Produce

This post is from our April/May 2012 issue of Living Naturally when our Produce Manager Kim Dvorak visited Equal Exchange banana producers in Peru. Written by Susan Budig Banana bread, banana splits, bananas straight from the peel, banana mashed for the baby, banana muffins with nuts, and sliced on morning cereal; the list keeps going: don’t forget the smoothies and pudding, too! Bananas, as an edible commodity, are sold more than any other fruit worldwide. Its importance as a food crop ranks after rice, wheat and corn. Unique to crop production of bananas, however, is that their growth is exclusive to the tropics. [caption id="attachment_30182" align="alignright" width="366"] "I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything,” -Produce Manager Kim Dvorak on her experience in Peru. Photos by Kim Dvorak.[/caption] Scott Patterson, Midwest sales manager and worker-owner at Equal Exchange, which supplies Valley Natural Foods with bananas, said,

Valley Natural Foods carries fair-trade avocados from Equal Exchange. Keep reading to find out more about Equal Exchange and why fair trade matters. What is Equal Exchange? [caption id="attachment_30018" align="alignright" width="447"] Statistics from the 2016 impact of Equal Exchange avocados.[/caption] Equal Exchange works to create "a trade model that respects farmers, builds communities, and supports the environment." The company started in 1986 and initially began working to try to fix the food system with fair-trade coffee in Nicaragua. They have since provided support for small farmers of crops like bananas, chocolate, cocoa, nuts, dried fruits, olive oil and tea. Equal Exchange was founded on the ideas of being (from the Equal Exchange website): A social change organization that would help farmers and their families gain more control over their economic futures. A group that would educate consumers about trade issues affecting farmers. A provider

Winter weather forces us to slow down and bundle up. These recipes are great for the days when you need a healthy and hardy way to nourish. Keep reading below to see some of our favorite cold-weather recipes. SMOKED TURKEY & WHITE BEAN SOUP Smoked turkey simmered in chicken broth with onions, celery, carrots, spices and beans all topped with Parmesan cheese. Get the recipe here. KID-FRIENDLY BEEFY STEW This Kid-Friendly Beef Stew is the perfect combination of savory beef and hearty vegetables. You’ll love the nutrients it provides and your kids will love the taste! As seen in Living Naturally Wellness 2017 Edition. Get the recipe here. HOT CITRUS DRINK Orange juice infused with herbal orange spice tea, cinnamon and lemon and then sweetened with coconut palm sugar. This drink is perfect for warming up and it makes your home smell great too! Get the recipe here. GARLIC PARMESAN SMASHED POTATOES Seasoned Yukon gold potatoes

  Gameday is the perfect excuse to eat good food and root for your favorite team. Keep reading below to get inspiration for game day recipes. CAULIFLOWER NACHOS Corn tortilla chips smothered with melted cheese and then topped with seasoned cauliflower, fresh garden salsa, avocados, cilantro and smoked sea salt. Add as much smoked sea salt as desired and top with sliced jalapenos for added heat. Get the recipe here. ZESTY MAPLE GLAZED WINGS & DRUMMIES A sweet maple-glaze with a zesty-kick of red pepper flake will make these chicken wings and drummies the talk of your Game Day Party! Get the recipe here. BAGEL PIZZAS Bagel Pizzas are the perfect quick and easy meal for busy schedules. Simply place sauce, cheese and toppings on your favorite bagel and bake! You can even browse our salad bar for quick toppings like shredded chicken, olives, sliced peppers, or onions. Get the recipe here. EASY CHUNKY AVOCADO SALSA An

In the midst of the transition from summer fruits and veggies we get the super fruit that is the pomegranate. The fruit itself is in seed form underneath thick red skin, and offers a challenge for those seeking the vibrantly flavored fruit. The super fruit designation comes from the fact that pomegranate juice is super high in antioxidants. Antioxidants are useful in helping cells fight off damage from free radicals which can come from exposure to air pollutants, chemicals and UV rays. Antioxidants are said to fight off cancer. Pomegranates are also high in Vitamin C and Vitamin K. Vitamin C is essential for many processes in the body. Vitamin C also of course helps boost immunity. See below for more information about this super fruit and how to use them. Pomegranate Health Benefits Very high in antioxidants High in Vitamin C and K

