The #LocalFoodisEssential a new movement founded by local non-profits, businesses, and farming organizations in response to the unexpected challenges facing producers and makers in the MN/WI food system because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Local foods are essential to our local economy, to the health of our communities, and to the environment. This worldwide health event
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Summertime is the perfect time to add local foods to your shopping list. Food grown right here is fresher and often has more nutrients because of that. Here are the top ten local fruits and veggies to look for now and in the coming weeks, along with recipes for inspiration. Apples – Early apples start
Mother’s Day is coming right up…have you found the perfect gift for Mom yet? If not, here are some quick and easy Mother’s Day gift ideas you can snag right here at the Co-op. Pampering Products – Bubble baths, soaps, and lotions make perfect pampering presents. Gather a few different kinds together and put them
Chequamegon Food Co-op is committed to providing our community an enhanced quality of life. That is our mission and we meet it through a number of Ends (our organizational purpose). We do this by ensuring that people have access to healthy, organic, and locally produced goods which in turn assists in providing our community with a thriving local economy. To support these goals, we provide information to help our community be more knowledgeable about choices that impact the economy, personal wellness, and the environment.
How does a mural fit into all of this and why are we asking for your assistance in this project? This mural project would be a visible interpretation of our Ends and allow us to bring awareness to our mission. By promoting community involvement in the process from start to finish, we hope to increase awareness of how the Co-op can be a force of change FOR our community with strong support FROM our community.
This past fall, we launched the Co-op’s Community Mural Project. Artists Rose Spieler and Mae Stoutenburg (the same artists who have done mosaic and mural projects across Ashland) jumped on board to develop a design for the Big White Wall on the west side of our building. Through a series of community meetings and other public input, Rose and Mae have gathered enough information to develop the final design for the mural (see above).
Beginning in March, you will have the opportunity to create small mosaic pieces that will be added to the mural. these mosaic workshops will continue through May, when we will hopefully move the show outside and beginning applying the mural to the wall. See the updated workshop schedule on the Events page or on the Co-op’s Facebook page.
On the surface, a mural is just a pretty picture. But this project will go much deeper than that. We want the community to be involved in designing, creating, and celebrating a masterpiece that focuses on our shared love (and need) of good food.
Because this is a community project, we are asking for your help with funding. With a contribution from you, we can make this vision a reality. We hope that you believe so as well. If you would like to contribute to the mural, please visit the Co-op Community Mural Project GoFundMe page. Thank you in advance for your support!
Looking for local, unique, and flavorful gifts that will delight, inspire, and nourish body and soul? Create a special gift basket for friends, family, and co-workers by choosing a selection of items that they will enjoy. Customization is key The key to creating a thoughtful gift that will truly be appreciated is understanding your recipient.
No matter what holiday you’re celebrating, ’tis the season of giving. And when you buy gifts that have been made locally, you give not only to your loved one, but also to your community. That’s because for every $100 spent locally, an additional $45 of secondary spending is generated. Compare this to only $14 in secondary spending when you buy from non-local businesses and you can see just how huge buying local can be! But enough of the serious stuff, let’s get down to the business of giving. Here are 10 ideas from local artisans and food businesses that would make perfect gifts to give this season.
Jams & Jellies – We offer an assortment of locally made jams and jellies from Bayfield Apple Company and Northwind Organic Farm, both in Bayfield, Wisconsin. Whether you choose traditional raspberry or the more unusual aronia berry or find some other flavor, local jams and jellies make sweet gifts.
Leather Kids’ Shoes – Are there expectant parents on your gift-giving list? Check out SoleKicks handmade leather shoes for babies and toddlers, made right here in Ashland, Wisconsin. They come in a variety of designs and color combos, from green and blue Lake Superior to red and purple birds.
Towels & Tees – Lake Superior and other peaceful images are printed on a variety of soft, durable fabrics by Three Sisters Studio in Bayfield, Wisconsin. For the cook, grab a tea towel from the household section. For the fashionista, grab a shirt from our clothing rack. Bonus: These images are also printed on leggings, child onesies, and sweatshirts!
