Education Tag

By: Loris Sofia Gregory, Healthy Kitchen Coach, Apple Valley, MN Most of us look forward to traditional comfort foods this special time of year, usually anticipating the pleasurable sights, smells and tastes of our family holidays. What dishes are on your “must serve” holiday list? Does everyone in your family agree or do you stress yourself out trying to satisfy everyone’s favorite food memories? What about potential rising numbers on the bathroom scale during the next few months?  Just thinking about holiday cooking and eating does not have to raise your blood pressure. Holiday feasts and treats can include superfoods, offering more nutrition per calorie without straining your waistline or wallet. Click to read more about the fresh, local and global rainbow of holiday superfoods and spices to consider. These fresh foods offer power-packed energy and strong immunity for happier healthier

By: Loris Sofia Gregory, Healthy Kitchen Coach, Apple Valley, MN July gifts us with a healthy abundance of flavorful FRESH & LOCAL produce: the crisp nutrient-packed greens of cilantro, collard greens, cucumbers, kales, lettuces, Napa cabbage, parsley and zucchini; the succulent reds and oranges of beets, berries, carrots, radishes, romaine and melons; and the captivating earthy palette 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. Take your taste buds on a lip-smacking tour of these July flavors, recipes and meal ideas. I look forward

By: Loris Sofia Gregory, Healthy Kitchen Coach, Apple Valley, MN The planting season is complete at Featherstone Farm, located in southeastern Minnesota bluff country near Rushford.  Featherstone farmer/owner Jack Hedin recently blogged that this is the earliest spring in his living memory that has produced such high quality and quantity of his first crops. With Featherstone delivering FRESH & LOCAL produce to Valley Natural Foods, expect red and green lettuces the first part of June, including butter, romaine and red oak leaf lettuces.  Discover more of what's local at the co-op

By: Loris Sofia Gregory, Healthy Kitchen Coach, Apple Valley, MN May in Minnesota has our taste buds perking up for those perennial delightful flavors of asparagus and rhubarb. Look for local rhubarb and asparagus at Valley Natural Foods! Though asparagus was not grown in the New World until around 1850, there are directions for cooking it in the oldest surviving recipe book created by a Roman food lover in the third century. Asparagus has a long coveted reputation as a vegetable and a medicine, owing to its delicate flavor and its bountiful fiber, protein, beneficial vitamins and minerals. Look for the youngest thin shoots of asparagus, as once the buds start to open the shoots quickly turn woody. If you are lucky enough to procure some fresh asparagus this month, wrap asparagus in a plastic bag and place in the refrigerator

By: Loris Sofia Gregory, Healthy Kitchen Coach, Apple Valley, MN Can you believe that April has arrived? Earth is warming up and preparing to collaborate with us in growing delicious edibles here in Minnesota. New shades of green are emerging day by day. We ponder when everything will be fully green and our first garden sprouts will pop up from moist soil. Regardless of when spring will be here in its full glory, be sure to notice our sprouts and other shades of healthy green at Valley Natural Foods, thanks to FRESH & LOCAL growers in Wisconsin. In World War II, Dr. Clive McKay, Nutrition Professor at Cornell University, sparked considerable interest in sprouts by announcing, "Wanted! A vegetable that will grow in any climate, will rival meat in nutritive value, will mature in three to five days, may be planted any

By: Loris Sofia Gregory, Healthy Kitchen Coach, Apple Valley, MN If “eat healthier,” “try new foods” and “save more money” are on your list of resolutions for 2012, consider the dazzling diversity of our bulk foods trail from nourishing soups to energizing nuts. Our new helpful booklet, available in mid January, entitled “Discovering Bulk Foods: A Cooperative Guidebook” and my FRESH & LOCAL classes from January through March will show you how to easily buy and prepare package-free and earth-friendly bulk foods, while saving an average of 30 to 50% on our 300+ choices.  You can now register for these classes online.  Most of us are not looking to “get bulkier” in this New Year. So what’s the real story behind “buying bulk”? Read more to realize the benefits of shopping on our bulk trail. First of all, don’t confuse “bulk foods”

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.

 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