Tag: Local Producers

  • 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

    Activities: Bike Clinic by The Spoke Shop, Information Booths by Republic Recycling and more!

     

    4pm – 6pm

    Music, Beer & Snacks provided by Red Lodge Ales

    Music: The Peach Pickers

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  • This Week’s Local Produce | 07.25.2016

    Organic Montana-grown cherries are IN!!

    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

    Parsnips

     

    What’s local now?

    Basil

    IMG_0356

    Beets

    Broccoli

    Cabbage

    Carrots

    Cauliflower

    Chives

    Cucumbers

    Garlic Scapes

    Kale

    Kohlrabi

    LettuceIMG_0352

    Mint

    Mustard Greens

    Parsley

    Onions

    Onions, Green

    Potatoes

    Radishes

    Sage

    Spinach

    Sprouts

    Tomatoes, Slicing

    Tomatoes, Cherry

    Tomatoes, Sun-Dried

    Zucchini

     

     

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  • 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.

    Get Local circle shelf tags-page-001All 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.


  • 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

    Kate’s Garden!

    • Locally grown in Billings Heights
    • Grown from organic seeds
    • Grown in organic soil
    • No pesticides
    • No chemicals
    • Large heirloom variety!! See our list below.

    $6.99 each

    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.

    SLICING TOMATOES

     

    Indian StripeIndian Stripe

    (Indeterminate)
    79 days

    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.


    PineapplePineapple
    (Indeterminate)
    85 days

    “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!


    PASTE TOMATOES

    Amish PasteAmish Paste
    (Indeterminate)
    85 days

    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.


    CHERRY TOMATOES

    Gardener's DelightGardeners Delight
    (Indeterminate)
    65 days

    (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


  • 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

    MontanaCiderAs 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 Pam Kemmickwine 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Follow Montana Wholesome Foods on their Facebook page!


  • Eat Seasonally: Sprouts | 12.25.2013

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

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

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

     

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

    Dish

    • 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

    Sauce

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

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

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


  • Montana Heritage Orchard Program | 12.24.2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     

    For additional information contact:
    Brent Sarchet, MSU/Lewis & Clark County Extension Agent
    447-8350
    bsarchet@montana.edu

     

    Toby Day, MSU Extension Horticulture Specialist
    994-6523
    toby.day@montana.edu

     

     

     


  • Local Brews | 07.08.2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

    GEM’s selection of local beer and wine includes:

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

     

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


  • Jersey Cows & Mozzarella | 06.18.2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Jackie, the grain-stealing Jersey

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

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

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

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

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

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

     


  • The Goat and I | 05.20.2013

    Bonogofsky GoatThe Goat and I

    By Alexis Bonogofsky

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

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

     The Wandering Goats

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

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

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

    Goat Meat

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

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

    Resources:

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

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

     


  • Organic vs. Sustainable | 05.06.2013

    Hi Everyone,

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

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

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

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

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

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

     


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


  • From the Local Producer Committee | 02.19.2013

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

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

    by Heather Ristow, Local Producer Committee Chair


  • Video: Get Fresh, Eat Local | 01.31.2013

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

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


  • Healthy Foods, Healthy Communities | 08.22.2012

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

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

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

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

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

    Local Economic Impact
    The economic impact that a grocery store has on its local economy is greater than just the sum of its local spending, because a portion of money spent locally recirculates. Food co-ops purchase from local farmers who, in turn, buy supplies from local sources, hire local technicians to repair equipment and purchase goods and services from local retailers. To some extent, conventional grocers do too, but the gap is still significant. For every $1,000 a shopper spends at their local food co-op, $1,604 in economic activity is generated in their local economy – $239 more than if they had spent that same $1,000 at a conventional grocer.

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

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

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

     

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

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

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

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

     


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

    Daniel, Obadiah and Leah planting onions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    by Rachel Negaard, Negaard Produce and Greenhouse


  • Discover Local Foods | 07.19.2012

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

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

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

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

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


  • General Manager’s Comments: The Co-op/Corporate Difference | 07.06.2012

    by Perry McNeese, GEM’s General Manager

    Photo by James Woodcock

    Working with Alicia, GEM’s Marketing Manager, to promote the International Year of the Co-op caused me to stop and think about what it means to be a part of a Cooperative and how it differs for me as a manager.  The difference hit me immediately as I stepped in the General Manager’s position 5 years ago.  I have always believed in strong customer service, but as a Co-op manager I realize that my customer is now the owner!  Yes, the boss, CEO, and share holder all rolled up into one, the shopper!  Therefore fulfilling your needs is not only important, it is a critical part of my performance standing.  If you aren’t happy, I am not doing my job.

    That cuts to what I see as the purpose of a Co-op.  For me, the Co-op’s purpose is to service its owners/members with goods and services that match their reasons for buying into the Co-op in the first place.  Additionally, as this primary objective is met, the management and staff must conduct business in a way that keeps the entity viable and growing in both sales and membership. Thus, our first strategic objective, “Strengthen the Co-op”.  That differs from my conventional corporate experience.  Primary objectives were typically tied to market share, return on investment or share price.  It is much more rewarding to please customers than it is to please Wall Street.

