Viroqua Food Co+op Blog

Fresh and Local! Winter Spinach, Salad Turnips and Treviso Radicchio

Posted by Charlene Elderkin on Tue, Nov 29, 2011 @ 04:05 PM

Treviso Radicchio - from Snow Goose Farms –

An elongated Italian variety that is a bit milder than its more common round radicchio cousin. Beautiful deep red/green leaves with white veins adds color & pleasant bitterness when added fresh to salad mixes.  Or try cutting it in half or quarters lengthwise, brushing with oil & salt, & roasting or grilling it until it starts to brown on the edges – brings out sweetness & mellows out its bitterness. Store in plastic in the fridge & use up within a few days.

Green-Top White Salad Turnips from Snow Goose Farms -

Sweet & tender roots with a nice little bite of spiciness & tasty super-nutritious greens to boot.  Eat the roots sliced or grated on salads, cut into half-moons on a fresh veggie tray, or roasted on a cookie sheet after cutting into wedges & tossing in oil.  The greens can be cooked as you would spinach or chard – just barely wilted is best for nutrient retention.  Store in plastic in the fridge, using the greens up within a couple days (the roots will store for weeks).

Winter Spinach from Welden Farm –

So crunchy & full of rich mineral flavor & the deepest of green color.  Enjoy fresh in salads, sandwiches, wraps, etc. or wilted on their own or in eggs, sauces, pasta, soups, stir-fries, etc.  Keeps about a week in plastic in the fridge.

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

Holiday Cheer and Spirits

Posted by Charlene Elderkin on Mon, Nov 28, 2011 @ 02:00 PM

Dani Lind, Produce Department

Sharing work space with the VFC Beer & Wine buyer, Greg Cheesebro, has many perks – notably lots and lots of laughs and the proximity to relentlessly pester him into stocking store shelves with some of my favorite spirits. A special bottle from that little top shelf in aisle 4 (appreciated responsibly in moderation, of course) can help bring extra cheer to holiday gatherings or brighten up the darkest winter evening.

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Tags: Recipes, Beer/Wine

Fresh and Local Produce Nov 23rd - 29th: Sweet Potatoes, Celeriac and Jerusalem Artichoke

Posted by Charlene Elderkin on Tue, Nov 22, 2011 @ 02:30 PM

Sweet Potatoes from Harmony Valley Farms – a rather difficult crop to grow here in the frigid North, we are luck that a few farms like Harmony Valley have taken the trouble to produce them for us!  So sweet & nutritious!  Bake them whole, cut them up in cubes or wedges & toss in oil & roast them, simmer them in soups or curries, boil & mash them – so many choices…   Store at cool room temperature.
Celeriac from Harmony Valley Farms – a great local alternative to celery stalks from California.  Use in soups, casseroles, mashes, roasts, gratins, etc. as well as fresh in salads & coleslaws (soak in lemon-water after cutting/grating to prevent browning). Adds celery flavor as well as sweet nuttiness to any dish, as well as smooth texture when cooked & crunchy texture when raw.  Store in plastic in the fridge or in a damp root cellar.  Peel skin with a sharp paring knife right before use. 
White Sunchoke/Jerusalem Artichoke from Harmony Valley Farms – a funny looking tuber that comes from a perennial member of the native Helianthus (sunflower) family. They can be eaten raw (makes a great local substitute for water chestnuts) or cooked, best steamed or roasted.  They are high in potassium & iron as well as the carbohydrate inulin, which is hard to digest & can cause discomfort to some people. Store in plastic in the fridge.
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Tags: Local, Food, Farm, Produce, Organic

Chocolate, Chocolate and Yes More Chocolate!

Posted by Charlene Elderkin on Mon, Nov 21, 2011 @ 10:19 AM

Sally Colacino, 
Purchasing Manager

Who wouldn’t enjoy receiving the gift of Chocolate? Velvety dark chocolate truffles or Chocolate covered salted caramels, sweet dark hot cocoa mix or minty chocolate stocking stuffers. It’s not called Food of the Gods for nothing.
Here at the Co-op we are passionate about chocolate and always have a good supply on hand. As the weather turns chilly and the holidays approach, we start filling our shelves with even more delectable treats. Chocolate is always a welcome gift and it can certainly help chase away the winter blues.

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Tags: Fair Trade, Organic, Bulk, Grocery

Fresh and Local Produce Nov 16th - 22nd: Carrots, Yellow Onions and Honey-nut Squash

Posted by Charlene Elderkin on Tue, Nov 15, 2011 @ 04:08 PM

Carrots (bulk & bagged) from Ridgeland Harvest – 

Great growing season for carrots in our area this year. They are super crunchy & fresh, full of vitamins & minerals.  No need to peel fresh organic carrots – most of their nutrition lies in or just below the skin.  Store in plastic in the fridge, keeps for a long time.

