Local Organic Cranberry Juice Tasting at the Co-op

Photo by Giles ClementPhoto by Giles Clement

The farmers of Washington state’s first and only certified organic cranberry farm will be sampling out their juice at the Co-op on the first day of our Spring 2015 Owner Appreciation Week.  Stop by the store and try some on Sunday May 10 at 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Starvation Alley encompasses a total of 10 acres in Seaview Washington and Long Beach. Jared Oakes and Jessika Tantisook took over the farm where Oakes grew up in 2010. They wanted to farm cranberries organically, but were told by farmers and other experts that it wasn’t possible. They explored that assumption and eventually gained organic certification for their farm.
“It is hard, especially in the beginning because we didn’t have any support. If you want to learn to grow organic apples you could probably find enough stuff on line, call universities, or get advice from professionals. That wasn’t available for cranberries. As new farmers transitioning to organic we lost a lot of production for the first two years, hence the value added products,” Tantisook said.

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Starvation Alley created a brand of juice that attracted the attention of the emerging craft cocktail industry. The farmers sell their product to 70 accounts, mostly bars in Portland and Seattle. They sell their juice and cranberries at farmers markets and locally at Astoria Co-op. The juice is raw, unsweetened and undiluted cranberries. It is not heated or pasteurized which Tantisook says enhances the health benefits and taste.

Starvation Alley Farms is building its research database with a goal of spreading sustainable farming and educating consumers about the food system and the importance of supporting local farmers. They are working with two other cranberry growers on the Long Beach Peninsula to transition to organic certification. There are currently only about 300 acres of organic cranberry farms in the U.S. out of 39,000 total acres of producing cranberry bogs.

Our Parking Lot Gardener at May Lecture

034When our General Manager Matt Stanley asked Horticulturist Becky Graham to take over our parking lot garden, Becky says she had a feeling this would be a very special job, due to the special people who shop and are a part of the Co-op. Becky wants to express what a pleasure it is sharing her skills and passion and we at the Co-op feel the same! We get so many wonderful comments about our garden that makes the parking lot a welcoming space.

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“I’ve met hundreds of people who tell me how they’ve appreciated the garden. The fact they make a point to let me know how they appreciate I, that they went up and touched it and smelled it is even better, or asking about a plant. It is kind of an instant connection. That has brought so much joy to me. It’s been a gift. Sometimes I have to pinch myself,” Becky said.

Our May lecture at Fort George Brewery will feature Becky. She has a business called Harvest Moon Designs, and has not only helped transform the Co-op’s outdoor space, but she takes her knowledge and passion about plants all over the community; from the rooftop of the Hotel Elliot to a healing garden that’s in the works at Columbia Memorial Hospital, for example. “Nature inspires, art follows” is a guiding principal in Becky’s designs.

One might imagine finding Becky’s home garden in Knappa on the pages of Sunset magazine. It is made up of raised beds that include an artful combination of edibles, ornamentals, and found objects such as rusty pipes that have been converted into planters.

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“I hunt and gather for things that make me weak in the knees. Sometimes I don’t have any idea of how I will use it, but I know I will. I have an old copper washing machine and I know I’m either going to make a water feature out of it or a planter. I play with colors, texture, and materials I love,” Becky said.

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Becky calls the garden her classroom, sanctuary, and playground. Part of her career includes garden coaching, helping others design their own gardens. Becky’s lecture will include photos and information to provide examples of things you can do with raised beds, containers, and art, similar to the Co-op’s garden.

“Mixing food you can grow locally in containers as well as ornamental and plants good for pollinators. I think about birds, honey bees, and butterflies. Some art happens naturally. You look and you see a combination of foliage and there’s a butterfly that lands there… that’s art as well as the things you bring in,” Becky said.

You can meet Becky and learn about gardening and design at the Co-op’s monthly food and wellness lecture, “Beers to Your Health” at the Fort George Lovell Showroom located at 426 14th Street in Astoria on Thursday May 14th at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6 p.m. There are food and drinks available for purchase. The event is free and open to all ages.

March Lecture: Maternal Nutrition

What’s affecting local women’s food choices and its impact on future generations

“Eat healthy,” you hear it all the time; doctors, media, and friends encourage us to eat better for our health. It is easy to say, but it is not always easy to do. A group of community members participated in a project; taking pictures of things that help them eat healthy as well as things that make it harder.