Heat Therapy Bags – Anyone would love a CrampAid Cozy heat therapy pack for relief from aching joints or muscle pain. Handmade in Ashland, Wisconsin by Luci Daum Designs, these fabric bags come in lots of fun colors and easily heat up in the microwave.
Soap – You’ll find a wide variety of scents on our Local Soap shelf from Sweet Pea Soapery (Mason, Wisconsin), Maple Hill Farm (Washburn, Wisconsin), Buzz & Suds (Ashland, Wisconsin), Lake Superior Lather (Bayfield, Wisconsin), and Twin Oaks (Bayfield, Wisconsin). The Lake Superior soap from Buzz & Suds makes a great stocking stuffer for someone who loves the lake.
Candles – Local beeswax candles from Northern Nectar in Mason, Wisconsin come in many sizes and colors. You can even buy their local beeswax blocks for your own DIY projects. Speaking of beeswax, we also have Sean’s Bees beeswax candles from Highbridge, Wisconsin in a variety of calming scents. Wickie Candle Company in Bayfield, Wisconsin makes lovely scented candles in tins. Give the scent of Oak Island Trail to a summer visitor now far away!
Dessert Sauces – Lotta’s Small Batch in Bayfield, Wisconsin makes sumptuous sauces (in Bourbon Espresso and Butterscotch flavors). They make awesome sundaes, but take cake to the next level too!
Teething Toys – For the little one on your list, Sogg E. Bear Cub organic cotton teething bears have been a customer favorite for years. Made in Bayfield, Wisconsin, they continue to be the perfect gift for babies cutting teeth.
Dog Treats – Treat your pup to Racey’s Tasty Dog Treats. Made in Bayfield, Wisconsin, these biscuits come in two flavors (one is even gluten-free) and make a great gift for the pet in your family or the dog lover on your list.
Lotions – If you have someone to pamper on your list, try Best Body Butter from So-She Organics in Bayfield, Wisconsin or one of the solid lotion bars from Sweet Pea Soapery or Buzz & Suds. Lea’s Organic Herbal Skin Care in Washburn, Wisconsin makes face products and herbal salve that make wonderful stocking stuffers.
Still stuck for ideas? There’s lots more in the store, so stop in and ask Co-op staff for recommendations for local gifts.
Thanksgiving is coming up faster than you can shake a drumstick, so it’s time to rustle up some menu ideas. Whether you are looking for traditional foods or unique takes on your favorites, you’ll find lots of Thanksgiving dinner inspiration here. Keep it simple, but flavorful, by adding these holiday recipes to your menu.
Want to enjoy the most healthful food—like local, organic fruits and vegetables—year round? Preserving the bounty you’ve grown yourself or purchased from your local food co-op or farmer’s market makes it possible. And for those who live where the growing season is relatively short, it’s great way to extend the season. Simple food preservation techniques can lock in flavor, help maximize your food dollars, support local agriculture, and give you a chance to really get to know the food you eat and serve to your family.
It’s not just grandma’s pantry
Putting up jewel-toned jars of pickled beets and brandied peaches may be what comes to mind when you think “food preservation,” and canning has become popular across generations, with plenty of unique recipes that appeal to a range palettes. But canning isn’t all there is. Other simple ways to preserve local and seasonal foods include drying, freezing, curing, pickling and even cellaring (yes, putting your food in a root cellar; grandma did know best, didn’t she?)
For beginners, dehydrating and freezing foods are a snap—and no special equipment is required.
When it comes to nutritious preserved foods, freezing is second only to fresh foods. While freezing can affect the texture of some foods, most vegetables, fruits, meats, soups, and even herbs can easily be frozen in airtight containers for use all year long. The key is to start with cold foods so that the time it takes for them to freeze is very short. This minimizes ice crystals and preserves the color, texture, and taste of your foods.
Try freezing cold berries or chopped vegetables in a single layer on a baking sheet. Once frozen, transfer to a freezer bag or Mason jar for storage. You’ll be able to pluck a single berry or measure 2 cups worth from the container without defrosting the entire batch.
