Category Archives: Local Eats

Flying Cow Creamery

With a passion for respect of animals and producing high quality yogurt, Keith and Selma began Flying Cow Creamery in 2013. They package in returnable glass jars made in the United States, and take efforts to educate folks about what they are doing on the farm.  Their website is full of helpful information about their animals and their production processes of the delicious, simply-made yogurt.

Here is the current news from the creamery

Here our staff visits their farm…

“It’s so nice to have a place where we local people can go and just sell at the Co-op.” – Selma Bjarnadottir

Keith and Selma with Olympia Food Co-op staff member

Calliope Farm

Speaking of growing and eating locally… how about 3 miles from the Co-op’s westside location? Introducing Calliope Farm, a family operation that is certified organic and passionate about quality and diversity. “We grow on 10 acres of beautiful silt-loam soil divided between two sites on the very edge of Olympia.  Our practices emphasize soil building cover-crops and long crop rotations, livestock integration, efficient water use, and season extension to offer our customers and employees year round produce and employment.”

Here is current news from the farm (and great photos!)

Here our staff visits their farm…

“The Olympia Food Co-op works with local farmers to foster a sense of cooperation instead of competition.” – Jacob Wilson

Jacob with Olympia Food Co-op staff member

Yoga Way of Life (skin care)

Yoga Way of Life story begins when Bharti was looking for ways to heal the dark rough patches on her hands from hyperthyroidism, and found that Ayurveda was very successful. She then began working with a  team of doctors in India to develop the oils and herbs for her own line of Ayurvedic creams. Recently she has expanded to include soaps, scrubs and body washes.

Here is a link to Bharti’s blog, and here is the Yoga Way of Life website

Here she meets with our staff to discuss her products…

“I have a lot of respect for the Co-ops because they open their doors to local businesses.” ~Bharti Nagal

Bharti with Olympia Food Co-op staff member

Stewart Organics

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Makrut limes, that is…just harvested by Stewart Organics in Puyallup and delivered to the West Side. They are gorgeous! We’ll only have them for a limited time. It’s worth coming in to just smell this unique and beautiful floral citrus sent.

Makrut lime leaves are thick, dark green and shiny on the top, porous and pale on the back. A leaf has two connecting leaves called ‘double leaves’. Tear a leaf to smell the distinct aroma. Fresh makrut lime leaves keep well in a refrigerator for at least 2 weeks, and can be frozen for later use. They are excellent in curry and soup.

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Makrut limes are dark green in color and have a bumpy surface. Through the juice is seldom used in cooking, the peel of the fruit, with its high concentration of aromatic oils, is indispensable in many curry pastes and is one reason why Thai curries taste refreshingly unique. The zest also imparts a piquant flavor to such delectable favorites as fried fish cakes, and it blends in powerfully with spicy, chili-laden stews.

Tieton Farm & Creamery

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We have some great artisan cheeses in stock especially from this one creamery, Tieton Farm & Creamery, that we ordered directly from. This is their first time at the Co-op and we are probably the only ones selling their products in Washington State! From them we’re carrying these cheeses:

Rheba
A beautiful cheese inspired by the one and only Reblochon from the Savoie region of France except this one is with a mix of Sheep and Goat’s milk instead of cow’s milk)

Black Pearl
A cute ash coated bloomy rind with same mix of sheep and goat’s milk from their herds

Bianca
Fresh sheep and goat’s milk

Venus
Made with sheep and goat milk, then bathed in cider from Tieton Cider Works

Host Defense & Fungi Perfecti

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Fungi Perfecti® is a family-owned, environmentally friendly company specializing in using mushrooms to improve the health of the planet and its people. Founded by mycologist and author Paul Stamets in 1980, we are leaders in a new wave of technologies harnessing the inherent power of mushrooms and mycelium worldwide. Fungi Perfecti is Certified Organic …. see more at Fungi Perfecti

Celebrate Local Eats!

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On a sunny weekend in June, the Olympia Food Co-op’s Local Committee hosted our third annual Local Eats event. Twenty local vendors offered samples of food and products at our stores and provided an opportunity for shoppers to learn about their businesses and farms. This year’s event was a terrific success with a wide variety of locally crafted products such as spreads, pastries, dairy products, fermented foods, fresh produce, mushroom supplements, salsas, sweet confections, baking mixes, granola, and beverages.

