Statement from Boise Co-op Board of Directors and CEO

Statement from Boise Co-op Board of Directors and CEO

September 12, 2019

Thank you

First, thank you to everyone who attended the Boise Co-op Board of Directors meeting on September 9. We appreciate your time and candor as you shared your concerns, support, and questions. We would also like to thank our crew, Co-Owners and shoppers that were unable to attend and took the time to reach out to us. As the Board of Directors and CEO we want you to know that we appreciate your feedback and your input.

The intent of this letter is to provide clarity, facts and insight where needed. This is not only in reply to the attendees of the Board meeting on September 9, but also the various people that have reached out to us. There are a number of questions circulating due to either a lack of information or deliberate misinformation. We recognize that this is a result of unclear and inconsistent communication. Honest and transparent communication is key to everyone understanding the “why” behind the decisions that are made and the direction we are going. We all need to work on this and it starts at the top. Our goal is to encourage a culture of accountability, and to more clearly outline the relationship between employees and managers.


Part of this narrative is intended to clarify the different roles that make up our Co-op. Each and every one of us choose to show up and most of us are here because we believe in the Co-op’s vision, mission and role in the community. To those who are here to help move us forward with purpose and integrity, we are grateful for your contributions. We have a long way to go and we hope you’re in for the long haul. Thank you.


Our Purpose

Our purpose is to Stand Up for Honest Food. Our core values are: collective harmony, positive spirit of action, and respectful honesty. Every Boise Co-op employee should be familiar with these concepts because we built them together. And together we intend to live and to work by these principles.

The Cooperative Model

A number of references have been made as to what the co-op model is and how it is designed for the benefit of employees. We want to provide some clarity and information on this. Cooperatives are owned and driven by the members—at the Boise Co-op we use the term “Co-Owner.”

The Boise Co-op exists to serve our Co-Owners through the purchasing of goods and services. We were organized for that reason—to provide access to good food at a reasonable price as a buying club. In addition to getting the products and services they want, Co-Owners also get a share in the profit of the Co-op. We return this in the form of a patronage dividend. Each household is allowed one membership and one vote. Through this democratic process we elect a Board of Directors. The Board serves as representation of our 33,000+ Co-Owners.

Employees can be Co-Owners, but they do not get preferential treatment for being employed by the Co-op. They are allowed one vote per household along with other benefits under the Co-Ownership allotment. The decisions we make are first and foremost for the benefit of our Co-Owners.

You can find our bylaws and Board policies online (if you’re reading this in print: www.boise.coop/directors)

Our Culture

First, and because questions were raised at our forum, retaliation is not the cost for those who speak up to management or the Board. This policy is explained on page 20 of the Employee Handbook. Staff ideas and insight are always welcome and encouraged. This being said, in an attempt to foster a shared sense of mutual respect and professionalism, we will not condone mean-spirited, spiteful, or bullying behavior. The expectation for all involved parties is to maintain considerate etiquette. 

Nor do we allow for insubordination; by this we mean refusal to obey direction from a supervisor and disrespect shown to management in the form of vulgar or mocking language—or making threats, spreading rumors and engaging in toxic gossip. This is destructive behavior that creates tension, loss of progress, and decreased morale. This is the very antithesis of who we are as a cooperative; it negates and undermines our values and will not be tolerated.

We as a Board of Directors and leadership team are committed to the creation and nurturing of a positive, empowering, and collaborative work culture. We all play a role in keeping this going. Our hope is that with honest and open discussion and mutual understanding of problems we can grow our collective confidence and trust, and improve our working relationships. 

Accountability Structure

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Deli Leadership Positions

The senior leadership team decided to invest in our largest department. The positions of Culinary Director and Executive Chef are strategic investments in the Co-op. In an industry where a grocery’s deli is typically a profit center, driving innovation and profits to the store, the Boise Co-op deli operations are an unfortunate exception; they have been losing money for several years. To help us reinvent and re-invigorate our deli operations, we turned to industry leaders who are excited to help us;  Jin Yang and Chris Paquette together bring more than 45 years of culinary talent and leadership. Jin is regularly listed as one of the food industry’s leaders in sustainability and environmental innovation. We tasked them with nothing short of transformation of this important function, and to also train and develop our future culinary leaders. We realize we should have been more clear about these positions and why Jin and Chris were selected right from the get go, and apologize for the confusion and frustration this caused. We’ll do better moving forward.

The ECHO Program

Both representatives of the previous ECHO resigned from their roles, subsequently leaving the positions vacant and dormant. We received feedback that the program needs revising because it isn’t effective. We also learned that the ECHO program created unintended consequences in communication breakdowns and gaps between department managers and their staff. We are taking this feedback seriously and exploring viable and sustaining alternatives which address the future of the program.

