Archives for September 2017

  • Eat Seasonally: Sprouts | 12.25.2013

    sprouts Sprouts are that rare superfood that hits the sweet spot between flavor and nutrition. In addition to classic alfalfa sprouts, look for zesty radish, peppery broccoli or savory onion sprouts, as well as crisp and crunchy mung bean sprouts.

    At Good Earth Market, local producer The Growing Business, owned by Daphne Zortman, provides us these delicious greens. Daphne started growing sprouts with her sister back in 1984, and she’s still the type of person who likes to get in there and get her hands dirty. She enjoys eating her own sprouts and is convinced of their powerful health benefits. “They’re a powerhouse of nutrients,” she exclaims, adding that her sprouts are very natural, too, being grown in well water and then cleaned – there’s very little processing that goes on.

    It’s hard to improve on the classic sandwich combo of turkey, avocado and sprouts, but how about radish sprouts, fresh goat cheese, and tomato on multigrain bread? Or onion sprouts, cream cheese and cucumber on rye? Sprouts go beyond sandwiches, too – use mild-flavored mung bean sprouts to garnish everything from stir-fries to soups.


    Quick Vegetable Bibimbap
    This recipe is a delicious signature Korean dish, literally meaning “mixed rice”.
    Serves 6, ready in 1 hour


    • 1 cup uncooked medium-grain brown rice
    • 1 tsp sesame oil
    • 1 tsp vegetable oil
    • 1 c. carrots, cut into matchsticks
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 c. zucchini, cut into matchsticks
    • ¼ lb button mushrooms, thickly sliced
    • 6 oz fresh spinach
    • 4 green onions, sliced
    • ½ lb baked or fried tofu, cut into 1-2 inch squares
    • 1 c. cucumber, cut into matchsticks
    • 2 oz mung bean sprouts
    • Pinch of salt
    • Pinch of ground black pepper
    • 6 large eggs


    • ¼ c. hot sauce (Gochujang, Sriracha or other hot chili paste)2 tsp tamari
    • 1 T. water
    • 1 tsp. sugar
    • 1 tsp. rice vinegar
    • ½ tsp sesame seeds

    Start cooking the rice according to package directions. In a small bowl, mix together all sauce ingredients. Set aside.
    In a wok or large skillet, heat the sesame and vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add carrots and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add garlic, zucchini, and mushrooms and stir-fry for another 2-3 minutes. Add spinach, and stir-fry just until it’s wilted and tender (about a minute). Remove from heat and toss the vegetables with the tofu, cucumber, bean sprouts, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Set aside vegetables, and fry 6 eggs over easy.
    To serve, place a scoop of rice in each bowl, top with some stir-fried vegetables, place a cooked egg on top, and garnish with sliced green onions. Serve the sauce on the side for drizzling.

    Reprinted by permission from  Find articles about your food and where it comes from, recipes, and a whole lot more at

  • Montana Heritage Orchard Program | 12.24.2013

     Montana Heritage OrchardWhen you think of states known for their fruit production, Montana is probably last on the list. However, parts of Montana have a rich history of fruit production including apples, pears, apricots, plums and cherries. Historically, orchards were planted throughout Montana by orchardists and homesteaders just trying to make a living. Although the orchardists and homesteaders may be gone, many of those orchards may still be intact today. Montana State University Extension is working across the state to identify and preserve those heritage orchards that still exist.

    One of the first things many homesteaders did after moving west and settling their land was to plant fruit trees. At that time produce did not ship well and was often very expensive. Therefore, eating locally was most likely their only option. If they didn’t grow it, they didn’t eat it.  Because of their value, fruit trees and small orchards used to be a prized component of many farms, ranches and communities. There are still remnants of these successful fruit trees and orchards scattered around the state, hidden in little sanctuaries located off the beaten path.  Some of these orchards hold prized trees of many old cultivars that may be over 100 years old and still producing.  Imagine what we can learn from these heritage orchards, and how they can assist us in rebuilding localized fruit production across the state.

    The first step in preserving these orchards is locating them and giving them the recognition they deserve.  This is where we need your help.  Do you know of a heritage orchard or old fruit trees in your neighborhood or county?

    What constitutes an orchard to be designated as a “Heritage Orchard”?
    There are two Heritage Orchard categories, “Backyard Orchards” and “Farmstead Orchards.” To be considered for a Backyard Heritage Orchard, there must be at least 6 living trees that are 50 years or older. To be considered a Farmstead Heritage Orchard, there must be at least 10 living trees that are at least 50 years old.  If the original planting date is unknown, contact your local MSU County or Reservation Extension Agent for assistance.

    How does the landowner benefit from being recognized as a “Heritage Orchard” location?
    Each landowner will receive a sign designating it as a Montana Heritage Orchard.  The sign will also include the names of the owners, the original planting date, program sponsors, and the web site address where the map of all the Heritage Orchards can be found.  If the landowner chooses, they may participate in the Heritage Orchard tourism efforts, giving them a chance to earn some revenue from the tourist traffic.  If the landowner agrees and wants to participate in propagating the trees, the owner will receive a portion of the grafted trees, and a portion of any revenue that may be associated with it.  MSU Extension will work closely with each orchard location on all aspects of the project.

    How do I get my orchard recognized?
    Contact your local MSU County or Reservation Extension Agent, and give them the information on the orchard.  For a list of all the County Extension Offices and their contact information, visit this web site, The Extension Agent will then send the information to the program administrator who will follow up with each location.

    If the orchard is a suitable Heritage Orchard candidate, the location will be placed on an interactive map administered through MSU Extension.   While on the website, a map user will be able to click on each location and read about the history of each orchard location.  It will also include a list of all the identifiable cultivars at each location.  MSU Extension will work closely with each landowner to preserve the existing trees, and propagate offspring for future generations to enjoy.

    Finally, in addition to recognition, preservation and propagation, the project will work to foster agro-tourism around these orchards.  Agro-tourism is a growing segment of our State’s economy and there is a prevailing interest among tourists to get off the beaten path and visit rural areas of the state.  The Montana Heritage Orchard Program will help encourage the public to visit these orchards, thus contributing to rural economies.

    Extension Agent’s Involvement – Options
    The Extension Agents can have as much or as little involvement in the project as they desire. Depending on the agent’s interest or available time, they can pick their level of involvement in the project.

    • Option 1 – Little to no involvement – send all Heritage Orchard correspondents directly to Toby Day, Horticulture Specialist or Brent Sarchet, Lewis and Clark County Extension Agent and they will be responsible for the follow up.
    • Option 2 – Contributor – flexible based upon the agent’s expertise or interest. The local agent could follow up with each location in their county verifying the number of trees, health of tress, cultivars if known, planting date, etc, and then pass on that information to Toby or Brent.
    • Option 3 – Partner – the local agent could be involved in all aspects from site visits, and research on the history of the orchard, to assisting the owners with tree health and propagation.  If you have a passion for fruit trees and want to be involved in the project on a state-wide basis, contact Toby or Brent.


    For additional information contact:
    Brent Sarchet, MSU/Lewis & Clark County Extension Agent


    Toby Day, MSU Extension Horticulture Specialist




  • Goals for a More Vital 2014 | 12.22.2013

    Dolly, GEM's Wellness Manager#1 – Build your muscles. Weight lifting and resistance training strengthen muscles, which support bones and joints. For women, it’s crucial for preventing muscle and bone loss with age. Exercising also makes your heart muscle strong (*very important!). Being strong makes daily tasks easier and more enjoyable!

    #2 – Swap it out. Trade your desk chair for a stability ball. Watch your core strength and posture improve!

    #3Eat at least two fish meals per week. The evidence is strong that the oils in darker types of fish, such as salmon, tuna, mackerel and herring, are beneficial for the heart and brain and may even lower risk of cancer.

    #4 – Drink water. Drink an 8-ounce glass of water as soon as you wake up in the morning to rev up your metabolism. Stay hydrated throughout the day! Drinking water can curb the urge to snack mindlessly, especially if you are not truly hungry.

    #5 – Play more. Get a dog, get moving, get up and DO something. Use a pedometer, set a goal for 10,000 steps in a day! Spend time outside. Don’t go without the mood-lifting benefits of sunshine and fresh air!

    #6 – Take up a new hobby. Find an activity that fulfills your passion. Take a class, learn a new skill. Challenge yourself! You can do it!

    #7 – Eat breakfast. Eat small meals every 3-4 hours, include lean protein, healthy fats, and cut out the sugar. This will keep your energy up, and eliminate hunger pangs, especially in the evening.

    #8 – Increase protein & fiber in your daily regime. Make smart food swaps such as turkey for beef, a green salad for starchy peas and corn, whole grains for white processed breads.

    #9 – Add more veggies to your meals. Nutrient-dense options include leafy greens, kale, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, radish, bean sprouts, peppers, turnips, carrots, cauliflower, artichoke, tomato, onion, and garlic.

    #10 – Stop making excuses.  Say YES more often. Try new things!

    #11 – Take your vitamins! It’s difficult to get all you need from the food you eat. Choosing a great multi-vitamin can make a difference

    #12 – Read the labels. Know what’s in your food. Can’t pronounce it? Look it up! Be aware of what goes into your body; be an intentional consumer.

    #13 – Sleep. All healing requires extra sleep.  During the day, one primarily uses the sympathetic nervous system, associated with spending energy and tearing down the body.  This is balanced by the parasympathetic system, associated with rest, nurturing and regeneration of body tissues.  This is equally important and takes place when one is resting.  One may call it maintenance or repair time.

    Written by Dolly Fansler, GEM’s Wellness Manager

  • Book Spotlight: Humans of New York | 12.06.2013


    Humans of New York by Brandon Stanton
    Member Price – $21.99
    Reg. $29.99
    SAVE $8

    Based on the blog with more than a million loyal fans, a beautiful, heartfelt, funny, and inspiring collection of photographs and stories capturing the spirit of a city

    In the summer of 2010, photographer Brandon Stanton set out on an ambitious project: to single-handedly create a photographic census of New York City.  Armed with his camera, he began crisscrossing the city, covering thousands of miles on foot, all in an attempt to capture New Yorkers and their stories.  The result of these efforts was a vibrant blog he called “Humans of New York,” in which his photos were featured alongside quotes and anecdotes.

    The blog has steadily grown, now boasting more than a million devoted followers.  Humans of New York is the book inspired by the blog.  With four hundred color photos, including exclusive portraits and all-new stories, Humans of New York is a stunning collection of images that showcases the outsized personalities of New York.

    Surprising and moving, printed in a beautiful full-color, hardbound edition, Humans of New York is a celebration of individuality and a tribute to the spirit of the city.

    With 400 full-color photos and a distinctive vellum jacket

  • Wine Spotlight: Classic Traditions | 11.25.2013

    As we prepare for the season’s festivities, our minds naturally gravitate to tradition and their unmistakable link to family.  It is a season to gather and to share, a perfect time of year to reflect and celebrate the year’s bounty. The holidays bring about many memories. Most are studded with flavors and smells; cinnamon, sage, grandmother’s tart cranberry dressing? Just like the traditions of the holiday table, there is an inherent joy in making wine just as it has been done for centuries. Simply put, it is a family recipe passed down through the generations. This season we want to share a few special wines that embody just that. Classical varietals that have stood the test of time, built for food and for sharing. Wines that are made to show the expression of the soil the vines grow from; nurtured to need nothing that nature doesn’t provide. Enjoy a glass knowing the families on the other side of the bottle are celebrating the same values and traditions we foster right here.

    Chateau Ducasse Bordeaux Blanc
    Semillon &Sauvignon Blanc
    A classic wine with a generous outcome. Flavors of pit fruit and citrus fill the palate with a backbone of minerality that lends itself nicely to many varieties of food. Perfect for the holiday table.

    Marcel Lapierre Raisins

    Marcel Lapierre Raisins Gaulois
    Declassified Beaujolais to allow for greater freedom in winemaking. A great expression of Gamay (young Morgon), one of the wine world’s most versatile pairing partners, dark cherry and baking spice. A real crowd pleaser.


    Henri Perrusset Macon Village
    This unoaked Chardonnay is fullbodied and layered with flavors of peach, Anjou pear, warm white blossom and a juicy, lasting finish.

    Clos La Coutale Cahors
    A hearty and rustic red from France’s southern Cahors region-the home of Malbec. Deep raspberry and bramble flavors paired up blue fruits and classic garrigue*.
    *Garrigue: the bushy, fragrant plants that grow wild along the limestone coasts of the Mediterranean, such as juniper, thyme, rosemary and lavender. Garrigue refers to the sum of them. Think Herbes de Provence, or a mix of fresh minty-herbal notes with more pungent, floral fragrances.

    Written by Lena Olson, Winegardner’s Wines. Learn more at

  • Eat Seasonally: Sweet Potatoes | 11.20.2013


    One of nature’s simple pleasures, the humble sweet potato brings healthy, wholesome sweetness to home-cooked meals.  Sweet potatoes are nutty, smooth and full of beta carotene, vitamin C and fiber.  Bake small sweet potatoes whole (like baking potatoes) and top with scallions, sour cream, crumbled bacon or sautéed mushrooms for a flavorful alternative to an old favorite;  or try something new and add steamed, cubed sweet potato to a coconut milk-peanut curry over rice.  For updated comfort food, try a Cuban-style pork stew with seared poblano chilies and chunks of rich sweet potato in place of, or in addition to, regular potato.

    Go to for more tips and hints on using seasonal veggies.

    Yam What I Am
    Try this twist on a holiday staple.  Spicy and tangy, this salad is ready-to-eat  in our Deli Café!

    Serves 6
    Ready in 1 hour

    • 3 lbs. garnet yams, peeled and cut into ½” to ¾” cubes
    • 8 garlic cloves
    • 1/3 c. olive oil
    • 1 pinch dry chipotle pepper (or more to taste)
    • 1/3 c. brown rice vinegar
    • 1 c. pecans
    • 3/4 c. dried cranberries
    • 1 bunch green onions, diced

    Preheat oven to 350 F.  Combine cubed yams, garlic and olive oil in a roasting pan and bake until yams are soft, but not mushy (about 40 minutes).  Drain and retain olive oil and garlic cloves.  Combine garlic, olive oil, and chipotle peppers in food processor or blender and blend until well-mixed.  Add garlic mixture and all other ingredients to yams and mix well.

    We still have lots of local squash and pumpkins rolling in of all sizes, shapes and colors!

  • An Attitude of Gratitude | 11.18.2013

    Happy Holidays from the co-op staff!

    On a Friday afternoon, we asked our staff what they were most thankful for…

    Melissa Blaine, Deli
    ….for my job and for the people that I work with.  I’m thankful to have my own place and great friends and family to come over and hang out. It’s the simple things that really matter, like going to get a coffee.  Things people don’t think about.”

    Dan Davis, Produce & Bulk Manager
    …for the health of my baby boy on the way.

    Jennifer Sexton, Cashier
    …the awesome fall and for rain.

    Margaret Murray, Deli
    …for change.

    Teresa Regan, Deli
    …to be alive, to be free, to be a mother, and to have a wonderful place to work.

    Tracy Treinen, Office Manager & Meat Buyer
    …for family and friends.

    Nolan Fry, Deli
    … to be alive and relatively healthy.  I’m doin’ pretty good.

    Chris Webb, Deli
    …for my wife, my two daughters, and my two dogs.

