Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Eat local challenge is a go!

Hello Wheatsville friends and fans!

Kind of a long post this week with so much stuff we're excited about!
Some short news up front, and then a whole bunch of stuff about our Eat Local Challenge!

Monthly Board meeting June 24th!
Wheatsville Monthly Board Meeting on Tuesday June 24th from 6-9pm at an alternate location The Episcopal Seminary of the Southwest 606 Rathervue place (just off Duval) look to our board agenda for more detail. Until the new offices and meeting room are completed this summer, we'll be in alternate spaces. Stay tuned for details prior to each board meeting!

Special news about July's Member Appreciation Day
You love Member Appreciation Day and we love it, too! But, with the state of our parking lot for July, we want to keep from turning Member Appreciation Day into Member AGGRAVATION Day, so we're changing it up for now. Look for a coupon in the Wheatsville Breeze that will be coming your way in early July. The coupon will give you a chance to get a 10% discount off of one shopping trip of your choice between July 14th and July 27th. That way, you still get your discount day, but we don't put undue pressure on the parking lot on one specific day. I don't know if we'll continue this for October's Member Appreciation Day, it will depend on the state of the store and how well this July one goes for all of us.

Recognition for the co-op!
We had a nice write-up in the paper last Thursday. The links last for a week, so hurry on over if you haven;t already seen it. (Yes, I really do know how to juggle.)

We were named Store of the Month in June's Natural Foods Merchandiser

Eat Local Austin!

Wheatsville is hosting an "Eat Local America" challenge inviting you to try to consume 80% of your diet (or 4 out of every 5 meals) from food grown or produced locally.

The challenge will begin June 15th and continue through July 15th. It's an honor-based system; those wishing to participate will simply sign the large poster at the Member Center and try their best.

At Wheatsville, we define local food as food grown or processed in Texas. During the Eat Local America Challenge and throughout the year, we call attention to local food on our shelves by the bright green Locally Made signs. We also have a handy list on our website with links to local producers and the distance they are from Wheatsville.

Why Eat Local?

There are many benefits to eating local food. It's good for the economy, because money from each transaction stays in the region. It connects community members to the people who produce their food, while helping to support endangered family farms.

Plus, since food doesn't travel far from where it's produced, eating local also helps protect the environment by reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Local food is more nutritious and simply tastes better, because it's often harvested or processed the same day it arrives at the co-op.

Although "local" is a buzzword used by many retailers, Wheatsville has for years cultivated truly reciprocal, long-term relationships with local growers and producers, offering its shoppers a convenient connection to fresh and delicious food of the highest quality. Eat Local America celebrates our dedication and commitment to local food for consumers and our suppliers.

National Challenge Underway

Wheatsville is joining nearly 70 other natural food co-ops coast-to-coast in Eat Local America. All are members of National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA) --a business services cooperative representing nearly 110 retail food co-ops nationwide.

Since peak harvest time varies throughout the nation, the challenge duration may vary from a one-week to one-month period, depending where people and stores reside. Most participating co-ops will conduct the challenge based on their region as follows:

    * June 15 - July 15--South, Southwest and California
    * July 15 - Aug 15--Plains, Midwest and Northwest
    * August 15 - Sept 15--Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Ohio Valley and Upper Midwest

Beginning June 1, food lovers can learn about all participating Eat Local America initiatives at

Eat Local America is not your typical challenge. Because it is framed around each region's peak harvest times, length and timing varies for each co-op, as does the definition of "local." The Eat Local America challenge celebrates the uniqueness of our regional food supplies, as well as a collective and emerging passion for eating more local, organic foods.

More About Eating Local

Although we're holding this challenge during peak season for fresh produce, we hope to educate our shoppers that it's possible -- and not too difficult -- to eat local food year-round. Fruit and vegetables can be preserved until the next harvest season, via canning, freezing and dehydrating. But don't think local is limited to produce. Wheatsville is the go-to source for local dairy products, including milk and artisan cheese, as well as eggs, meat, poultry, salsa, granola, and baked goods.

