Author: Susie Hessburg

 by Loris Sofia Gregory, Healthy Kitchen Coach August brings some of the healthiest peak pleasures of the summer.  This month gives us a dazzling abundant palette to tantalize our taste buds: the crisp greens of broccoli, cabbage, cucumbers, kale and zucchini; the succulent oranges and reds of beets, carrots, peppers, radishes, melons and tomatoes; the sunny yellows of sweet corn and summer squash, not to mention a fragrant riot of flavorful herbs. Satisfying meals and optimum health are not the only benefits of eating a rainbow of our FRESH & LOCAL produce. You are also supporting 25 Amish families who comprise the Wisconsin Grower’s Cooperative. These farmers of rural Black River Falls and Mondovi use horse-drawn plows and hand tools to provide Valley Natural Foods shoppers with some of the highest-quality produce grown in the Midwest. Most of the farms

What a wonderful sight! Several bird species have chosen our Valley Natural Foods outdoor patio and garden classroom area for a bird sanctuary. It's also the location for a city wetland project (south side of the building) where baby ducks will soon receive their first swimming lesson. It happens every year, right on schedule. However, it's the parking lot due west of that area where really cool bird business was recently witnessed.Yes the parking lot! We learned that landscaped, rocky areas are a favorite place for those funny little killdeer birds to hide their eggs, in plain sight. Last week, Valley Natural Foods staff noticed speckled eggs nestled right out in the open over a bed of rocks above the curbside! If anyone got near, mother killdeer exercised a tactic by distracting possible predators away from her nest using a high-pitched sound of distress; "kill dee, kill dee!" the bird call it was named for. This was accompanied by an impressive "broken-wing" display. When we followed her lead

Valley Natural Foods has everything you need for Cinco de Mayo!Deli Department:  Visit our hot foods bar and serve yourself up a nice Cinco de Mayo plate (or to-go box) for lunch or dinner. Our deli will be cooking up delicious chicken enchiladas, tacos with all the fixings, and tasty mexican sides. Enjoy your meal in our eat area, or even outside on our patio if the weather is nice!Meat Department: If grilling something special for tomorrow is your preference, stop by our meat department and pick up a package or two of our homemade Chorizo sausage links, made right here using our own Down in the Valley pork, fresh from Hidden Stream Farm. Spicy aroma is sure to sizzle from your grill when you grill this tasty sausage!  Or, slice some onions and jalepeno or green peppers, and place in a roasting pan with the Chorizo. Pop into

Snow may still be on the ground outside but the excitement happening on our window sill is a true reminder that Spring is close! In mid-February, we used a Jiffy Professional Greenhouse kit (see last week's post) and planted seeds from a Bhut Jolokia pepper, otherwise known as the Ghost pepper. The first seedlings started emerging just last week on our upstairs south-facing window sill, right here in the marketing department!So what's the big deal about Ghost Peppers? According to The Chile Pepper Institute, "The Bhut Jolokia pepper remains the hottest commercially available pepper." The big deal here at Valley Natural Foods is taking on the challenge  to successfully grow Ghost peppers right here in Minnesota—not the ideal place to grow them, we've been told, because of our short growing season and climate. However, there's strong staff interest in this very fragrant, very tasty pepper. According to our

If you're thinking of avoiding restaurant crowds this Valentines Day, go for preparing a fresh meal at home using a  few ideas from the co-op:Start with a simple salad of mixed tender greens, top with thin slices of pears, crumbles of goat cheese and walnuts. Drizzle with bottled (or your own home-made) vinaigrette.Select a couple of 100% grass-fed or traditional-finished heart-shaped rib eye steaks from our meat counter (special $8.99/lb pricing for a limited time!) Sprinkle them with salt and pepper, then combine some melted butter and minced garlic and spread on the steaks with a brush.  Grill or broil on top rack of oven for about six minutes on each side for medium rare, and a little more time for medium well.Serve with a side of classic mashed potatoes or garlic and chive twice baked potatoes from the deli service counter. You can also saute fresh broccoli florets