    Mallory Harman, Deli
    …for water, yoga and wise words.  I’m thankful for my niece, vegetables, & the opportunity to travel.  I’m thankful for snow, the changing trees, & Good Earth Market.  I’m thankful for today.

    Ben Anderson, Lead Grocery Clerk
    …for my friends and family, my job, my car, and my health.

    Connie Brock, Cashier
    …for the privilege of showing up and being seen.  For all that has brought me to this place in my life.  And of course dogs and chocolate don’t hurt anything either.

    Tim Caraway, Deli
    …for my job & family life.  And new beginnings.  And money.  I hate money, but you have to have it.

    Dolly Fansler, Wellness Manager 
    …for opportunities and challenges.  And Google.

    Dawn Gauchay, Deli
    …for freedom and being out of prison after 18 years.  And for my family and my friends and my lady.

    Carole Kiel, Kitchen Manager
    …for my sisters, my heath, and Obamacare.

    Joe Vaden, Cashier and Grocery Clerk
    …for my new family.  I am very thankful for that.  And my Good Earth Market family – they’ve helped me out a lot.

    Sarah Daniels, Produce Buyer
    …for my family.  The very greatest thing – for their support and craziness.  And hot tubs.

    Alicia Weber, Marketing Manager
    …for lots of things, but today I’m thankful for the opportunity to have been able to learn from Perry McNeese for the past six years.

    Bo Walker, Front End Manager
    …for the Good Earth Market and its amazing staff!

    Pam Kemmick, Deli Manager
    …I feel like I’m endlessly thankful for things and it’s hard to define which is most important

  • Holiday Gifts at the Co-op | 11.15.2013

    photo 3

      This year I am going to do all of my Christmas shopping at the co-op, and you can too! Spoil someone you love with a beautiful handmade Alpaca wool hat or pair of socks from Alpacas of Montana. The wool is soft, extremely warm, and will last a lifetime.

    Do you have any wine lovers in the family? Ten Spoon Winery and Yellowstone Cellars both make fantastic wine right here in Montana, and they have a wide range of varietals to choose from. Martinson’s Chocolates make great host gifts for your holiday parties. I particularly love the Back Home Butter Almond Crisp. Maggie’s Organic cotton tights, leggings, and socks are a must-have this time of year and they’re cute to boot! 

    Tumblewood Teas from Big Timber are fresh, flavorful, and make the perfect cup of tea along with the Travelin’ Tumbler, the handiest travel mug you’ll ever own! Handcrafted Kitchen Utensils by Bart Bilden are a must for all of the cooks in your family – I personally own four.

    photo 1

    This Christmas I’m really excited about a new item in the store – native wildflower seeds from Native Ideals Seeds farm. Each seed packet, which is uniquely designed by Missoula artists, contains perennial seeds native to Montana. They are little pieces of art that make awesome stocking stuffers! I am also thrilled about our latest Tiffany Miller designed GEM shirts. Tiffany is a local artist/clothes designer and member of the co-op. These shirts are truly one of a kind!

    Gift certificates are also a great option. Who wouldn’t love a gift certificate to their favorite whole foods grocery store?  You can purchase a gift certificate from any of our cashiers and have your Christmas shopping done in minutes.

    Special order a gift basket!  You pick the size, price & theme, and we’ll do the rest!  Please order 3-5 days before pick up time.  Orders can be placed with a cashier, or give us a call!


    Don’t forget the little items, too – we carry a great selection of chocolate, cards, candles, soaps, lotions and more that make great gifts year round!

    By Rachel Guidi, Grocery Manager

  • Holiday Shopping List | 11.08.2013

    holiday pick

    The Main Course
    Succulent poultry and flavorful substitutes!
    □  Natural turkey (Mountainview Colony, Lavina)
    □  Heritage turkey (Lazy SR Ranch, Wilsall)
    □  Lamb (Lehfeldt Ranch, Lavina)
    □  Ham (Lazy SR Ranch, Wilsall, or Amaltheia Dairy, Belgrade)
    □  Goose (Moutainview Colony, Lavina)
    □  Duck (Mountainview Colony, Lavina)
    □  Organic Beef Steaks and roasts (BBar Ranch, Big Timber)

    Skip the Bird
    No turkey?  No problem?  Try our other delicious options.
    □  Tofurkey
    □  Field Roast Grain meats
    □  Seitan
    □  Tofu

    Simple and flavorful starters

    □  GEM Hummus (Chipotle, Spinach Feta, Bell Pepper, Classic, Red Lentil, Sundried Tomato)
    □  Pineapple Mango Salsa (Kenny’s Double D Salsa, Billings)
    □  Homemade Cranberry Salsa from the Deli Cafe
    □  Homemade dips & spreads from the Deli Café
    □  Holiday party trays (for special order in the deli – just ask a clerk!)

    Snacks  & Treats
    Ready-to-go goodies
    □  Organic mixed nuts
    □  Roasted nuts (for a limited time only – Good Earth Market roasted nuts, too)
    □  Yogurt pretzels
    □  Chuck & James Chewy Granola (Sidney)
    □  Local chocolates (Martinson’s Chocolates, Huntley)
    □  Organic dark chocolate

    The season’s best local and organic produce!
    □  Local Apples (Ross Orchards, Fromberg, & Boja Farms, Big Timber)
    □  Broccoli
    □  Carrots
    □  Cauliflower
    □  Celery
    □  Cranberries
    □  Local garlic
    □  Green beans
    □  Herbs
    □  Local onions
    □  Local pumpkins
    □  Local russet potatoes
    □  Local squash
    □  Sweet potatoes

    Baking Supplies
    Bake it fresh
    □  Chocolate chips
    □  Gluten-free flours and mixes
    □  Gluten-free pie shells
    □  King’s Cupboard chocolate sauces (Red Lodge, MT)
    □  Local eggs
    □  Local flour (Wheat Montana, Three Forks)
    □  Organic flour
    □  Organic sugar
      Organic Valley butter
    □  Pecans
    □  Frozen pie shells
    □  Organic pie spice
    □  Pumpkin puree
    □  Spices (buy from our bulk department to save money and get fresh spices in the amount you need!)
    □  Vanilla extract
    □  Walnuts

    Delicious Time-Savers
    Save time and eliminate stress.
    □  Stuffing mix
    □  Turkey gravy mix
    □  Vegan & gluten-free gravy mixes
    □  Frozen veggies & fruits
    □  Cranberry sauce
    □  Cream of mushroom soup
    □  French fried onions
    □  Frozen pie shells (whole wheat, spelt, and gluten-free)
    □  Frozen pies (Time 2 Savor, Billings)
    □  Fresh breads (On the Rise, Bozeman)

    Delight your guests
    □  Mulling spices
    □  Organic sparkling cider
    □  Perrier sparkling water
    □  Champagne
    □  Local wine (Yellowstone Cellars & Winery, Billings, & Ten Spoon Vineyard & Winery, Missoula)
    □  Seasonal local beers
    □  JK’s Farmhouse Summer Hard Cider
    □  Local teas (Tumblewood Teas, Big Timber)

  • Wheat-free Cupcakes | 11.01.2013



    Total Time: 40 minutes
    Servings: 12 regular or 24 mini cupcakes


    • 2 eggs (room temperature)
    • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
    • 6 ounces unsalted butter, melted
    • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
    • 3/4 cup wheat-free flour mix
    • 1 tablespoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 3 tablespoons milk


    1. Preheat oven to 325º F.
    2. In a mixing bowl, blend the melted butter with the eggs and vanilla, then mix in the sugar.
    3. In a separate mixing bowl, combine the wheat-free flour mix, salt, baking powder and baking soda and mix well.
    4. Slowly add the dry mixture to the wet ingredients, mixing well, then add the milk and blend to a smooth consistency. Scoop or pipe the batter into a prepared cupcake pan lined with paper liners. Bake at 325 degrees F. for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool to room temperature before icing.

    Co+op Kitchen recipe by Philip Speer, also available at Find more recipes and information about your food and where it comes from at

  • October is Non-GMO Month! | 09.30.2013

    This October, Good Earth Market will be one of more than 1,500 grocery retailers across North America participating in the fourth annual Non-GMO Month—a celebration of people’s right to choose food and products that do not contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

    Studies show near-universal support for GMO labeling — over 90 percent of Americans want to know whether or not their food contains GMOs, and 2013 has seen a groundswell in the “right to know” movement. More than 1.2 million Americans have contacted the FDA asking them to implement mandatory labeling of GMO foods and 27 states have taken up GMO labeling bills like those passed in Maine and Connecticut in June.

    “With GMOs now contaminating as much as 80 percent of conventional packaged foods, we are more committed than ever to helping people find safe, healthy non-GMO choices,” says Alicia Weber, GEM’s Marketing Manager. “We believe people have the right to know what’s in their food, and we will be celebrating that right throughout Non-GMO Month this October.” During Non-GMO Month, Good Earth Market will help shoppers identify Non-GMO Project Verified choices with special shelf tags, end cap displays, sales, and educational materials.  Good Earth Market will also feature a free showing of the film “Genetic Roulette” on Wednesday, October 16 at 5:30pm.  Discussion to follow.

    Public concern about GMOs is rising as studies increasingly raise doubts about the long-term safety and environmental impact of this experimental technology. GMO labeling is mandatory in 64 countries around the world, including Australia, Russia, China, and all of Europe, but no such requirements exist in the U.S.

    Verified logo“The right to know what we’re eating and feeding our families is so basic,” says Megan Westgate, Executive Director of the nonprofit Non-GMO Project, which created Non-GMO Month. “Americans deserve the same freedom to avoid experimental GMO foods as people in other countries.”

    While consumers fight for their right to know at the polls, the Non-GMO Project provides shoppers an immediate solution to the presence of unlabeled GMOs.  As the only third party non-GMO verification in North America, the Non-GMO Project Verified seal is quickly gaining popularity. It is now the fastest growing label claim in the natural products industry with more than 11,000 Non-GMO Project Verified products.

    For additional information, visit the links below:

    “What is GMO?”

    “Non-GMO Month”

    “Labeling Survey Results”

    “State Labeling Initiatives”



  • Fair-Trade Company’s CEO to Visit Billings | 09.28.2013

    AlaffiaAlaffia, a Fair Trade body care company based in Olympia, WA, is celebrating its 10 year anniversary by sending CEO Olowo-n’djo Tchala on a two month, 8,780 mile, couch surfing tour across the US in a biodiesel van. The money saved on hotel rooms is being donated to their women’s maternal health care program in Togo, West Africa.

    Ten years ago, Alaffia began as a pledge, a pledge to promote gender equality by empowering women and bringing recognition to the indigenous knowledge they possess. Alaffia’s first co-op was made up of 50 women from 20 different ethnic groups, and has since grown to well over 500 women representing 70 percent of the 42 known ethnic groups in Togo. These co-ops are member-owned and exclusively employ women who receive a steady income and are empowered by valuing their traditional knowledge. As stated by Alaffia co-founder Rose Hyde: “In all of the other countries [In Africa] I’ve been in, I’ve never seen anything that compares to it. I’ve never seen a place where women go to work and it’s theirs.”

    As Alaffia grows, so does the number of women empowered, and communities uplifted, through Community Projects in Togo. These include the Maternal Health Program, which provides post and prenatal care for 1,000 women each year; planting 10,000 trees each year through their Reforestation Project, and empowering thousands of students with transportation through Bicycles for Education.

    During the months of September and October Alaffia’s CEO, Olowo-n’djo Tchala, will personally travel the US thanking stores and consumers for their support.

    “The reason our cooperatives continue to exist is the opportunities each and every one of you have given to Alaffia. My objective is to personally visit with you as an extension of my gratitude.” –Olowo-n’djo Tchala

    On Monday, October 21 at 9:00am, Alaffia Co- Founder Olowo-n’djo Tchala will be at Good Earth Market to give a presentation.  You are invited to come meet Olowo-n’djo and hear more about empowerment through fair trade.

    More information about Alaffia:

    Tour information: or Twitter: @AlaffiaSkinCare #TheEmpowermentTour




  • Eat Seasonally: Apples | 09.18.2013

    Beautiful, delicious, and healthy, apples are a triple win!  With so many varieties of apples to try, it is no use playing favorites.  Try a perfect Honeycrisp apple – its glacier-crisp crunch and perfect sweet-tart balance may challenge your ideas about health food.  Pie enthusiasts will want to try tart regional varieties like Granny Smith apples, adding lots of flavor without overdoing the sweetness.  Try toasting chopped apples with root vegetables when the weather gets cold, or use a cheese grater to shred fresh apple onto a green, leafy salad with curried raisin vinaigrette, and enjoy the sweet and savory flavors of a changing season.

    Watch for unique local varieties from Ross Orchards.  See our Produce page for a list!

    Ross Apples

    Brown Bag Apple Salad

    Serves 4-6.
    Prep time:  15 minutes

    1 apple, cored and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
    1 cup fresh pineapple, cut into 1-2/inch pieces
    1 cup seedless grapes, halved
    1 small orange, peeled and segmented
    1 tablespoon honey
    2 tablespoons apple juice
    1 tablespoon lemon juice
    1/2 cup granola
    Pinch of cinnamon
    3 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt (optional)

    In a large bowl, mix together all of the ingredients and serve immediately.  If making the salad a day ahead, add granola just before serving.

    Serving suggestion:  Pack the apple salad into individual serving containers and top each with equal amounts of the granola (if the lunch box/bag will not be in the refrigerator, leave out the yogurt).  Substitute orange juice for apple juice or lime juice for the lemon juice for an even perkier flavor.

    Reposted by permission from, where you’ll find articles about you food and where it comes from, recipes and a whole lot more at


  • Healthy Homemade Snacks | 08.29.2013

    Kids and adults need refueling — or to satisfy a food craving now and then — in the course of a day. Preparing healthy snacks ahead of time can help you and your family make easy, healthful choices when hunger strikes.

    In fact, developing a repertoire of healthy snacks provides the opportunity for you to boost nutrition while satisfying hunger. If your preschooler ordinarily won’t touch fruit, for example, offering her a banana smoothie or apple slices with yogurt dip when she comes home from school famished might just convince her.

    If your high schooler hasn’t gotten his share of calcium today, a yogurt parfait or some string cheese can be added to his tally during the course of the day.

    Snacks for Energy
    Keeping energy levels up requires frequent, healthful nourishment. Kids, in particular, need to eat often because they have smaller stomachs and quicker metabolisms than adults. For energy, choose snacks that are high in complex carbohydrates, like whole grains, and combine them with protein foods, like nut butters, cheese slices, and low-fat yogurt. Nuts are also good for a quick energy boost. Fruits, which are easily digestible, can provide energy in a flash, too.

    Bedtime Snacks
    Of course, there are times when energy isn’t what you’re looking for. Some snacks can actually help you sleep better. For bedtime snacks, choose those with healthful carbohydrates, such as fruits and whole grains, and calcium, such as milk or cheese. (Dairy is also a good choice because it contains tryptophan, an amino acid that’s thought to be sleep inducing.)

    Avoid foods that are high in sugar, because these can cause blood sugar levels to fluctuate, making it harder to nod off and stay asleep. And a little protein is fine, but too much can interfere with sleeping because it takes longer than some foods for your body to digest. Good bedtime options include a whole grain cereal with milk, a glass of warm milk with fruit, and cheese and whole grain crackers.

