Author: Susie Hessburg

Are you planning a special home-cooked dinner for your Valentine this year? Are you cooking your special meal together? Then look no further than the co-op for some lovely ideas! Our meat department will have specially cut "heart-shaped" beef rib-eye steaks (all-natural or grass-fed), perfectly sized for sharing with your Valentine. Our meat manager Jason shares his favorite tips for the perfect steak: Position the top oven rack 3-5" from the heat element and preheat oven on low broil. Salt and pepper the steak to taste.  Mince some fresh garlic and combine with melted butter or olive oil and brush onto the seasoned steak. In a broiler pan, broil for six minutes on each side (for medium-rare) or 8 minutes on each side (for medium to medium-well.) If you are grilling, set grill to medium-heat and cook steak five minutes on

Valley Natural Foods STAFF PICK of the WEEK: Chicken Wings! How will you wing it for game day? Here's what we have to offer for game day, or any day: Meat Department: Pick up some of our tasty, all-natural chicken wings from the fresh meat cooler. Place wings on a cookie sheet with salt and pepper and bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. Serve with your favorite hot sauce for dipping. Or, purchase pre-marinated, ready-to-bake wings from our meat service counter. Deli Department: Want your wings pre-cooked instead? Look in our grab and go cooler for Buffalo, Sweet & Sour or our "Throw Down" (chef's choice recipe) ready-to-heat-and-eat wings. Produce Department: Don't forget to serve organic celery with Marzetti Organic Blue Cheese dressing (look for dressing in the produce cooler near the sprouts) with your platter of wings. Grocery Department: We have a

Garden Fresh Salsa is our STAFF PICK of the WEEK! Valley Natural Foods is committed to providing the freshest, healthiest fare we possibly can. That’s why our garden fresh salsa is definitely worth a mention. Made almost daily on-site by produce staff, it's as fresh as you can get! We commit to using fresh organic ingredients when they're available including tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, cilantro, lime juice and sea salt---most are locally sourced throughout the summer and early fall seasons. What's your game day plan? If you’re craving a fresh, healthy, no-cook snack for game day, make it a super bowl of house-made garden fresh salsa from our own produce department here at Valley Natural Foods! Garden Fresh Salsa Facts: At least 350 pounds of salsa (sometimes more) is produced each week at Valley Natural Foods---that means we make it almost every day! Eight years ago,

If you're lucky enough to have extras from your Thanksgiving table, here are a few ideas for new ways to use them up: Shred up leftover turkey and make Roast Turkey Hash! Top your favorite ready-to-bake pizza crust with chopped sweet potatoes, shredded turkey, a sprinkle of rosemary and mozzarella or feta cheese. Use leftover cranberry sauce to make a refreshing punch by adding sparkling apple juice or lemonade. Serve over ice in tall glasses, with chopped apples and oranges. A frittata is a great way to use those leftover green beans, roasted potatoes, and other veggies. Frittatas are basically crustless quiches, cooked mostly on the stove instead of the oven. Make Thanksgiving-themed quesadillas, with chopped turkey, sweet potatoes, cranberry chutney and grated cheese sandwiched between two flour or corn tortillas. Heat in a lightly oiled pan until tortillas are

You can avoid the stress and hassle of holiday shopping at the malls by choosing your neighborhood co-op for cool gifts instead! Our buyers did a great job this year carefully selecting beautiful and practical gifts including handmade items (some local and some fair trade and even some created by our own staff!) There's something for just about anyone on your list! The best part---many of these items are $20 or less! Even some of our own staff are inspired to do gift shopping at Valley Natural foods this year. Our education and promotions coordinator, Erin was kind enough to show us what she purchased for family and friends and the best part for her is "I'm now 95% done with my holiday shopping and it's not even Thanksgiving yet!" Here's a list of some of the many gift items we currently

Did you know books sold at Valley Natural Foods always carry an automatic 10% discount? From cookbooks (including traditional, vegetarian, gluten-free, juicing and baking) to gardening, healthy living, aromatherapy and a host of other book categories, you are sure to find something of interest for anyone on your gift list!  Our book buyer makes sure to stock our shelves with books our customers are most interested in each season. The next time you visit the co-op and have a little time to browse, check out our bookshelf, located in our wellness department. Please note: In order to continually offer 10% savings on our books, all book purchases are considered a final sale with no returns.

For one thing, it's local of course - very local. Recently, six Valley Natural Foods staff members payed a visit to a Gold'n Plump facility that produces the JustBARE line of  natural chicken products. They left the facility stating to one another how impressed they were with the cleanliness and transparency of the company, from start to finish. It was also good to learn that the chickens processed there are grown within an 80 mile radius from the plant, and fed a vegetarian diet from feed that is produced in the area by local farmers. To learn more about JustBARE natural chicken products, please visit their website at We think you will agree with us here at Valley Natural Foods why we decided to bring this product to our shelves. Have you tried JustBARE chicken yet? If you

Jason, our meat & seafood manager here at the co-op, shares with our readers  some wonderful party ideas! Whether it's a Halloween or harvest party, these ideas are great for the season! All ingredients are available right here at Valley Natural Foods. Jumbo Sub Sandwich Slice one whole artisan bread loaf lengthwise, so you have one top and one bottom. Ciabatta or a roasted garlic loaf would work great. Spread mayonnaise and mustard on cut sides, and then layer bottom half with one or more varieties of thinly slice deli turkey, ham, salami or roast beef, thinly sliced cheeses, fresh, thinly slice red bell or jalapeno peppers and romaine lettuce. After topping other half, press down on sandwich firmly while cutting crosswise into individual servings. If servings are thick, use long toothpicks to hold it all together while slicing and serving. Zesty Tasty

Fall is in the air, which means apple season is in full swing. Whether you like to pick them, bake with them or anything in between, now is the time of year we often have shoppers asking us why local apple growers don’t certify organic. It’s a great question, and one that we posed to three different Minnesota orchards.  Overall, the sentiment expressed by everyone we asked was that if they could certify organic, they would, or as John Zimmer of SOGN Valley Orchard puts it, “If I had my druthers, I’d [grow organic] in a heartbeat.” He went on to explain that he has presented a three-year plan to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources that would hopefully result in the orchard achieving organic status and he’s worked diligently to significantly reduce the use of chemicals at his