Viroqua Food Co+op Blog

Are you obsessed with Local Food?

Posted by Charlene Elderkin on Sun, Jul 31, 2011 @ 11:09 AM

Are you the first to show up at your local farmers market? Can you spend hours telling others about the unique flavors of a vine-ripened tomato? If you answered ‘yes’ to either of these questions, you might be in love with local food.

Don’t worry, as far as love obsessions go, it’s healthy. Not sure where your love falls on the “local food” scale? Here are a few signs that you might just be obsessed:

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Tags: Local, Food, Farm, All Store

VFC Farm-to-Feast Facebook Photo Contest!

Posted by Charlene Elderkin on Fri, Jul 29, 2011 @ 09:40 AM

Celebrating local farms & food! We are so fortunate to have access to locally grown food here in the Driftless Region. In honor of Eat Local, America we are holding a photo contest to celebrate!
Please enter your best photos (up to three in each category) – pictures must come from within 100 miles of Viroqua, WI.

Category 1: The beautiful

Produce from your garden, farmers market, CSA or from VFC that is gorgeous – almost too good to eat! You can choose close-ups or give us the big picture— if you’ve got a beautiful garden or orchard, show us! Garden shots can include flowers, but the focus is on edible food, so make sure that your photo includes local food or plants that will produce food.

Category 2: The odd or unusual

Produce from your garden, farmers market, or CSA (in the Driftless Region) that is a funky shape, way bigger or smaller than usual, or a color that’s out of this world.

Category 3: Your totally local meal

Is your breakfast, lunch or dinner over 90% local? Send a photo; including a recipe might get you extra “likes.”
This is a great opportunity to get creative with your shots by including food along with a subject, or simply taking a tantalizing shot of last night's dinner. Have fun with it! We ask that you limit the use of programs like Photoshop to enhancing the photo and not to altering the integrity of the shot (like adding a unicorn into a field of peppers).
To enter, simply post your photo on our facebook wall (please don't post a thumbnail) or email photos to and let us know it's for the contest, and where it was taken (Driftless Region only please). Entries will be accepted between Monday August 1st and Monday August 15th. On August 15 we will move all photos into an album for judging - note Viroqua Food Co-op facebook fans will be the judge.
We'll have fans click the "like" button on the photo(s) they like the best! Ultimately fans will decide what they like best as they are the judges. Voting will close on August 30th, and on August 31st we will announce the winners.
The winning photographer in each category will receive a $25 co-op gift card.
Any questions?
Thanks for participating.
Charlene Elderkin
VFC Marketing Manager

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Tags: Local, Announcements, Food, Farm

Eat Local - Anywhere!

Posted by Charlene Elderkin on Wed, Jul 27, 2011 @ 10:19 AM

How to eat local during your travels.
Eating locally makes good sense. Whether you’re a dedicated locavore (only eating food grown or harvested within a certain radius, say 50, 100, or 150 miles) or simply appreciate locally grown fare, choosing local foods supports small farmers and your community as well as the environment. Not that it’s a sacrifice: because local food is biodiverse and grown for taste rather than shipping or industrial harvesting, it delivers premium flavor, too.

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Tags: Local, Organic, Sustainability, All Store

Fresh and Local Produce: July 27th - August 2nd

Posted by Charlene Elderkin on Tue, Jul 26, 2011 @ 03:34 PM

Pickling Cucumbers from Keewaydin Organics –also called “gherkins”, these are a type of cucumber that stays rather small, & therefor fits nicely into jars for pickling.  You can use them to make vinegar pickles – canned or the refrigerator type – or the traditional kosher-type lacto-fermented ones that use a water & salt brine to cure.  Or, if you like sweet pickles, try them in the Bread & Butter Refrigerator Pickles recipe:

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Tags: Local, Announcements, Food, Farm, Produce, Organic, Product Information, Recipes

From Farm to Feast

Posted by Charlene Elderkin on Sun, Jul 24, 2011 @ 12:07 PM

(Richard de Wilde of Harmony Valley Farm)
This is an exciting time of year for co-ops; the bounty and diversity of local foods are at their peak here in southwestern Wisconsin. From August 1st – 31st food lovers can explore the benefits (and fun) of eating the region’s best locally sourced foods through participating in 
Eat Local, America!, an initiative led by co-op grocers nationwide.

