Meet a (NEW!) Supplier: South Mountain MicroFarm

collageValley Co-op is pleased to welcome South Mountain MicroFarm as a new supplier of sustainably-raised, chemical free produce (& fish!) right here in Washington County, MD! Started in 2014, South Mountain MicroFarm is located on a 30 year old Christmas tree farm that is being restored to life by the Sellers Family. Some of our customers may remember Levi Sellers from when he was an assistant store manager for Valley Co-op a few years ago. Levi, along with his family, have added an aquaponics greenhouse to the farm to expand the business with sustainability and the environment in mind.

img_3695Aquaponics is a hybrid system that combines organic farming, hydroponics (soiless plant culture), and recirculating aquaculture. This creates an ecosystem in which both plants and fish can thrive. Raising crops in this method is natural, sustainable, safe and uses one tenth of the water that traditional field methods require.

The Sellers will continue to offer Christmas trees and have partnered the Central Appalachian Spruce Restoration Initiative (CASRI) as part of their commitment to sustainabilty. For EVERY Christmas Tree purchased from their farm, TWO will be replanted…one on their farm and another planted as part of an ecosystem restoration project.

This week is the first harvest for South Mountain MicroFarm and they are bringing their first lettuce pickings direct to Valley Co-op’s store. Lettuces will also be ready to order this weekend and soon to follow other vegetables and sustainably raised tilapia!

Stay tuned for more exciting news from this up and coming entrepreneurial farm!

southmtnmicrologoSouth Mountain MicroFARM is located at:
6138 Clevelandtown Rd.
Boonsboro, MD 21713
Learn more on the web at: www.southmtnmicrofarm.com, or
fb_icon_325x325www.facebook.com/SouthMountainMicroFARM/

2016 Annual Membership Meeting: Will Valley Co-op Survive?

gmmoct2016_square

Will Valley Co-op Survive?
~Four Business Options to be presented at next Annual Membership Meeting~
All members are encouraged to attend this very important meeting to discuss the future of the store and Valley Co-op as an organization.
For more information, read this letter from the BOD.

 

NEW SUPPLIER: Blind Spot Nutbutters

Posted on by Susan

 

Just when you thought you’ve tried all the different types of nutbutters out there, something new and crazy pops up. These nutbutters are flying off our shelves with fun flavors like “Cinnamon Roll”, “Peanut Butter Brownie” and “It’s a Zoo” (Peanuts, Cashews, Animal Crackers, Chocolate chips, &Dried Bananas). We are also carrying Blind Spot‘s Thai Peanut sauce in store.

From York, PA, Blind Spot uses sustainable, non-GMO products in every blend and organic certified sweeteners and other ingredients as possible. Read more about the origins of their unique business name and other product info on Blind Spot‘s website. You can also follow them on Facebook @blindspotnutbutters

Meet a Supplier: Farm of Peace, Warfordsburg, PA

Posted on by Susan

farmbarns1The Farm of Peace is a 150-acre farm in the gently rolling hills of south-central Pennsylvania, only 45 minutes from Hagerstown, just north of Hancock, MD. The location is a working farm, a retreat and healing center, and a spiritual community. Aside from fresh, organically grown (not certified) produce, Farm of Peace offers beautiful CSA shares, pastured meats and sells at local farmers markets.

12321684_802238589881820_3935826968523170158_nThey recently hosted a mushroom growing event at Valley Co-op and decided to apply to become suppliers to the store. Ricky Connelley from the Farm explain about their business: ‘We adhere to organic certification guidelines in our production practices although we have not yet gone through the certification process. We use minimal tillage, lots of hand labor with some tractor assistance, and plant and encourage wildflowers for insect pollinators, and trees for windbreaks and other environmental benefits.’