Participating businesses included: Exquisite & Traditional, Smiling Mo’s Bakery, Cobb’s Treats, OlyKraut, Calliope Farm, Sweet Niche Bakery, Pigman’s Organic Produce Patch, 8 Arms Bakery, Tastes Happy, Terrabucha, Mountain Muesli, Tamale Fusion, Jalisco, Flying Cow Creamery, Rawk Star Creations, Host Defense, Tierra Bonita, Peace Love & Raw, Purely From Scratch, and Oly Cultures. Our next event will be at the Co-op’s annual Harvest Party in September.

If you are a local vendor who sells to the Co-op and you’d like to participate in the next event, please contact our Local Committee at localproductsofc@gmail. If you are a shopper who wants to try fabulous local products come join us!

Pigman’s Organic Produce Patch

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Dean and Jan Pigman have been working the loamy, fertile earth of their 10-acre farm in the Nisqually area for about 26 years. Over those years, they have nurtured not only their soil and the plants they have grown, but also their community. Since the beginning, back in 1989 when they first settled there, they have been a constant and dependable presence at Olympia’s Farmer’s Market. And as time passed, their CSA Farm Share program developed, allowing them, for 22 weeks of harvest time, to share their many nutritious and Certified (in 1994) Organic offerings of fruit and veggies with their CSA members.

For their latest news, check out their website

In the early 90’s, as their farm grew in its ability to produce larger and more dependable crops, the Pigmans began offering their produce for sale at the Olympia Food Coop. Throughout the harvest season, Co-op members can purchase a variety of wonderful veggies grown on the Pigman’s Farm, including Jerusalem artichokes, asparagus, cylindrical beets, Brussels sprouts and onions. Nearly 150 varieties of vegetables and fruits are also produced on the farm. Most of these go to their CSA members or can be found at their Olympia Farmer’s Market stall. Their strawberries, raspberries and pumpkins are also offered up as You Pick–one of their favorite venues.

It was back in 1989 when the Pigmans first went on a quest to find the place where they could fulfill Jan’s life-long dream of being a farmer. One of the main qualities they looked for was land with a close proximity to a well-traveled road, so that they could sell their wares roadside. Once they found the perfect spot, their invitation to the community to come and pick their own succulent goodies directly from the farm was sent. You Pick was born on the Pigman Farm.

Spreading over the entire harvest season, and depending on the weather and what is ripe and ready for picking, folks from all over the area can come and pick their own raspberries, strawberries and pumpkins. It is a perfect venue for family outings!

My own recent visit to the farm gave me the opportunity to see, firsthand, the labor-of-love that the Pigmans have created over these 26 years of farming. Jan shared with me her story of how they came to settle here.

“I grew up on a little city lot in Southern California,” she told me, “and I always just wanted to grow things. My parents grew shrubs and a few flowers–and I wanted to grow something to eat! We had a vacant lot across the street and my dad, bless his heart, got permission for me to have a little garden there.” She was just ten then. “I would take vegetables around the neighborhood and sell them. It was safe back then to do that.” She was saving her money to go to horse camp. “I always really wanted to have a farm of my own,” she added. On family vacations, when driving through farm country, Jan told me that she would ride along, looking out the window at passing farms, wondering and trying to decide what they were growing. Then one time they drove past a farm stand with a sign that read, “From tree and vine, to thee and thine.” That phrase further inspired her, and stuck in with her until she was able to use it for her own farm.

Dean, on the other hand, grew up with a father who raised commercial carnations in Colorado and spent much of his childhood living around greenhouses. So as a young person, he wanted nothing to do with farming. “Oh no! I don’t ever want to do anything like this!“ he told himself at the time — but now? “And now, here I am!” he says, apparently quite pleased with his farmer life.

Upon his retirement from 21 years of service in the Army, serving in Vietnam, Korea, Germany and the US, Dean kept a promise he had made to Jan early in their marriage. “He agreed,” Jan said, “ that we would do his career for 20 years then my career for 20 years, and here we are 26 years later, still farming!” Having been stationed in the Pacific Northwest, it was only natural that they begin their search for farmland here. “We drove the realtors crazy,” Jan laughingly admitted, “I took a little shovel with us when we were looking for property and I would check the soil. I didn’t want to farm on clay or rocks.” That sandy loam they discovered in Nisqually, while only pastureland, an irrigation well, and a barn at the time, has become, with much tender loving care, an amazing farm with a home they built themselves, greenhouses, and rich organic soil. Working with a friend, they are adding trace minerals and beneficial soil microbes in order to create balanced environment for the things they grow. “We are consistently adding them to the soil,” Jan said. “The theory is, you feed the soil, that feeds the microbes, that feeds the plants, that feeds us.”

