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Earth Day Celebration | 04.13.2017
Join our annual Earth Day festivities on Saturday, April 22!
Farm Tours with Yellowstone Valley Citizens Council
Want to build your connection to the Yellowstone Valley’s food culture and agricultural roots? Join us for a farm tour on Earth Day at one of two area ranches that provide well-raised meat to local consumers. Get a tour around their place and meet the babies of the herd. This will be a family-friendly event! Details and sign-ups here.
Activities at Good Earth Market
11am – 2pm
Lunch: BBQ provided by BBar Ranch & Sloppy Joes
Music: John & Ed Kemmick
4pm – 6pm
Music, Beer & Snacks provided by Red Lodge Ales
Music: The Peach Pickers
This Week’s Local Produce | 07.25.2016
Flathead cherries are in! Enjoy every morsel of these Montana-grown delicacies. Get ’em while you can!
Enjoy summer’s bounty and find seasonal, farm-fresh produce for your meals everyday at the Co-op.
Local produce is available while it lasts. Check out the store for new arrivals all summer long!
New This Week
Beans – green, yellow, & purple
What’s local now?
Take the Local Food Challenge this July | 07.12.2016
Good Earth Market is teaming up with 25 locally owned businesses across the state to sponsor the first annual Montana Local Food Challenge.
Throughout the month of July, individuals, businesses, and families will challenge their eating and shopping habits by committing to eating more Montana-grown foods. Whether you want to commit to eating or shopping at more restaurants and grocers that serve local food, growing your own garden, spending more dollars per month on local food, joining a CSA, or asking your school and hospital boards to procure more local foods, there is something for everyone, from the Costco-only family, to the college student on a tight budget, to the die-hard locavore.
Eating local brings a myriad of benefits: besides being fresher, more nutritious, and better tasting, local food builds communities and local economies, supports family farms and ranches, and protects genetic diversity and regional food security.
Here at Good Earth Market, we strive to provide customers with fresh, affordable local food and build lasting relationships with our agricultural communities that are the backbone of our state.
Since our founding over 20 years ago, Good Earth Market Co-op has believed that building a strong, local food system is a two-fold process involving both the consumer and the local producer. We have worked hard to fulfill our mission to improve access to local foods in our community, not only to give the consumer options, but to provide a market for local producers. We’ve been a leader in local foods from the start and even now continue to provide hundreds of local products every single day. As the first store to carry many of our community’s favorite local foods, such as Trevino’s Tortillas, BBar Ranch, Kate’s Garden & CSA, and Healthy Pantry, we are proud not just talk about local foods, but live it everyday!
Participants in the challenge will find local foods everyday at Good Earth Market – dairy, meats, grains, and produce! Just look for the Get Local shelf tag throughout the store.
All are invited to participate! Go to MTlocalfoodchallenge.org to take the challenge and start working towards a better Montana today. The website will give you access to lots of helpful resources, like where to eat and grocery shop locally, where to source your local ingredients, and why it all matters.
Earth Day Membership Drive | 03.18.2016
Our last membership drive was so successful, we’ve decided to do it again! From now until Earth Day, anyone who becomes a GEM member or who renews their membership before Earth Day (April 22) will have their name entered into a drawing for a $50 GEM gift card.
Membership is a great value for only $10! Benefits include a once-a-month 5% discount, member specials, and a vote and voice at GEM’s meetings, among others. Plus, your commitment supports a locally-controlled food system.
On Earth Day, April 22 at 3pm we will draw for the gift card, and you don’t even have to be present to win. To enter the drawing, your cashier will ask you to fill out a raffle ticket (name & phone) when you renew or join, and it will be entered into the drawing box on the spot.
Thank you for renewing your membership or joining the Co-op for the first time! GEM is the ONLY cooperative, locally owned, full service grocery store in Yellowstone County. GEM offers sustainably grown and organic food and products and its profits are returned to the Billings Community!
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
Local Producer Spotlight: White Deer Ranch | 01.01.2016
White Deer Ranch
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!!
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.
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.
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)
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.
Seeking New Members for the Local Producer Committee | 11.17.2015
Do you want to be involved with helping to highlight all of the great local food and the producers that make it for the Good Earth Market? If yes, consider becoming a part of the Local Producer Committee! Here are the details:
Purpose: The Committee serves to increase awareness and consumption of local foods and products, and Good Earth Market’s unique role as a source of high quality local foods and goods.