At this time we are not bringing the program back. True to our shared values that we stated above, we prefer to build a culture of open, honest and productive conversations between managers and their team. We have a system for employees to share concerns with their managers, not with a middleman who might not accurately translate the employee’s issues. To that end we have made changes to the managerial roster. One of our top priorities is to establish and grow that trust between managers and employees who are working together to rebuild these relationships. The graphic below outlines the best way to voice concerns.

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*the employee forums are a new addition that will take place quarterly, beginning on October 9 (at the Village) and 10 (at the North End). Employees should look for more info by the time-clocks and in meeting minutes in the next couple of weeks.

Employee Wage Increases

We want to clarify that wage increases are not capped at 3 percent. We set an organizational budget of 3 percent — as we have done for the last five years. We asked managers to provide reasoning, documentation and request for approval for any increase above this amount. This ensures accountability to budget and fairness in evaluation practices. 

One of the most urgent priorities on our “Go Forward” business plan is to implement a Total Pay package with a clear methodology and consistent application. Work is now underway and we will be providing progress updates along the way, with the goal to implement as soon as possible. 

A critical outcome of the across-the-board review described above will be clarity for employees about their compensation. Part of that review will be a clarification about salary caps, so that employees can see how to increase their wage either through performance or through a change in position. These discussions will take place between managers and their employees.

Personnel Decisions and Salary Information

Personnel decisions and salary information are private and closely held between the employee and the Co-op. The Board does not get involved in these conversations. As stated before, our sole employee is the CEO. Personnel changes, and the reasons for them, are private, to protect the privacy and integrity of all Boise Co-op employees. 

We set salaries and pay scales commensurate with an employee’s position and experience. Historically, we have brought on many entry level employees at the minimum starting wage (currently $10.76). Pay ranges exist for all jobs within our organization; hiring managers are being encouraged to bring new hires on at a pay within the job’s pay range that is commensurate with the new employees’ experience and skills. 

Long-term and Legacy Employees

As part of our pay evaluation process, we are reviewing our overall compensation terms. This process will include a focus on our long-term employees. 

Boise Co-op in the News

It’s likely that you’re aware of the various articles and social media posts being made about our organization. There are several accusations and personal attacks being circulated and we will not engage in tit for tat exchanges. That’s not who we are. 

Uncertainty creates a mixture of emotions—most of which lean toward the negative. Again, our intention is to provide clarity, insight and open and honest dialogue around these issues. We know the Co-op plays an important role in many people’s lives in our community, and our main goal is to ensure the Boise Co-op survives and thrives for another 46+ years. 



Planked Salmon

By: Co+op, stronger together

Total Time: 1 hour; 15 minutes active

Servings: 4

Putting that beautiful piece of wild-caught salmon on a wood plank serves two purposes: first, to cook it in a bath of delicate cedar smoke, and second, to prevent fish sticking to the grill! The plank, when placed on a sheet pan or platter, is a great serving piece, too, allowing your guests to get a whiff of delicious smoke as they sit down to eat.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound sockeye or other wild-caught salmon

  • 1/4 cup white wine

  • 1/4 cup orange juice

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon tamari soy sauce

  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

Materials

  • Untreated cedar plank, soaked in water (Boise Co-op sells these near the meat and seafood counter)

  • 1 spray bottle filled with water

  • 1 instant read thermometer

Preparation

  1. Remove any bones from the salmon and, if desired, cut into four portions.

  2. In a baking dish or food storage container, whisk the white wine, orange juice, brown sugar, tamari and olive oil, then place the salmon, flesh side down in the marinade. Let stand for 30 minutes. Flip the salmon over and let marinate for 10 more minutes.

  3. Prepare the grill for smoking (see Tips & Notes for best results). If using a charcoal grill, place the grate on high or the charcoal on one side. If using a gas grill, light the flame on just one side. When hot, place the plank over the fire on the hot side until it starts to crackle. Brush the top with oil and place the fish, skin side down, on the plank. Position the plank so that it smolders a little but does not catch fire or smoke heavily. Spritz with water if needed, being careful not to douse the fish.

  4. Close the lid for about 10 minutes, then check the fish with an instant read thermometer. When it reaches 140⁰ F, use tongs to move the plank to a sheet pan and carry to the table.

  5. Use a metal spatula to serve the fish; the flesh should lift right off the skin.

  6. Wash the plank and store for future use.

Tips & Notes

Create hot and cool zones

For best smoking results, create hot and cool zones on the grill. The hot zone is where the smoke is created and the food may be seared. The cool zone is where the food is placed to allow the food to cook more slowly and absorb the smoky flavor. If your grill is too small to create both a hot and a cool zone, check your food for doneness earlier as it will cook faster over the high heat

Nutritional Information

163 calories, 6 g. fat, 60 mg. cholesterol, 129 mg. sodium, 0 g. carbohydrate, 0 g. fiber, 24 g. protein

Posted by permission from StrongerTogether.coop. Find more recipes and information about your food and where it comes from at www.strongertogether.coop.