June is Strawberry Month, and the Pigmans produce two ever-bearing varieties of strawberries that offer sweet succulent fruit for us from June to sometimes as late as October. The Tristar is a smaller berry, but has a more intense wildberry flavor, while the Seascape is a much larger berry with a little less intensity of flavor, but fills the basket more quickly and is more like the strawberries customarily found at the market.

I walked with Jan through the early-spring beginnings of the strawberry patch, its plants still mostly dormant, lined by an outdoor fabric covering the walkways that will help folks avoid stepping on the plants and mud during the You Pick this summer. The plants produce for two seasons, and then are replaced by 1,500 new ones on a revolving schedule, so that berries are always available for picking. Slugs, moles, voles and robins are the major pests to the strawberries and raspberries–but there is always plenty of fruit available for You Pick as their season of harvest arrives. The blueberries even have a netting to cover and protect them from the robins during this abundant time of year.

The Pigmans also host a You Pick Pumpkin Patch the whole month of October. With 15 varieties of organic pumpkins, weighing in from a few ounces to three hundred pounds, you’ll have no problem finding your perfect pumpkin!

Anyone interested in joining their CSA or visiting their farm for You Pick can find out what is available by calling them at 360-491-3276 or checking their website at PigmansProduce. You can also follow them on Facebook for updates and more current photos.

Article and all photos by Desdra Dawning, Co-op Member

 

Wobbly Cart

wobbly 540Wobbly Cart is a certified organic farm south of Olympia on the Chehalis River. Along with supplying the Co-op with their beautiful vegetables, they have a gorgeous stand at the Olympia Farmers Market and the Chehalis Farmers Market. They also have a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, with drop sites ranging from Olympia to Portland, including one for the employees of the Department of Ecology in Lacey!

check out the latest from Wobbly Cart!

Cobb’s Handmade Desserts

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Meet Stephen and Rebecca Cobb, and their well-researched, thoroughly experimented-with, and meticulously created, Salted Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups. Lovingly made with the simplest, absolutely best ingredients, these incredible little treats just melt in your mouth. Pick one up in the ‘Grab n Go’ fridge section of either Co-op store, Eastside or Westside, and before you sample its crunchy chocolate cup and creamy center sweetness, be sure to read the label: “Cacao*, Peanuts*, Local Raw Honey, Raw Coconut*, Cinnamon*,Vanilla Bean*, Himalayan Salt (*Certified Organic).” Not only are the ingredients well-researched, they are also thoughtfully brought together to insure that each cup is gluten, dairy, soy and GMO free. And once you have that label off, and are prepared to dive into this scrumptious delicacy, take a moment to look inside for a surprise. It may be a thought-provoking quote (such as: “Never mind what’s been selling, it’s what you’re buying (and receiving undefiled).” ~Fugazi~), or it may be the sharing of some serious research into our food system (such as this: “The chocolate you’re eating is made with a blend of fairly-traded raw and roasted cacao, supporting organic farms in Peru, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, the Caribbean, and Indonesia.” ~The Cobbs~). Then go ahead. Munch away!

As for Stephen and Rebecca, the folks who bring us these sweet treats, they resettled in Olympia almost three years ago from Southern California. Both were ready to remove themselves from the crowded and busy urban life, and began to look into a few good places to live in the Pacific Northwest. Rebecca grew up in the LA suburbs and both she and Stephen yearned for a home that gave them a small-town feel yet offered cultural diversity. Both Portland and Seattle were still too big-city for them, so after travels through Bend and Ashland Oregon, they took the advice from someone at a party and came to explore Olympia. Having not one, but two Co-op markets with local, organic food was, they both admitted, one of the big draws for them. Speaking of her first impression, Rebecca said of her experience upon first entering the Eastside Co-op, “they were kind of quirky, but great! I could feel it when I walked in–how much intention was being put into what’s being selected (to carry for sale). I could just feel the love.” It is with the same loving intention, toward quality products that are not only healthy, but also environmentally and socially sustainable, that Rebecca and Stephen create their ‘naturally naughty’ little treats.