    Snacks also provide the perfect opportunity for exploring unfamiliar foods like fruits (pomegranate or persimmon, anyone?), nuts and nut butters (expand your horizons beyond peanut butter!) and cheese (that local Gruyere or Edam), for example.


    Here are some ideas for snacks that deliver great flavor and nutrition:

    Popcorn* Air-popped popcorn: Sprinkle generously with nutritional yeast, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, a natural Ranch dressing mix, or pop in coconut oil (a staff favorite!).

    * Fruit kebabs: Include fruits like berries, melon, and pineapple. Serve with a dip, such as softened cream cheese sweetened with just a drizzle of honey and a drop of vanilla. Or slide on cheese slices (cut into fun shapes, like stars or hearts for young kids). Try rolling a banana in peanut butter and chopped nuts and freeze for a healthy popsicle!

    * Dips: Kids and adults alike love to dip, so serve up some hummus or white bean dip alongside some fresh veggies or whole grain crackers.

    * Quesadillas: Use whole grain tortillas to make quesadillas packed with cheese, beans, corn and tomatoes. Add cooked tempeh cubes or leftover cooked meat or poultry pieces, if you wish.

    * Homemade cookies: Cookies are hard to resist and some are more nutritious than others, so think about choosing recipes that include more wholesome ingredients like oats, dried fruit, and nuts.

    * Extra-ordinary nut butter and jelly sandwich: Transform the usual PB&J by using a variety of nut butters and fruit spreads (rather than high-sugar jellies). Use whole grain bread. Or simply serve a nut butter with fruit slices on rice cakes or whole grain crackers.

    * Fortified fruit crisp: Make a fruit crisp (sweetened with just a little honey or maple syrup), topped with wheat germ or granola and a dollop of yogurt.

    * Smoothie sensations:  Use any combination of fruit, yogurt, milk, soymilk, and fruit juice to make instant snacks in your blender. Add protein by including a spoonful of peanut butter (especially good with banana, and vanilla yogurt!). Add extra heft and calcium by including some milk powder. Toss in a couple of ice cubes to make the drink frothy.

    * Squirrel food: Make your own trail mix with an array of nuts and seeds, dried fruits and, if you like, whole grain cereal. Add a few chocolate or carob chips to for a sweet treat.

    * Ice pops:  Pour unsweetened fruit juice and/or leftover smoothies into molds or ice cube trays. Include fruit, like raspberries or blueberries, and yogurt for a dairy boost. You can even blend in a little peanut butter for protein.

    * Perfect pitas: Make your own pita chips: Cut into triangles, brush with a little olive oil, sprinkle with a little something (like Italian seasoning, garlic powder, or nutritional yeast). Bake until lightly browned. Dip in hummus. Or stuff pita bread with scrambled eggs or tofu salad.

    * Fruit pinwheels: Spread cream cheese or nut butter on soft, whole grain tortillas. Add fresh fruit slices (or dried fruit pieces), then roll and slice.

    * Fruit and veggie muffins: Substitute applesauce for some or most of the sweetener in any muffin recipe. Banana can often be substituted for eggs and it’s easy to ‘smuggle in’ zucchini or carrots for a produce boost.

    * Fruit leather: Cut very ripe fruit into pieces and puree in blender or food processor. Add honey or maple syrup to citrus fruits (no need to sweeten other fruits). Pour into a cookie sheet that’s lined with waxed paper. Spread to edges. Bake in a warm (140 degree) oven for about four hours.

    * Mini sandwiches: Whether or not you serve tea (an herbal iced tea would be nice!), offer mini sandwiches because they’re special. Cut whole grain bread slices with a cookie cutter, top with hummus and a cherry tomato (or cream cheese and a cucumber slice), and serve open faced.




    Find it at the Co-op:  Watch our endcaps and Co+op Deals for savings on lunch items.

    Save time at the Deli Café:  If you need a lunch in a flash for you or your kids, our deli can quickly create a custom bagged lunch of sandwiches (see our kids’ sandwich menu!) or other healthy foods.  Call ahead and we’ll have it ready for you!

  • Drink Like a Roman | 08.20.2013

    romanThe tangible evidence of antiquity’s amphitheaters and coliseums dot the European landscape, but the influence of the great Roman society is felt all around us. It was a multifaceted culture covering much of the globe, fostering a great value in education and community. Their endurance and influence staged the foundation for much of the world’s language, politics, philosophy and art.

    This progressive lifestyle spread throughout the modern world via conquest and imposed example; winemaking was no exception. Romans believed that wine was a necessity of daily life, occupying religious, medicinal and social roles. As their empire grew, it became more important to understand the vine. They sought out to produce better quality grapes, vigorously planting new vines to compete with the growing population and demand for export. Wine grapes were planted throughout the empire, simultaneously establishing the fundamentals of wine making.

    Their blossoming society was centered around Rome and, like their majestic ruins, many of the wines have stood the test of time. Just south of the town of Rome lies the Frascati region of Italy. Geological evidence traces their cultivation of grape vines back to the 5th century BC. Frascati is and has been planted with grapes indigenous to the Mediterranean basin and is best known for producing crisp and refreshing white wine meant to be consumed through the afternoon heat. Or perhaps August in Montana.

    Find it at the Co-op :Pic - Frascati

    MEMBER PRICE $9.99
    August 1 – September 31
    Reg. price $11.99

    2011 Villafranca Frascati Superiore
    Produced by the Gasperini family in the prestigious area of D.O.C.*, Frascati has upheld the most modern technologies, with a great respect to tradition, since 1909.

    Made from 65% Malvasia, 15% Trebbiano, and 15% Grechetto (Greco). Intense yellow color with greenish reflections. Characteristic persistent fresh and fruity aromas of melon and almond notes. Excellent as an aperitif and paired with fresh fish, seafood or white meat.


    *D.O.C. (Denominazione di origine controllata) – a system regulating the details of wine production put in place by the Italian government. Similar systems can be found throughout the world.

    Written by Lena Olson of Winegardner’s Wines. Learn more at



  • Preserving Tips: Dehydration | 08.15.2013

    No added ingredients necessary! Air circulation and heat—from the sun or a dehydrator—are all you need to dry many fruits and veggies for storage. The dehydrated product is easy to store, too.

    Here are a few tips:

    • You can make simple drying racks out of untreated wood and screen. The racks, which can be stacked, are designed to keep the food off the ground and allow air to circulate underneath.

    • Placing cheesecloth on the screen under the produce will help absorb the moisture.

    • When drying produce in the sun, also cover with cheesecloth to protect from insects and birds.

    • You can purchase a dehydrator, which evaporates the moisture. These are made up of stackable trays that sit over a heating element. Stovetop dryers are also available. (While our ancestors would dry produce in the warming oven of a wood stove, using your oven isn’t an energy savvy method of dehydration, no matter how low the setting.)

    • Don’t dry food in the microwave; the food will usually burn before it dries.

    • To make fruit leather, dry thin sheets of fruit purée.

    parsley• Another simple dehydration method is to string and hang herbs, onions, and garlic.

    • To dry veggies, blanch them first, then dry in the sun or a dehydrator.

    • Store dried produce in an airtight container in a dark place.


    For more information on dehydrating, check out the Yellowstone County Extension Service and download their preserving guides.

    Dehydrating Vegetables (pdf)

    Dehydrating Fruits (pdf)

  • Preserving Tips: Freezing & Blanching | 08.05.2013

    Freezing is often the easiest method of preserving produce.  It’s an especially good choice for asparagus, blueberries, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cantaloupe, cauliflower, corn, eggplant (in a casserole), green beans, lima beans, peas, peppers, pumpkin (puree), raspberries, rhubarb, snap beans, spinach, strawberries, summer squash, and wax beans.

    Blanch and Freeze Fresh VegetablesHere’s a few tips to get you started:

    • Choose fully ripe fruit and vegetables that are slightly immature.

    • Let cooked items (like sauce) cool to room temperature before freezing. When you first place in freezer, leave room around the container so air can circulate. Once frozen, stack with rest of items.

    • To “flash freeze” berries, place on a metal sheet, freeze, and transfer when solid to freezer containers or bags. This method retains the shape of the fruit nicely.

    • Prevent freezer burn by squeezing excess air out of freezer bags (but leave head room at the top of bags or containers for expansion of liquids).

    • To freeze pitted fruit, rinse and gently dry. Cut unpeeled fruit in half, remove pit, and slice into wedges. Place in freezer containers or bags.

    • Freeze fresh corn kernels simply by placing in a container or resealable plastic freezer bag.

    • Freeze tomato sauce or juice (rather than tomatoes).

    • To defrost fruit, run under cool water.

    • Store frozen foods at 0 degrees F or less.

    • Keep your freezer full for maximum energy efficiency (fill empty spaces with ice, if necessary).

    • Blanch veggies before freezing by steaming or immersing in boiling water. This sets the color, retains vitamins, and stops ripening.


    In the Co+op Kitchen:
    Blanch & Freeze Fresh Vegetables with Hilah Johnson

    Blanching is a great way to preserve peak color, flavor and nutrition in vegetables. Hilah Johnson takes us through the simple steps for blanching your fresh veggies. Once blanched, they can be added to salads or cooked dishes, or frozen for long-term storage.

    Find more Co+op Kitchen videos featuring information and easy recipes for making delicious meals at home, as well as handy hints from chefs and food enthusiasts who love sharing their passion for great food.



  • Summer YUM! | 07.30.2013

    We asked staff and member/owners which produce they’re most looking forward to this summer.  Here are their responses:


    The Battle kidsLindsey Battle, with Kimmie & Max IV

    “Our family likes to make sweet potato chips. And these little guys love bananas & apples. We also make kale chips and carrot fries in coconut oil. The carrots I fry, the rest I bake.”


    Carol Beam

    Carol Beam
    GEM’s Board President

    “My favorite fruit is actually what most people think is a vegetable – the ripe, red tomato. You need to slice it, add a dash of red wine vinegar, a dash of olive oil, a little salt & pepper, and a little basil. Let it sit and, oh my, you have the essence.”


    Heather BildenHeather Bilden
    Local Producer Committee Chair

    “Basil. I’m obsessed with the stuff. I like to add it plain to salads, like a green salad or a couscous salad, or even with steamed broccoli. It has so much flavor, it brings everything to life. Or I make pesto. It freezes really well in ice cube trays. Pop them into a freezer bag and they’re handy all winter.”


    PamPam Kemmick
    Deli Manager

    “One of our favorite things to do is wash and pluck grapes off the stem and put them in the freezer. Like little mini grape popsicle bites! We eat these all the time in the summer. They’re so delicious!”


    MacMac Schaffer

    APPLES! The local apples are brilliant here. There’a tree in my backyard just loaded and the funky ones are starting to fall now. You have to watch for bugs if you’re wildcrafting, but that’s still a lot of fun. I prefer local apples, but am eating Galas from New Zealand now. I really like the old-fashioned varieties, too. They used to grow so much here! Our area is great for fruit. I eat ‘em raw. I also like the local berries (lots of antioxidants!) and local Flathead cherries (good for the intestines!).”


    Joni SeeleyJoni Seeley

    “Apples are always good. I’m looking forward to them. Everybody likes the tomatoes and the watermelons. I like all of the local because it’s picked ripe and has more flavor. I love supporting local and appreciate the early farmer’s market you had this year. With the tomatoes, I just slice them and drizzle a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Or put them on a baguette with some feta or mozzarella, and a little basil. I like them cooked, too.”


    BenBen Anderson
    Lead Grocery Clerk

    “I’ve been into avocadoes, like guacamole, or cut up with tomatoes as a side dish. It’s cool and refreshing in the summer, and good with a little salt & pepper. It seems like they taste fresher in the summer because they’re in season.”


    Perry at his deskPerry McNeese
    General Manager

    “I LOVE BBar Ranch burgers, and the way I fix them is very unique. I put what I like on them, in them. I dice onions, quarter small, fresh mushrooms (don’t chop them any smaller or you won’t taste them), a few chopped jalapenos, cubes of blue or cheddar cheese (you can grate it, but then you won’t get the tasty pockets or cheese). I cook them medium, never well and make them huge – ½ pound hamburger with all the fixings. All ingredients go in raw – my favorite summer food!”


    Nolan  with pluotsNolan Fry
    Deli Clerk

    “Those pluots have been so amazing. They’re like candy, but better for you, obviously. I had never had them before I started working here. They’re incredibly juicy – two a day makes you a happy person.”



  • NCGA Resources for YOU! | 07.25.2013

    In the spring of 2011, we became a member of the National Cooperative Grocers Association (a.k.a NCGA). Your little Co-op is growing up! Joining NCGA has given us access to numerous resources, helping our Co-op remain competitive in the marketplace.

    PrintYou’ve probably noticed many changes already: more competitive pricing, new Co+op Deals sales program, an overall step-up in our operations, the little Co+op Stronger Together logo that peeked its little head and has now become a store foundation. The staff is working very hard to use the resources and implement the programs that work for the uniqueness and individuality of our own cooperative.

    But along with the resources that have improved your shopping experience in the store, NCGA has numerous resources developed specifically for you, the member-owner!
    NCGA’s consumer website. Check it out! You’ll find a plethora of helpful articles – seasonal recipes, how-to’s on gardening and making smart food choices, how to cook just about anything. For you travelers, you can search co-ops anywhere in the nation to ensure you get to eat the tastiest, healthiest food while on vacation. Visit and “Like” Co+op Stronger Together on Facebook.

    Co+op KitchenCo+op Kitchen
    A brand new NCGA release – 55 how-to videos by co-op experts from around the country, with more on the way! When it comes to cooking at home, choosing the right ingredients and understanding basic kitchen skills can make the difference between a good meal and an amazing one. In the video series, Co+op Kitchen, you’ll find handy hints from chefs and food enthusiasts who love sharing their passion for great food, plus easy recipes for delicious homemade meals.

    From learning about tempeh and how to grow your own sprouts to making a delicious Tempeh Taco and cooking the perfect steak, you’ll want to see what’s cooking in the Co+op Kitchen!

    And, be sure to check out the FREE Co+op Kitchen iPad app for iOs6 on iTunes.

    Co+op DealsCo+op Deals Ads
    Two flyers monthly! Not only do these ads feature the top sales at your Co-op (with big savings!), look inside for tips and information on your food and where it comes from. Check out each issue for information on seasonal produce, cheese, cooking tips; as well as recipes!


    NCGA is providing more resources all the time in an effort to support and build local food and local communities. At the heart of the mission is taking care of the individual member-owner, that’s you!, and building the value around your food choices at the Co-op and the impact it has in our community.




  • Board Notes: The Co-op Triple Bottom Line | 07.19.2013

    THE “2020 CHALLENGE” – This is the 3rd in a series of articles dedicated to the “2020 Challenge”.  The 2012 Year of the Co-op came to an end but in the eyes of the International Co-operative Alliance, 2012 marked the beginning of the “2020 Challenge”. The “2020 Challenge” is simple:

    • Co-operatives will lead in economic, social and environmental sustainability, and
    • Co-ops will be the preferred model for business, and
    • Co-ops will be the fastest growing form of enterprise.

    The starting point for this “2020 Challenge” is the powerful claim which co-ops make to the outside world – we have a way of doing business that is better than most. We give individuals active participation through ownership, making them more engaged in the success of the co-op. And the co-op business model creates greater economic, social and environmental sustainability.

