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Order your organic, heirloom tomato plants! | 03.17.2016
Spring is in the air! Are you anxious to get your fingers in the soil?
Pre-order your tomato plants from
- Locally grown in Billings Heights
- Grown from organic seeds
- Grown in organic soil
- No pesticides
- No chemicals
- Large heirloom variety!! See our list below.
Limited number of plants available – order yours before it’s too late!
Available for pick-up May 1.
Order yours in the produce department, give us a call, or drop us an email.
Only four varieties are left! Get them while you can.
Considered to be a strain of “Cherokee Purple”. The fruits of “Indian Stripe” are slightly smaller, lighter in color, and yield more fruits. The original seed came to Carolyn Male (who named this tomato) of NY from Donna Nelson, TX, who found this tomato growing in the garden of Clyde Burson, who has been growing this as long as he can remember. Big regular-leaf tomato plant produces big crops of 10-12 oz., dusky-purple, irregular shaped, slightly flattened beefsteak tomatoes with a big, complex flavors. Produces well in late season coolness. A wonderful sauce tomato, or sandwich tomato.
“Pineapple” is an heirloom garden favorite that grows to up to 2 lbs. Indeterminate, regular leaf plant produces huge, slightly flattened, yellow beefsteak tomatoes with a red blushing and streaks on the outside. It’s yellow interior contains few seeds and a red star-burst in the center. Taste is wonderfully mild with tropical fruity-sweet flavors. Great old-fashioned full , complex flavors. A good choice for slicing into sandwiches or salads. This is a show stopper!
A very productive leafy plant that produces up to 12 oz, deep-red, oxheart-shaped, meaty fruit. (Probably one of the largest paste tomatoes) Lots of sweet, delicious tomatoey flavors from this coreless meaty fruit. A great slicing tomato, canning tomato and sauce tomato.
(AKA “Sugar Lump”) Heirloom from Germany. Indeterminate, regular leaf plants produce 3/4 to 1-1/2 inch red cherry tomatoes borne in clusters of 6-12, loaded with sugary sweetness.
What’s the difference between indeterminate and determinate?
Indeterminate: Ripens over a long period of time, climbing type, needs to be staked
Determinate: Ripens over a short period of time, bush type, stays short, good for pots
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 www.rootcapital.org.
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
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.
To 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.
My 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.
Parés 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
Blend: 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.
Written by Lena Olson of Winegardner’s Wines. Learn more at www.winegardnerswines.com
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.
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?
Solar Cooking | 04.10.2013
Nature 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!
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“. Solarcooking.org 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.
Youtube.com 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.
Dolly’s All-Natural Shower Cleaner:
1. Cut one overripe grapefruit in half.
2. Sprinkle salt on the grapefruit and scrub your shower!
Visit strongertogether.coop for more green household hints and tips!
Sustainability Think Tank | 03.29.2013
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.
So 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.
Now 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.
“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
Protecting Your Skin | 07.24.2012
Summer poses great challenges with managing our skin care. We love the warm sun and how comforting it feels on our skin. We feel the freedom of unencumbered movement due to less clothing or, at the least, lighter weight clothing. The smell of fresh air seduces us out from behind our walls of our homes or places of work. Oh, it feels so good to be free!
How do we enjoy the sun, which is natural and integral to the function of life, yet protect ourselves from its dangerous and life-threatening rays? The first way to protect ourselves is to be well informed of the types of ultraviolet rays and how they affect our skin. The second way is to educate ourselves on what the SPF ratings really mean. The third way is to know what ingredients are most effective.
Understanding the UV Rays
UVA = Aging, UVB = Burning and cancer. We know there are two main ultraviolet rays that we need to be aware of. They are the UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays have less energy, but penetrate deeper into the skin, causing damage to the connective tissue and creating aging, sun spots, hyper pigmentation, wrinkles, and leathery skin. UVA is always emitting, even on cloudy days. These rays increase the risk of skin cancer.
UVB rays are damaging, but only on the surface. Don’t let that fool you. UVB rays are the burning, redness, sunburn, blistering, and dryness that often causes skin cancer. They are strongest during the mid-day and are able to reflect off of water and snow.
SPF ratings can be confusing and are relevant only to the UVB rays. SPF is a measure of how sunscreen works against UVB rays. We are prone to think that the higher a reading is, the more protection there is. In reality, the higher rating diminishes in effectiveness. The difference between SPF levels gets small as the numbers go higher. For instance, the difference between 15 and 30 is bigger than between 30 and 45, therefore, using an SPF of 45 is not much more effective than SPF 30.
Which ingredients should you look for?
- Look for sun protection that includes zinc oxide. Zinc Oxide is a physical block and is the most effective. Titanium Dioxide, is also a physical block but less effective than zinc oxide, and Avobenzone is a chemical screen. Both Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide are the most important to have in the list.
- Look for the words “Broad Spectrum”. A Broad Spectrum will protect from both the UVA and UVB rays.
The best way to apply sunblock is very liberal. Some doctors say to be a “grease monkey”. Reapply every two hours and, if you are in the water, apply every hour. Wearing a hat and other protective clothing is advised. And don’t forget the little areas, such as, ears, back of neck, tops of feet, and scalp.
That area of skin that didn’t get covered? Add the back of hands to the list of little areas. Ouch!
Susan Reddig, B.S., L.E., is a licensed esthetician and owner of Clinical Skincare Solutions. located at 2900 12th Avenue North.
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.