Tomato Salad with Warm Basil Dressing

Courtesy of: Bon Appétit

As heirloom tomatoes become abundant, we need to think of creative ways to eat them while they're fresh and ripe. This warm basil dressing is the perfect way to transition into the cooler summer nights. This dressing isn't just for salads, either. Try it over a juicy steak or some char-grilled vegetables!

Ingredients

  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced into rings

  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

  • ¾ tsp crushed red pepper flakes

  • 3 oil-packed anchovy fillets, chopped (optional)

  • 1 cup basil leaves (purple or green)

  • 1½ lb. heirloom tomatoes, some sliced, some cut into wedges

  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar

  • Kosher salt

  • ½ lemon

  • Flaky sea salt

For the full recipe, check it out on Bon Appetit

September Cheese Of The Month

Cypress Grove Humbold Fog Pepper Remix

The Original American Original® — remixed!

Humboldt Fog paved the way for soft-ripened goat cheese in America, but this is Humboldt Fog like you’ve never seen it before. Each limited edition, handcrafted wheel features a distinctive ribbon of chilies, curry, and harissa — with just the smallest kick in the pants. You'll also enjoy buttermilk and fresh cream, complemented with floral notes, herbaceous over-tones, and a clean citrus finish. As Humboldt Fog Pepper Remix matures, the creamline develops and the flavor intensifies.

Serving ideas

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  • Top your burger with Pepper Remix to turn up the heat.

  • Beer Pairings: chilli beer, porters, stout

  • Wine Pairings: suvignon blanc, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel

Content Thanks To Cypress Grove Cheese!

Melon and Prosciutto Salad

Total Time: 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Combining prosciutto with and mozzarella cheese isn't a radical thing, but it seems like everyone is pairing fruit and balsamic these days. The most satisfying salads combine salty, creamy, sweet, and sour. In this case, the combination of salty cheese and ham paired with refreshing summer melons topped off with a balsamic glaze is just delightful. There's nothing more elegant than cutting into a salad with a knife and digging in with a fork. It's the perfect dish on a scorching-hot summer day!

Ingredients

  • 1 cantaloupe or honeydew melon

  • 8 oz of fresh (cherry sized) mozzarella balls in brine

  • 4 oz of very thinly sliced prosciutto

  • 1 bunch of mint leaves, stems removed

  • 2 tablespoons of good quality extra virgin olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons of balsamic glaze

  • flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Cut the melon of choice in half. Remove the seeds with a spoon. Peel and cut into wedges. Divide the wedges evenly between four serving plates (about 2-3 melon slices per plate).

  2. Drape prosciutto over the melon wedges.

  3. Tear each piece of mozzarella ball in half and divide them among the four servings.

  4. Scatter the mint leaves on top of each salad.

  5. Drizzle about 1/2 a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic glaze over everything.

  6. Season with salt and pepper. Enjoy!

Pan-Fried Tofu Salad With Ginger Citrus Miso Dressing

Total Time: 45 minutes; 15 mins active

Servings: 4

Tangy with a little funk and slightly sweetened with a touch of honey, this recipe will hit the spot on a warm summer night. Miso, orange, and ginger are classic Japanese flavors that can be used as a marinade or dressing. You can turn this into a marinade by simply reducing the amount of orange juice, keeping the formula thick enough to slather over any protein before cooking. Or, turn this into a dressing by thinning it out with more orange juice. This Pan-Fried Tofu Salad with Ginger Citrus Miso Dressing will show how versatile this recipe is. It will elevate your simple summer night salad into something Instagram-worthy!

Ingredients

Dressing/ Marinade

  • 2 teaspoons of fresh ginger grated with a mircoplane, or minced

  • 1 clove or garlic grated with a mircoplane, or minced

  • 1 teaspoon of orange zest granted with a microplane, or minced

  • 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed orange juice (divided)

  • 1 tablespoon of rice wine vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon sweet yellow miso

  • 1/2 tablespoon honey

  • 4 tablespoons grapeseed oil

  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

  • Salt to taste

Salad

  • 1 block firm tofu

  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil

  • 2 cups mixed greens of choice

  • 2 vine ripened tomatoes cut into wedges

  • 1 cucumber sliced into half moons

  • 1 avocado cut into cubes

  • 1 teaspoon of toasted sesame seeds

  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped cilantro

Directions

  1. Take the tofu out of the wrapper and drain as much water as you can out of it. Wrap the tofu block with a clean kitchen towel. Place something heavy like a cast iron pan on top of the towel-wrapped-tofu and leave it on the counter for about 10 mins to press some of the moisture out.