    Our second strategic objective, “Make GEM a Great Place to Work” is also much different from my corporate experience.  As I budget and manage expenses, I am charged with pleasing the employees too?  Oops!  Don’t forget they are all member-owners as well.  So rather than seeing where I can cut labor expense, I am looking at where I can improve rewards and work environment.  As examples, we have added health insurance benefit for full-time employees and employees get 10 to 20 percent discounts.  This is a first for me.  We close major holidays so they can have the day off with their families.  We optimize the use of full-time employees rather than keep them to a minimum.   This job is the very first time I have built wage scales considering the “Living Wage” model and it is rewarding.

    The differences between a Co-op and a corporation continue as one looks at our third objective, “Build the Local Sustainable Foods Economy”.  What!?  I/we have to be concerned about something other than our own growth?  Yep!  We must endeavor to help local producers sell their goods so they too can grow.  By contrast, I used to be trained to see how much I could get from a supplier.  Now I am building relationships and trying to find ways to market more of their produce and meats.  Its fun because my boss, you, also want to have access to more and more local!

    I take pride in another Co-op difference.  This is the first time in my 40 year grocery career that I have worked in an Energy Star facility; our 4th strategic objective is to “Build Environmental Sustainability into the Facility”.  With the improvements that have been made to the building, GEM is now in the 96th percentile for supermarkets around the country.  Ah!  What?  Many of the energy improvements were completed by working members and what a difference it makes.  Yes, our customers, being owners, really do want to see the Co-op succeed and step up to help us in numerous ways from construction to laundry to maintenance projects.  Some members even donate money so we can have a nice patio and, most recently, a new bike rack.

    While I am on strategic objectives, just as well mention the 5th strategic objective, which is to “Increase Community Engagement, Outreach and Education”.  Again, something new to me.  Free workshopsNewsletters that educate rather than sell?  Providing Farmer’s Market space free to producers to sell their goods?

    Seems like everyday I run across a decision that is motivated by what is right verses what is profitable.  Not that being profitable is a bad thing, it just needs to be a means to an end rather than what drives everything.  I have to tell you it makes a guy want to come to work every morning.  I want to thank you for not only reading through my article, but for being the center of what makes GEM a great place in so many ways.  I look forward to continuing to serve you.  The reward is your support!

     


  • 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:

    Quinoa
    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.

    Farro
    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 

    Serves 4

    Ingredients:
    • 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)

    Method:
    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.

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


  • News from the Farm: Wholesome Foods | 05.03.2012

    By Dick and Patricia Espenscheid

    As the days grow longer and the earth wakes up from winter, our thoughts turn to the bounty of summer. To prepare for the coming months of growth and productivity, our local producers have already begun planning, planting, and calving. The Local Producer Committee decided to bring the farm to you so that you can participate in the excitement of the season. We will be highlighting a number of local producers in our new feature “News from the Farm”. We hope you enjoy this glimpse into the love and labor of their lives.   –  Heather Ristow, Board Member and Local Producer Committee Chair

    Greetings from Wholesome Foods and the Espenscheid Ranch!  We were delighted to be asked to share “News from the Farm” for the spring newsletter.  Life at the farm really picks up speed this time of year.  Planting has already begun indoors for the season – it is a joy to see the small green sprouts growing and waiting to get outside.  This year, because we purchased a high tunnel hoop house, the plants will be outside six weeks earlier than usual, enjoying the warm spring sun and secured at night in a protected environment.  Because of the intense winds we sometimes experience in the valley, we’ve taken the extra precaution to set the hoop house poles in cement just to keep it at the ranch!

    The winter project of building an insulated chicken house is completed. The new structure has a “nursery” for the 100 baby chicks and turkeys arriving in mid-april.  After they feather and develop sufficiently, the new chicks will be introduced into our flock of 50 laying hens, two roosters, 10 geese and four Moscovy ducks.  It is a fun day to watch the baby fowl meet their elders!  To expand our herd of free-range cattle and hogs, this year we have added an additional 305 acres to our ranch for them to roam and have fun (check out our delicious pork and eggs at GEM).  As of now, we have 12 new calves romping with their moms.  By the end of April we should have 22 new calves. 

    The most exciting news is that the Espenscheid ranch will be at Yellowstone Valley Farmer’s Market this summer with other GEM producers, selling our beef, veggies and eggs.  We have added a farm manager/partner to our staff to help make this all possible.  Andrew Riedel, MSU Bozeman alumnus and agriculture major, joined the Espenscheid Ranch in January and we are very fortunate to have him.

    Over the last five days, our pond has thawed and the sun is bright and warm.   What a lovely sight to see our geese enjoying the natural beauty of our ranch.  Happy Spring, everyone!  See you at Good Earth and the Yellowstone Valley Farmer’s Market!

    Dick and Patricia Espenscheid of  Wholesome Foods operate a sustainable ranch near Bridger, MT.