    There are 5 interlinked themes that will make this decade of the co-op successful:

    1) Elevate participation within membership and governance to a new level.
    2) Position co-ops as builders of sustainability.
    3) Build the co-operative message and secure the co-operative identify.
    4) Ensure supportive legal frameworks for co-operative growth.
    5) Secure reliable co-operative capital while guaranteeing member control.


    Building Sustainability
    Although there are some local exceptions, at present sustainability is not a term that is universally associated with co-operatives. This needs to change by 2020. The co-op movement needs to demonstrate a deep commitment to sustainability, as well as its positive contribution to sustainability in 3 senses – economic, social and environmental. In the sustainable world, having a focus on these 3 senses is often referred to as the “Triple Bottom Line” concept – profit, people and place. Contrast this with the “Single Bottom Line” concept of all other business models – profit. Co-ops have always set out to enable people to have access to goods and services without exploitation. This means trading in accordance with a set of values that believe in the “triple bottom line” approach. By placing human need at the center, co-ops seek to optimize outcomes for a range of stakeholders rather than maximizing the benefit of any single stakeholder.

    So how do we go about measuring the value we produce with our “Triple Bottom Line” approach?

    Economic sustainability (profit)
    There is evidence that a diversity of ownership contributes to a more stable financial sector. The investor-owned company was central to how the financial crisis occurred, with managers acting in the interests of themselves and a very small number of stakeholders. Contrast this with co-operatives. We act in the interests of our members, pursuing value for everyone and making us intrinsically less risky. Take the example of co-op banks and credit unions.  They have never made headlines for causing a financial crisis – in fact, most have quietly grown and prospered because of the co-op business model.

    Social Sustainability (people)
    Among the negative externalities generated by contemporary capitalism are social problems associated with inequities. The study of social capital suggests that societies with higher levels of membership associations do better economically, enjoying higher levels of trust and democratic participation. Co-ops contribute to the stock of a nation’s social capital in ways that traditional businesses do not. The United Nations, for example, urges governments to encourage and facilitate the establishment and development of co-ops, including taking measures aimed at enabling people living in poverty or belonging to vulnerable groups to engage on a voluntary basis in the creation and development of co-ops.

    Environmental Sustainability (place)
    There is a growing body of evidence demonstrating that co-ops have a superior environmental record. Much of this is due to the co-op business model and the concerns for the future environmental outcomes. We are less focused on calculating a return on investment and more focused on the greater good (the “Triple Bottom Line”.)

    All of this discussion around sustainability is great but it won’t serve us well unless we help others understand the importance of the “Triple Bottom Line”. As a co-op, we have much to gain from seizing our approach and demonstrating its positive impact. We need to step up to the challenge of advocating for and demonstrating the value of our “Triple Bottom Line” to attract interest from the broader public, policy makers and young people. We need to work closer with other co-op businesses in our market to reinforce the sustainability of the co-op business model. As a board, we will be much more proactive in helping everyone to understand the “Triple Bottom Line”. As a member, you should be as well.

    Next – building the co-operative message and securing the co-operative identify.

    Carol BeamCarol Beam is the president of GEM’s Board of Directors.


  • Food for Skin: Summer Foods that Promote Healthy Skin | 07.11.2013

    Summer is well upon us with warmth and sunshine. Our skin takes a beating with the elements of dry hot wind, pool water, and too much sun. How can we continue to have beautiful glowing, hydrated skin all summer long?

    The season of summer has its own special foods, color, elements, and influence. The element of summer is fire and this element rules the heart and small intestine. The heart represents not only the actual heart organ, but the emotional state and memory. When our hearts are healthy, we are able to solve problems effortlessly and arrive at brilliant solutions. The emotion for the summer heart is joy, and the sound is laughter.

    The fire element is associated with the color red, so all foods that are red in color, including tomatoes, red peppers, beets, strawberries and cranberries benefit the heart and small intestine. Lycopine, an antioxidant, is very beneficial for the heart organ.

    Some foods that are calming include mushrooms, brown rice, oats, and jujube.  Herbs such as chamomile, catnip, skullcap, passion flower, and valerian are calming and very helpful when your mind is racing and you cannot go to sleep.

    The summer skin can have too much redness, such as having flushed faces, rosecea, eczema, and psoriasis. Where there is too much redness in the face, the foods that are bitter can combat chronic congestion in the nose, lungs or face, as well as yeast overgrowth, obesity and skin eruptions. Bitter foods are very good for anybody who suffers with congestion on the face. The bitter taste also increases intestinal muscle contraction, which helps with the peristalsis movement in the intestines. This means good movement in the digestive system, and good digestive movement removes toxins in the body and helps clear the skin.  Some bitter foods include rhubarb, kale, watercress and celery.

    WatermelonOther great foods for summertime are roasted red peppers, watermelon, or chilled tomato soups to bring back the fluids lost during perspiration. Of course, drink plenty of water and use sunscreen.

    Managing the hydration levels in the body and skin is very important for having beautiful skin. As mentioned above, eating foods that have a water content is the best way to get that extra water into our systems.

    Watermelon, our most famous summer food, is amazing and in my next workshop, we will explore just how amazing watermelon is and how it benefits our skin and body.

    During the summer months, nature is at its most expansive, abundant manifestation. The sun is at its highest, food is plentiful, and all plant life is full of vital life force. So eat healthy summer foods, be filled with summer Joy, laugh a lot, and infuse the energy of the color red.  All this will enhance the summer glow with your skin that the vital life force produces.

    Learn more about summer foods and protecting your skin at Susan’s next workshop, Saturday, July 13, 1:00pm-2:00pm. Susan Reddig, B.S., is a Licensed Esthetician at Clinical Skin Solutions of Billings, and Holistic Healthy Eating Coach. Susan’s focus is on beautiful skin through safe product and healthy eating.


  • Local Brews | 07.08.2013

    I’ve written quite a few times about local beer, wine, and spirits. Before you start linking this interest of mine to what it might say about my personal life (ahem), I instead encourage you to consider what wonderful beverages our state has to offer, especially in local craft beer.

    Local beer got a lot of press this spring with the coverage of Montana House Bill 616. HB 616 limits the amount of beer a brewery could serve on-site to 40% of its total business. If a brewery wishes to serve more than that, the establishment would be required to buy a new state license for $100,000.

    To the benefit of the local beer industry, the House Business and Labor Committee tabled the bill on April 3rd. I stopped in to talk to chat with Mike Uhrich, owner and brewmaster at Carter’s Brewing, about this issue.

    “It put a good scare on the brewers,” Mike said. “The bill would have affected every brewery in town and would have affected us quite a bit.”

    Like many Montana breweries, Carter’s makes an effort to use locally-sourced ingredients.  “All the revenue stays in Montana. We hire local people and use as many local ingredients as we can—we use quite a bit of Montana barley and local hops whenever we can. Other adjuncts [adjuncts are unmalted grains used in brewing]—sugar, spices—we try to get as much local as possible, too.”

    Like Mike at Carter’s, GEM is a strong supporter not just local food, but local drink, too. As such, we carry a substantial selection of Montana-made beer and wine from the following vendors, about which I am enthusiastic. Prudently, moderately enthusiastic.

    GEM’s selection of local beer and wine includes:

    YVBC BeerBayern Brewing, Missoula
    Big Hole Brewing Company, Belgrade
    Big Sky Brewing, Missoula
    Bozeman Brewing Company, Bozeman
    Flathead Lake Winery, Columbia Falls
    Harvest Moon Brewing Company, Belt
    Hidden Legend Winery, Victor
    Madison River Brewing Company, Belgrade
    Mission Mountain Winery, Dayton
    Red Lodge Ales, Red Lodge
    Ten Spoon Vineyard, Missoula
    Yellowstone Cellars & Winery, Billings
    Yellowstone Valley Brewing Company, Billings


    peter_toltonPeter Tolton currently serves on GEM’s Board of Directors, and is an advocate for the local arts.  Check it his latest project, Canvas!

  • Tips for Great Grilling | 07.03.2013


    Are you ready to take your grilling skills to new heights? Here are a few tips: Use a blend of spices, salt and herbs as a rub for grilled meat, fish, or tofu. Blends like Cajun, jerk, or tandoori spices add color, crunch and flavor.

    Marinades are another great way to spice up grilled foods. A basic marinade starts with oil, a sour element, and salt or seasoning. Tempeh and halloumi cheese are unusual bases for a tasty marinade, and great on the grill.

    Hit the sweet spot with grilled fruit, like bananas, peaches, nectarines or fresh figs. Just cut them in half, lightly coat with oil, and grill just a few minutes per side. Grilled fruit is amazing with ice cream.


    Grilled Vegetables with Tomato Apple Chutney

    Servings: 6
    Prep time: 50 minutes

    · 2 T. vegetable oil
    · 1/3 c. yellow onion, diced
    · 1 ½ t. fresh ginger, peeled and minced
    · 2 cloves garlic, minced
    · 1 t. brown mustard seeds
    · ½ t. ground cumin
    · ½ t. salt
    · 3 large tomatoes, seeded and diced
    · 1 small apple, peeled and diced
    · 1 T. apple cider vinegar
    · Black pepper to taste

    · 2 pounds of mixed vegetables (zucchini, yellow squash, peppers, mushrooms, eggplant, potatoes, fennel, onions in any combination), cut in 2- to 4-inch pieces
    · Vegetable oil
    · Salt & pepper to taste

    To make the chutney, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion and ginger for a few minutes and then add the garlic and mustard seeds; sauté for 2 more minutes. Add the cumin, salt, tomatoes, apple, vinegar and a pinch of black pepper. Stir well, turn the heat down to low, and simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Remove from heat and reserve. The chutney may be made up to 7 days in advance; keep leftover chutney refrigerated for up to a week.

    To grill vegetables, preheat grill to medium-high. Drizzle the chopped vegetables lightly with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill the vegetables a few minutes on each side until cooked to desired tenderness. Serve with warm tomato chutney.

    Serving suggestion: For an easy summertime meal, serve the grilled veggies with couscous or brown basmati rice, or use to top a pizza or foccacia bread.

    Visit for great recipes for rubs, marinades, and our “Fruit and Veggie Grilling Guide,” and find how-to videos at”



  • That Which We Call Rosé | 06.26.2013

    Rosé – fresh, juicy and an incredible partner for food.   So why the stigma that all pink wine is sweet?

    History tells us that producing wine of a pale pink hue dates back to times of antiquity.  With many of the breakthroughs in modern winemaking still unknown, it was very challenging to produce a full-on red wine that wasn’t overly tannic and bitter.

    Considering wine was consumed in place of water, you can see why choosing a lighter, fresher variety was desirable. A taste for pink prevailed through the centuries and continues to be produced all over the world-even entire appellations of France are devoted to producing only rosé.

    With all of this history, it wasn’t until Portugal’s sticky-sweet pink bubblers, like Mateus, hit the market that Americans began tipping their own rosé filled glass. In 1975, Sutter Home’s winemaking revelation, a stuck zinfandel fermentation*, resulted in a sweet pink wine. Their happy accident was dubbed “White Zinfandel” and went on to sell 1.5 million cases in 1986. This marketing wonder forever changed public view of pink wine.

    Aside from color, today’s dry rosés share very little with these mass marketed blush wines. They come from regions all over the globe and can be made from many grape varieties, offering a wide variety of flavors and styles.  This delightful spectrum of color not only makes them fun to drink, it is a great clue to what is in the bottle.

    How It’s Made
    Wine gains its color via the time it spends with the skins of the grapes (maceration), so the darker the pink, the more time with the skins. In the case of most rosés, they are made with red grapes and get their pale pink color from spending a minimal amount of time mingling with the grape skin.  Rosés can, of course, be made from mixing red and white grapes together or by variations of the saignee** method.

    Aside from the fresh fruit flavors and typically herbaceous notes, you can expect a sweetness that is very comparable to a fresh strawberry – ripe, but crisp and laced with a mouthwatering acidity.

    From champagne’s prestigious brut rosés to the humble country wines filling glasses all along the Mediterranean coast – rosé is refreshing and versatile. Stop into the Co-op and see our new selection dry rosés!

    Rose Wines

     “Rosé has no season and any day is a good day to have a glass.”-Kermit Lynch

    *”Stuck fermentation” is a problem in which the yeast dies off before all the sugar is turned to alcohol.

    **Saignee: French word meaning to bleed. In winemaking it is the process of “bleeding” off some of the juice from the must to create a more concentrated red wine. 

    Written by Lena Olson of Winegardner’s Wines.  Learn more at

    Find it at the Co-op

    Riebeek Cellars 2012 Cape RoseRiebeek Cellars 2012 Cape Rose
    100% Pinotage grapes
    Abundant and distinctive flavors of fresh strawberries and ripe cherries with a crisp dryness on the palate will be charming at many occasion. Excellent on its own or paired with seafood and light meals with smoky flavors.  Nestled in the picturesque Riebeek Valley, the medium-sized winery lies on the western coast of the Cape Province of South Africa.


  • The Mediterranean Diet | 06.20.2013

    Wine & OlivesEvery nutrition expert wants to tell us the next new diet for healthy living based on current research. Amusingly, it is usually some variation of how people of the Mediterranean have been eating for centuries.

    Special dietary needs aside; the Mediterranean diet has been shown over and over again, in the research, to account for longevity and happy hearts across international borders. So, what’s so special about it? How does this help us in the nether regions where temperatures get well below zero?

    Part of the magic that is the Mediterranean diet is that it can be adapted to anywhere you live! After all, the Mediterranean itself consists of more than a dozen countries with disparate traditional cuisines, yet the health outcomes are similar.

    This way of eating is more a set of principles than telling us exactly which foods to eat. It helps us because right here in Montana we have a wealth of farms that cultivate and raise the type of food we can adapt for the heart healthy benefits this diet offers. It helps to remind us of our connection to where food comes from and its importance on our health. It helps us be mindful of what we are putting in our bodies.

    The foundation of the Mediterranean diet includes the following: every meal should be made up primarily of whole grains, vegetables and fruits, legumes and nuts; an increased amount of unsaturated fats (olive oil and canola oil) when cooking, marinating or making sauces; a limited amount of red meat, sweets and processed foods; and exercise!

    A glass of red wine is an optional component to dinners; and fruit is suggested for desserts. Each meal, or as often as possible, should be savored with friends and family. This is an omega-3, antioxidant, fiber and mineral rich diet. That’s it! There are hundreds of books and plenty of online resources to learn more about how this style of eating is sustaining and healthful.

    Danielle and Federico Ferrero, Italian doctorJoin Danielle Phillips-Dorsett on Wednesday, June 26, 5:30pm – 7:30pm, to learn more about the Mediterranean diet and how locally-grown Montana foods seamlessly adapts to the diet.  The $15 fee includes the demonstration and a family-style dinner, along with recipes and handouts.   Danielle is a former employee of ours, and is now studying naturopathic medicine at Bastyr University in Seattle, Washington.





  • Jersey Cows & Mozzarella | 06.18.2013

    Doug rescues Jersey cows and trains them for placement with families.

    Hi, my name is Doug and I live with my sister and her husband  on a small ranch, Greasy Grass Ranch, nine miles north of Lodge Grass, Montana.  Two years ago, a relative phoned and said that he had bought us two jersey cows to add to our homestead. 