As a member of the Local Producer Committee you will: Educate the community about Good Earth Market and the importance of local, sustainably produced foods and goods, and provide information about where these items are produced and sold. You will also provide support for opportunities and venues that allow local growers and producers to provide products directly to consumers while supporting Good Earth Market.
Time Commitment: Currently we meet monthly on the Third Tuesday of the month from 5-6, but are flexible given the needs of committee member schedules. There are some weekend events, such as the Local Producer Fair, that we help out with as well.
If you are interested in learning more, email Maia Dickerson, the Local Producer Committee Chair.
New Wines & Ciders for Your Holiday Table | 11.11.2015
As I write this in October, my thoughts are about beers and ciders, as well as feature wines for the fast approaching holiday season. We’re bringing in several new feature wines for your Thanksgiving table, as well as wines that will be as festive as your Christmas and New Year’s celebrations.
Have you tried any of our delicious ciders? My favorites are from the local, award winning Montana Ciderworks in Darby, MT. These are English-style ciders crafted from Bitterroot Valley Apples and they are delicious!
North Fork Traditional is gently bubbly, with a true cider flavor. Expressive bittersweet apple character with wood, grass and smoke notes; this semi-dry cider balances the faintest sweetness against sharpness, astringency, and tart fruit. This cider received a Gold Medal at the 2013 Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Competition. The blend includes hard-to-find traditional cider apples and crab apples alongside Bitterroot Valley apples. North Fork offers a clean, aromatic finish that enhances the flavor of savory foods.
The Darby Pub Cider, a semi-dry, New World style cider is another award winner from Montana Ciderworks – an approachable, effervescent cider made for sharing with friends. Appley with wood and spice notes, this medium, semi-dry cider was awarded Silver Medals at the 2014 Great Lakes International Cider & Perry Competition and at the Northwest Cider Awards.
If there’s a holiday that begs for wine, it’s Thanksgiving. More than any other beverage, wine is tied to the harvest, to bounty, to the very core of what we are thankful for. A tip for choosing your Thanksgiving wine…with so many flavor variables going on, everything from cranberry sauce laced with orange peel, to Brussels sprouts with chestnuts, to sausage and wild rice stuffing, don’t get too hung up on a quest for the perfect match. Besides, it’s really the feeling around the table, the combined effect of the food, the wine, the people and the ambience that counts most.
We’ll have several feature wines that we’ve chosen specifically for Thanksgiving in addition to the highly anticipated arrival of Beaujolais Nouveau. According to Wine Country Travel, “at one minute past midnight on the third Thursday of each November, from little villages and towns, over a million cases of Beaujolais Nouveau begin their journey through a sleeping France to Paris for immediate shipment to all parts of the world. Beaujolais Nouveau is as about as close to white wine as a red wine can get. Due to the way it’s made – the must is pressed early after only three days — the phenolic compounds, in particular the astringent tannins normally found in red wines, aren’t there, leaving an easy to drink, fruity wine. This, coupled with the fact that it tastes best when chilled, makes for a festive wine to be gulped rather than sipped, enjoyed in high spirits rather than critiqued. As a side note, it makes a great transitional wine for anyone wanting to move from white to red wines.”
written by Pam Kemmick, our former Grocery Manager & Beer & Wine Buyer, Pam has moved to produce as our new Produce Manager! Stop by and say hi.
Local Producer Spotlight – Wholesome Foods Farm | 09.24.2015
Wholesome 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!
Fall Foods for the Whole Family | 08.24.2014
Fall 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.
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 email@example.com.
Eat Seasonally: Sprouts | 12.25.2013
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.
Holiday Shopping List | 11.08.2013
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.
□ Field Roast Grain meats
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
□ 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)
□ Local garlic
□ Green beans
□ Local onions
□ Local pumpkins
□ Local russet potatoes
□ Local squash
□ Sweet potatoes
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
□ 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
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
□ 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)
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:
Lindsey 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.”
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.”
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.”
“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!”
“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!).”
“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.”
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.”
“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!”
“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.”
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:
Bayern 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 Tolton currently serves on GEM’s Board of Directors, and is an advocate for the local arts. Check it his latest project, Canvas!
The Mediterranean Diet | 06.20.2013
Every 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.
Join 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
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.
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.
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
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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!
Meet the Intern – Why is local important? | 04.15.2013
Hello 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.)
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.
Check out our blog for more great reasons and fun facts about buying local!
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!
