Education

With an aim to inspire families to eat at home together more often, we are proud to celebrate National Family Meals Month™ in September!  During September, we encourage families to share one more meal together per week and we will highlight simple, healthy meal solutions to help make that happen. Did you know that numerous studies underscore the long-term health, academic and societal benefits of consistently eating together as a family?  Home-cooked meals nourish the spirit, brain and health of all family members.  Not to mention, people who frequently cook at home eat fewer, healthier calories.' Additionally, regular family meals are linked to the kinds of outcomes that we all want for our children: higher grades and self-esteem, healthier eating habits and less risky behavior. However, according to a 2013 Harris poll, only 30 percent of American families share dinner every night.

Though today most people know us as Valley Natural Foods, in 1977, we started out as Valley Community Foods Co-op, helping provide healthy food choices to the communities south of the Minnesota River. Since then, our co-op has grown and evolved, and during the month of October, we celebrate Co-op Month with all the other organizations that share the values of cooperation, involvement and community. Cooperative businesses provide goods and services that run the gamut from natural and organic foods, fair trade coffees and teas, body care products, energy to power cities, even sporting goods and lines of credit. However, no matter the service we provide, all co-ops share the same basic guiding principles, including: Community – All co-ops share a goal of serving and improving the communities where they are located. In the past year, our co-op has been proud to

During the month of  September, Valley Natural Foods, in conjunction with the FMI Foundation, is proud to celebrate National Family Meals Month by inspiring and encouraging families to spend time around the dinner table enjoying home-cooked, healthy meals. According to the FMI Foundation… Did you know that numerous studies underscore the long-term health, academic and societal benefits of consistently eating together as a family? Home-cooked meals nourish the spirit, brain and health of all family members. Not to mention, people who frequently cook at home eat fewer, healthier calories.’ Additionally, regular family meals are linked to the kinds of outcomes that we all want for our children: higher grades and self-esteem, healthier eating habits and less risky behavior. However, according to a 2013 Harris poll, only 30 percent of American families share dinner every night. Why is this? Yes, juggling jobs, kids and the

Last week I had the pleasure of participating in a tour of Valley Natural Foods for about 25 Kindergarten – 5th grade students from Tutor Time in Apple Valley. The students were given a store tour by two of our board members followed by a smoothie tasting. After they were finished touring indoors our Garden Coordinator gave them a tour of our teaching garden and sampled a variety of vegetables like kohlrabi, jicama and rainbow carrots. For my portion of the tour I had the students come into the classroom and sample a smoothie with mystery ingredients. I had them try the smoothie first and then try to guess what I had put in it. As they sampled the smoothie a majority of them though it was delicious and hoped for seconds. They started naming off different fruits they believed were in the

These days quiet yet very inquisitive co-op owner Iraj Aryan of Apple Valley, MN, is always reading online and learning about the latest health information to ensure he continues to eat right. Eating right has become a lifestyle choice for him, especially since years ago he often became sick before he shopped at the co-op. He relays that it was an easy choice to become an owner almost 4 years ago, as he had been shopping the store for a while and it just made sense. After all, it is only $100 for a lifetime ownership! What is most important to Aryan is eating organic, as he wants to avoid pesticides, processed foods and GMOs. He believes that many people are getting sick and the only way to correct that is to eat right and your body will respond. Aryan is also an

Did you know that your day doesn’t start when you wake up but before you go to bed? According to Anna Wiens, an instructor at Valley Natural Foods, following natural body rhythms is as crucial as what we eat.  She uses Ayurveda, an ancient healing system of India, as the foundation to help people explore how to not only be aware of their natural body rhythms but how to embody this knowledge through simple integration techniques and tips. Through this blog, we will travel throughout the healing world of Ayurveda as a tool to help you embody a healthy lifestyle. At Valley Natural Foods, we want to not only provide you with healthy options but give you the support you need to experience positive, lasting effects. What really is Ayurveda? Wiens reveals that the word "Ayurveda" means “Signs of Life” and it uses five

We’ve just introduced our new tagline at Valley Natural Foods, which is Know, Believe and Belong ™. However, while taglines are supposed to sound cool, be memorable and epitomize the brand experience, some struggle to evoke an authentic vibe. Most sound fun but only exude marketing jibberish. That is not what we wanted for Valley Natural Foods’ tagline. I can tell you wholeheartedly that when we were designing our tagline, we wanted it to evoke a genuine feeling of what it is really like to shop and be a part of our co-op as a customer. When I spoke to Valley Natural Foods co-op owner John Penrose of Bloomington, MN, our tagline seemed to come to life through his own words without any prodding. In fact, I had no preconceived notion or agenda for our conversation – I just wanted to

Add Susan's  fruitcake, sold in our deli, to your LOVE LIST this December. It makes the perfect gift to give this holiday season! Each loaf is $12.99. “There has always been a stigma around fruitcake; either you like or you don’t,” said Susan McGaughey, Valley Natural Foods’ General Manager. One of the most severe cases of disliking fruitcake that McGaughey can remember is when one of her pastors lambasted it from the pulpit several years ago! So in defense of fruitcake, she decided to present him with her homemade version as a gift, and guess what -- he liked it! People have enjoyed McGaughey’s fruitcake so much over the years that they have prodded her to go into business but she shies away from that by saying “it takes some of the joy out of it.” For McGaughey, it is all about having a giving,

By: Loris Sofia Gregory, Healthy Kitchen & Home Coach, Apple Valley, MN, Guest Blogger *The local items listed in this blog post are subject to limited daily availability July gifts us with a healthy abundance of flavorful fresh produce: the crisp nutrient-packed greens of basil, broccoli, cabbage, cilantro, cucumbers, dark leafy greens, garlic scapes, parsley and zucchini; the succulent yellows, reds and oranges of beets, berries, carrots, melons, radishes, romaine and summer squashes; and the captivating earthy rainbow of heirloom tomatoes. Satisfying summer meals and optimum health are not the only benefits of eating a rainbow of FRESH & LOCAL produce. When we buy local, we help our local farm families earn a living, which in turn preserves farmland around us. Buying fresh local food also supports our local economy and saves money through minimizing and eliminating processing, packaging, marketing and transportation costs.

Valley Natural Foods’ Kirsten Shabaz hopes to guide fair-goers toward healthier options in her breakfast cooking demonstration which kicks off the Minnesota Cooks’ program at the State Fair on August 24, 2014. Located at the Minnesota Cooks Stage in Carousal Park, just south of the Grandstand, twelve Minnesota chefs will create amazing dishes from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., using fresh ingredients from local farmers. Valley Natural Foods’ Down in the Valley Local Meat Program vendors, Ferndale Market of Cannon Falls, MN and Hidden Stream Farm of Elgin, MN will be two of the farmers featured. Click here to view the entire schedule. Shabaz’s kickoff cooking demonstration at 9:00 a.m. will teach fair-goers how to make Mexican egg bowls, savory oats with a poached egg, and a smoothie with seasonal fruits. Shabaz creates and demos recipes as Valley Natural Foods’ Fresh Foods Educator