Oregon Health and Science University’s Oregon Rural Practice-based Research Network recently finished a research project on what affects maternal nutrition in Clatsop County. This was a “Photo Voice” project where 10 women took pictures of their food environment, in an attempt to identify the barriers and facilitators to good nutrition.

OHSU Research Assistant and Community Liaison Julia Mabry, is taking the resulting presentation around Clatsop County to those interested in food, medicine, and health. She will be the speaker at our lecture this month (March 2015).

“The results are moving, compelling and personal. The women’s stories about healthy eating are important for the public to hear,” Mabry said.

The presentation will cover why it’s important to study maternal nutrition and its effect on epigenetics, or chronic illness in the future. It will also address how personal behavior fits into the larger context of our environment. How our society’s food environment could change for the better will be up for discussion.

Beers to Your Health, our monthly food and wellness lecture happens Thursday March 12 at the Fort George Brewery Lovell Showroom, located at 14th and Exchange Street in downtown Astoria. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the talk starts at 7 p.m. This event is free and open to all ages.

Food and the Future

Spice up the Food you Cook!

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Bored with cooking and want to spice things up a bit? Or perhaps you’re trying to lose weight or your doctor has told you to stay away from salt. Either way, we’ve got an event coming up for all cooks. There are methods to make food taste flavorful while being healthy, according to a local spice expert. Pat Milliman, owner of Pat’s Pantry in Astoria, will be the guest speaker at our monthly lecture, “Beers to Your Health” at Fort George Brewery.

“Sometimes it’s as simple as a Tuscan seasoning, a Mediterranean blend on oven baked chicken breasts adding flavor without salt. You can bring flavors together in a way that salt does. Lemon or citric acid can achieve that,” Milliman said.

For foodies looking for the next culinary adventure, Milliman says Zahtar; a Middle Eastern spice has been popular in the last few years. And her personal current favorite is Aleppo Pepper, a deep red crushed chili with a bit of heat and a fruity flavor. She takes it out to eat, sprinkling it on her pizza, or mixes it with scrambled eggs for breakfast—adding the spice to anything that needs a pop of flavor.

Milliman owns Pat’s Pantry with her partner Tom Leiner. The couple specializes in custom blends, combining flavors, to make it simple for their customers to add creativity to their standard recipes. The most exciting part of the business is not so much about spice, but about cooking and food in general.

“I love food. I love everything about food. I love cooking it I love talking about it, I love eating it with people, I love reading about it. I read cook books like most people read novels. In this business I get to talk to people about food every day because people are coming in sharing information with me or asking for information. I love that exchange. I’m always amazed in this little town, how many people end up here from all over the world. So I’ve met some really interesting people, and had great conversations about food,” Milliman said.

Beyond her store, Milliman is an active community member, pitching in at local non-profits; a board member of North Coast Food Web and host of “Food Talk” on Coast Community Radio.

You can attend Milliman’s lecture on Thursday January 8th at the Fort George Lovell Showroom (14th and Duane Streets in Astoria). Doors open at 6 p.m. and the talk is from 7-8 p.m. Food and drinks are available to purchase. The event is free and open to all ages.

November Beers to Your Health

We’re having a screening of the film, Food for Change, at our monthly food and wellness lecture “Beers to Your Health”. See the story of the cooperative food movement in America on Thursday November 13, at 7 p.m. in the Fort George Lovell Showroom. Doors open at 6 p.m. Food and drinks available for purchase. Free and open to all ages.

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Dessert with the Directors

Owner Forum with the Co-op Board of Directors

Let’s talk future expansion. As our store grows, how could we better serve you? This is a chance for Co-op owners to have a conversation with our Board of Directors. It happens at Street 14 Coffee in Astoria on Wednesday July 23 at 7 p.m. Sign up in advance at the Co-op, or email zetty@astoria.coop, as space is limited to 30 people. This forum is part of our strategic planning process. Other ways for you to provide input include a station where you can leave your written comments in our deli seating area.  You can also email your comments to store@astoria.coop.

Board members at our annual meeting in May. (Right to left): Sam Seulean, Brad Hill, Hilary Herman, Norma Hernandez, Beth LaFleur, Angela Sidlo, President Allie Evans (not pictured Libby Lawrence).

Board members at our annual meeting in May. (Right to left): Sam Seulean, Brad Hill, Hilary Herman, Norma Hernandez, Beth LaFleur, Angela Sidlo, President Allie Evans (not pictured Libby Lawrence).