    Thus started my love affair with Jerseys. They were so gentle and had so much personality that I could not help but enjoy being around them.

    We are now in the business of rescuing Jerseys from large production dairies and training them to love people and enjoy interacting with them. I always say:  “Jerseys love beans — they love Human Beans.”  The typical Jersey cow would sooner take her own life than throw a kick at a human being.

    Jerseys also have a strong herd mindset. Many cows have been bought by families that have no other cattle. These lonely cows will adopt their new humans as their herd mates. There are many hilarious stories of Jerseys playing with their new herd mates by stealing tools, playing hide-and-seek or being jealous of dogs and cats that get too much attention. Jailbreak and tag are two of their favorite games.

    One lady told me the story of her cow named Mommacow who snuck up behind a carpenter who was doing some work on her barn. She looked out just in time to see the carpenter running across the lot chasing Mommacow. Mommacow had a bag of screws in her mouth that were flying in all directions as she ran. This would be an example of Cow Tag.

    Jackie, the grain-stealing Jersey

    Sometimes it gets so comical that I accuse my cowgirls of making me run a dairy daycare center.  One day, Jackie had been in the barn trying to steal some grain out of the grain bag when her nose got caught in the coffee can I use as a scoop to measure her grain.

    She came running up to me for help all wide-eyed. I asked her if she had been stealing grain and she, of course, denied it.  She had to wait for me to get the camera before I would take the can off her nose.

    Sometimes in the process of gentling and distributing Jerseys, we wind up with some newborn calves and I have to milk because Jerseys give more milk than one calf can possibly drink. Last year, I had 10 gallons of milk per day – more than we could use.

    That explains why I now know how to make cheese. Our freezer has much mozzarella cheese in it and our basement has about 30 – 8lb. wheels of cheddar and Parmesan.

    This learning curve taught me to hate authors who publish the “how to make cheese” books. What I hate most about these books is that the authors tell you how to do things, but never tell you why you have to do them that way. They don’t tell you things like the reason rennet works best at 101 degrees is because that is the temperature of milk from the cow and also the temperature of the calf’s stomach. So if a recipe calls for adding the rennet at 85 degrees, they should explain to the reader that this is to slow down the curdling process to give the cheese maker a larger window of opportunity to get the timing just right. This helps the cheese maker break the curd at its optimum state.

    To learn more about adopting cheese making and adopting a Jersey cow, Doug can be contacted at (406) 639-8919.


  • Negative Celiac test? You must read this! | 06.11.2013

    It’s impossible for us the Co-op to discount the growing number of our member/owners  who are gluten intolerant or have Celiac Disease.  They take on a wide range of characteristics:  those who NEVER eat gluten, those who try really hard not to eat gluten, those who just decrease the amount they eat…

    TracyK For those who suspect gluten intolerance, the road to diagnosis, or even learning the difference between Celiac’s and gluten-intolerance can be very tricky.  Because of its difficulty in detection, a negative test for Celiac’s may not even be a definitive conclusion.

    Tracy Konoske, MS, RD of Healthy Lifestyles, MT, recognizes that a gluten-free lifestyle and getting an accurate diagnosis can be overwhelming and challenging.  In her latest blog post, Tracy shares her road to a gluten-free lifestyle and breaks down the options for testing and what to do when the test is negative!

    At GEM, we’ve worked to make it easier, and while we don’t have a particular gluten-free department here at the Co-op, we do carry hundreds of certified gluten-free products, all labeled on the shelf with a bright pink shelf tag.

  • Eat Seasonally: Strawberries | 06.06.2013

    Sliced red strawberry fruitStrawberries are one of the most-anticipated fruits of the summer; they are sweet, fragrant, and juicy, with a flavor that is unmistakable.  These berries might be small but they are packed with vitamin C and five different antioxidant compounds, which means they are a natural choice for a healthy diet.  It’s easy to use such tasty fruit; simply wash, slice, and top with whipped cream or vanilla yogurt for a simple dessert, or make a divine topping for ice cream and pancakes by stewing fresh strawberries, your favorite sweetener, and diced rhubarb until tender and falling apart. Don’t forget drinks:  frozen strawberries compliment beverages from lemonade to champagne!

    Peppered Strawberries with Crème Fraiche


    • 1 cup heavy cream
    • 1 tablespoon buttermilk
    • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
    • 2 tablespoons cracked black pepper (coarse)
    • 1 pint strawberries


    1. Begin making the crème fraîche about a day and a half before you plan to serve this dessert. Place whipping cream and buttermilk in a jar with a lid. Add 2 tablespoons powdered sugar, cover securely and shake for 15 seconds. Set aside in a warm room temperature spot (70-75 degrees F.) for approximately 24 hours, stirring once or twice, until mixture is very thick. The warmer the temperature of the room, the faster the cream will thicken. It should be the consistency of yogurt.
    2. Stir thickened crème fraîche well and refrigerate for at least 6 hours before serving. Covered tightly, crème fraîche will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
    3. Wash and dry strawberries, leaving any green leaves or stems attached. Gently dip and twist the bottom half of each strawberry into the crème fraîche, then sprinkle lightly with fresh cracked black pepper before serving.

    Serving Suggestion:

    Add a teaspoon of vanilla extract to the crème fraîche, and spoon it onto fresh blueberries, sliced peaches, pies or brownies. Plain (unsweetened) crème fraîche can also be used with chopped fresh herbs or threads of saffron as a sauce for fish or poultry.

    Reprinted by permission from  Find articles about your food and where it comes from, recipes, and a whole lot more at


  • The Goat and I | 05.20.2013

    Bonogofsky GoatThe Goat and I

    By Alexis Bonogofsky

    Seven years ago, I moved back to the family farm south of Billings and decided to raise goats for meat and weed control. Goats are amazing, versatile creatures that can provide high quality lean meat, milk, fiber and control weeds. Goat meat, or chevon, is the most widely eaten meat in the world and well-managed goats are easy on the land.

     But there are moments – ok, many moments – where I question the wisdom of this decision. As one Wyoming goat rancher put it, “if you can build a fence to keep in water, you’ve found yourself a fence that will keep in a goat 80% of the time.”  I tell most people that our fences are more like suggested guidelines.

     The Wandering Goats

    Goats are unique. They are different than any other type of livestock and will test your patience daily. Why? Goats are browsers, not grazers and act more like bison than cattle. In fact, when looking for a fence that could keep them in I found that goats have the same electric fence requirements as bison.

    Browse makes up about 60% of a goat’s diet but only about 10 to 15% of a cow’s diet.  That means that my goats take a few bites from a plant, move five to ten yards, take another bite and so on. If they had their way, they would be three miles up river by sundown. The neighbor to the west of me came home numerous time last summer to see my goats lounging on his porch with his newly planted flowers eaten and the goats contentedly chewing their cud in the shade, feet dangling off the side. The neighbor to the west of us has at least benefited from the goats quite voracious appetite for leafy spurge.

    But this very characteristic is the reason that goats will continue to grow as a livestock of choice for many producers, large and small. Their browsing characteristics make them ideal for land rehabilitation and weed control without having to use herbicides or other heavy-handed methods. Seven years ago, leafy spurge was taking over in many places on our property. Now, we can’t find a single plant. They also love Russian Olive trees that use tremendous amounts of water and choke out native cottonwoods. They strip the bark and will eat the new shoots until nothing comes back.

    Goat Meat

    But on top of all of the benefits to the land when goats are properly managed, the meat quality and characteristics are phenomenal. It is low in fat, cholesterol, calories, and saturated fat and high in protein. But I’m not going to lie. This part of the business has been the hardest for me. The first time we took a group of goats to the butcher, I cried the entire way home and thought about it for weeks. I kept waiting for that day to get easier but it hasn’t. There is a struggle that I think many producers face on shipping day but there is a need for sustainably and locally produced meat.

    And that is what we can promise our customers. Our goats are happy, healthy and definitely free-ranging.  If you would like more information about raising goats or goat meat, please feel free to contact me at


    How I Learned to Love Goat Meat

    Editor’s Note:  GEM does not carry goat meat due to low demand, but you can meet Alexis and have a taste of got meat at the Early Season Farmer’s Market this June!


  • Board Notes: “The 2020 Challenge” Part 2 | 05.13.2013

    As I noted in the last article, the 2012 Year of the Co-op has come to an end, but in the eyes of the International Co-operative Alliance, 2012 marked the beginning of the “2020 Challenge”.  The “2020 Challenge” is simple:

    • Co-operatives will lead in economic, social and environmental sustainability and
    • Co-ops will be the preferred model for business and
    • Co-ops will be the fastest growing form of enterprise.

    The starting point for this “2020 Challenge” is the powerful claim which co-ops make to the outside world – we have a way of doing business that is better than most.  We give individuals active participation through ownership, making them more engaged in the success of the co-op.  And the co-op business model creates greater economic, social and environmental sustainability.

    There are 5 interlinked themes that will make this decade of the co-op successful:
    1)      Elevate participation within membership and governance to a new level.
    2)      Position co-ops as builders of sustainability.
    3)      Build the co-operative message and secure the co-operative identity.
    4)      Ensure supportive legal frameworks for co-operative growth.
    5)      Secure reliable co-operative capital while guaranteeing member control.

    Elevating Participation
    Democratic member participation is the best know feature of the co-operative way of doing business and a major part of what characterizes a co-operative in contrast to traditional businesses.  The individual member has a role to play in a co-op which goes beyond the basic economic relationship of customer, worker or producer.

    Collectively, members own their co-ops and therefore participate in the governance.  Individually, members have a right to information, they have a right to a voice and they have a right to representation.

    There is good evidence to suggest that providing consumers and workers with a voice inside an organization produces better, more intelligent and responsive forms of business.  The social pioneers who established co-ops over previous centuries had a clear vision – they could see that by getting people to collaborate and work together, they could meet both their individual needs and their collective needs (i.e., access to goods and services).

    But the contemporary consumer world of developed economies is very different than it was when co-ops were founded.  Co-ops started because there was a lack of access to goods and services.  Now there is an over abundance of access to goods and services, making us somewhat complacent and less likely to become “active” participants in much of what we do.  If you are over the age of 50, think about the organizations where you and your parents were active members.  Many of them are gone, and many more are slowing fading into the sunset.

    As a co-op business model, we must continue to rely on active membership to differentiate us from other forms of business.  But let’s face it, the expectations people have (especially younger people) to participation in a membership organization have changed dramatically – looser networked forms of associations are the norm and the division between “member” and “non-member” is less clearly defined.

    A Whole Different Way
    This new reality cannot and must not cause us to abandon our focus on membership.  What we need to do is change the way we think about membership and member engagement.  We need to elevate the participation of membership through totally different channels.  This will mean more than just “liking” us on Facebook.  It will mean developing systems and initiatives that engage members (especially younger members) in comment, conversation, debate and decision making a whole different way.

    I am not sure what the “whole different way” looks like, but I know that GEM has access to resources that are going to help us understand what other co-ops are doing to engage members in a “whole different way”.  The “Challenge 2020” project is already working on finding successful new ways of giving every member a voice – the way they are used to having a voice – so they feel connected and engaged.  Because at the end of the day, the co-op relies on its members to make it successful.  And the only way we will Carol Beamcontinue to grow is by growing our membership – that means engaging members with different interests in different ways than we do today.

    Do you have thoughts on how you would like to have your voice heard?  How do you engage with others today and would you engage with GEM the same way if you could?  I would love to hear from you to better understand how we can better meet your needs as a member to keep you informed, keep you active and keep you engaged.  You can call me at (406) 248-1512, or email.

    Thank you for any thoughts you have on this month’s topic or on the series of topics.  In the next article, we will look at positioning co-ops as builders of sustainability.

    Carol Beam is the President of the Board of Directors

  • | 05.10.2013

    Between May 1 and 21, 1% (minimum donation of $5,000) of your purchase of Alaffia, Alter Eco, Divine Chocolate, Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps and Equal Exchange products at your Co-op will be donated to Root Capital. These companies are strong supporters of Fair Trade principles, including stable and fair prices for farmers, organic and sustainable agriculture practices, and community-led development projects.

    Root Capital is a nonprofit social investment fund that grows rural prosperity in poor, environmentally vulnerable places in Africa and Latin America by lending capital, delivering financial training, and strengthening market connections for small and growing agricultural businesses. Learn more about Root Capital at

    World Fair Trade Day

    Join us this May 11 as we celebrate World Fair Trade Day. When you choose a product from a committed fair trade brand like Alaffia, Alter Eco, Divine Chocolate, Dr. Bronner’s, Equal Exchange, Farmer Direct and Maggie’s Organics, each fair trade product you choose supports:

    • Long-term direct trading relationships
    • Prompt payment of fair prices and wages
    • No child, forced or otherwise exploited labor
    • Workplace non-discrimination, gender equity and freedom
    • of association
    • Safe working conditions and reasonable work hours
    • Investment in community development projects
    • Environmental sustainability
    • Traceability and transparency

    Your purchase has power. Learn which of your favorite products are fair trade. Choose them with pride on World Fair Trade Day, and throughout the year.

    What is World Fair Trade Day?
    World Fair Trade Day is an annual global celebration occurring each May. Celebrations bring consumers and businesses, nonprofit organizations, churches, student groups, and advocates together to host thousands of events worldwide. This year, World Fair Trade Day is May 11.

    What is Fair Trade?
    Fair trade is a social movement and market model that aims to empower small-scale farmers and workers in underdeveloped countries to create an alternative trading system that supports equitable trading, sustainable development and long-term trading relationships. Fair trade supports fair prices and wages for producers, safe working conditions, investment in community development projects, and the elimination of child labor, workplace discrimination and exploitation.


  • Organic vs. Sustainable | 05.06.2013

    Hi Everyone,

    The word “organic” itself tells the consumer how the farmer grew the piece of produce. Organic farming practices are designed to encourage soil and water conservation and reduce pollution. Farmers who grow organic produce don’t use conventional methods like herbicides, pesticides, chemical fertilizers, or GMO seeds. When raising cattle or poultry, the farmer does not use antibiotics or hormones and the animals must be organic-fed. Rather than using chemical weed killers, organic farmers may conduct a more sophisticated crop rotation and spread mulch or manure to keep weeks at bay among more guidelines.

    Organic SealTo be an organic farmer, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has established a certification program that requires all organic foods to meet government standards. Any product labeled as organic must be USDA certified. This certification also is regulated to ensure quality in the food.

    Sustainability is fundamentally about our relationship to the world around us and our responsibility to future generations. Sustainable is not regulated but it still addresses the whole system. Three essential elements to being sustainable are economic prosperity environmental stewardship and community well-being. For produce production, the farmer does not use pesticides, herbicides, chemical fertilizers or GMO seeds. In the case of meat production the sustainable farmer does not use antibiotics or hormones and the animals must be free range fed.

    Organic and sustainable may have their similarities and differences, but they are always a good choice for you. These foods have fewer toxins in them than conventionally farmed foods, making your life a healthier one. Organic and sustainable may seem a little more expensive when it comes to grocery shopping, but you, the consumer, can decide – pay now or pay later. If you don’t know where to start fitting these healthier choices into your budget, start small  with produce, then dairy and after that choose organic or sustainable meats and poultry.

    Andi BuckleyMy name is Andi Buckley! I am your Good Earth Market intern! I have been running around doing a lot of fun things at GEM but of course working hard. I  am organizing some pieces of the Early Season Farmer’s Market (June) and am getting the Local Producer Map out into our community and all around the state! Be sure to keep your eyes open and grab a free copy around town!