Happy Summer!
The Wheatsville Deli case is brimming with delicious treats like our cheesy, veggie Rainbow Chard Enchiladas, organic lacinato kale lightly sauteed with spicy peppers and onions, Portobello mushrooms stuffed with roasted veggies and cheese, and a refreshingly cool Chilled Cucumber Soup. We are excited at our opportunity to bring incredibly delicious local tomatoes into the Deli this season, grown and harvested by East Austin's Urban Roots, "a youth development program that uses sustainable agriculture as means to effect lasting change for youth participants, and to nourish East Austin residents who currently have limited access to healthy foods," so make sure to ask for some on your sandwiches and tacos, and don't forget to grab some fresh and spicy pico de gallo, too!
New in the Cheese case!!!!
We just got in Queso Fresco and it is a favorite already. This is a great cheese for sprinkling over salads, soups, and enchiladas due to its soft, moist, mild and crumbly nature. Perfect for the hot weather.
New to the case is a great flavored cheese from Cabot Vermont, horseradish cheddar.  Cabot Vermont is an awesome company because it is a farmer owned cooperative that has been very successful.  I love companies like this, they keep small family farms in business plus they are well known in the traditional grocery stores.  Supporting Cabot Vermont supports family businesses, and that is what it is all about.  

Our meat department is great for local!

Eat local! The meat department has lots of dinner opportunities that are raised locally. We have Pederson's bacon and sausages from Hamilton Texas. Pederson's pigs are hormone and antibiotic free and also Pederson's is certified humanely treated by 

We also carry products from Richardson's farm in Rockdale Texas. Their pasture raised pigs are hormone and antibiotic free. Richardson's farm actually feeds their hog's grains and vegetables from their farm, talk about local. 

Of course, we're always proud to promote Buddy's chicken,  which has been a favorite at Wheatsville for 25+ years. Buddy's is produced in Gonzales Texas.

One of the true gems at Wheatsville Co-op is Hugh Fitzsimmon's Thunderheart Bison from the shape ranch near San Antonio Texas. Hugh raises and harvests his animals on the pasture. Hugh sets himself and his product apart from the rest of the bison producers with very honorable and traditional practice. Allowing them to roam freely over 13,000 acres of South Texas grassland, they graze freely, fattening themselves on native grasses and mesquite beans, just as they have for thousands of years. The result is a pure source of protein that is derived from an inherently healthy animal.

Texas obviously has no shortage of beef. Finding the perfect steak still isn't that simple. I think we have a great source for grass-fed local beef with Patty Jacobs with Bastrop Cattle Company. We sell ground beef for all purpose cook of dishes, shoulder roasts for a nice slow dinner, and terrific sirloin steaks for the grill hound in all of us. Here's a great easy recipe to get you started cooking a grass-fed sirloin.

Grilling Bastrop Cattle Company meat will be fast. We do offer different thickness - ½ inch, ¾ inch and 1 inch. Know which one you're dealing with when you cook. I like to rub a little olive oil on the meat prior to cooking.You can also marinate the meat for fifteen minutes in olive oil and red wine. This will give it a slightly heavier flavor.
If you are using charcoal or mesquite, build your fire and wait until the flames have died down and you have very hot coals. Place your grill approximately six to eight inches above your coals.
Set the piece of meat directly onto the grill and over the coals. Sear on each side approximately two minutes. Then move the meat to a piece of aluminum directly over the fire. Continue to cook until the meat is done to preference. ½ inch thickness is best if you like your steak well done. ¾ inch will give you a medium. 1 inch is best if you want rare.
Serve with a fresh salad and grilled vegetables.
Of all of these companies we only carry a limited variety of their product lines. If you don't see what you want or know of a particular product you like to have ordered for you just let the Bryan or Mark in the meat department know and we'll do everything we can to help you. Many of these products are shipped to us frozen and we'll be glad to sell them to you in that state for easy moving into your freezer at home.

Let's all do our best to consume locally this next month. 80% is a big number but Wheatsville Co-op is the place that can make it possible. ~Ciao!


Drink Local!
St. Arnold's LAWNMOWER
A true German-style Kölsch. Originally brewed in Cologne, but now brewed in Texas! This beer is light yet has a sweet malty body that is balanced by a complex, citrus hop character. Multiple additions of German Hallertauer hops and a special Kölsch yeast  yield the slightly fruity, clean flavor of this beer. Fancy Lawnmower Beer is a world class brew yet light enough to be enjoyed by Texans after strenuous activities, like mowing the lawn. Try a 6-pack from Wheatsville for the everday low price of  $7.99

New Iced Tea!
Local Sweethearts: Organic Sweet Leaf Peach Lemonade...Refreshing!!

Have a super great week and go local!!!

Dan Gillotte
Wheatsville GM and e-mail guy!

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