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

Special Arrival on September 1st We're excited for Thursday's arrival of some very special peaches! Picked just this week and en route to our co-op right now is a one-time-only shipment of organically grown O'Henry Peaches from Barrett Orchards in Yakima, WA. Our meat and seafood manager, Jason Harstad and his wife Jenifer have been life-long friends with Tim and Sarah Johnson from the Barrett Family.  For seven years, they have enjoyed having direct access to purchase Barrett Orchard peaches annually. This year, Jason initiated a connection for our co-op to bring in these special peaches. If you're a peach lover, you don't want to miss visiting our demo kiosk, anytime between 11 am-1 pm on Thursday, September 1st, where you can taste O'Henry Peaches. While tasting, please let us know what you think! Your input matters to us - do we bring them back next season, or not? O'Henry Peaches will be offered for

If you haven't tried local Salad Girl's fresh, organic vinaigrette, now's a great time to give them a try! Not only are all varieties on sale (save $2 per bottle through Sept. 4) there are two new flavors sure to add excitement to your next salad creation. Salad Girl Citrus Splash Vinaigrette This extremely versatile dressing is lightly sweetened with organic orange juice. It's light, tangy flavor both complements and enhances your fresh greens, summer slaw, veggies & fruits. It is also the perfect finishing sauce for grilled fish, meats and poultry. Salad Girl Dark Cocoa & Sea Salt Vinaigrette This savory, balsamic-like vinaigrette is made with antioxidant-rich, organic, dark cocoa, organic maple syrup, vinegar and sea salt. This dressing tastes great on any fresh greens. It is also a perfect pairing drizzled over artisan cheeses and as a finishing sauce for grilled meats, poultry & wild game. Other Salad

Stroll through our produce department and you will find some new fresh faves – some returning for the season, some brand new to Valley Natural Foods – and all might not be quite what you expect!  Amaranth Greens Those into the ancient grains may recognize Amaranth seeds, but the leaves of the plant are also edible and are enjoyed around the world in countries like India, Indonesia and Malaysia. While Amaranth leaves have a slight bitterness to them when eaten raw in salads, they are most often used in cooked dishes such as stir fry and stews.  The red-colored greens are high in protein, iron and dietary fiber, among other amino acids such as Lysine.  Mini Red and Yellow watermelons Back in living color – red and yellow mini watermelons make their return to Valley! A perfect one-person size, the standard red and slightly-sweeter

The latest superstars to arrive on our produce shelves are these colorful and somewhat odd-shaped, exciting fruit varieties. Dragon Fruit This pointy, odd-looking, edible fruit of a cactus species is also known as Pitaya. The inside flesh will either be bright white or deep red, and both types have a similar texture to kiwi fruit, with very mild, subtle flavors. The thin leathery "dragon-like" skin is very easy to slice or peel off the soft, inner flesh. For a refreshing and exciting fruit salad idea, cube up some mango, pineapple and jicama; toss together in a bowl. Top the fruit mixture with slices of peeled dragon fruit to give your tasty tropical fruit salad a very subtle white or vivid red color pop. Star Fruit The mildly tart-tasting, multi-ridged greenish-yellow star fruit is popular throughout Southeast Asia, Australia, South America, Hawaii and Florida. Star fruit is completely ripe when the skin appears mostly yellow, with some brown spots

Grapes have always been the perfect summertime treat. Sweet and juicy with a pleasant pop, no party fruit tray would be complete without them, and their size makes for convenient eating on-the-go or straight out of the fridge. But let’s face it – while tasty, the basic options of Red vs. Green (and sometimes Black) haven’t made for much excitement over the years. Growers such as Divine Flavors have begun to change the grape landscape with new and exciting varieties that are unexpected in shape, color and flavor. And the best part is - they are certified organic!  Cotton Candy Grapes Cotton candy: an image that spins up memories of county fairs, parades, circuses and baseball games – not to mention sticky fingers. Let’s face it, as fondly as we remember the sweet taste of cotton candy, the confection consists of sugar and

Organic Black Mission Figs have arrived on the shelves of our produce department. Figs can be eaten fresh, dried, or cooked and are a great source of potassium, fiber, calcium and iron. Fresh Black Mission Figs have a delicate, smooth, blackish-purple skin with a soft, pink center filled with tiny, crunch y seeds. Figs are a refreshing treat that are subtly sweet with different textural components that make this fruit truly unique. Never tried a fresh fig before? Simply cut off the stem and enjoy. Figs can also be simmered in water until they become soft and plump, and are great for accompanying savory dishes. When purchasing fresh figs you want to find figs that are rich in color and tender to the touch. Figs only stay fresh for a couple of days so you don’t want to purchase a large amount if they

It's that time of year when those beautiful, beloved and tasty heirloom tomatoes start showing up on supermarket shelves. In our northern region, enjoying heirloom tomatoes in early summer may mean they might be trucked in from warmer southern states.  However, with access to local providers like Wisconsin Growers Cooperative, locally grown and fully ripe heirloom tomatoes are available right now! You may be wondering how that is even possible, coming from a neighbor state that shares the same northern climate as Minnesota with short-growing seasons? Wisconsin Growers Cooperative is a unique farming community involving 35-40 small-scale Amish farmers located in Western Wisconsin, where farming practices favor horse-drawn plows and hand tools over fossil-fueled machinery to grow their produce. They use labor-intensive methods which allow them to harvest both early and late season vegetables. It’s what sets this farming cooperative apart, making them truly unique in our northern region. According to Al Weinrich, sales manager for Wisconsin Growers Cooperative, two