    I have been very blessed with the opportunity Good Earth Market has given me and I hope I can help them out as much as possible with a couple projects!


  • Vino Verde | 04.30.2013

    In many avenues of the consumables market there is a spectrum of values regarding production.  In the wine industry, you find all of the typical players; the mega conglomerates pumping out enormous amounts of wine to the family-run chateaus producing barely enough wine to export.

    Fortunately, organic and biodynamic farming practices are a growing trend in wine production.  Much of this trend comes from the idea that the best wines taste like they come from somewhere and mediocre wines taste like they come from anywhere.

    Some studies show that farming organically and biodynamically can potentially offer a harvest with higher levels of phenols (potential complexity/antioxidants), anthocyanins (color) and brix (sugar).  To put it simply, better fruit that will hopefully express a greater connection to the place that it was grown.

    Find them at the Co-op:

    Farming organically since 1790, Pares Balta is working in harmony with the land, fostering vines amongst flocks of sheep, banks of beehives and the rolling hills of Penedès, Spain, a region best known for Cava production, located southwest of Barcelona and a short drive from the Mediterranean.

    The winemaking is in the hands of Maria Elena Jimenez and Marta Casas, two skilled young enologists whose efforts are reflected in the quality of the wines that are produced at Parés Baltà; showing fine character and concentration, yet with elegance and balance.

    They are winemakers with a long tradition who warmly embrace new ideas and are actively seeking a biodynamic certification.

    Pares Balta

    Blanc de PacsParés Baltà Blanc de Pacs
    Blend: Parellada, Xarel.lo, Macabeo (the same grapes used for Cava).  Yellow lemon color with light green tints. On the nose, intense aroma of pear and apple; in the mouth, it is fresh and with a good acidity.  Resulting in a soft wine, it leaves an intense sensation of fruits and freshness on the finish.

    Parés Baltà Mas Petit
    Mas PetitBlend: Cabernet Sauvignon, Garnatxa (Grenache).  Combination of soft Cabernet Sauvignon with the delicate and aromatic Garnatxa to create a classical, everyday red wine. Round and seamless, full of fruit balanced with smooth tannins by the seven months of French oak.


    View their informational slideshow presentation!

    Written by Lena Olson of Winegardner’s Wines.  Learn more at www.winegardnerswines.comPares Balta



  • Eat Seasonally: Asparagus | 04.26.2013

    Forget about the robin, asparagus is the real first sign of spring!  This much-adored seasonal vegetable epitomizes the season: fresh, crisp and juicy, a beautiful shade of spring green. Its flavor is distinctive and quite sweet when fresh. Although asparagus is easily enjoyed lightly steamed and barely dressed with butter and a squeeze of lemon, it is irresistible when roasted or grilled and served with garlicky French aioli or a spicy sesame-soy dipping sauce. Eggs and asparagus are natural friends: try chopped asparagus and mushrooms in a quiche with goat cheese, or a quick and easy egg scramble with asparagus, tomatoes, and brie.

    AsparagusAsparagus Antipasto Platter
    Serves 10.
    Prep time: 30 minutes active, 75 minutes total.


    1 pound (1 bunch) fresh asparagus, woody ends trimmed
    1 cup canned artichoke hearts, drained and halved or quartered
    ¼ pound prosciutto, thinly sliced
    ¼ pound salami, sliced into bite-sized rounds or pieces
    1 cup Kalamata olives (or other olives of choice)
    1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
    1/3 pound sliced Provolone cheese

    2 cloves garlic, minced
    2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
    ½ teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed or minced
    ¼ teaspoon Italian seasoning
    ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
    2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
    3 tablespoons olive oil
    1 lemon, zest and juice
    1 orange
    Pinch each of salt and ground black pepper

    Blanch the asparagus in boiling, salted water for 3-4 minutes, then rinse with cold water or cool in an ice bath. Drain well. Zest the orange, and juice half for the dressing.  In a small bowl, whisk all of the dressing ingredients together. Toss the blanched asparagus and artichokes in 2 tablespoons of the dressing and marinate for 60 minutes.  Once asparagus and artichokes have finished marinating, arrange the antipasto on a large platter, and drizzle with the remaining dressing. Serve with fresh crusty bread or baguette slices. 

    Reprinted by permission from  Find articles about your food and where it comes from, recipes, and a whole lot more at


  • Container Gardening | 04.24.2013

    Growing your own food is fun, satisfying and delicious—and it’s easy to do even if you don’t have traditional garden space! Fact is, if you have a patio, balcony, or even just a windowsill or doorstep, you can grow your own little vegetable garden in containers.

    It doesn’t take much horticultural savvy to grow produce in pots, either. Here’s what you’ll need to know—about container plants, pots, soil, and care and feeding—to get started.

    What to Grow:  Keep growing habits in mind.  Read plant tags, seed packets, and catalog descriptions with an eye towards words like “compact”, “bush”, “small”, “mini”, “dwarf”, and “tiny”, or “well suited for container growing”. You can grow a variety of vegetables and flowers, even fruits. You might also place a small fruit tree (like a dwarf apple) in a big pot.  When combining plants in the same container, keep in mind that partners need to have compatible needs for water and sunlight!

    Potted plants Containers:  You can purchase a variety of functional—and beautiful—pots, but anything that can hold soil can be used for growing your bounty. You’ll need to match the size of the container to what you’re planning to grow.

    If the pot doesn’t have holes near the bottom, ensure proper drainage by drilling some yourself (about 1/4 to 1/2 inch in diameter). To prevent soil from washing out, add mesh to the bottom of the pot. Clean your containers well with soap and hot water or a natural disinfectant before planting in them.

    Light & Temperature:  Most vegetables like plenty of sunlight, but some (like leafy greens) can tolerate partial shade. If a plant calls for full sun, that means it needs between 6 and 8 hours of direct sun per day. Partial sun means 4 to 6 hours of sun daily.

    The best temperature range for most plants is between 55 and 75 degrees F.  You’ll want to wait to plant your containers outdoors until after the danger of frost, but one of the advantages of container growing is that you can haul the pots indoors (or easily cover them) if the temperatures dip.

    Soil: Fill your containers with good, organic, sterile potting soil (to 3/4 inches below the rim or lower to allow for watering). Do not use “topsoil” or soil from a garden, which will become too compact and may contain disease or insects. You can also make your own customized potting soil.

    Water:  You’ll want to keep the soil around your plants moist but not soggy. Plants dry out more quickly in pots than they do in the ground, so depending on the type of container you’ve chosen, the plant, and the environment, you may need to water it every day—or even twice a day. Water the soil, and occasionally the leaves, until the water runs out the bottom of the pot (this will ensure plant roots have access to sufficient water and helps wash away any buildup of salts).

    Nutrients:  Whenever you water your container, nutrients are leached from the soil, so you’ll want to add fertilizer every week or two or use a diluted fertilizer with every watering. There are plenty of good organic fertilizers; these will provide macro and micronutrients, minerals, amino acids and vitamins. Compost or compost tea, fish emulsion, liquid seaweed, kelp meal, and worm castings all provide excellent organic fertilizer for container plants.

    Whether you’re adding an array of containers to your already bountiful garden plot or a single potted tomato to your doorstep, you’ll find container gardening fun and rewarding.

    For more information on growing in Montana, check out the Yellowstone County Extension Service and the Yellowstone County Master Gardeners.

  • 7 Easy Ways to Nourish the Earth at GEM | 04.17.2013

    Green may be the new black, but it’s more than a trend—it’s a permanent shift towards creating a sustainable planet. In fact, taking steps to live a greener life—one that leaves as small an environmental footprint as possible—is part and parcel of living responsibly.

    Sustainable living is serious business, but many effective changes require thoughtfulness more than sacrifice, good habits more than financial investment. In fact, you’ll find that acting with the environment in mind often has a positive impact on your budget, too.

    Reduce, reuse, and recycle” is the green-living mantra. Let these three words steer you in the right direction—with your purchases, at home and at work, even while traveling. It’s fun to see how many opportunities there are for greener choices.

    For starters, here are some simple ways to make a big impact while shopping at your co-op:

    1.  Bring your own bags when you shop. Tied end-to-end, the nearly 4 billion plastic bags discarded around the world each year would circle the earth 63 times. When you do use plastic, be sure to recycle it. But get in the habit of bringing your own cloth bag when you head to the store.  Five years ago on Earth Day, we stopped buying plastic bags, and thanks to all of our members returning plastic bags to us, we continue to keep them out of the landfill.  If you prefer not to use plastic, use a box available by the registers!

    2.  Buy in bulk to eliminate wasteful packaging and save money. Check out the bulk section, where you’ll find everything from beans to grains, nuts and granola, soaps and shampoos. Bring your own jar in, have a cashier weigh it before filling, or use one of our reused, sterilized jars.  Ask a staff person to show you the ropes if you’re new to bulk buying.Carmen and Dan

    3.  Choose products with the least amount of waste – produce without wrapping and trays (or bring your own bags for produce), and a large jar of juice (or concentrate) rather than a dozen juice boxes, for example.

    4.  Use your own container in the deli for coffee or a salad.  Save a plastic container from ending up in the landfill.

    5.  Support green businesses with your purchasing dollars. Sustainable business practices are marketable these days, but so is greenwashing, so be selective. Co-ops have a long-standing tradition of conscientiously supporting ethical business practices.

    6.  Choose nontoxic. Replace chemical cleansers and cosmetics with natural products. Nontoxic cleaners—which you’ll find at your co-op—won’t hurt the water supply, your family, or wildlife. When decorating, explore nontoxic paints, fabrics, carpeting, and flooring. Before remodeling, look into using nontoxic, recycled building materials.

    7.  Purchase locally. Shop at community-owned stores and purchase locally grown food, available all year round. You’ll support neighboring farmers and reduce your carbon footprint at the same time. Co-ops are a great source for locally produced food.

    8.  Choose organic food whenever possible. In addition to health and taste benefits, your selection of organic over conventionally grown food contributes to cleaner air and water; soil enrichment; the reduction of pesticide, growth hormone and antibiotic use; and safer working environments for farmers and their families.

    Small steps can make a big impact.  What small steps have you taken?  Do you have a green living resolution this year?

  • Meet the Intern – Why is local important? | 04.15.2013

    Andi BuckleyHello customers of the Good Earth Market!  My name is Andi Buckley and I am the intern at the Good Earth Market. I will be promoting the Local Producer Map as well as working on other projects, so be sure to keep an eye out for those around town in the next few months. As I began this journey a few weeks ago, I didn’t know what to expect. But a couple of weeks ago, Perry explained to me how important it is that we have local producers in our store. I knew there was more to it than what he could tell me in a short hour.

    Together with the customers that may not know, I want to find out why “local” is so important.

    To start, co-ops, such as the Good Earth Market, are owned and governed by member-shoppers and rooted in principles like community, voluntary and open membership, economic participation and cooperation.  It is because of these principles and practices that food co-ops inherently serve and benefit the communities where they are located.

    The average co-op earns $10 million per year in revenue and provides jobs for over 90 workers. In total, 68% of those workers are eligible for health insurance, compared to 56% at conventional grocers. Co-op employees also earn an average of $1.00 more per hour than conventional grocery workers when bonuses and profit sharing are taken into account.  (Read the full report “Healthy Foods Healthy Communities:  The Social and Economic Impact of Food Co-ops” for more information.)

    I Shop at the Co-op because...Food co-ops purchase from local farmers who, in turn, buy supplies from local sources, hire local technicians to repair equipment and purchase goods and services from local retailers.

    For every $1,000 a shopper spends at their local food co-op, $1,606 in economic activity is generated in their local economy.

    Co-ops help make the people in our community healthier as well as put money back into the economy and we all know how important that can be these days.

    Grocery stores in general do tend to create a large amount of waste. What sets our local co-op apart from the conventional grocery stores around town is what we do with that waste. Co-ops recycle 96% of cardboard, 74 % of food waste and 81% of plastics.  Conventional grocery stores do not come close to these high percentages.

    So now we know how much good our local co-op does for our community. But why should you buy at your local co-op?

    Buying local is especially important to the consumer because the food is going to be fresh and have less chemicals and toxins in it. When food has to be shipped across the country, it could take weeks, even months to reach isolated areas. Another great reason is because you know your local food products.  You know where they are coming from and the opportunity to know the farmer or owner of the product, giving you, the consumer, the satisfaction that you and your family will be eating good food. 

    Buying at your co-op also supports the families who are producing the product. Local farmers who sell to consumers get paid a fair price for their food.

    Local food also keeps taxes down. Farms contribute more in taxes than they require in services, whereas most development contributes less in taxes than the cost of required services. Cows don’t go to school, tomatoes don’t dial 911.  Another very great reason to buy local is because local food is an investment in the future. By supporting local farmers today, you are helping to ensure that there will be farms in your community tomorrow.

    Eating locally can seem overwhelming at first, but with a few small changes you will be on your way to eating healthy and enjoying your local producers food. When starting, think small. Start by spending $10-20 a week in your co-op on local products. Get the same thing every week or try something new!

    Remember, fruits and vegetables have specific growing seasons so stay flexible with your shopping and take advantage of these great options when they are in season. 

    Finding local at Good Earth Market is easy, too.  All the local products are easy to find by looking for the yellow tags around the store or pursuing your free Local Producer Map!

    Check out our blog for more great reasons and fun facts about buying local!

    Meet Andi
    My name is Andi Buckley and I am your Good Earth Market intern!  I have been running around doing a lot of fun things at the store, but of course working hard. I have helped out with preparation for Earth Day, am organizing some pieces of the Early Season Farmer’s Market (June) and am getting the Local Producer Map out into our community and all around the state.  Be sure to keep your eyes open and grab a free copy around town!

    I’m originally from a small town in eastern Montana, Fairview. When I graduated from high school, I went to the University of Montana for two and a half years and then transferred to Montana State University Billings to finish my degree in Public Relations. I graduate on May 4, 2013, so it is coming up fast. I have an older sister and brother, and I am the youngest by eight years. I have wonderful parents and a cute little dog, she is half lhasa hapsa and half poodle. Currently, I live here in Billings with one of my very best friends and her seventy-eight pound standard poodle.  He, too, is adorable .

    I have been very blessed with the opportunity Good Earth Market has given me, and I hope I can help them out as much as possible with a couple projects!

  • Solar Cooking | 04.10.2013

    Solar RiceNature has provided no better way to cook our food than with sunlight. That may sound like a pretty sweeping statement, but for almost everyone I know who has done a bit of solar cooking over time, the agreement would be nearly unanimous. Generally, the food just tastes better! A simple pot of brown rice or a chicken, for example, receive a unique transformation with a dash of sunlight added. You have to taste it to believe it.

    I have solar cooked for twenty-three years and taught and demonstrated it nearly as long. I enjoyed it from the first time I did it.

    I believe it is a gift literally “from on high” waiting to come into our experience to transform life. It already is doing just that in many parts of the world where countless daily lives are so much better for the entry of solar cooking.

    There’s a touch of fun in taking a pot of food and putting it in a homemade or manufactured solar cooker and knowing that the only “fuel” involved for cooking is sunlight. Plus there’s no heat added to the kitchen, nothing added to the utility bill, no toxins for the environment, and delicious food added to the table!

