Nature and local producers collaborate to bring us fresh succulent green and red gifts this month. Even after we have been gifted with a moisturizing blanket of pure white snow, local producers still deliver FRESH & LOCAL, including lush deep green upland cress, crisp bright green and white bok choy, crinkly red bib lettuce and juicy rich red vine-on tomatoes.Look closer at the bunches of upland cress (the hydroponic version of native watercress and also called winter cress) in the produce department and you’ll notice long white roots have grown in water rather than soil. Hydroponics is the official name and it’s a splendid way for us to be gifted with fresh local produce through our winter. Michele Keller, owner of LaBore Farms of Faribault, Minnesota, has been growing chemical-free hydroponic greens since 2004. Her co-op and restaurant customers are

Loris Sofia Gregory, Healthy Kitchen Coach Visualize bringing the jewel tones and earthy tastes of autumn to your dinner table. Beware: eating a cornucopia of deep reds, oranges, yellows and greens can lead to radiant optimum health. The USDA currently recommends eating at least four cups of red and orange vegetables per week and 1 ½ cups of dark green veggies for an average adult.The good news is that you most likely can’t eat too much FRESH & LOCAL. And your wallet and your waistline will breathe a sign of relief.To invite more diversity, energy and health into your life, explore the whole colorama of vegetable and fruits delivered fresh each week in October from local Minnesota and Wisconsin farmers: Orange, green & yellow squashes and pie pumpkins: Acorns and Spaghetti squashes offer a sweet nutty flavor, while the Buttercups, Hubbards,

Loris Sofia Gregory, Healthy Kitchen CoachAs September arrives on our doorsteps, we notice a change in the air and in what’s FRESH & LOCAL at Valley Natural Foods. We may still have a few fleeting days to savor our last bites of fresh cucumber, sweet corn and watermelon. Our supplies of ripe red local tomatoes and aromatic basil are winding down, to be upstaged by the arrival of all that thrives in cooler weather, including the nutrient-rich Brassica oleracea family of luscious greens, including broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale and kohlrabi.All cousins to wild cabbage native to the wind-swept limestone sea cliffs of coastal England and Europe, these hardy Brassica veggies love our autumnal weather and offer the highest-level of disease-fighting nutrients per serving of anything FRESH & LOCAL, not to mention naturally low in calories, fat and sodium.

 One cashier at Valley Natural Foods, Mandy Mulder, is planning a 48-state, 90-day road trip across America this May, and no, it isn’t a vacation. Mandy Mulder isn’t going to be staying in luxurious hotels and laying out on sandy tropical beaches as others her age might. Instead, Mandy will be going across the country as a homeless person,  staying in shelters on a journey she is calling “Mission America”. With only a car and a few changes of clothes, she will be doing an act of service in each location she visits. The goal of her trip is to inspire people to not just feel bad about homeless people but to feel bad enough to do something. She wants people to be moved enough to go down to the shelter in their community and serve.  Because she is videotaping her entire journey and has the

 Everybody knows that recycling paper, aluminum, plastic and cardboard helps lessen  waste, creating a cleaner, healthier society.However, did you know that it is also important to recycle your cell phones?  Cell phones contain hazardous substances, similar to any other electronic device, and can damage our environment. In fact, there is more gold in a ton of cell phones than in 20 tons of ore from a gold mine!Also, everyday Americans retire 365,000 cell phones.  Therefore, if you get a new phone this holiday season, be sure to recycle your old one at Valley Natural Foods! Yes, at Valley Natural Foods you can not only drop of your phone for recycling but save the rainforest too.  No, we are not joking on this one!Our store now  has a  Minnesota Zoo cell phone recycling drop off box located by the entrance of the store. All working phones collected are refurbished for resale

Nine Things We Can Do to Improve Our Health and Our Food System 1. Consider signing up for a CSA share. Community Supported Agriculture is a simple way to eat local, support a small farm. Generally, a CSA share can be picked up once a week during the growing season, giving you a box of fresh produce straight from the farm. Valley Natural Foods is a drop-off point for two. Contact the farm directly. Featherstone Farm, Rushford, MN: 2. Eat more at home instead of eating out. People consume almost twice as many calories when eating food prepared outside the home. A shared meal at home can replace “eating on the run” with a healthier family and community. 3. Commit to at least one “meatless day” a week. Livestock production is responsible for 20 percent of the greenhouse gases that are part

  People enter our doors to find answers to their diet and health questions. Sometimes it’s as simple as, “Where’s the salad bar, I ‘m hungry,” or as serious as, “My child was just diagnosed with a nut allergy.” When it comes to special diets and food allergies we understand that some people are more sensitive than others. We have all different types of customers and we’re thrilled about that, but every item in our store isn’t for everybody. For example, we are very proud of our bulk department. It’s a great way to try new items, keep your cupboards full of fresh product and save money, however if you are shopping for a person with food allergy it’s important to be aware that the bulk bins may be cross contaminated. We sell all types of flours and nuts in these bulk bins and

Thirty-eight percent of land is currently being used for farming, and industrial agriculture is the leading polluter of water, according to Rainforest Alliance’s Web site.  That is the reason they created a certification for agriculture to help reduce that impact. Rainforest Alliance says on their Web site  that, “Rainforest Alliance Certified farms have reduced environmental footprints, are good neighbors to human and wild communities and are often integral parts of regional conservation initiatives.” Rainforest Alliance Certified means: Less water pollution Less soil erosion Reduced threats to the environment and human health Wildlife habitat is protected Less waste Less water used More efficient farm management Improved conditions for farm workers Improved profitability and competitiveness for farm