Yellow Onions (bagged and bulk) from New Traditions & Keewaydin -

Caramelized onions anyone? Yellow onions are milder than the Red and a great addition raw or cooked to just about anything. Onions are very high in antioxidant flavonoids & vitamin C.

Honeynut Squash (mini-butternut) from Ridgeland Harvest –

Yeah, single-serve butternut squash, everyone gets their own for Thanksgiving Day dinner in my house. This 4-5” long mini-butternut has a dark, healthy, orange-buff color. Smaller than Ponca with a much more defined and uniform butternut shape. Simply cut in half and bake! Shows moderate to high levels of field resistance to Powdery Mildew; able to ripen to full maturity with a high-sugar content. Stores well.

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Tags: Local, Food, Farm, Produce

Ferndale Market's Naturally Grown Turkeys

Posted by Charlene Elderkin on Tue, Nov 15, 2011 @ 10:32 AM

Nearly seventy years ago, Dale Peterson settled in Cannon Falls, MN, to do what he knew best: raise turkeys. In the early years, he shared a residence with incubators, and the sound of day-old turkeys routinely filled his home. Dale’s wife, Fern, had grown up raising turkeys, and although she thought she had left them forever when she left home and became a school teacher, her plans changed when she met Dale! Fern was an avid advocate for the environment, and believed that everybody had a role to play in preserving our earth. The legacy of Fern and Dale guides our mission, so it’s only fitting that the market, Ferndale, is named in their honor.

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Tags: Local, Food, Farm, Meat & Fish

Great Gift Ideas

Posted by Charlene Elderkin on Thu, Nov 10, 2011 @ 06:00 AM

Crystal Curley, Mercantile Buyer

There is no denying it now, the holiday season is headed our way. The mercantile department is hard at work searching out new gift worthy products to dazzle you—as well as stocking the standard useful items you come to expect on our shelves.

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Tags: Product Information, Mercantile, All Store

Fresh and Local November 9th - 15th

Posted by Charlene Elderkin on Tue, Nov 08, 2011 @ 04:27 PM

Juice Carrots (15# & 25#) from Ridgeland Harvest & Driftless Organics – this was a great year for local carrots – they’re super sweet with lots of color.  These are “juice” grade, meaning they’ve got some cosmetic blemishes, funny shapes, broken ones, etc. that are perfect for juicing, but also just fine for cooking up into soups, stews, sauces, etc. at an approximately 40% savings over “table” grade ones. 

 

Tomatoes (Slicers, Heirlooms & Cherries) from Scenic Valley Farms (green house grown) – kind of makes you think summer isn’t over yet!  We should have them through Thanksgiving, but get ‘em while you can, as they won’t have them all winter.

 

Cabbage Red & Green from Keewaydin Organics & Pat Slattery – both  are very high in vitamin C, K, & lots of Brassica-family antioxidant phytonutrients.  Red has some different phytonutrients than green because of its color, so be sure to mix them up a bit.  Either will retain nutrients better if you eat them raw or lightly steamed/sautéed rather than cooked for a long time. 

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Tags: Local, Food, Farm, Produce

2012 - International Year of Cooperatives

Posted by Charlene Elderkin on Tue, Nov 08, 2011 @ 03:00 PM

More than 800 million people around the world belong to cooperatives, and at least 100 million people are employed by co-ops. And more often than you might realize, co-ops play a vital part of your everyday life. Grocery stores, credit unions, housing co-ops, utility co-ops, health care cooperatives and food producer co-ops are just a few types of co-ops you have likely encountered, knowingly or unknowingly.

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Buried Treasure

Posted by Charlene Elderkin on Sun, Nov 06, 2011 @ 12:03 PM

by Linda Gallardo, Produce Manager

It is our later harvests, more-dependent-on-cool-weather root crops that mark Wisconsin’s seasonality. Crop availability and harvest times vary year-to-year, making them a very valuable local food source to see us through the winter months. Most root vegetables are cured and stored for use throughout the winter, and some are a sweet seasonal sensation that we enjoy for a shorter period of time, making these rooted wonders a real buried treasure. Who would have thought, right here in the Kickapoo Valley, that we could have so much treasure lurking about under the soil? Come check out the gold (beets & potatoes), jewels & garnets (sweet potatoes) and other treasures our local farmers have dug up for us this year.

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Tags: Local, Food, Produce, Organic

Turkey Sign-up Time!

Posted by Charlene Elderkin on Wed, Nov 02, 2011 @ 01:13 PM

The holidays are fast approaching, which means it is time to order your turkey! As usual we are working with our long time organic meat provider Rich Lange of Lange Farms from Platteville, WI. Lange Farm turkeys are 100% organic and are a wonderful option for your holiday bird. This year we will have 30 turkeys available from Lange.

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Tags: Local, Announcements, Meat & Fish