Category: Local

  • Local Producer Spotlight: White Deer Ranch | 01.01.2016

    White Deer Ranch

    IMG_7140

    Lee and Roxanne, the owners, during a farm tour 2015. Photo credit Casey Paige, Billings Gazette.

    PHILOSOPHY
    Lee and Roxanne , the Owners of White Deer Ranch, believe that if they take care of the earthworms and the honeybees with proper earth stewardship, everything else will thrive. They grow micro-greens in their historic ranch building converted to a greenhouse. Pick up these highly nutritious and tasty plants at the Good Earth Market in the produce section in 2.5 oz clamshells. Micros can be used in salads, smoothies, topping your favorite dish savory dish. A fantastic ingredient in pesto, dips, stews and more! Its fresh and its local!!

    MICROGREENS
    What is is? A microgreen is a tiny vegetable green that is used both as a visual and flavor component or ingredient primarily in fine dining restaurants. Fine dining chefs use microgreens to enhance the beauty, taste and freshness of their dishes with their delicate textures and distinctive flavors. Smaller than “baby greens” and harvested later than “sprouts” microgreens can provide a variety of leaf flavors, such as sweet and spicy. They are also known for their various colors and textures. Among upscale markets, they are now considered a specialty genre of greens that are good for garnishing salads, soups, plates, and sandwiches.

    Edible young greens and grains are produced from various kinds of vegetables, herbs or other plants. They range in size from 1” to 3” including the stem and leaves. A microgreen has a single central stem which has been cut just above the soil line during harvesting. It has fully developed cotyledon leaves and usually has one pair of very small, partially developed true leaves. The average crop-time for most microgreens is 10–14 days from seeding to harvest.

    TOURS AND ON-FARM STORE
    Lee and Roxanne invite you to come visit them at their ranch/farm, which is organic certified for hay, pasture and foraged plants, to learn more about the animal systems that integrate with farming and ranching systems to renovate and regenerate the land. You can buy free range eggs, microgreens, dried herbs, mushrooms, Roxanne’s natural creams and potions and MORE at the Farm Stand located on the porch of the Yellow House where they live.

    Schedule a tour for individuals or for groups. The tours are very affordable and might include all or any of these topics, a demonstration or a classroom setting and can be set up to suit different age groups and interest levels. Fun sights to see anytime of year are the microgreen production in the greenhouse, beehouse, pastured pigs, mobile chicken coop, dwarf goats, Jersey/Angus cross cattle and the farm store.  They often include some refreshments or tastings of their homegrown goodies.

    FARM STAYS
    This is agricultural tourism in motion! See how we experience a back-to-the-land approach to vacationing, which is authentic, relaxing and educational. Two different rental houses to choose from that fit many family sizes or couples.

    Contact them and learn more through Facebook or their website.

    TURKISH DIP

    Known in Turkey as cacik, this garlicky mixture of green vegetables, fresh herbs and yogurt can be served as a salad or as a dip with pita and raw vegetables.  Traditionally, cacik is made with a number of vegetables, including cucumbers, cabbage and beets.

    2.5 oz. clamshell of sunflower microgreens
    1 garlic clove, minced
    1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill or 1 teaspoon dried
    3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or 1 teaspoon dried
    1 tablespoon fresh chopped mint or 1 teaspoon dried
    2-3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
    1 cup thick greek style yogurt
    1/4 cup chopped fresh scallions (optional)

    Preparation:
    Combine all ingredients in a food processor and use short bursts to chop the sunflower into small bits and to mix the ingredients together.  To prepare without a processor, chop all ingredients finely and mix together.  Refrigeration only makes the flavors combine better, so make a double batch and save it in a lidded jar in the refrigerator.

    IMG_7143

    This is the inside of the beehouse. One of the many features of White Deer Ranch. Photo credit: Tracy Konoske, visitor.

    IMG_7141

    China the Meishan Sow is a pastured pig living her life as nature intended loving being a pig. Photo credit: Roxanne Dunn.