French & Italian Wine Tasting

You don’t need to travel far to get a taste of Europe. Just come to the Co-op’s wine tasting for our newest French and Italian wines that pair well with some of the fresh seafood we now carry and even barbecue ribs (see notes below).  Lisa Parks from Galaxy Wine Company will be hosting the tasting.  For our 21 and over shoppers, you can sample wine starting at 3 p.m. on Saturday June 19, until about 6 p.m.  Did you know you can save 10% when you buy 6 bottles of wine at the Co-op?

The following are notes Lisa provided for the wines that will be featured at the tasting and which are available at the Co-op:

French Wines

Château Haut Rian, Bordeaux Blanc 2012      

chateau – Delicious and exciting via its unique blend of 65% Semillon and 35% Sauvignon Blanc

–  A complete overachiever delivering notes of citrus, gravel and seashore…not without its racy mineralité

– Established in 1988, the quality and consistency at Haut Rian has soared since the 2001 vintage

– Sourced mainly from the Premier Côtes de Bordeaux with supplements from Entre-Deux-Mers and Cadillac

– Six years spent in Australia haven’t cured owner Michel Dietrich’s shyness…so much for the arrogant frog

–  Derived from three different soils: clay in the Entre-Deux-Mers with gravel and limestone along the Garonne’s river bank

– Sixty year old Semillon vines provide extra texture and dimension, delivering  a wine of uncommon character and value

–  100% stainless steel aging allows the wine to show its naked truth…sometimes a wine’s fruit and terroir are more than enough!!!

–  Located in the town of Rions, the original intention was to name the winery Haut-Rion…but big brother Haut Brion said no

– One of Matt Kramer’s 2005 Wine Spectator selections for My Wines of the Year…”France should clone this guy.”

– “If there’s a better dry white wine for the little money, I haven’t tasted it.  I’ve tasted a good many dry whites at twice this price that weren’t half as good.”  Matt Kramer The Oregonian August 20, 2006

–  En France and needing a Haut Rian fix?  Go to any of the 165 Nicholas stores…they regularly stock the Blanc, Rosé and Rouge

–  Haut Rian will make your frig run better…perfect for do-drop-ins

– Superb wine with shellfish and lighter seafoods such as sole

– Haut Rian is to oysters what milk is to chocolate chip cookies!

Château Haut Rian Bordeaux Rosé 2013

french wine– 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc

– Crisp and zippy Rosé that’s defiantly proud and dry

– 100% direct press with overnight skin contact for 50% of grape musts

– Earlier picking delivers a Rosé of greater delicacy and civilized alcohol levels

– Refreshing and inviting notes of melons, strawberries and star anise

– A very short maceration with the skins provides for a delicate, salmon color

– A rosé picked via rosé intention only, meaning a good two weeks before the ones are picked for the red wine

– Like the estate’s Bordeaux Blanc, stainless steel is the vehicle for fermentation and élevage

– Haut Rian will make your frig run better…perfect for do-drop-ins

– Six years spent in Australia haven’t cured owner Michel Dietrich’s shyness…so much for the arrogant frog

– In France and needing an Haut Rian fix? The Nicolas stores feature the Blanc, Rose and Rouge in all 165 stores!!!

– From S to SE facing vineyards that face the River Garonne…“where the vines can see the water but won’t get their feet wet”

– Sourced mainly from the Premier Côtes de Bordeaux with supplements from Entre-Deux-Mers and Cadillac

– Located in the town of Rions, the original intention was to name the winery Haut-Rion…but big brother Haut Brion said no

–  Outstanding with charcuterie, goat cheese, summer salads or simply as an aperitif…at its best with spicy BBQ ribs!!!

Italian Wines

Antica Osteria Rosso (Garofoli)

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Garofoli, Antica Osteria Rosso Vino da Tavola, Marche, Italy, NV

Montepulciano, Sangiovese

So much spice and boldness for so little, two brothers took over this estate from their father in the 1970s. Today their children are now taking the reigns, making 5 generations of winemakers in this family. This is typical of what we would drink from a carafe when we visit a cantina. There is a delicious saltiness perception about the wine (it’s not actually in the wine) which makes it especially good with grilled meats. It’s a great choice as an everyday red. Try With: Grilled red meat, grilled sausages, and pizza.