Because Stephen had portable work, telecommuting with a company based in California that sells refurbished networking hardware, he and Rebecca were able to make the move to Olympia. Soon Rebecca found work as office manager at a holistic health care center, also offering her expertise in Feng Shui and Life Coaching. And now, Stephen is able to work at home part time with his computer job and devote the rest to researching and experimenting with the creation of delicacies for their new company. Rebecca, in addition to being consultant for Stephen on what she sees that he is aiming to accomplish, also serves to take care of the business end of Cobb’s. It is obvious that they are a great match for this endeavor. “We’re partners in this food business,” says Rebecca. “We cook together, but I consider myself the sous chef–he’s the mastermind.” Stephen adds, “we respect each other’s tastes in food, so I appreciate getting her feedback–she picks up the subtle nuances. She also puts the swirls in the Peanut Butter Cups, he adds.” (Check them out! It’s like looking at the creative swirls from a coffee barista!)

Stephen and Rebecca began playing with their diets in California, but once they arrived in Olympia, Stephen specifically noticed his need to remove gluten from his list of edible foods. Wanting to find healthy treats for himself that would also please Rebecca, he began what he came to refer to as their ‘food hobby.’ Eventually, as their new friends began sampling his experiments in the world of sweets, it became apparent that they needed to take it to another level. “There’s magic in the stuff he makes,” says Rebecca, “so our friends encouraged him to do more.” Thus was born, back in September of 2013, their first Open House Cafe. Four were held once a month, right in their home, with menus, seating and being served, until December. Then they took a break, and are now hosting them again on a special-occasion basis, asking only for donations . The kitchen is curtained off, much like a restaurant, and while Stephen is preparing his specialty dishes, Rebecca is serving their friends with complimentary drinks. “We try to make it fun and cozy,” says Rebecca. Besides covering the costs of making full-size desserts, Stephen points out that “Rebecca likes to do home decorating, and we like to socialize at least once a month. It feels good to be doing this out of our home.” Cobb’s has a Facebook link on their website: www.cobbstreats.com, where you can learn more about upcoming events.

As for the Salted Dark Chocolate Peanut Cups themselves, they are so far the only item being sold at the Co-op. They are being produced in a certified kitchen downtown, and were chosen partly because they are unique and amazing, and partly because they lend to minimal packaging and longer shelf life in a way that many other treats do not. Some of the desserts they have been creating are better suited for delivery, without a lot of packaging, to local restaurants. Wasteful packaging is a big concern for both Stephen and Rebecca. So, while a few new creations are in the works for possible sale through the Co-op, others may go to different local outlets. “We are trying,” Rebecca says, “to find the best fit for each product.”

The ingredients for all of their desserts speak to the intense research that Stephen has done to create the kindest-to-humans-and-the-planet treats that he can. As noted on the Cobb’s website, “For the picky bellies out there – in general, we don’t use grains, starches, gums, or anything artificial or refined. Fruit and local raw honey are the only sweeteners we’re commercially working with. Everything’s as organic and locally sourced as possible, more raw than you’d imagine, and free of gluten, dairy, soy and GMOs.” The nuts and seeds used are soaked to neutralize enzyme inhibitors, making them easier to digest, although some–peanuts, pecans and hazelnuts–are roasted for flavor. Rebecca points out that Stephen is “meticulous” in his research to find out how we, as consumers, use various ingredients these days, where they come from, how they make us feel, even how they are shipped and handled. “Is what we are eating,” Stephen asks, “something we have been eating for thousands of years, or something new, created or refined and processed in a lab?” He prefers to use products that our human physiology has evolved with other the millennia. For more info from his research, check out their website, or the labels on those Peanut Butter Cups!

Devoted as they are to offering high quality products for us all, it is no wonder that one of their favorite expressions is “Nothing tastes as good as healthy feels!” So the next time you find yourself in the ‘Grab n Go’ fridge section at the Co-op, check out what the Cobb’s are calling “these gourmet, Himalayan-salted dark chocolate, raw honey sweetened, raw coconut-infused, cinnamon and vanilla-kissed peanut butter cups.” Because they truly are “out of this world.” And if you are interested in sampling more of their dessert inspirations, check out their website, CobbsTreats or look to Facebook for information about upcoming samplings, cafés, and other new dessert experiments.

By Desdra Dawning, Co-op member