    IMG_7145

    The goats are really friendly and love petting. Photo credit: Alexis Brill, visitor.

    IMG_7144

    Lee explains the benefits of the behooves to a tour participant in 2015. Photo credit: Tracy Konoske, visitor.

     

     


  • Local Producer Spotlight – Wholesome Foods Farm | 09.24.2015

    MargeuriteWholesome Foods Farm is a multi-generational collaboration between land-owners Dick and Patricia Espenscheid and farm manager and owner Marguerite Jodry.

    When Dick and Patricia began farming their land south of Bridger, it was always with the intent to someday pass on a sustainable farm and ranch to a young person willing to continue the business and the practices for years to come. At the end of 2014, they were able to realize this vision by passing on the business of Wholesome Foods Farm to their former Assistant Manager, Marguerite Jodry. Marguerite now leases the land, equipment, and buildings from them and continues to raise vegetables and free-range hogs for markets in the Billings and Red Lodge areas.

    When asked about the challenges and lessons she learned as a newly minted farmer, she says, “The biggest lesson I’ve learned is about the undeniable role of healthy soil in producing good food. Coming to think of myself as a farmer of soil, first, and of food, second, is an ongoing and transformational paradigm shift.”

    In discussing her role as a business owner and player in our local food movement, “The most valuable lesson I’ve learned so far is that my success is interconnected with that of other small growers, businesses, and individuals in our community. By understanding community demands and desires while working with other farmers to best fill that need, we are working together to create a more resilient local food system.”

    Wholesome Foods Farm provides a wide range of vegetables to the Good Earth Market. “We feel our products are appreciated by a growing number of people who see the value of supporting local food and farming businesses that prioritize sustainable practices,” Margeurite says. “Selling at the Good Earth Market not only allows us to reach this valuable customer base, but helps us be a part of a local food system that builds health and wealth in our community.”

    Wholesome Foods Farm sells direct at the Gardeners’ Market, Thursdays at South Park in Billings, the Red Lodge Farmers’ Market, Fridays at Lions Park in Red Lodge and the Yellowstone Valley Farmers Market, Saturdays in downtown Billings. You can also find their produce and hogs featured in Red Lodge restaurants such as Honey’s Cafe, Hope’s Artisan Bakery and Mas Taco to name a few.

    Follow Montana Wholesome Foods on their Facebook page!


  • No price increase on local eggs | 06.04.2015

    IMG_4506We are happy to say that we haven’t seen any increase in price in our local eggs, even with egg prices recently doubling due to a bird flu outbreak.  As our Grocery Manager, Pam Kemmick, says, “Just one more great reason to buy local!”IMG_4505


  • Fall Foods for the Whole Family | 08.24.2014

    SquashFall is back-to-school time as well as harvest time for a variety of super nutritious fruits and vegetables. Why not send your kids back to the classroom full of the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants their bodies will need to stay healthy as cold season sets in?

    Squashes are among the cheapest and easiest fall fruits to prepare, and they pack a powerhouse of nutrients, including potassium, carotenoids, folate, and fiber. Best of all, they are both kid friendly and baby friendly, being a great food for infants.

    To prepare squash, simply split any variety (acorn, butternut, pumpkin, spaghetti) down the middle with a large knife, scoop out the seeds, place the halves flesh-side down in a pan with ½-inch of water, and bake at 350 degree for 45-60 minutes. The squash is done when a knife sinks easily into the flesh. To serve, scoop out the flesh and add butter and cinnamon to taste.

    A high-quality butter from pastured animals will add Vitamins A and K2 to your dish as well as a healthy dose of saturated fat. Wait a minute, did I use healthy and saturated fat in the same sentence? Yes! Research is chipping away at the myth that saturated fat is bad, when in fact both saturated fat and cholesterol are essential for growth and development. See westonaprice.org for a wealth of information on the benefits of fat and other nutrient-dense foods—or do a Google search for the recent spate of articles in the news!

