or that your dollars can so directly support your community and values.


Introducing Andrew Barton...

Andrew Barton is self taught home cook/supper club chef, originally from Eugene, OR and currently teaching preschool in Portland.  His favorite thing to eat right now are hearty, texture focused salads (like the one below), featuring the best seasonal produce prepared in interesting ways. 

He has been hosting the supper club, Secret Restaurant Portland, collaboratively since 2010 and over the last 2 years, working with Secret Restaurant teammates Peter and Kate Schweitzer on their upcoming cookbook Myrtlewood.  He will be our newest contributor to our blog, previewing recipes from Myrtlewood here, like the one below.  

Want to know more about Myrtlewood?  There is one week left on Myrtlewood's Kickstarter campaign  - to self-publish the first edition of this beautiful cookbook.  Watch the video, read all about it, see some previews, pre-order a book, and tell your friends. There is still a ways to go – help from conscious food consumers and cooks like you, dear reader, is the only way they'll get there. 

For more recipes like this one, check out  Myrtlewood's Kickstarter Campaign . 

For more recipes like this one, check out Myrtlewood's Kickstarter Campaign

Summer Panzanella 

The classic Italian summer dish. A transcendent meal can be made from a little high summer produce and some old bread. 

I made a large batch of rolls for a big lunch that didn't work and had to be replaced with bakery rolls. They were just too crusty, too chewy. I'd taken the Tartine bread recipe and tried to make rolls the same way. Doesn't work! Tartine bread is all about force within the loaf, the gasses expanding, the blistering, charred crust. Well, it was a happy accident because the rolls were the best bread for panzanella imaginable. The flavor was complex, the crumb delectable. I sliced and tore the rolls up into bite sized pieces, made my first batch of panzanella, and froze the rest in a large freezer bag. Each time I wanted more, I'd revive just the quantity I wanted to use wrapped in foil in the oven. I made maybe 6 large bowls of panzanella from mid-August to mid-September using these roll bits again and again. 

Ingredients

  • fresh, ripe tomatoes (several kinds if you can buy or grow them - large or small. Apx 7-12)
  • cucumber(s, if little)
  • the best damn stale bread you can get* (2 or 3 handfuls of cruton-esque pieces)
  • very small (or half a medium) fresh sweet onion
  • garlic, 4 or so cloves
  • white wine vinegar
  • lemon juice
  • olive oil
  • red wine (already open, just for cooking or what you are drinking that night)
  • pickled green peppercorns (secret, important ingredient here - available at Pastaworks, you can also substitute capers here)
  • parmesan 
  • fresh mozzarella
  • basil or parsley or celery leaves or whatever strong leafy herb

Directions

Dice the onion finely and place it in a non-reactive bowl (a glass pyrex mixing bowl is perfect). Peel and chop the garlic, mincing and adding it. Pour enough white wine vinegar to soak the onion and garlic. Add lemon juice till they are almost submerged. Add olive oil to really bury them. Salt generously. Let this hang out for at least an hour, seriously. You can get away with half and hour but an hour is better. This is the technique that gives this panzanella it's brightness, it's zing. 

If you are cooking other food, work on it now; or take a walk, or read a chapter of your book. Wash, de-stem, and sliced the tomatoes. If using an english cucumber, no need to fuss over it. A regular one; peel a couple lines down the outer skin and scoop out the seeds before cutting. Little lemon cucumbers? Wash the prickles off, but no need to de-seed.

Smash/chop about one teaspoon of pickled green peppercorns. Add them with the tomatoes and the cucumbers to the onion, garlic, acids, and olive oil. 

After 10 minutes or so for these things to become acquainted (and white you grate the parmesan, tear the mozzerella, tear the basil), add the bread pieces. Toss aggressively, splashing in red wine as you go. Try to get the wine to hit half the bread pieces. Toss in the parmesan, the mozz, and the basil/other leafy herbs. Drizzle with olive oil, taste, add more wine, wine vinegar, lemon juice, salt, or black pepper to taste.