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
How to Keep Your Fruits & Veggies Fresh | 07.30.2012
I’ll admit I’m one to go a little crazy in the produce department and farmers’ markets. Especially this time of year, I’m enticed by the colors and freshness of all the local produce and end up with a little extra in my Market bag. I’ll find a way to work in that kohlrabi that just came in from Tom Kress or Danly Farms!
And my fridge looks beautiful! For a while. My plans to cook delicious meals all week long fade (as do my veggies!) when more summer outings with friends present themselves – events in Downtown Billings, baseball games, concerts – summer fills up fast!
So I was excited to stumble across this handy guide, “How-To: Store Fruits and Vegetables”, from the Ecology Center’s Berkeley Farmers’ Markets to keep my produce fresh a little bit longer, or at least until I can make time to cook them. The guide lists how best to store 60 popular fruits and vegetables – without using plastic.
A few tips from the guide:
Apples (I’m anticipating the delicious varieties from Ross Orchards in Fromberg) – Store on a cool counter or shelf for up to two weeks. For longer storage, they can be kept in a cardboard box in the fridge.
Stonefruit (apricots, nectaries, peaches, plums) – Store on a cool counter at room temperature. Only refrigerate when fully ripe!
Berries – Keep them dry (wash only before eating) and don’t stack too many high when storing. They’re very fragile.
Greens – Most greens should be kept slightly damp (not wet or they’ll rot faster) in an airtight container. The hardier greens, such as collards, chard, and kale, can be placed in a cup of water on the counter or fridge. Yes, please – I’ll put an edible bouquet on my kitchen table.
Tomatoes – Shouldn’t be refrigerated. Keep them on the counter until ready to eat.
Who you store the veggies with makes a difference in their longevity, too. Check out this guide from the Vegetarian Times to find out which fruits and veggies should and shouldn’t be neighbors.
Would you use plastic to store your fruits and veggies? Is there another type of container you use for produce storage? If you have any other tips, let me know!
Alicia Reyer, GEM staff member, can be found either dancing or at the Market, usually with a cup of tea on her desk.
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?
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!
A Healthier “Pasta” Salad | 07.03.2012
Trying to eat healthy over Fourth of July celebrations? Keep it simple! It can be as easy as looking at your favorite picnic foods and making a few simple changes.
Take the iconic pasta salad. Through processing, white wheat pasta loses some of the nutritional qualities! Substituting the pasta in your favorite pasta salad recipe with a grain in its whole form will provide a broader range of nutrition.
Cooking methods are similar to your pasta salads! Cook the grain and cool (see below for details). Add your favorite local, seasonal vegetables and a little cheese (feta works well), then add dressing, a little garlic powder, salt and pepper. Get creative! If you’re making your own dressing, combining the vinegar and herbs with the salad first, and then adding the olive or flax oil at the end, will enhance the flavor absorption.
Here are a few grains to try:
An ancient, gluten-free grain cultivated in South America, quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is considered a complete protein, containing all the essential amino acids in a nearly perfect balance, and has a nutty flavor. It is easily digested and provides a good source of iron, magnesium, calcium, vitamin A and vitamin E.
To cook, use 2 cups of water per cup of quinoa. Combine quinoa and water in a pot, bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium, cover, and cook for 15 minutes.
Short Grain Brown Rice
A popular grain used in much ethnic cooking, rice is a good source of fiber, vitamin E and trace minerals. Using a cooking method similar to pasta will decrease the soft, sticky qualities, making it more suitable to a salad.
To cook, bowl 5 cups of water. Lower heat and add brown rice. Cover and simmer for 50 minutes or until tender.
An unhybridized and ancient type of wheat cultivated in Europe and North Africa and said to be the grain that fueled the Roman legions. Today it is cultivated especially in Tuscany and other areas of Italy. It has a chewy texture and depth of flavor, is similar in looks to a short-grain brown rice and is rich in fiber, magnesium, vitamin A & E, and B vitamins.
To cook, combine 3 cups of water per cup of farro and combine in a pot. Bring to boil, then lower heat, cover, and simmer until tender, about 2-3 hours. To speed up cooking process, soak farro in water for 6 to 12 hours, then simmer for 50 to 60 minutes. For pearled farro, soaking is not necessary. Simmer for 30 minutes or less, using 2 cups of water per cup of farro.