    Spaghetti squash can be a fun food for kids since it looks like, well, spaghetti! After baking, scrape out the flesh with a fork and serve with butter, salt, and pepper, or with a little pasta sauce and Parmesan cheese.

    Fall is also harvest time for that universal symbol of education, the apple. Making homemade applesauce or apple butter can be a fun project for the whole family, and can spare your kids the high-fructose corn syrup and other sweeteners added to commercial products.

    To make your own applesauce, simply cut apples into 1-inch chunks (no need to remove the skin—it has lots of nutrition!), sprinkle with cinnamon, and steam for about 10 minutes, or until the apples are soft. Place steamed chunks into a food processor and puree with a few squeezes of lemon juice. You can also add a tablespoon or two of virgin coconut oil for extra flavor and nutrition.

    For apple butter, place 10-20 sliced apples in a slow cooker with an inch of water (again, no need to remove the skin). Sprinkle with a generous amount of allspice and cinnamon and cook on low for 8-10 hours, checking periodically to make sure there is enough water in the bottom of the cooker to prevent burning. Puree the apples with the remaining water using a stick blender (or transfer to a food processor), adding a tablespoon or two of vanilla extract as you blend. If it’s too thick, add small amounts of water until you achieve the right consistency.

    Enjoy!

    Cori Hart is the local chapter leader for the Weston A. Price Foundation, committed to reintroducing nutrient-dense foods into the Standard American Diet. She can be reached at eatwell.livwell@gmail.com.


  • What is Good Earth Market? | 03.17.2014

    whatis

    Good Earth Market is your local co-op! 30% of what we carry is made in Montana, and because we are a locally owned store, 1/5 of our profit is channeled directly back into our local economy instead of going to big companies in other states and countries. We carry good food, quality products, and serve great meals with our community in mind.

    What is a co-op?

    • Owned by members in equal shares
    • Returns any extra revenue to members in proportion to how much they contribute over the year
    • Autonomous and independent, locally owned and run
    • Promotes education, cooperation, and concern for the community
    • Not just stores! If you’ve ever financed a car through a credit union, or if you get electricity from Yellowstone Valley Electric, you belong to a co-op.

    You don’t have to belong to the co-op to shop here, though! We extend discounts to everybody. Come in and see what we’re about!

    Conveniently located down town, with ample customer parking, on the corner of 31st and 2nd at 3024 2nd Ave. N.
    Open Monday-Saturday 8-8, Sunday 10-6.


  • From the Local Producer Committee | 03.10.2014

    Soups 2

    GEM’s soups tell the story of why the Good Earth Market’s Local Producer Committee exists.   I just enjoyed a delicious cup of Greek Minestrone soup made of Seder Ridge turkey and Negaard Farm onions – a tasty, locally-sourced lunch on Valentines Day.  That’s something that sets GEM apart from any other grocery store in Billings, and most every restaurant, too.

    The GEM Local Producer Committee was launched in 2009 to expand the number of local producers who sell their food and products in the Market, and increase the amount of locally produced food and goods sold at GEM.   The Committee was instrumental in creating the Local Producer Map, available at the Market and in outlets around Billings.  The special features of GEM’s local producers displayed throughout the market is an outcome our work.   GEM’s Spring and Fall Local Producer Fairs are promoted and assisted by this committee.  Last year’s Early Season Farmers Market was our first foray into providing direct marketing options for local producers.

    The Local Producer Committee is gearing up for a repeat of the Early Season Farmers Market.     We’re recruiting producers to set up booths in the GEM lot and sell their food and wares from 9 am – noon every Saturday in June.   The Early Season Farmers Market was begun as a way to boost public understanding of the benefits of locally produced food and goods, and introduce shoppers to the farmers who grow their food.  It is timed before the Yellowstone Valley Farmers Market begins in July.  Get fresh greens, bedding plants and “early season” vegetables and other locally-produced items while enjoying a Saturday morning GEM coffee (or, my personal favorite, George of the Jungle smoothie).