    Solar Cooking

    Gregory Lynch among a variety of solar cooking options.

    There are very simple homemade cookers that can be constructed in 30 minutes with a dollar’s worth of materials and a Reynolds oven bag to insulate your pot while it’s in the cooker. You can see the easiest-to-make, the Box-Corner Cooker.

    While this particular homemade cooker works well in mild to warm weather, there are more sophisticated designs which can provide for cooking even in freezing weather. I have done a lot of cooking in Minnesota and Montana in temperatures hovering around zero.

    Generally speaking, if I have bright sunshine, I can solar cook.

    A number of manufactured units are on the market, at least three made domestically. The “Sun Oven” is the most widely known followed by the Solar Oven Society “Sport“. is a vast resource to help you find your way into the world of solar cooking is.  Almost every facet of solar cooking is covered in detail:
    – endless ideas for constructing your own unit
    – learning many of the finer points of cooking by sunlight
    – seeing how this cooking method is transforming lives in many developing nations
    – how you can help make the solar revolution real in the lives of others you may never see. provides hundreds of videos related to solar cooking, to give you another huge resource. Many other online information resources are just a few clicks away when you plug “solar cooking” into a search engine.

    Solar cooking is, I believe, a step into the future of food preparation that is available today. Make sure you don’t miss your opportunity to taste the future of food right now. Happy cooking!

    Gregory Lynch   believes every person should know the value of self-sufficiency.  He will be demonstrating solar cooking techniques (weather permitting) at our Earth Day event on Friday, April 22 from 11am-2pm. 

  • Greener Cleaners | 04.03.2013

    With a miminum of effort, you can easily make your own cleaning products from inexpensive and common household ingredients like white vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice and borax.  Essential oils are an optional addition to homemade cleaning products, and many of htem, like lavendar and tea tree oil, have antifungal, antibiotic and antibacterial qualities, as well as a pleasant and all-natural scent.  Try these easy recipes for all-natural cleaners.

    Easy Spray Window Cleaner:
    1.  Mix 1/4 cup of white vinegar with a quart of warm water in a spray bottle. 
    2.  Spray windows (doing this on a cloudy day works best), rub with a clean rag and polish with crumpled newspaper.

    GrapefruitDolly’s All-Natural Shower Cleaner:
    1.  Cut one overripe grapefruit in half.
    2.  Sprinkle salt on the grapefruit and scrub your shower!

    Visit for more green household hints and tips!


  • Food for Skin: Spring Foods for Clear Skin | 03.29.2013

    Tree - stock exchangeSpring Fever’s bite is just around the corner.  We are anxious to smell the fresh air, feel the warm breeze and enjoy the promise of new life and rejuvenation.  During the Winter season, the cocooning and self reflection can now give way to the creative and bursting energy of Spring.  This energy is reaching from the depths of the earth and pushes with an upward rising movement stretching to the Heavens.  The very thought of Spring with its many colors and clean fragrance will refresh, nourish, and stimulate.  The color of Green is the energetic life color of the trees, plants, leaves, and grasses.

    In Spring, the element of Wood is symbolized by the tree that has roots planted in the earth and branches reaching to the Heavens.  The trunk holds life between the two worlds.  The human organs that correlate with the Wood Element are the liver and gallbladder. The liver is the organ in charge of helping the body break down toxins and when it is functioning properly peace and harmony are felt and there is focused direction and self-responsibility. When it is stagnated, there is anger, depression, and frustration.

    The Spring skin is the acne skin. This skin is red, inflamed, and congested. There may be rashes, allergic reactions, and eczema flare ups.  This is a good time to do a liver detoxification and eat simple dishes with lots of green vegetables. Sour foods also stimulate the liver and gallbladder.  The sour taste has an absorbing astringent function, stopping abnormal discharges of fluid from the body, like excessive sebum on the face.  Examples of sour foods are vinegar and lemons. Anybody who has papules and congestion on the face should drink a hot cup of water with one-half a lemon first thing in the morning. The hot water and lemon stimulate the liver to release bile and break up fats.  Other examples of sour foods are limes , pickles ,sour apples, sour plums, leeks, blackberries, grapes, mangoes. olives, raspberries, tangerines, tomatoes, sourdough bread, adzuki beans. Vegetables include broccoli, parsley, lettuce, carrots, alfalfa, beets, zucchini, shitake mushrooms, artichokes, cucumbers, celery, endive, and watercress.  The liver can be nourished and assisted in healing by eating foods and herbs that enhance the wood element.  Drinking a tea with dandelion, beet greens, and lemon will go far and is so simple to do.

    This Spring is a great time to get some healthy nutrition through green smoothies. Smoothies are fun and easy to make in your blender or nutibullet type of mixer.  An awesome green smoothie is one made with green vegetables and green fruits along with a small amount of antioxidant berries.  By helping the liver and gall bladder be strong, the skin will become clearer and healthier.

    Your Spring challenge is to stand tall, stretch for the heavens and keep your feet grounded to the earth. Join me for our next class on seasonal foods that promote healthy skin!

    Learn more about spring skin solutions at Susan’s workshop, Food and Skin: Spring Detox and Clarity on Saturday, April 13, 1-2pm.  Susan Reddig, B.S. is a licensed esthetician at Clinical Skin Solutions of Billings, focusing on beautiful skin from the inside out.

  • Sustainability Think Tank |

    Just 12 years ago Bruce Kania purchased farm ground on the Yellowstone River about five miles east of Shepherd.   Like many of us, he had agriculture in his background.  But he also had “hunter/gatherer” in his genes too.  In fact, based on a two million year presence for homo sapiens against only, roughly, 15,000 years of agriculture, it’s fair to say that hunter/gatherer imprintation may have dominated around his motivation for land management.  

    Bruce KaniaSo now, at the Shepherd Research Center, Bruce’s name for the farm, there’s a few hundred acres of experimentation going on around wildlife enhancement, fishery enhancement, perennialization, water quality enhancement, and more…all driven by an overriding theme…How Will Humans Sustain and Transition in this Changing World?

    According to Bruce, Shepherd is a think tank.  Since 2005, folks from 39 different countries have visited and participated in the think tank process.  This includes individuals from some of the premier learning institutions of the world including Oxford, Harvard, and Yale.  They’ve been to Shepherd to see the ongoing experiments in action which include floating islands that cycle nutrients into fish.  

    Fish from the Ponds The PondsNow Bruce and his wife Anne want to build and grow and connect on a community basis as well.  They would like to enter into discussion with local folk interested in the broad topics of sustainability and physical, emotional and spiritual health.  Other more detailed topics of interest are aquaponics, organic and raised bed gardening, horticulture, wild edible plants, paleo lifestyle, stewardship around fishery and wildlife enhancement, the lag time between environmental and policy shifts (and how this might be addressed),  and pretty much all the other transition issues/opportunities we currently face.  

    But beyond just talking about these topics, Bruce and Anne want to collaborate and experiment around them too.  They propose that their farm can be a platform from which experiments can be run and ideas tested.  

    Anne Kania“I’ve been amazed over the years by the human resources in Billings.  It seems that Billings has more than its share of bright, inquisitive, high energy people.  Maybe it’s Montana that pulls such people here, or keeps them here, for that matter,” Anne Kania stated in a recent interview.   “We’d like to share the experience that happens at Shepherd, the abundance, the lifestyle, the challenges and the outcomes with our friends and neighbors.”   

    On that note, Bruce and Anne will be present on Earth Day, April 22, and ready to expand on or discuss the idea.  They can also be reached at 406-373-5200

  • Board Notes: The 2020 Challenge |

    The Year of the Co-op, 2012, has come to an end but in the eyes of the International Co-operative Alliance 2012 marked the beginning of the “2020 Challenge”.  The “2020 Challenge” is simple:

    • Co-operatives will lead in economic, social and environmental sustainability and
    • Co-ops will be the preferred model for business and
    • Co-ops will be the fastest growing form of enterprise.

    The starting point for this “2020 Challenge” is the powerful claim which co-ops make to the outside world – we have a way of doing business that is better than most.  We give individuals active participation through ownership, making them more engaged in the success of the co-op.  And the co-op business model creates greater economic, social and environmental sustainability.

    There are 5 interlinked themes that will make this decade of the co-op successful:
    1)      Elevate participation within membership and governance to a new level.
    2)      Position co-ops as builders of sustainability.
    3)      Build the co-operative message and secure the co-operative identify.
    4)      Ensure supportive legal frameworks for co-operative growth.
    5)      Secure reliable co-operative capital while guaranteeing member control.

    Over the course of the next 5 articles, my column will focus on each of these interlinked themes to help us all understand more about ourselves and begin to elevate our thinking to truly embrace the “2020 Challenge”.  Next article will focus on elevating participation.

    In the meantime, you have many opportunities to elevate your participation in your co-op.  You can attend one or more of the many workshops that are offered each month.   And don’t forget to check out the working member opportunities board (near the restrooms).

    One of the unique things about being a co-op is that we are all much more than just shoppers – we are vested owners.  Perhaps each of us should take our own “2020 Challenge” and decide how we can each be a better co-op member.  Sounds fun, doesn’t it?

    Carol Beam, Board of Directors President

    Carol Beam is the President of the Board of Directors.  Feedback?  Contact Carol!

  • Celiac Disease & Gluten Sensitivity | 03.01.2013

    WheatThey’ve become household words, but if someone gluten sensitive was coming to dinner, would you know what to feed him/her?  If you are the one who has been diagnosed with Celiac or gluten sensitivity, do you fully understand the pathology of each? 

    Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition, meaning the body’s own immune system attacks itself.  Specifically, the immune system attacks the “villi” in the small intestine, the “arms” that reach out and grab nutrients as they pass through the digestive track.  Celiac disease attacks and breaks off the arms.  As a result of malabsorption and depleted nutrients, the body is trying to do normal physiological function on fumes.  

    Celiac disease now affects 1 in 133. Not many years ago, it was a one-page description in the medical text and doctors were told they would rarely see it in practice.  A lot has changed, and fast.

    1 in 8 people with Celiac disease have GI (gastro-intestinal) symptoms:  gas, bloating, diarrhea, nausea, GI pain or cramping.  The other 7 of 8 people may not have any GI symptoms and may present with joint pain, migraines, eczema, irritability, depression, clumsiness, difficulty balancing, neuropathy, infertility, fatigue (including iron or a B-vitamin deficiency), osteoporosis or changes to teeth.  This list can also include weight gain or constipation – opposite of what we’d think when there is malabsorption.  Because the symptoms can affect any organ system, it’s easy to miss.  Symptoms of joint pain are addressed by the rheumatologist while the dentist talks to the patient about oral hygiene. 

    Celiac disease progresses on a spectrum.  A person doesn’t go from healthy to “100% villous atrophy with crypt hyperplasia” overnight, stages progress from 1 to 4.  If a person was tested for Celiac disease before Stage 4 is reached, a negative diagnosis might again be given. 

    Are there ramifications of all this negative diagnosis?  You bet!  Many people are out there eating a little or a lot of gluten because they were tested and told they did not have Celiac disease.  Or maybe they never got tested; they just tried a gluten-free trial, felt better and mostly avoid gluten now. 

    The long-term consequence of either of these two scenarios is that individuals “cheat” and they continue to throw fuel on the autoimmune fire.  It’s not the amount of gluten one eats; it’s the fact that gluten is the trigger and fires or “turns on” the immune system, which can set off the immune system for up to six weeks.  If the autoimmune process isn’t turned down or off, the person could expect to have other autoimmune diseases in his/her lifetime!  Cheating isn’t an option.

    If Celiac disease is definitively ruled out via blood tests, a biopsy, and looking for the genetic markers, that is truly good news and the person would now be diagnosed with Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity.  While the autoimmune process doesn’t seem to be in play in this diagnosis, eating gluten is still playing with fire.

    Join me for a free workshop on the ins and outs of Celiac and gluten intolerance on Good Earth Market’s Gluten-Free Day Saturday, March 9 from noon-1pm.  All gluten-free products in the store will be 20% off.

    Tracy Konoske, MS RD, holds her Masters degree in Nutrition from Bastyr University, the “Harvard” of natural medicine.  In addition, she has advanced training in functional medicine from the Institute for Functional Medicine.  Tracy has a virtual private practice here in the Billings area – as such, she “sees” patients all over the state of Montana as she helps them identify the root cause of their health condition.  Tracy’s specialties include:  migraines and chronic headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, joint pain including fibromyalgia, and auto immune diseases including Celiac disease.  You can find more information at




  • Farm Bill Extension Shoves Organics over Fiscal Cliff | 02.27.2013

    On January 1, Congress extended the 2008 farm bill for nine months as part the fiscal cliff legislation. The extension, however, excludes mandatory funding for some organic programs because those provision were not eligible for inclusion.

    Some of the organic programs left out of funding include those supporting organic research, cost sharing to become certified organic, and an organic data collection system. These programs helped organic farmers become more productive and improve marketing to satisfy rising demand for crops, milk, meats and other products.

    “This is a huge loss for the organic sector,” said Barbara Haumann, with the Organic Trade Association, told Food Safety News. “The cuts are severe. It will impact farmers who use safer practices and could discourage some farmers because of the loss of cost-share for certification.”

    To make organic certification more affordable for small- and mid-sized organic farmers, cost-share programs reimbursed them up to 75 percent, up to $750 maximum  annually, for certification expenses.

    Organic agriculture producers lost access to research-based information because the extension did not fund the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative. The program supported organic research by the Cooperative Extension System, an association of designated universities in each state to assist agricultural producers.

    Another unfunded program, the Organic Production and Marketing Data Initiative, tracked the type, location, and cost of organic crops and livestock. “It helps producers and buyers make business decisions across the board,” Haumann told Food Safety News.  The 2008 farm bill allocated $5 million to collect and publish the data.

    According to a Congressional Research Service report, if policymakers want to continue  these programs in the next farm bill, they will need to pay for the program by reducing funds for other areas.

    Kevin Dowling is a Good Earth Market board member.



  • Manager Wanted for Melon Patch Kids | 02.20.2013

    Do you remember all those juicy local melons we get late summer every year?  The melons come from the Melon Patch Kids, a division of Jerry Anderberg & Associates. The Anderbergs are looking for someone to take over this division of their business this year, continuing to run it as a non-profit.  The managers position would be a paid position as would some of the labor that is used to maintain the garden.  The manager would be responsible for growing, harvesting, marketing, and the human resources needs of the Melon Patch Kids.  Melon Patch Kids would continue to be run at the nursery farm with the cash flow needs of the business supplied by Jerry Anderberg and Associates.  What is needed is a “hands on” working manager for Melon Patch Kids.  This opportunity will need to be acted on soon, as ordering seeds and planting must begin! 

    Local ProduceThe entire Anderberg family started this fresh fruit and vegetable business in 1994 to teach the children, Scott, Rachel, Karen, and Jeff, fundamental business practices and leadership skills. This part of the business began to support many Christian and humanitarian ministry projects worldwide (Haiti, Bahamas, Belize, Central America and Europe). Of particular interest to the family is the Child Evangelism Fellowship ministry in Jamaica.

