December 2010

Bartlett, Danjou, Bosc. Pears carry such elegant names and no wonder—they are an elegant, fragrant, succulent fruit. December is peak of pear season and perfect for a cold weather dessert or combining flavor to a holiday cheese plate. When selecting pears, seek ones that are firm. As with all fruit, examine the skin for bruising. Orchardists allow pears to reach optimum sugar level, yet pick them while they are still green and firm. A tree-ripened pear is mushy to the point of disintegration. Pears can be ripened at room temperature and then stored in the refrigerator. If you are preparing a plate of cheese, pears can add color and sweetness to your array. Serve with Brie, aged cheddar, Swiss or Gruyère. Add almonds and a sprinkle of dried cranberries for another layer of texture and color. If you are looking for a

Green Spotlight:  Notes from Nancy Grant Ever get frustrated peeling away two or three layers of packaging around a simple purchase? Ever toss a plastic bottle into the trash instead of the recycling bin? Do you sometimes forget to bring along your reusable bags on a shopping trip?Making new greener ideas a steady part of life does take a bit of thinking ahead. At Valley Natural Foods sustainable habits are built-in to every department.In the meat department, trims go to an independent company that uses the leftover bits to make fertilizer. In the produce department, any veggies leftover after donations to local charities go to the co-op’s on-site compost heap. In the stock rooms, empty cardboard shipping boxes go to a paper and fiber recycler. In the employee break room, a co-op worker gathers aluminum cans and plastic bottles for recycling later.The

 Everybody knows that recycling paper, aluminum, plastic and cardboard helps lessen  waste, creating a cleaner, healthier society.However, did you know that it is also important to recycle your cell phones?  Cell phones contain hazardous substances, similar to any other electronic device, and can damage our environment. In fact, there is more gold in a ton of cell phones than in 20 tons of ore from a gold mine!Also, everyday Americans retire 365,000 cell phones.  Therefore, if you get a new phone this holiday season, be sure to recycle your old one at Valley Natural Foods! Yes, at Valley Natural Foods you can not only drop of your phone for recycling but save the rainforest too.  No, we are not joking on this one!Our store now  has a  Minnesota Zoo cell phone recycling drop off box located by the entrance of the store. All working phones collected are refurbished for resale