Currently Farm of Peace is offering currently offering: Kale, chard, head lettuce, salad mixes, asparagus, radishes, and scallions in the store and for member orders; more varities are added weekly. Learn more about Farm of Peace on their website: farmofpeace.com

Meet A Supplier: JT&R Exotic Meats

Posted on by Susan

scenicviewJT&R, a new vendor for Valley Co-op, offers a wide variety of exotic meats, chiefly pork, lamb, goat, and, coming soon, farm-raised water buffalo. JT&R Exotic Meats was born from a third generation farm in the heart of the Middletown Valley, MD. Rick and Josh have a passion for raising and selling only the highest quality meats.

 

GoatBreedingStock Rick writes: “All of our animals are born and raised on our farm. We raise our animals to be of the highest quality in order to produce the highest quality meats. We enjoy farming, but more so we enjoy seeing happy, satisfied customers. All of our animals are raised without using any type of hormone, antibiotics or steroids. We feed our animals only what we grow on our farm namely, alfalfa orchard grass and barley. We do this to ensure excellent taste and disease prevention. Our main pest-fighter is a large herd of free-range peacocks that eat and keep insects away.WaterBuffalo

We are excited to offer an unprecedented line of exquisite meats. From our farm to your table, we thank you!”

Look for JT&R products at our store. A larger variety of inventory can be ordered through our member online ordering program. JT&R can be found on Facebook: www.facebook.com/jtrmeats/

Try Terressentials Body Wash . . . On Your Hair!

Terressentials® Hair Wash Products

Have you tried Terressentials body care products yet? If you’re committed to buying local and organic and doing good for your body and the earth, Terressentials products are for you. They’re hand crafted in small batches right next door in Middletown, Maryland, and every ingredient that can be is USDA certified organic. Read the ingredients on that bottle of so-called “natural” or “organic” shampoo or body lotion you picked up at that big natural foods chain store… Do you really know what they are? Can you even pronounce them?

Terressentials’ unique, clay-based, non-lathering Hair Wash is one of the small company’s most popular products. Customers from around the world rave about it (and pay big shipping fees to get it)! It was even featured on an episode of the TV show “Dirty Jobs” in 2008. Here’s a silly clip from the show:

http://www.discovery.com/tv-shows/dirty-jobs/videos/wizard-of-odd/

The Hair Wash does require a leap of faith (putting mud on my hair will clean it? REALLY??) and a commitment, since it’s not compatible with conventional hair products containing synthetic ingredients and sometimes takes time (ie., a “detox period”) to produce ideal results.

Terressentials Body Wash, followed by a vinegar/water rinse, is a good alternative to the Hair Wash for those who are not yet ready for the non-lathering, mud-like Hair Wash. Terressentials Body Washes are gentle, detergent-free, traditional castile soaps made from organic coconut and olive oils, blended with soothing organic aloe vera juice, organic herbs, pure minerals and organic essential oils. The Body Wash is also recommended as the initial deep-cleansing step before starting to use the Hair Wash, and as a once- or twice-a-month alternative to the Hair Wash. Some people choose to use the Body Wash/vinegar rinse for their regular hair cleansing, as often as needed.

The procedure (as described in the the Hair Wash Instructions sheet you should pick up with your Hair or Body Wash purchase) is simply to wash the hair with the Body Wash and rinse well with lots of plain water. Immediately after rinsing with plain water, you must apply a dilute vinegar and water rinse to the hair as a “conditioner.” Be sure to massage the rinse well into the hair and scalp to remove precipitated minerals deposited on your hair from your castile Body Wash and the tap water.

For the vinegar/water rinse, use 1 part organic vinegar to 2 parts water (apple cider or white or rice), or up to a 1 part vinegar:1 part water mixture depending on your preference. Use about one cup of the mixture for short hair, more for longer hair. This rinse used periodically can help to remove impurities and calm static, too.

So now you have two great options from Terressentials for cleaning your hair – the world-famous “mud” Hair Wash, and the lathering Body Wash (in four delicious “flavors,” plus Fragrance-free). Needless to say, the Body Wash is also wonderful for cleansing — you guessed it — your body!

