Purchase a Co-op Member Share to Gift this Holiday Season or Donate to our Scholarship Fund

Every year, at this time, member-owners and other friends ask us about giving the gift of a co-op member-owner share to a loved one. We have had parents gift memberships to adult children and vice versa, businesses gift memberships to employees, and friends gift memberships to one another. It’s a “feel good” experience to provide this gift that will keep on giving for many years to come.

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Holiday Foods: Cranberry Sauce Recipe

Thanksgiving and the Christmas season are a time of good food and families. Some of the food that I serve appeared on my grandmother’s table during these holidays.
I sometimes add and remove ingredients from those dishes. Candied yams have acquired brandy, asparagus is now made with fresh mushrooms instead of canned, and the turkey is fried. Certain members of the family still eat the cranberry jelly that you slide out of a can to be sliced. The rest crave my version of cranberry sauce. I am including a basic recipe but don’t forget the red wine, which is what makes it extra special. I usually double the recipe with lots of orange zest sprinkled on top.

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Time for Soup!

Back by request, join fellow members for the Co-op Soup Swap and get your freezer stocked with delicious homemade soups that make it easy to keep the soup on throughout this busy season. Share recipes and sample all the soups, too!

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Living the Co-op Life in Idaho

By Mary McInnis*

Visiting Idaho in the spring, I found the lights on at the Moscow Food Co-op after a sketchy ride over the mountain on a borrowed bike. At the hot bar, I loaded up a plate with lentil this and quinoa that – so many vegetarian options that even in ravenous post-ride mode I couldn’t try them all. But I would be back.
And now I live here. I mean, not at the Co-op. Or do I?

On most days, I touch down at the satellite location of the Co-op on the campus of the University of Idaho. It’s a block from my grad student office, and has all the necessities – coffee from local roasters, chipotle Idaho potato salad, Trollhouse cookies (heartier than Tollhouse!), and Ethan. Ethan is the kind of person who will only elevate your day. And when you walk off fully absorbed in the steam coming off the Americano he just barista’d up for you, he’ll ask, no judgment, if it’s okay that he press that last button to close down your pay screen. Coffee anticipation always gets the better of me – and no one at the Co-op, not even the person waiting to pay, thinks any worse of me. Our pride in this thing we actually own together helps us feel togetherness. Before heading back to my office with my haul, I grab a fork – a legit metal fork I can borrow and return through the Co-op’s sustainability program to reduce waste – and walk out fully in step with my values.

One Sunday afternoon, I attend the Co-op’s “Healthy Eating on a Budget” workshop on plant-based protein recipes. An overqualified dietitian/chef distributes a handout with recipes and nutritional info, walks us through a PowerPoint presentation, and serves us prepared recipe samples like “Chickpea Flour Omelet” – all things you could make for only 25 cents to 75 cents per serving. I’m all in and buying ingredients for “No Bake Nut Butter Oat Bars” before you can say “Why are we dropping three bucks a pop on store-bought energy bars?!?”

I like to hole up at the Co-op downtown for more than food. I hang out in the sunny dining area grading papers, drinking coffee from a real mug, and listening to the sounds of community. “Co-op Kids” for preschoolers is sometimes meeting behind me, the littles engaged in healthy living activities, the parents getting some connection time.

The wall nearby holds striking pen-and-ink renderings of the Palouse hills by this month’s local artist, all for sale. In the checkout line with a few grocery items that shouldn’t fit in my overstuffed backpack but always do, the staff is warm even when bike commuting weather isn’t. Backpack jam-packed, I managed to save a bag so I get a token to drop into the bin for the local charity of my choice. All of this fuels me – yes, the food, but also every small thing that reminds me of my values and my community. My co-op is the place that connects it all.

*Mary is a Co-op member-owner who recently moved from the Cedar Valley to Moscow, Idaho.

Local Business Support is Key to a Healthy Community!

Wow! What a year it’s been for collaboration between local businesses and our Co-op! We are thrilled to be so far along in our work to bring a full-service, community-grown grocery store to the Cedar Valley. But we could not be where we are without the amazing support from so many businesses in the region.

From co-hosting our events to offering discounts AND providing giveaways to member-owners, businesses in this region show that when it comes to community, generosity knows no bounds. We want to publicly thank all businesses who have supported the Co-op over the years, whether through these ways or countless others.