Pesto Farro Salad
• 1.5 cups farro (Timeless Seeds, Inc., Conrad, MT)
• 3 cups water
• 1 tsp salt
• 2-3 cups fresh basil leaves (Yellowstone Valley Farms, Laurel, MT)
• 1-2 cloves garlic
• ¼ cup pine nuts or walnuts
• ¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated
• ¼ cup olive oil
• ½ tsp. salt
• 1.5 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
• 1.5 cups grape tomatoes, halved (Negaard Greenhouse, Grass Range, MT)
1. Cook rice in salted water until done. Cool.
2. Prepare pesto. Chop garlic and nuts in food processor until fine. Add basil and process while slowly adding olive oil. Blend in parmesan cheese.
3. Combine rice, pesto, tomatoes, and balsamic vinegar. Salt and pepper to taste.
Add more olive oil if necessary.
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.
by Carol Beam, Board President
Theresa Keaveny and I had the opportunity to attend the National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA) Western Corridor Training for Boards and Leaders. The day we spent with our peers from co-ops throughout the west was invigorating. Our membership is the NCGA co-op not only helps us throughout our operations, but it is a gold mine when it comes to education and training. Here are some of my take-aways from the day long event:
NCGA is comprised of 125 co-ops nationwide. There are 160 stores in 35 states. To help put it into perspective, NCGA co-ops did $1.5B in sales in 2011 (contrasted to the $10B for Whole Foods). NCGA’s success has a direct correlation to the success of its member co-ops. That is one reason why NCGA is spending much of its time and energy these days promoting the growth of the co-op food industry. Based on data compiled by the NCGA staff, the organic/local food movement is in a growth pattern, especially as it relates to co-ops. This is one of the key drivers for NCGA’s emphasis on growth in same store sales as well as growth through the addition of new co-ops into NCGA. Much of what NCGA will focus on going forward will support the growth of food co-ops.
One fascinating subject covered at this retreat was membership. All co-ops share the same member characteristics and I will share them with you – describing the least engaged members (customers) on up to the most engaged members (actives).
Which on of these best describes your relationship with the co-op?:
- Customers – people who shop at the co-op but are not members. Likely to leave the co-op should a competitor offer more convenience, better selection, price, etc.
- Shopping Members – people who join for the economic benefits. They do not think of themselves as owners and feel no additional responsibility or loyalty. They do not perceive a difference between the co-op and a club store. Primary interest is “what’s in it for me.”
- Social participants – people who like belonging to the co-op, though they don’t really experience the connection as “ownership”. They care about what the co-op stands for in the community, but they may not be very clear on what that is. They read the newsletter, but probably wouldn’t call to comment on an article. If asked, they will respond to a survey. They are more likely to attend a co-op dance than the membership meeting. It is important to provide opportunities for involvement with issues they care about.
- Member Owners – people who understand that their equity is required to capitalize the co-op. They think of themselves as owners and they are interested in the governance of the co-op. They always plan to vote in elections and occasionally they do. They feel that they should go to the annual meeting, but only rarely do so.
- Active participants – people who are active in the co-op. They are the leaders and decision makers who serve or have served on the board or committees. They pay close attention to what the co-op does and what decisions are made. They take their ownership responsibility very seriously. They usually vote in elections and regularly attend co-op functions.
The goal and challenge for the board and staff of the co-op is to ensure that each person has a high degree of satisfaction with their level of involvement. The co-op must understand and meet the needs people have at each level before they will be motivated to “move up”. And as a board and staff, we must always remember that people have the right to select their level of involvement. We must engage them all.
Thank you for the opportunity to experience the resources of our membership in NCGA. It has only served to renew my commitment to the Good Earth Market.
Are rising global food prices affecting your Co-op? | 04.12.2012
Global food prices rose in March for the third straight month this year, after coming down from a February 2011 record peak, the UN’s food agency recently said. The rise in prices is mostly due to rising gas prices and global weather fluctuations. So what does this mean for your local Co-op?
Good news! Your food Co-op hasn’t raised prices on products purchased through our primary distributor, United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI) since August 2011! These products make up almost half of all the products that we carry. Since joining the National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA), we have seen a decreased cost of goods, which we are passing on to our members by not raising prices for the past eight months. Also, Co+op Deals, another NCGA program, has offered an additional assortment of competitively priced sale items. It’s becoming easier to save at your local co-op!
Local products have also seen very little fluctuation in price. Buying fresh local food is the easiest step to take in securing our food future. As we build a sustainable regional food system, we become less dependent on food supplied from other regions, and less subject to rising gas prices affecting cost of food.
What steps have you taken to save money on your groceries?