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Tags: Local, Announcements, Events, Food, Farm, Organic, Sustainability, All Store

Fresh and Local Produce July 20th - 26th

Posted by Charlene Elderkin on Tue, Jul 19, 2011 @ 05:05 PM

White Cauliflower from Driftless Organics - Cauliflower can be roasted, boiled, fried, steamed or eaten raw. Steaming or microwaving better preserves anticancer compounds than boiling. When cooking, the outer leaves and thick stalks are removed, leaving only the florets. Though, the leaves & stalks are also edible and nutrient rich. Low carbohydrate dieters can use cauliflower as a reasonable substitute for potatoes; while they can produce a similar texture, or mouth feel, they lack the starch of potatoes.

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Tags: Local, Food, Farm, Produce, Organic, Product Information

Kickapoo Country Fair, Saturday July 30th La Farge, WI.

Posted by Charlene Elderkin on Sun, Jul 17, 2011 @ 12:42 PM

Saturday July 30th La Farge, WI.
Andrew Zimmern
Left and Will Allen Right To Headline.
The Midwest’s largest celebration of organic food just got a little tastier! The Kickapoo Country Fair, taking place on Saturday, July 30 in La Farge, Wis., announced its keynote speakers are to be nationally renowned food leaders Will Allen and Andrew Zimmern. Allen, an urban agriculture pioneer and founder of Growing Power, a farm and community food center in Milwaukee, and Zimmern, chef and star of the Travel Channel’s hit series, Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern, both hail from the Midwest and have helped establish the region as a center for food culture and advocacy. Rounding out the day-long celebration will be country music headliner The Kentucky Headhunters.
Organic Valley,
a farmer-owned cooperative with 1,636 organic farmers nationwide—dozens of which are located just miles from the fair grounds—created the Kickapoo Country Fair eight years ago as a healthy alternative to the traditional deep-fried fair.
This year’s Kickapoo Country Fair will attract thousands of attendees for a day-long exploration of all things food, including hands-on workshops, craft and cooking classes, issues-based seminars, poetry and theater performances, farm tours, live music and more—all offered at an affordable price for families. Passes providing access to all activities are only $5 for adults, $2 for kids 12 and under, and free for kids five and under.

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Tags: Local, Events, Food, Farm, Organic, Sustainability

Viroqua Food Co-op's Employee Representative Committee

Posted by Charlene Elderkin on Wed, Jul 13, 2011 @ 10:31 AM

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Tags: All Store

July 12th Fresh and Local Produce!

Posted by Charlene Elderkin on Tue, Jul 12, 2011 @ 12:23 PM

Lacintato Kale from Driftless Organics – an Italian heirloom variety of kale that features smooth-edged dark green leaves.  Also called Dinosaur or Tuscan kale, it is tender & sweet when steamed, sautéed, stir-fried, or simmered in soups, sauces, & curries.  You can also drizzle the leaves with oil & grill them whole.  For a healthy snack, try stripping the leaves from their stems, cutting them into 2” pieces & lay them out on a parchment lined baking sheet. Drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt, & bake at 350 degrees for 6-8 minutes, until crisp, & eat like chips!

Zuccinni Green & Yellow  from Keewaydin Organics – now is prime summer squash season!  Buy a bunch & grill some to use the whole week:  cut into π” slabs lengthwise, toss in oil, salt, & pepper & grill over medium-high heat for a couple minutes on each side.  Eat right away or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week to use in sandwiches, omelets, pizza, pasta, tacos, etc.