Free Tour, Talk & Taste Classes

Free Food Education for the Community

 These monthly 30 minute class and store tours lead you through our store aisles to learn about the many options in organic, farm direct, bulk foods, sustainably-raised products, and more.  The classes are led by store managers, staff, board members, and other community wellness educators.  Taste food you haven’t tried before and learn about how it was produced, nutritional benefits, and cooking ideas including recipes.  This is a great way to increase knowledge about the food you eat, sample new products, and have fun!   Each class participant will receive a $5 off coupon to use at the Co-op.

Who: Open to everyone in the community (you do not need to be a Co-op owner)

Cost: $0

To register: call 503-325-0027 or email zetty@astoria.coop

Upcoming Classes Calendar:

June 27, 5-5:30 p.m. Fresh Meat & Seafood with Co-op General Manager Matt Stanley

Learn about the nutritional advantages of grass fed beef, differences between organic versus conventional chicken, and local sourcing of wild seafood products.  There will be samples to taste and recipes to take home.

July 15, 5-5:30 p.m. Gluten Free Lifestyle with Naturopathic Physician Allie Evans (Co-op Board President)

Reducing or eliminating gluten from your food for health reasons, can open up a whole new set of food options.  Learn what choices you have at the grocery store for your diet plus get inspired with cooking ideas, recipes, plus samples.

August 6, 12-12:30 p.m. Local Farm Bounty with Co-op Produce Manager Kelly Huckestein

This is the month when local tomatoes are ripe and local farms are producing the most food they do all year.  Learn about what’s in season, get recipes, and learn how to source farm-fresh food including CSA’s.  Meet Farmer Rob Stockhouse of Stockhouse’s Farm (Puget Island, WA) who will have samples for you to taste.

Co-op Farm Visit & Local Flower Workshop

Straight from the Cutting Garden: Growing and Using Your Own Cut Flowers

On the summer solstice, join Kathleen Barber, owner of Erika’s Fresh Flowers and Floral Designer Erika McDowell for a three hour workshop on how to use fresh flowers from your own cutting garden to decorate your home.

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 Kathleen and Erika will share with you the plants that grow on the farm and are well suited for the North Oregon Coast, how to use them in floral arranging, including tips on how to properly condition flowers for maximum vase life.  You will design a work of art from fresh, organic floral material to take home in a container provided.

 The Straight from the Cutting Garden workshop will take place on the flower farm in Warrenton. Dress for the weather and bring your garden apron if you wish.  The class will be standing for three hours, with light refreshments provided. Floral cutters will be available, however if you have your own favorite pair of cutters you are welcome to bring them.

Maximum of 7 students so sign up early!  Registration is open as of April 1 at the Co-op.

Date of workshop: Saturday, June 21 (Summer Solstice) Time: 1:00-4:00 p.m.

Cost is $45 (includes instruction, plus container and arrangement to take home) 

 To learn more about Kathleen and Erika, visit www.erikasfreshflowers.com.

Questions?  Email kathleen@erikasfreshflowers.com

December Giving at the Co-op

This season of giving, the Astoria Co-op will be taking a portion of the money you spend at the store in December, and donating it to local causes. Coming up on Sunday December 22, we will donate 10% of everything you spend to Clatsop Community Action’s Regional Food Bank.

A quarter of residents in Clatsop County qualify for emergency food assistance. In five years, the CCA Food Bank distributed twice as much food as it did five years ago. The need has increased dramatically but also the methods of gathering food has grown substantially, as the food bank is much more active in the community, working hard to procure food and funds to a greater degree than ever before.

We donate fresh food several times a week to the food bank, as well as our non-perishable food bin you’ve been filling this holiday season, but we wanted to help in an even bigger way. Marlin Martin, food program developer for the food bank says the food drives this time of year are great, but cash is king when it comes to leveraging loads of food.

“With money, we can procure 5 to 6 pounds of food for every dollar, whereas a can of vegetables might cost close to a dollar in a store. The other thing money is important for is we can procure products in bulk commodity, repackaging and labeling them at the food bank. We can get 10 to 20 pounds more food by buying in bulk,” Martin said.

Earlier this month your Co-op donated 10% of sales on December 8 to Astoria schools via parents clubs for extra supplies including books and activities such as field trips.

We like to do good things for the community (we are community-owned after all).  In fact, this year the Co-op won Clatsop Economic Development Resources’ award for “Business Service to the Community”.

What & When:

Sunday December 22: Astoria Co-op donates 10% of sales to CCA’s Regional Food Bank

Where: The Astoria Co-op is located at 1355 Exchange St. in Astoria open 8-8 daily.