Thursday, September 12, 2013

‘Fresh Rewards’ stretches Oregon Trail benefits

When the U.S. House and Senate voted to reduce “food stamp” benefits, I contacted the Ashland Food Co-op and Rogue Valley Growers & Crafters Market and thanked them for accepting Oregon Trail, the Oregon version of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program’s electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

‘Behind the Kitchen Door’ is UUA Common Read

Book cover: Behind the Kitchen Door by Saru Jayaraman
The Unitarian Universalist Association’s Common Read selection committee has chosen Behind the Kitchen Door by Saru Jayaraman (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2013) as the 2013-14 UUA Common Read. It seemed only natural to pass word along, given my attention to the “common read” when administering a lending library for a lay-led UU community.

“The book reveals how restaurant workers live on some of the lowest wages in America and how poor working conditions — discriminatory labor practices, exploitation, and unsanitary kitchens — affect the meals that arrive at our restaurant tables. ... Behind the Kitchen Door invites Unitarian Universalists to intentionally consider their practices in restaurant dining.”

Sunday, July 14, 2013

‘Food stamps’ stripped from House’s Farm Bill

Logo: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (a grocery bag containing a carton of eggs, produce, a piece of fruit, bread and milk)
A bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday strips the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (in Oregon, “Oregon Trail”) from the Farm Bill.

Representing Oregon’s Dist. 2, U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, a Republican, voted in support of the bill according to a geography of votes created by New York Times: Politics.

As reported by Jonathan Weisman and Ron Nixon for the New York Times:
“The 216-to-208 vote saved House Republican leaders from an embarrassing reprisal of the unexpected defeat of a broader version of the bill in June, but the future of agriculture policy remains uncertain. The food stamp program, formally called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, was 80 percent of the original bill’s cost, and it remains the centerpiece of the Senate’s bipartisan farm bill.”

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Sweeter food is less good for you

To personal distaste, add health concerns among reasons to resist the tyranny of sweetness. According to Jo Robinson writing for the New York Times Sunday Review, farmers have bred nutrition out of food in a quest for sweeter flavors.
“Studies published within the past 15 years show that much of our produce is relatively low in phytonutrients, which are the compounds with the potential to reduce the risk of four of our modern scourges: cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and dementia. The loss of these beneficial nutrients did not begin 50 or 100 years ago, as many assume. Unwittingly, we have been stripping phytonutrients from our diet since we stopped foraging for wild plants some 10,000 years ago and became farmers.”
The two common themes, according to Robinson, is plants with the most beneficial phytonutrients have a bitter, sour or astringent taste and early farmers favored plants that were low in fiber and high in sugar, starch and oil.

“The more palatable our fruits and vegetables became, however, the less advantageous they were for our health.”

Robinson recommends selecting corn with deep yellow kernels, cooking with blue, red or purple cornmeal, arugula, scallions and fresh herbs.

“We can’t increase the health benefits of our produce if we don’t know which nutrients it contains. Ultimately, we need more than an admonition to eat a greater quantity of fruits and vegetables: we need more fruits and vegetables that have the nutrients we require for optimum health.”

Friday, May 3, 2013

Handmade pouches work great for bulk dry goods

Bulk-dry good sacks constructed from bandanas

At the Ashland Food Co-op, my handmade pouches work great for purchasing bulk dry goods. I got the idea from unbleached muslin sacks that are sold at the co-op.

I repurposed these sacks from bandannas and crocheted drawstrings from newspaper-bundling twine. Each pouch has the tare weight embroidered on it.

Combine these handmade dry-goods pouches with handmade grocery sacks and our shopping trips at the co-op are occasions for living the value of sustainability.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Restaurant staff redeems or aggravates bad customer service

With a sensitive palate, I risk special instructions being disregarded or not carried out. But how staff then handles it, makes a difference to my over-all restaurant experience.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Wonderful breads at Ashland Food Co-op

Cynthia Parkhill at bread isle at the Ashland Food Co-op

Check out the wonderful variety of this shelf-ful of artisan breads at the Ashland Food Co-op. I love breads, especially those that are unique to a community.

Cooking class idea: Tactile-challenges work around

Mary Shaw at counter during "Pantry Basics" class at Ashland Food Co-op
AFC Education Coordinator Mary Shaw
taught a Pantry Basics class on March 20
One highlight of a week spent in Ashland, Ore. in order to secure an apartment, was the Pantry Basics class taught by Mary Shaw, March 20 at the Ashland Food Co-op (AFC) Community Classroom.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Fresh Choice is now California Fresh

In Rohnert Park on Sunday, my husband and I were surprised to see cars in the Fresh Choice parking lot: surprised and intrigued, because when Fresh Choice closed its restaurants Jonathan and I lost one of our favorite Bay Area eateries.

Taking a closer look, we noted signs proclaiming the restaurant open as California Fresh.

According to Sacramento Bee writer Cathie Anderson, Fresh Choice slid into Chapter 7 liquidation in November. All locations were closed.

But David Boyd, president of Fresh Choice, started a restaurant company called California Fresh. As reported by Anderson, Boyd launched eateries at former Fresh Choice sites including the one in Rohnert Park.

Other former Fresh Choice restaurants were to reopen as well but according to Bite Club Eats, California Fresh will not open in the Santa Rosa Plaza location. Bite Club Eats quoted spokeswoman Kim Hall for Santa Rosa Plaza, saying the plaza was in talks with a number of businesses but that California Fresh was not one of them.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Blueprint for a Co-op Decade

Ashland Food Co-op interior
Interior of the Ashland Food Co-op. Image from Return To Tradition

As the International Year of Cooperatives neared its conclusion, the International Co-Operative Alliance (ICA) released its Blueprint for a Co-op Decade. As stated by ICA Director-General Charles Gould, “We want to see co-operatives rise to the top of global business as the fastest growing business model by 2012.”