Presentation rescheduled! SOLAR POWER: ~How Solar Technology Works & Why is it so popular~

Solar City LogoValley Co-op is excited to have Community Partner Chris Vautrin, an experienced Solar Engineer with SolarCity, lead a class on how solar energy works. The class will be held from 2 to 3pm on Sunday, March 13, in a barn on a beautiful historic estate in the Smithsburg area. (For privacy reasons the address will be provided once you have registered.) Chris will also explain why so many people have been getting their own free solar system lately, and how to go about it. (Valley Co-op members who get their system booked by 03/27/2106 are eligible for a $125 Valley Co-op Gift Card.) Class fee is only $5.

Email storemanager@valleycoop.org, add the class to your online shopping basket or pay at the register. They will go fast, reserve your space now!

DSCN7596 M1 Chris Vautrin small, borderChris has lived in his 1869 farmhouse for over 16 years. He says: “Solar energy is not just something I work with every day as a professional, it’s something that is hugely important to me as a long-time organic gardener, just like it is to the wonderful local farmers who share the fruit of their hard work with Valley Co-op members. We often forget that without plenty of clean sun energy, hardly anything would grow!

Our Valley Co-op is truly a gem. It’s pretty much the only place where you can get many of these farmers’ products. The Co-op has helped my family gain access to clean local foods and I am very pleased to be able to help our co-op families understand how they can gain access to clean solar energy.”

If you have solar questions before the class, feel free to contact Chris at 240-500-1496 or cvautrin@solarcity.com (email is preferred).

Valentine’s Day Menu – Featuring Ingredients from the Co-op

Valentine’s Day at our house was made extra-special this year, thanks to the abundance of wonderful ingredients I found at the Valley Co-op. I thought I would share some of the results.

Our menu consisted of:

Pan-Roasted Sablefish Sauced with Tangerine/Lime Beurre Blanc with Black Garlic

 

sablefish1 sablefish2

I bought the fish at Great Alaska Seafood, but everything else was sourced at the VC, including the leeks that I dried last summer — they make a fun and eye-catching garnish here. The Black Garlic is a new one on me, but is a fermented product containing nothing but raw garlic and natural organisms. It provides an intense umami flavor that played well against the bright tartness of the citrus and the buttery sweetness of the fish. A purist will note that the beurre blanc “broke,” but the flavors were entirely unaffected!

Our intermezzo was a zingy, palate-clearing:

Field Greens Salad with Purple Radish and Bahamian Pepper Vinaigrette

radish 2 radish1

Here, the greens and radish were on the shelf at the VC the day before Valentine’s Day, and inspired this simple salad. Extra-virgin olive oil, seasoned rice vinegar, and the last of a bottle of Bahamian pepper sauce were the only non-local ingredients

Our main course consisted of:

Grass-Fed Beef Tenderloins with Mushrooms and Shallots, Served with Oven-Roasted Winter Vegetables

beef tenderloin

The tenderloins come from Legacy Manor Farm, my go-to source for the best beef and pork products around. The beef is very lean, so I cooked it in butter from Trickling Springs, using home-grown shallots and mushrooms from Tuscarora Organic Farm, as well as a jar of “brown sauce” made from steer bones and canned a few months ago. The ruby turnips and golden beets, also from Tuscarora, are peeking out in the background, and are shown below.

I love the color combinations here, between the ruby turnip, the golden beets, and the purple radish. Note the package of Black Garlic (and try to ignore the beer, though it was great!).

ingredients

It is humbling and delightful to have such incredibly fresh, impeccably pure and entirely wholesome food available at the Valley Co-op — especially during the middle of winter! I am looking forward with anticipation to what the spring will hold for us.

If you enjoy preparing great meals with fantastic ingredients, and you believe in the many values of locally-grown food, you need look no farther than our own Valley Co-Op.

But the Co-Op won’t survive without your support! You might be surprised at the wide range of products you can get there. Consider (as I do) making the Co-Op the first stop on your grocery-shopping journey. You can always get whatever remains on your list at a chain store, but I’ll guarantee you won’t find food like this anywhere else in Washington County!