    The Melon Patch has provided several trips in which the family participated personally with the local CEF Staff. Numerous supplies and equipment have also been given, as funds from the Melon Patch were generated.  Although the Anderberg children are grown, Melon Patch Kids continues to thrive in Billings, with all the proceeds donated to organizations locally.  The donors now include The Montana Rescue Mission, InterFaith Hospitality Network, The Salvation Army, Special K Ranch, and others.  The produce is currently sold at the nursery location in late July through September and at Yellowstone Valley Farmer’s Market in Billings by Special K Ranch. Other retail locations are Good Earth Market in Billings, Poly Food Basket in Billings, and the Bozeman Food Co-op

     If you are interested, please contact Jerry Anderberg & Associates.

  • From the Local Producer Committee | 02.19.2013

    As we enter the heart of winter, thoughts of leafy greens, ripe, red tomatoes, and other crisp vegetables fresh from the local farm or garden can seem like a dream. But, while the earth slumbers under a blanket of snow and the sun lingers far away over southern climes, the Local Producer Committee has been striving to make the dream of farm fresh produce a reality sooner than later this spring. We are working with about a dozen local producers to offer an Early Season Farmer’s Market this year.

    Local Produce 2 (3)On the first four Saturdays in June, before the Yellowstone Valley Farmer’s Market opens in July, the Good Earth Market will host morning markets in our parking lot. Customers will be able to find a fantastic variety of spring produce from several of our local producers. We’ll even have starter plants ready to hit the warm soil in your own garden. Some of the favorite producers you’ve come to expect at our booth during the Yellowstone Valley Farmer’s Market in July will join us, including Kenny’s Double D Salsa, das Kuchenhaus baked goods, and Lehfeldt Lamb sausage. There will be a little something for everyone, from GF Harvest’s Gluten Free Oats to bison jerky from Broken Willow Bison Ranch.  We hope this news helps you survive the colds months ahead and fuels your dreams of spring!

    by Heather Ristow, Local Producer Committee Chair

  • Heart Healthy Red Wines | 02.13.2013

    In this season of love, our thoughts lend themselves to those we care about. While considering their heart, both in the emotional and physical sense, why not include a heart healthy libation to show you care?

    Red wine continues to gain praise as a “heart healthy” beverage.  Red wine contains polyphenols, a variety of antioxidants that have positive test results indicating their benefit for strengthening the immune system, reducing the risk of heart disease, and even preventing cancer. 

    Polyphenols are also responsible for a wine’s flavor profile and texture in your mouth.  The same structure, or tannin*, that helps a red wine age gracefully is one of the main polyphenols benefiting the human body.   In essence, tannin helps both you and the wine age gracefully.

    Resveratrol is one polyphenol in particular that is receiving lots of attention.  It is finding its way into many anti-aging tinctures as well as being credited with reducing inflammation and blood clotting (heart disease). The deep color and high phenol concentration of red wines comes from its extended contact with the skins, pips, and stems of the grape, a process called maceration.

    White wine grapes contain a similar potential for this antioxidant-rich notoriety, but they often times spend far less time macerating and end up absorbing less from the nutrient rich skins and stems.

    Find These Wines at the Co-op

    Lomas del Valle Cabernet Franc:  Cabernet Franc is one of the parent grapes of Cabernet Sauvignon. A tamer version of its offspring, Cab Franc is well suited to cool climates like Chile and the Loire Valley. Flavors include dark berry, black current and violets.

    Wine - MontepulcianoPietrantonji Montepulciano d’Abruzzo:
      This Italian winery dates back to the 1700s and is literally the oldest winery in Abruzzo, doubling as a museum for the area which sits just north of the heel on the eastern coast of Italy. This Montepulciano is made in the traditional style in homage to their ancestors. This wine offers sweet spice flavors of vanilla, anise and dried tobacco in the mouth, with a hint of chocolate on the finish.

    Le Pigolet Rouge:  This French Rhone style blend of 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 5% Cinsault and 5% Carignan shows pretty flavors of roasted herbs, smoke, and ripe red fruits and pomegranate. Blended by the Brunier family of Vieux Telegraph fame. 

    *Tannin: Consider the “drying” sensation after swallowing a bite out of an apple or a flathead cherry. Tannin contributes greatly to the way a wine feels in your mouth. It can also find its way into wine via oak barrels.

    Written by Lena Olson of Winegardners Wines.  Learn more at


  • Local Product Shopping List | 02.05.2013

    The middle of winter is a dark time for our favorite local fruits and veggies, but the Market still has plenty of local products to be tasted!

    Breads, Grains & Beans
    □  Barley (pearled, purple, quick-rolled)Cream of the West2
    □  Beans (black, red, pink, pinto, great northern)
    □  Bread
    □  Cereal (7-Grain, wheat)
    □  Farro
    □  Flax seed
    □  Flour (white, wheat, pastry)
    □  Lentils (black beluga, pardive, petite crimson, dupuy, green)
    □  Oats
    □  Pancake mix
    □  Pizza crust (frozen)
    □  Yellow split peas

    □  Beef (ground, steaks, roasts)
    □  Buffalo (ground, ground patties, steaks)
    □  Chicken (whole)
    □  Duck
    □  Emu (ground, steaks)
    □  Goose
    □  Jerky
    □  Lamb (sausage, chops, stew meat, kabobs, leg of lamb)
    □  Pork (sausage, baby back ribs, ground, Italian sausage, chops, tenderloin, hock, whole hams)
    □  Turkey (whole, ground, slices, sausage)

    □  Butter                                                                          Lifeline logo
    □  Cheese (various flavors cheddar, jack, curds, mozzarella)
    □  Eggs
    □  Goat cheese (chevre, feta)
    □  Honey
    □  Milk

    □  Flour & baking mixes (various)
    □  Flour (toasted oat, timtana)
    □  Oats
    □  Pie Crust Mix

    Prepared Foods
    □  Barbecue SauceOnThyme
    □  Cookies
    □  Enchiladas
    □  Granola
    □  Jams and jellies (various flavors)
    □  Non-dairy cheese spread
    □  Pesto (various flavors)
    □  Salsa
    □  Soup mixes
    □  Spice mixes
    □  Sprouted Almonds

    □  BeerRLAles
    □  Tea
    □  Water
    □  Wine

    □  Brownie Mix
    □  Caramel
    □  Chocolate
    □  Chocolate sauce
    □  Hot chocolate mix
    □  Ice creamLogo - Windrift Hill

    Health & Beauty
    □  Emu oil
    □  Lip balm
    □  Lotion
    □  Soap
    □  Sunscreen

  • Eat Seasonally: Carrots | 01.31.2013

    CarrotsCarrots are convenient, nutritious vegetables that are very versatile, thanks to their natural sweetness. Enjoyed around the world in dishes both sweet and savory, they add a hearty dose of vitamin A, fiber, antioxidants and vitamin C to your diet. Grate fresh carrots to add a splash of vibrant color to leafy salads and slaws, or make a comforting side of sliced, steamed carrot coins topped with a pat of rich honey butter. Store trimmed, cut carrot sticks upright in a glass half-full of water in the refrigerator for a quick, on-the-go snack with your favorite dip or dressing.

    Carrot and Sweet Potato Tzimmes
    Serves:  6
    Prep time:  15 min. active, 75 minutes total

    3 tablespoons butter
    2 cups yellow onion, chopped
    3 cups medium carrots, peeled and cut crosswise into ½- to 1-inch rounds (about 1 pound)
    3 cups sweet potatoes, peeled  and cut into 1-inch cubes (about 1 pound)
    3 cups apple, peeled and cut into
    1-inch pieces
    1 cup prunes, coarsely chopped
    1 cup dried apricots, coarsely chopped
    3 tablespoons water
    3 tablespoons honey
    1 medium orange, zest and juice
    2 medium lemons, zest and juice
    ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
    Salt and pepper, to taste

    In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté until soft, about 10 minutes.  Add all the remaining ingredients, stir, and bring to a boil.  Cover and reduce the heat to a low simmer. Cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally. The vegetables should be very tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

    Serving suggestions:  While this combination of stewed fruits and vegetables is a delicious side dish with baked chicken, it is also a fillings vegetarian entrée served with rice, barley or kasha.

    *Tzimmes is a traditional Jewish dish made from carrots and dried fruits cooked slowly and sweetened with honey.  It is often served during Rosh Hashanah, with the round carrots symbolizing gold coins and prosperity.

    Reprinted by permission from  Find articles about your food and where it comes from, recipes, and a whole lot more at

  • Video: Get Fresh, Eat Local |

    Two years ago, the GEM Local Producer Committee launched a project with Dr. Sarah Keller’s MSU-Billings Media for Social Change class to help implement one of the goals in our strategic plan, which says, “GEM has a calling to build, market and sustain the region’s ability to produce and consume local, organic and sustainable food and goods.” 

    The class implemented a number of projects to promote local products in our community, including the Local Producer Map, Local Producer biographies for website spotlights, recipe collection, and the creation of this video.  Enjoy!

  • Member Spotlight: Patrick Hill | 01.22.2013

    Linda and Patrick became members of our Co-op in 2006 when we opened our new store.  They both have a long history of interest in natural foods, medicinals and organic gardening.  They pick local berries – buffalo, june and chokecherries – hunt deer, ducks, pheasant and smoke their own fish.  They are in the market regularly and enjoy eating in our deli.

    Patrick is an artist, historian and motivational speaker to young native youth in Crow Agency and surrounds.  Linda is the business office manager at the Crow Agency nursing home.  Both have an interest in mentoring to the young people on the Crow reservation.

    Passionate is the best word to describe this couple – passionate about politics, nature, relationships and connections.  Our conversations ranged from the coal trains headed toAsia, to the local elections, to the multiple dimensions of all living things.

    Recently, Patrick developed a horrible infection due to a fall in a stream while fishing and within a few days, his leg had to be amputated.  It is not anything that either spend any time talking about; they quickly change the subject with a comment about how lucky he is to be alive.  This attitude of dwelling only with the truly important things in life is awe inspiring.  He is adjusting to his new prosthetic leg with the same positivity.

    Linda talks about the similarity in their upbringing and how that has forged a bond that keeps their marriage strong.  They both become animated when talking about their families and community. 

    They are a truly inspiring couple and we are proud to have them as loyal members.

    Patrick Hill’s transparent watercolors will be exhibited in the Apple Gallery from August 1 – September 27, with an opening Artwalk reception on Friday, August 2 from 5:00-9:00pm.

    Written by longtime, dedicated member Vicki VanBuskirk.

  • Food and Skin: Winter Skin Survival | 01.09.2013

    Replenish, Build, Conserve, Hydrate

    It’s the new year – time to burrow in and begin to replenish the skin, body, mind, and spirit. Winter means shoveling snow, bitter winds, bundling up with layers, and dry, scratchy skin. Winter also is a time for the crackling sound of the fireplace, cuddling up in a warm electric throw, or cooking a favorite soup or stew that will warm the insides and relieve the bone-cold chill.

    In the season of winter, the element is Water and the color is black. Water energy is flowing, deeply internal, and the base of life. Water energy encourages hibernation and self-reflection. One can consider this a time of storing energy and replenishing so that when spring comes there will be bursting of new energy and growth!  Winter skin has a tendency to be dry and itchy. We may notice wrinkles, a pale complexion, dark circles under the eyes, hyper pigmentation, red blotchiness, fluid retention, and clogged congested pores.

    Which is the best way to thrive in winter and save our skin?  First, for survival is the need to honor the winter quietness and stillness that is deep within all, to have a place of fulfillment and peace. Next, eat foods that nourish the Water Element. Some suggestions are watermelon, blackberries, blueberries, eggs, cloves, ginger, cinnamon bark, everything in the onion family, chicken, salmon, caviar and seaweeds. Salty and spicy flavors encourage health, but use sea salt rather than regular table salt. Making soups or stews will be warming and will help us tolerate the frosty days. Soups continue to be easy on the digestive tract, helping the body maintain its quietness. 

    Now for the skin. An excellent supplement for skin health is taking a fish oil supplement and eating non-white fish, like salmon. Fish oil lubricates, helps relieve the winter aches and pains, reduces inflammation, and can help to relieve that dry itchiness. Topically, it is very important that ingredients such as hyaluronic acid are in your moisturizer or lotion. Another soothing skin option right from our kitchen cupboard is olive oil. Nothing could be easier!  Use your olive oil to blend with regular moisturizers, apply right after showering, or add some sugar to exfoliate. Do something fun, like indulging your skin in a berries mask and eating dark chocolate.  Your skin will love you.  And you will love your skin.

    This winter avoid the itchies, the flakies, and the reddies by eating healthy warming soups and foods, applying topical soothing oils, and finding time to retreat for self-reflection, meditation and energy conservation. These simple steps will do more for your skin than you can imagine.  In January of the new year, take the challenge to change your approach of skin health care to nourish your whole person. Winter is the time to Replenish, Conserve, Build, and Hydrate.

    Learn more about winter skin solutions at Susan’s workshop, Food and Skin: Winter Skin Survival on Saturday, January 12, 1-2pm.  Susan Reddig, B.S. is a licensed esthetician at Clinical Skin Solutions of Billings, focusing on beautiful skin from the inside out.


  • Making Your Own Stock | 01.02.2013

    Soup stock is the foundation for many of the tastiest soups, and it’s a flavor enhancer for many a dish too.  But canned and packaged stocks are generally high in sodium and may include artificial ingredients, like monosodium glutamate (MSG). You can find healthier and organic varieties at your co-op, but if you use stock frequently in your cooking, it can get expensive. Despite what you may think, making your own stock requires minimal effort, costs little money, and will keep you, well, stocked for months.

    There are a million and one uses for a good homemade stock, including:

    • Making your own soups and stews
    • Adding depth to homemade pasta sauces
    • Using in place of water or butter to infuse rice, couscous, or other grains with flavor
    • Braising greens and other vegetables
    • Deglazing pans to make gravy
    • Substituting for wine in any recipe

    The most versatile stocks are chicken and vegetable stock, but the possibilities don’t stop there.  Beef stock, fish stock, chili stock, ginger stock—the list is limited only by your imagination. For the sake of simplicity, file away this basic how-to for chicken or vegetable stock and improvise from there.

    What you’ll need:

    • 1 pound chicken bones (if making chicken stock); reserve the bones every time you roast a local, pastured chicken and freeze in a plastic bag until you’re ready to make stock
    • 1 pound assorted vegetables: carrots, celery, onions, garlic, or other root vegetables, washed and chopped into large pieces
    • 1-2 dried bay leaves
    • A few handfuls of fresh herbs: thyme, rosemary, sage, parsley, or whatever else you have on hand, washed and added to the pot, stems and all
    • 2-3 tablespoons whole spices: black peppercorns, coriander, caraway, fennel, etc.

    In a large soup or stockpot, add all the ingredients and cover with 12-16 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for 3-4 hours. The liquid should reduce slowly; if it seems to be drying out quickly, add more water and turn down the heat.

    After 3-4 hours, strain the stock, discarding all solids (it’s okay if a few whole spices escape the strainer). You should be left with 8-10 cups of stock. Season to taste with salt or just wait to salt until you use it in a recipe. Divide stock into one-cup portions in small plastic bags or containers and freeze (this way, you can thaw just as much as you need).

    Just one Sunday afternoon spent making a batch of stock can save you $20-25 on the store-bought variety over the course of a few months.  And you’ll have a healthier, more flavorful ingredient to use in your kitchen—no bones about it.

    Reposted by permission from Find articles about your food and where it comes from, recipes and a whole lot more at