    You can help us make the Early Season Farmers Market bigger and better.  Come down to shop and support the local producers, and bring along a friend.  Contact one of the Local Producer Committee members below if you’d like to help with advertising, set up and support.

    Serving on the Local Producer Committee are Heather Bilden, our capable committee past chairperson, new Board member Maggie Zaback, Maregurite Jodry  of Wholesome Foods, Kenny Reimche of Kenny’s Double D Salsa, Andi Buckley, former GEM, Alexis Bonogofsky, who with her partner Mike Scott farm off of Tired Man Road on the Yellowstone River, and GEM President Carol Beam.  Since the Local Producer Committee was first launched in 2009, we’ve been ably assisted by Marketing Manager Alicia Weber who is leaving.  Thank you, Alicia, for your commitment and excellent efforts!

    Early Season Farmer’s Market
    9am – 12pm
    Saturdays in June
    Good Earth Market parking lot

    By Theresa Keaveny, Board Secretary & Local Producer Committee Chairperson


  • 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


  • 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!


  • 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.

     


  • 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 abonogofsky@gmail.com

    Resources:

    How I Learned to Love Goat Meat http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/01/dining/01goat.html?

    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!

     


  • 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!

     


  • 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!


  • 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


  • 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

    Meat
    □  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)

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

    Gluten-Free
    □  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

    Beverages
    □  BeerRLAles
    □  Tea
    □  Water
    □  Wine

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

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


  • Video: Get Fresh, Eat Local | 01.31.2013

    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!


  • Healthy Foods, Healthy Communities | 08.22.2012

    Do you love your co-op?  Turns out the store you own does more than just sell good food – across the nation, cooperatives are making a big impact in their communities!  A new study on food co-ops, Healthy Foods Healthy Communities: The Social and Economic Impacts of Food Co-ops*, quantifies the impact co-ops have compared to conventional grocery stores. The study’s compelling results demonstrate the many ways that cooperative businesses like Good Earth Market do well while doing good.

    Unlike their conventional counterparts, co-ops are owned and governed by member-shoppers and rooted in principles like community, voluntary and open membership, economic participation and cooperation. Because of these principles and practices, food co-ops inherently serve and benefit the communities where they are located. For example, the study finds that for every dollar spent at a food co-op, $0.38 is reinvested in the local economy compared to $0.24 at conventional grocers.

    Good Earth Market is one of NCGA’s 128 member and associate co-ops that in aggregate operate 165 stores, generate more than $1.4 billion in annual revenue, and are owned by 1.3 million consumers. Individually, co-ops serve the distinct needs of communities like the Yellowstone Valley. Together, co-ops have the purchasing power to rival conventional grocery chains, and the good business practices to truly make the world a better place.

    I Shop at the Co-op because...Supporting Local Food Systems and Sustainable Foods
    Though “local” has popped up in conventional grocery stores in recent years, retail food co-ops are leaps and bounds ahead of the pack. Where conventional grocers work with an average of 65 local farmers and other local producers, food co-ops work with an average of 157. Likewise, locally sourced products make up an average of 20 percent of co-op sales compared to 6 percent at conventional stores.

    Years after creating the market for organic foods, co-ops are still the place to find them. Of produce sales at food co-ops, 82 percent are organic, compared to 12 percent for conventional grocers. Organics make up 48 percent of grocery sales in food co-ops, compared to just 2 percent in conventional grocers.

    Local Economic Impact
    The economic impact that a grocery store has on its local economy is greater than just the sum of its local spending, because a portion of money spent locally recirculates. 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. To some extent, conventional grocers do too, but the gap is still significant. For every $1,000 a shopper spends at their local food co-op, $1,604 in economic activity is generated in their local economy – $239 more than if they had spent that same $1,000 at a conventional grocer.