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Celebrate Your Co-op with 12 Days of Co-op Giveaways in December

What are the 12 Days of Co-op?
In this season of giving, your Co-op has been gifted with 12 amazing offers to provide to new member-owners who join during a 12-day period in December! Thanks to the generosity of area businesses, we are providing a different gift each day to the first person who joins the Co-op on that date. These gifts (valued between $40 and $90) are a great way for you to support your local community through a co-op member share purchase.

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From the Board President: What Sites Have We Looked At?

We had lots of great feedback on the program/presentation at this year’s annual owner meeting in October. Of course, not everyone could attend. So the board is working on creating a digital version of our presentation to post on our website and on social media for all members to check out.

Until we can get that created, I’m going to share a part of the presentation here: the part of your Co-op’s site search.

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Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Because I am recovering from a knee replace along with my friend Joy, I think of things I want to do, but really can’t. So, I dream of walking in the woods on a crisp day. The trees are yellow and red and gold. A light breeze is blowing the leaves into a dance at my feet. The squirrels are playing in the trees; they are of course a bit plump as they eat their way towards winter. As I near the car, my steps move a little faster.

Now my haste is not to plump up for winter, but to heat up a bowl of butternut squash soup, slice a loaf of sourdough bread and slather that with real butter for a soul-satisfying meal. The last farmers market had all kinds of wonderful squash and a fat squirrel-bodied butternut caught my eye. Therefore, I thought I might share with you a favorite fall soup. And, if you don’t have butternut squash, that’s okay – this can be made with other kinds of squash.

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Sign up to help out at the Northeast Iowa Food Bank

Have you heard of the 7 Cooperative Principles? They are what we base our co-op model on (as do most co-ops). One of the principles we highlight often is the seventh one, which is Concern for Community. And what better way to show this principle than supporting other organizations in our area who provide for our community! Your co-op recently learned about a great opportunity to do so that is coming up this month, November 25 – 27 at the Northeast Iowa Food Bank. They will be having their annual Thanksgiving Holiday Distribution and need volunteers to help with it.

The Food Bank has set a goal this year to feed more families than ever before, and we hope to help them get there by encouraging YOU, our co-op member-owners and friends, to help out. What a great opportunity for a family to volunteer together or for you to get a group of your co-op friends to volunteer at a time convenient to you!

There is a wide variety of help needed including food carry out, food distribution, and traffic control. This, along with the many time slots and activities available means there are plenty of volunteer opportunities for your group or you as an individual. If you do volunteer, we encourage you to wear your Co-op t-shirt (if you don’t have one, we have them for sale – contact info@cedarfallsfood.coop).

The Food Bank has made it easy to sign up for a time that works in your schedule. When you sign up online the Food Bank is able to have a better idea of the numbers of volunteers to expect and be able to position you in an area that best suits your abilities. The project takes place Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday (Nov. 25 – 27) at any of the times below:
Mornings: 8 to 10 am. OR 10:30 a.m. to 12 noon.
Afternoons: 1 to 3 p.m., 3:30 to 5 p.m. OR 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

https://signup.com/go/wbzPjxF

If you have any questions about this project, please contact Dan Bohnker (Northeast Iowa Food Bank) at 319-235-0507. We hope to see a lot of Co-op shirts throughout these 3 days – feel free to take a photo to send our way. See you at the Food Bank!

Member Share Scholarship Update

In this season of giving, we are excited to announce that five member share scholarships were recently awarded, thanks to the generosity of other Co-op member-owners! As noted in last month’s Garlic Press newsletter, we opened up our second scholarship season, offering $100 scholarship opportunities for community members who have been unable to purchase a member share due to financial constraints.

October is National Co-op Month, and we were thrilled to be able to celebrate by giving back in this important way. Scholarship recipients pay half of the total member share cost of $200. Support for this scholarship program comes through donations from member-owners.

We hope to be able to offer this scholarship opportunity each October, if funds are available. If you are interested in donating to our scholarship fund (not tax-deductable), you can go online to do so here: http://cedarfallsfood.coop/donate/.

If you missed this scholarship season but wish to apply for a future scholarship, email us at outreach@cedarfallsfood.coop and we’ll let you know when the application season opens again next year. We are grateful for these opportunities to continue to grow our co-op community!