Julius G. Goepp, MD
Hagerstown

Fantastic Fermented Foods – DIY Kimchi

The ancient method of preserving foods through fermentation has regained popularity for a healthy digestive system, weight loss and immune system boosting qualities. Read “The Real Reason Your Guts Need Fermented Foods” which references The Weston Price Foundation‘s history & importance of fermentation.  Although you can find many fermented products at stores and Valley Co-op such as: raw sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, kefir, cheeses, pickles, and olives, you can make some of these at home as well.

A friend introduced me to Kimchi as we discussed beneficial fermented foods. Kimchi is a Korean recipe for fermented Napa cabbage, that is eaten nearly every day in the Korean culture. Being from PA Dutch Country, I LOVE Sauerkraut (LOVE IT!), so I thought I would give some Kimchi a try at home. I thought I would share with you my first attempt with a recipe found on PrimallyInspired.com-“How to Make Kimchi (My Mom’s Famous Spicy Kimchi Recipe)”.

Kimchi2

I was able to find the ingredients pretty easily. Prepping the ingredients was easy to follow the directions, but takes a bit of time, so plan ahead. I’m a bit of a wimp when it comes to spicy foods, so I cut the recipe’s hot Korean chili flakes  amount in half. Plus, I did’t want to go overboard so I easily cut the entire recipe in half so I wasn’t stuck with a ton of Kimchi that my family would turn their noses to.

Kimchi3Much to my husband’s chagrin, I am a hoarder of glass jars since they are superior over plastic and much cuter! My friend had to empty out her stash of pickles and olives to reuse the jars when she made her full batch Kimchi! Since I halved the recipe, I only needed three jars.

Once your Kimchi is packed in the jars and lids on tightly, the science experiment begins. The ingredients begin to lacto-ferment, which essentially means naturally occurring bacteria converts sugars to lactic acid, thus preserving the food. Over the next 3-5 days bubbles will occur inside the jars. That is fermentation at work! You must “burp” the jars by cracking the lid and resealing it just like you would crack a soda.

Kimchi1

bubbles forming in fermenting kimchi jars

The next step is really up to personal taste. The longer you ferment your Kimchi, the tangier it will taste. If you don’t taste the tang, let it sit on your counter a bit longer. When its ready, move the jars to a refrigerated location. The recipe says the finished, unopened Kimchi will last a full year in your refrig, but I promise it won’t stick around that long. We used ours on tacos, and it was so good, I missed an opportunity to take a final shot. We also used it on our scrambled eggs and in homemade ramen noodle soup. Until the next batch…Enjoy!

Solar Power: How Solar Technology Works and is so Popular

POSTPONED – DATE TBD

Solar City Logo

Valley Co-op is excited to have Community Partner Chris Vautrin lead a class on how solar energy works. The class will be held at Valley Co-op from 6 to 7pm on Saturday, February 13. Chris will also explain why so many people have been getting their own free solar system lately, and how to go about it. (Members who get their system designed and set up by 2/28/2016are eligible for a $125 Valley Co-op Gift Card.) 

Please click here for details 

Class fee is only $5 and we have a very limited amount of spots. To reserve your spot, email storemanager@valleycoop.org, add the class to your online shopping basket or pay at the register. They will go fast, reserve your space now!

Chris has lived in his 1869 farmhouse for over 16 years. He says: “Solar energy is not just something I work with every day as a professional, it’s something that is hugely important to me as a long-time organic gardener, just like it is to the wonderful local farmers who share the fruit of their hard work with Valley Co-op members. We often forget that without plenty of clean sun energy, hardly anything would grow!Our Valley Co-op is truly a gem. It’s pretty much the only place where you can get many of these farmers’ products. The Co-op has helped my family gain access to clean local foods and I am very pleased to be able to help our co-op families understand how they can gain access to clean solar energy.”

If you have solar questions before the class, feel free to contact Chris at 240-500-1496 or cvautrin@solarcity.com (email is preferred).

Download the event flyer here.

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