    Employee Benefits
    The average co-op earning $10 million per year in revenue provides jobs for over 90 workers. In total, 68 percent of those workers are eligible for health insurance, compared to 56 percent of employees at conventional grocers. Co-op employees also earn an average of nearly $1.00 more per hour than conventional grocery workers when bonuses and profit sharing are taken into account.

    Environmental Stewardship
    Grocery stores – co-ops and conventional alike – generate a significant amount of waste. What sets retail food co-ops apart is what they do with that waste. Co-ops recycle 96 percent of cardboard, 74 percent of food waste and 81 percent of plastics compared to 91 percent, 36 percent and 29 percent, respectively, recycled by conventional grocers.

    At a co-op grocer, fresh, delicious food is just the beginning.

     

    Impact Report – View the full report in Healthy Foods Healthy Communities: The Social and Economic Impacts of Food Co-ops.

    Infographics – View a pdf of the infographics in Healthy Food Healthy Communities Infographics.

    Video – Find the animated video, along with other Co-op related videos on the Stronger Together YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/coopstrongertogether

    *NCGA partnered with the ICA Group – a national not-for-profit research organization – to compile the data used to develop Healthy Foods Healthy Communities: The Social and Economic Impacts of Food Co-ops. The ICA Group compiled data from industry and government resources, food cooperative financial data collected by CoopMetrics for NCGA, and previous NCGA surveys. The ICA Group developed two additional surveys, one targeted to retail food co-ops and the other to the conventional grocery industry.

     


  • News from the Farm – Negaard Produce and Greenhouse | 08.14.2012

    Daniel, Obadiah and Leah planting onions

    Here at the Negaard’s farm it has been a very busy year so far:  planting tomatoes in the greenhouse the 1st of February, starting calving the sixth of February, planting and starting seeds to go out in the gardens when it is time, Rachel making jams and syrups in her spare time with Leah helping when she can, calving finishing and now time to start planting the gardens.  With that comes the weeding and water (which is a non-stop job).

    This spring found us to be very busy with starting the clean-up from the flood of 2011, which made quite a mess.  Daniel spent a lot of time moving gravel that had washed up on our flats and trying to re-level one of our gardens that had a lot of damage.  We couldn’t get in there last year because it was too wet.  We also rebuilt a walk bridge that had washed out so that we could get to the garden easier.

    Daniel also spent some time building new tools to go on the garden tractor to try and make things a little easier.  Daniel and Joshua are building some cement forms to go around our large greenhouse so that we can put new plastic on it.   This has to be done every so many years, and it is well past due.

    We started picking tomatoes the end of April and each week we have new crops ready to start picking.  Just this week the zucchini and snow peas are ready. We also grew some new produce this year, including kale, tomatillos, colorful carrots, and turnips. 

    Obadiah and Leah are very busy picking and getting the orders ready for Rachel to haul to market.  When they are not picking, they are busy weeding and watering.

    Daniel is on the constant go working tomatoes, hoeing, and making sure everything gets watered when needed.  Rachel concentrates on calling for the orders each week, delivering, selling, and baking bread for the Good Earth Market Deli, bookwork, plus all the other things that a mother and wife have to do to keep up. 

    The middle of June we started putting up our hay and were pretty much done by the 4th of July.  This was early for us, which is good, because usually we do not start until the  first of July and this puts us into the time that we get very busy picking produce.

    This time of year on the farm we put in very long hours – 4:00 or 5:00 in the morning until dark.  Sometimes, like today, when the temperature reaches the 100 plus mark, it is nice to come in during the hottest part of the day and take a little rest and get out of the heat. 

    Joshua is also home from college this summer and helping – it is always nice to have an extra hand.  Last fall when he returned home from being deployed to Iraq, he put up a nice building for us to get our produce ready for markets in.  (Of course, with the help of Obadiah and Daniel.)  This sure has been a blessing for us because we always did this outside in the heat or cold.