Fresh herbs, like basil, thyme, mint, and chives, can be snipped into measured teaspoons or tablespoons and frozen in ice-cube trays topped up with water. Stored in a bag in your freezer, they’re recipe-ready almost instantly.
And remember: a full freezer is an efficient freezer, so don’t be shy about filling it up!
Did you know? Nuts, seeds, and whole grains can be stored in the freezer to extend their shelf life and prevent spoilage.
Dehydrating foods is a simple and easy way to keep vegetables, fruits, and even meats stored away until you are ready to use them. Drying preserves foods by taking all the moisture away; without moisture, bacteria cannot grow and your foods stay delicious for months—even years. While there are plenty of dehydrators available, many recipes are possible using a regular home oven.
Fresh herbs can be dried in a microwave or just hanging from your ceiling! The best thing about drying is that it uses very little energy, and the preserved foods are lightweight—easy to store and transport (perfect for camping!).
Did you know? Dipping fruit slices in pineapple or citrus juice before drying can preserve their color and prevent browning. It’s delicious, too!
Home cooks have been preserving food in jars for centuries, and these days we have plenty of resources to do so safely and with confidence. Canning does require some special equipment, available at many co-ops and hardware stores, and recipes designed and tested for safety. After the initial investment in jars, a canner, and a few accessories, the expenses are minimal and the results can be phenomenal. Canned goods go far beyond the usual tomatoes and green beans. Modern canning recipes allow you to create unique and memorable foods for gifting or for enjoying yourself.
Did you know? Home-canned goods should be used within a year for optimal quality, but are safe for much longer, as long as safe canning methods were used.
Fermentation brings us some of our favorite foods: cheese, yogurt, beer, wine, pickles, and even chocolate. Nearly every culture in the world makes use of the natural preservative effects of fermentation. Fermentation works by transforming the natural sugars in foods into tart and flavorful foods that tend to resist spoilage at cool temperatures.
Fermentation is made possible by the action of beneficial bacteria— the same bacteria that keep our immune and digestive systems healthy. So fermented foods are not only practical, they also deliver a healthy dose of probiotics. Another benefit of fermentation is that no special equipment is required. You can get started with as little as a knife, a cabbage, and some sea salt, and couple of weeks later you’ll be enjoying sauerkraut!
Did you know? Every ferment is unique because of the bacteria and yeasts that are naturally present in the air and foods in that region. The same recipe can taste different across the globe!
Want to give food preservation it a try?
Want to learn more?
The Canning Across America and National Center for Home Food Preservation websites contain a wealth of information. Also, your local agricultural extension agent and neighborhood co-op are good sources for written information and classes to help you can, cure, freeze, pickle and dry this season’s abundance.
- The Ball Complete Book of Home Food Preserving Judi Kingry and Lauren Devine, Robert Rose, 2006
- Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition and Craft of Live-Culture Foods Sandor Ellix Katz, Chelsea Green Publishing, 2003
- The Big Book of Preserving the Harvest: 150 Recipes for Freezing, Canning, Drying and Pickling Fruits and Vegetables Carol W. Costenbader, Storey Publishing, 2002
- The Joy of Pickling: 250 Flavor-Packed Recipes for Vegetables and More from Garden or Market (Revised Edition) Linda Ziedrich, Harvard Common Press, 2009
Republished with permission from strongertogether.coop.
The local foods movement is now firmly rooted nationwide. Where other trends have come and gone, the commitment to eat local foods is stronger than ever, fueled by a growing desire for transparency in food production practices, knowing where our food dollars are going, and the sheer delight of eating a freshly picked tomato. There’s no
Chequamegon Homegrown Holiday Bazaar Monday, December 4 – 4-7 p.m. In-Store – FREE! No reservation necessary. Come meet and greet local crafters and food producers who sell their products at the store. Shop sales (10% of local products and more!), sample holiday foods, and enjoy our kickoff to the holiday season.