October 2014

  [caption id="attachment_21233" align="alignright" width="369"] Photo by Susie Hessburg[/caption] Why are these guys having so much fun with some vintage bottles and heirloom tomatoes? Because they excavated the bottles and the tomato seeds from an 1890s homestead privy in Faribault, MN.  Imagine how thrilled they were to discover that the seeds were viable and produced prolific plants with tasty tomatoes, in spite of "crappy" beginnings. Before you pooh-pooh this unlikely discovery, click here to read this fascinating, Growing "Crappy" Tomatoes story, authored by Tracy Donovan from our produce department. This past Spring the Valley Natural Foods Garden Center was able to distribute a few young descendants of these Faribault Privy Tomatoes to customers who were interested in growing an ‘unknown’ heirloom tomato variety. The customers agreed that they would check back in with us at the end of the season to give us their reports. Here, finally, is our forum for reporting in!  Please feel welcome to

Here are some tips for seeking out Non-GMO products at Valley Natural Foods. What are GMOs? According to the Non-GMO Project, “GMOs, or “genetically modified organisms,” are plants or animals created through the gene splicing techniques of biotechnology (also called genetic engineering, or GE). This experimental technology merges DNA from different species, creating unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacterial and viral genes that cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding.” Easy ways to avoid GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) Look for the USDA certified organic label, because the organic standards do not allow GMOs in certified organic foods.  Look for products labeled “100% organic,” “organic” or “made with organic ingredients.”  You may also look for Non-GMO claims that are independently verified, for example by the Non-GMO Project. Learn which products contain GMOs According to the Non-GMO Project, the following are considered to be “high risk” crops: •Alfalfa •Canola •Corn •Cotton •Hawaiian

The Star Tribune names Valley Natural Foods one of the Top 100 Workplaces in Minnesota. The Star Tribune published the Top Workplaces special section on Sunday, June 15, 2014. Valley Natural Foods ranked 12th on the midsize company list. The list is broken down into separate large, midsize and small company categories, representing 100 different businesses across Minnesota. CLICK HERE to view the report. As a 37-year-old community-owned food co-op in Burnsville, this is ValleyNatural Foods’ first time on the list. Over the last six years, rapid growth has increased the store’s staffing levels by 40 percent, growing the employee base from around 100 employees in 2008 to 170 in 2014. Paula Sahin, the store’s Human Resources Manager, attributes the growth to many things. “We create an environment where people know that the work they do matters,” Sahin said. “It is the purpose behind their work

If you inquire with the Minnesota Secretary of State, you’ll learn that one person may cast one vote in one polling place. Those who disobey this law might be found guilty of ballot stuffing. Last week, however, I cast 95 votes at my local co-op with 86 of them in favor of the “Local Growers and Farmers Party.” That is, I voted with my dollars at the cash register and over 90 percent of my vote favored local growers and producers here in Minnesota and adjacent states. In the real world, the one-voter, one-vote rule applies to the citizens of Minnesota, as well as our nation. In fact, it also governs cooperatives where each membership equals one vote during the annual election for board directors. Consequently, as an owner at Valley Natural Foods, you have an opportunity to vote in a