Summer is the season for grilling. Why not make an impressive array of shish kabobs? It’s actually easier than you think; here are some tips to get you started. Start with a good marinade Salad dressings, marinade kits and teriyaki sauce work great for marinating vegetables and meat. Try experimenting with different sauce combinations for a truly unique flavor - like a 50/50 mixture of teriyaki sauce and Italian dressing with a little bit of chopped garlic. For food safety precautions, marinate your vegetables and meat separate. For best flavor, marinate animal protein for at least 8 hours before grilling – this will also help your protein from drying out. If you’re using tofu or plant based proteins, marinate for at least 2 hours before cooking, then continue to brush marinade over the plant-based protein every 10 minutes while grilling. Salad Girl Dressings are

Making Summer Get-Togethers a Breeze! The highly anticipated season of summer gatherings is here! We’re here to help you throw a low-stress summer get-together. Whether you’re preparing all the food or just the main course here are some ideas to get you started: Make as much as you can ahead of time. Preparing a day in advance leaves the fun tasks like decorating and food presentation for the day of your party. Dips, desserts and cold salads can easily be prepared the day before, but leave the vegetable and fruit cutting until the day of. You can also marinate meat, vegetables or tofu for the grill the day before to give your dishes that extra flavor boost. Keep it Simple. Don’t feel like you have to make a seven course meal. It’s okay to supplement your main course with already prepared side dishes. Our deli offers

Time to Sow Those Garden Seeds It's that exciting time of year when folks are starting to sow garden seeds indoors for their outside gardens! If you're the type of gardener who enjoys early garden activity, now's the perfect time to plan for your garden space.  Our area's average last frost date usually happens sometime between May 14-21.  Take a look at the following countdown recommended for starting garden seeds indoors: the number of weeks refers to how many weeks to sow seed before the last estimated frost date. 10-12 weeks: onions, leeks and chives 8-10 weeks: peppers, lettuce, broccoli and cabbage 6-8 weeks: eggplants and tomatoes 3-4 weeks: cucumbers, melons, pumpkins and squash Great Selection of Garden Seeds are Available Stop by our produce department and browse our racks of colorful, packaged garden seeds for veggies, fruits and flowers. Once again, we're proud to carry hardy varieties from Prairie Road Organic Seed, (local from North Dakota), and from High

A new seasonal item has joined the shelves of our produce department, Gourmet Garden Herb Pastes.  We carry 4 of their varieties including: basil, lemongrass, dill, and Italian herbs. Their pastes can be stirred into soups, stir fries, sauces, and dressings or used as a marinade. Their herb pastes can help reduce prep time and will maintain best flavor within 3 months of opening. Gourmet Garden is an herb farm based in Queensland and Victoria, Australia. Their team has dedicated their work to producing and researching fresh herbs and perfecting their herb products. Their herbs are picked at the peak of freshness when the essential oil yield is high which is important for the plant’s flavor, aroma and color. Once picked their herbs are transported in a temperature-controlled vehicle to an herb prepping facility where they are washed, cut and prepared within

A showy variety of locally-grown daikon radish has recently arrived on our produce shelves! Purple Daikon radishes are easy to spot because of their pretty, lavender-colored exterior. When you slice these large tubular beauties into thin circles, you will notice an incredible, vibrant purple & white tie-dye design inside. However, purple daikon is not just another pretty radish, it has great flavor appeal too. They're very sweet and mild, without that spicy sharp bite you can expect from other varieties. Plus, they're super easy to peel using a paring knife or vegetable peeler. Try adding shredded daikon to your favorite coleslaw recipe, or pickle them. You can also just simply slice and and lay out on a tray, and serve with dipping hummus. Get creative with salads by adding them cubed or sliced to salads for a colorful presentation.  If you would like to make something on the exotic side, check out this Radish and Carrot Kimchi recipe from Co-op, Stronger