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Tags: Local, Food, Farm, Produce, Raw

Herbal Bug Repellents at the VFC!

Posted by Charlene Elderkin on Mon, Jul 11, 2011 @ 10:28 AM

I am pretty sure we are all happy to be enjoying the warmth and sunny days of summertime, but perhaps are not so thrilled with the accompanying return of the insect population. Insects are an annoyance at best and a source of serious health concerns at worst.

Ticks are a major concern here in the Coulee Region because they are carriers of Lyme disease and its co-infections. Many herbal insect repellents include Rose Geranium, as it is known to repel ticks. At the Co-op you will find these repellents which contain essential oil of Rose Geranium: Badger Balm Anti-bug Shake & Spray, Bite Blocker, Buzz Away Extreme and All Terrain Herbal Armor. Melissa Farris of Veriditas Botanicals recommends Rose Geranium essential oil as the only safe and effective oil to use on your dog for ticks and fleas, (for small dogs under 20 lbs, 1 drop between shoulder blades 1-3 times per day depending on exposure (woods, high grass) for medium dogs of 20-60 lbs use 2 drops and for large dogs of 60-100 lbs use 4 drops applied as recommended above). More is not better and do not use on cats.

Essential oils which are useful to repel mosquitoes, gnats, flies and no see-ums are lemongrass, lemon eucalyptus, citronella, peppermint, rosemary, clove and cedarwood. I have never met a no-see-um in Wisconsin, but if I do I am heading straight for the repellent as no-see-ums have a knack for taking the fun out of being outdoors especially at dusk. Should you decide to make your own insect repellent, we have most of the essential oils needed.  Essential oils should be diluted in a base of a carrier oil such as sweet almond, jojoba, castor oil or grapeseed, also available at the coop.

A new item at the Co-op is a plastic wrist band impregnated with Peppermint oil. They come from Canada where the mosquitoes can be quite an issue and are reported to work very well. The band can be placed on belt loop, stroller or backpack as well and work up to 120 hours and is non toxic.
As always read the ingredients to make sure you are getting the repelling properties to target your insects of choice, and use according to directions.

Carol Willis, Wellness Manager

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Tags: Product Information, Wellness/Body Care

Take a Real Food Road Trip with Perennial Plate

Posted by Charlene Elderkin on Wed, Jul 06, 2011 @ 10:14 AM

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Tags: Local, Announcements, Food, Farm, Sustainability

Local Produce from Local Farmers

Posted by Charlene Elderkin on Tue, Jul 05, 2011 @ 04:49 PM

Fresh Basil from Snow Goose, Ridgeland Harvest and Harmony Valley. Basil is a well-known culinary herb that's popular in many Italian dishes. But did you know that there are many other uses of this herb, including its use as a tonic to aid in digestion? The most common use of basil is for cooking, such as in tomato sauce, pesto, or vinegars. But it also can be sprinkled over salads and sliced tomatoes, either whole or chopped. Actually, don’t chop the leaves, but tear them instead for the most flavor. Collards from Driftless Organics and Keewaydin Farms. There are several health benefits to eating collard greens such as getting beta-carotene, vitamin k, vitamin c and antioxidant. Often referred to as "greens", it is known to help prevent certain types of cancer and anti-inflamatory diseases. Pair these greens with any smoked meats or with a simple polenta for a great taste of the south.

Fresh Cilantro from Ridgeland Harvest and Harmony Valley. A great fresh herb to jazz up any salsa or simply to garnish a dish. Sometimes referred to as the Mexican parsley, this herb not only a great addition to any Latin dishes, but to Chinese and even Indian cuisine.
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Tags: Local, Food, Farm, Produce, Organic, Product Information

United Plant Savers Planting the Future Conference

Posted by Charlene Elderkin on Mon, Jul 04, 2011 @ 10:28 AM


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Tags: Announcements, Events