    This pretty well brings you up to date on what is going on at the farm so far in 2012.  We enjoy working and being a part of the Good Earth Market and enjoy getting to know each of you as time goes on.  As always, we look forward to working with all of you in the years to come.

    by Rachel Negaard, Negaard Produce and Greenhouse


  • Discover Local Foods | 07.19.2012

    It has become vital to our health in recent years to find safe, healthy foods, especially in light of modern industrial diets and recent food scares.  Buying fresh local food is the easiest way to know where your food comes from and to avoid eating processed food loaded with added sugar, fat and preservatives.  Locally grown food also tastes better because it’s fresher – local producers can grow better-tasting varieties of fruits and vegetables that don’t need to hold up to long-distance shipping.  The case for eating locally grown food is strong, but how do you make it happen?

    Start small.
    Sticking to a strict local diet can be intimidating, so think baby steps – start spending $10 a week on local foods, buying all your potatoes locally, or trying something new each week.  Starting small and phasing in gradually will help these changes become a part of your lifestyle.

    Be adventurous and flexible.
    Exploring new foods will increase your options of eating locally.  Ever tried Jerusalem artichokes, garlic scapes, or black beluga lentils?  All are grown here in our region and can lend variety to your meals.   Fruits and vegetables have specific growing seasons, so stay flexible with your menu planning and take advantage of these delectables while they’re in season.  For cooking tips, find a good cookbook, watch the GEM blog or ask local producers and co-op staff for advice.

    Shop your co-op and Yellowstone Valley Farmer’s Market.
    Food co-ops and farmer’s markets are committed to providing local foods to the community and building a sustainable regional food system.  Shopping these venues gives you an opportunity to purchase local foods and discover new ingredients, meet your local producers, and learn cooking tips and tricks.  Plus, a Saturday morning at the market, with its live music and bustling energy, can add even more enjoyment to your food experience.  At GEM, local products are easy to find by looking for the yellow tags around the store and perusing our free Local Producer Map to see at a glance which products are available.

    Because you value your health, it’s also important to source local foods raised organically or sustainably as they have higher nutritional value and are grown without toxins.  Eating locally doesn’t have to be overwhelming or tough on your pocketbook, but with a few small changes, you’ll be on your way to healthier eating and enjoying Montana’s bounty!


  • Red Oxx Market Tote | 06.26.2012

    by Alicia Reyer

    My dad began using locally produced Red Oxx bags back when I was too young to fully understand just how cool they really are.  When Dad offered to let me use his large, black boy bag for a weekend softball tournament, I begrudgingly agreed and awkwardly tried to cover it up the whole weekend. 

    Years later, I actually took a look at the bags my dad had (yes, bagS), and I came to the light and saw the coolness factor.  No longer a “boy” bag, but a sleek, colorful, well-constructed bag with a massive zipper that won’t get stuck in the fabric.  YES! 

    That leads me to my very first Red Oxx ownership:  the Market Tote.  Appropriate, really, considering the amount of time I spend in the co-op.  “Tough 1000 denier military grade cordura nylon” their website says.  Not sure what all that means, but whatever it is, it’s tough.  Having used other reusable grocery bags that start to fall apart after several uses, this one shows no signs of tearing.  Even if it did, the lifetime warranty is just too good to pass up.  

    Bringing the beginnings of a delicious dinner home in a cheap plastic bag deflates my experience.  We all have to eat, let’s make it fun!  The joy of good food isn’t just in the cooking and eating, it starts when we sit down to pick out a recipe, when we make out a list (or take our smartphones with recipe into the produce department), when we fill our basket with fresh local meat and produce, when we chat up our friend in line at the register, when we carry our groceries out, our lettuce and baguettes peaking like a bouquet out the top of the bag. 

    I’m picturing myself riding a bike through a vineyard, with a bouquet of flowers, a bottle of wine, and fresh baked bread in the basket.  Quality does that to me, and this bag only helps conjure up that dream.  Now if I can just remember to put it back in my car.

    The Market Tote is available for purchase at redoxx.com or buy the Oxx in person at their storefront in Downtown Billings.