  2. In a large bowl add the grated ginger, grated garlic, orange zest, 1 tablespoon of orange juice, rice vinegar, miso, and honey. Whisk until everything is combined and there are no more lumps in the miso. Slowly stream in the grapeseed oil while whisking to emulsify the dressing. Do the same with the sesame oil. Season with salt and pepper.

  3. Cut tofu block into 1/2 cubes. Scoop a couple of tablespoons of the marinade over the tofu and carefully coat each piece. Let marinate for 30 minutes.

  4. Assemble salad. In each serving bowl, layer the lettuce, cucumber, tomato, and avocado. Set aside.

  5. With the remaining marinade, whisk in the remaining 1 tablespoon of orange juice to thin it out for the dressing. Set aside.

  6. Pan-fry the tofu by heating a large skillet to medium heat. Coat the pan with 1 tablespoon of oil. Drain any excess liquid that has leaked out of the tofu. Blot off any extra marinade, each piece should be lightly coated (too much marinade will burn). Add the tofu in a single layer (you might have to do this in batches if you don’t have a large enough pan. Make sure to clean the pan between batches). Pan fry for 3-5 minutes on each side.

  7. Layer the tofu on top of the salad. Sprinkle on the toasted sesame seeds and finely chopped cilantro. Drizzle on some more of the reserved dressing, and enjoy!

Wellness Tuesday Tips: Natural Ways To Boost Endorphins

By Cathy Smith

Natural Ways To a Happier Brain

Who doesn’t want that? My partner and I just returned from a lovely vacation in the Grand Tetons and the South Fork of the Snake River. I bathed my brain and body in a blissful blast of endorphins with a combination of nature, higher elevation, long hikes, delicious food, bouts of laughter, and making new friends.

What are endorphins? How do they work and can we get more daily? Brain science is fascinating! By no means will I attempt to explain the complexities of the billions of neural pathways. Endorphins are “feel good” chemicals produced by the pituitary gland and nervous system. They attach to the brain's opiate receptors, thus increasing pleasure and reducing pain. Ever heard a story of someone breaking a bone and not feeling the pain until hours later? That is our mighty gray matter coming to the rescue! 

Have you experienced the euphoria of a “runner's high”? Or the chilled out buzz of a glass of wine and a belly laugh with a friend? I feel incredible after a heart-pumping hour at the gym or after playing a game of Frisbee in the park. Maybe for you, it’s the sense of community while bonding with a cycling group or a monthly book club. The positive energy created releases these feel-good chemicals that keep us wanting more. Might be one reason we hear that pint of ice cream calling us from the freezer for one more bite ...hmmm?

Here are a few endorphin “triggers” that came up again and again in my research.  Give ‘em a go and see how you feel!

  • Regular exercise 

  • Laughing ~ Social bonding

  • Music

  • Nature and sunshine

  • Beet root powder or capsules

  • Omega 3 fish and flax oils

  • Probiotics 

  • Ginkgo Biloba

  • Turmeric 

  • Lavender and Vanilla essential oils

  • Physical intimacy

  • Meditation and conscious deep breathing

  • Dance

  • Volunteering 

  • Body massage

A customer last week shared how at age 55 she had begun to a kid again! I’m with her.

Cheers!!

Corn with Cilantro Cumin Butter

By: Co+op, stronger together

Total Time: 10 minutes

Servings: 6

Brighten up your summer meal with this fresh and tasty corn on the cob recipe.

Ingredients

  • 6 ears of corn, shucked

  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder (optional)

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)

Preparation

  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil on the stove. While waiting for the water to boil, blend together the butter, fresh cilantro and cumin in a bowl or food processor. Add the lime juice and mix until incorporated, and set aside. Place ears of corn in boiling water, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes until kernels are bright yellow and just tender. Remove from the heat and drain.

  2. Spread the seasoned butter on hot corn, dust with chili powder and salt if desired, and serve immediately. Wrap any leftover butter in plastic wrap or waxed paper.

Serving Suggestion

This versatile seasoned butter is also delicious on grilled tuna steaks, chicken breast, or toasted baguette slices.

Nutritional Information

181 calories, 6 g. fat, 10 mg. cholesterol, 29 mg. sodium, 32 g. carbohydrate, 3 g. fiber, 6 g. protein

Posted by permission from StrongerTogether.coop. Find more recipes and information about your food and where it comes from at www.strongertogether.coop.

Rosemary and Rosé Refrigerator Pluot Jam

Total Time: 30 Minutes active

Servings: 12 oz jar

It's the peak of stone fruit season, and it drives us into a craze each year! Plums, apricots, and peaches are some of our favorite summertime snacks. Stone fruits are always sweet, slightly tart, and pack a punch of juicy flavor. Pluots? Well, they’re the lesser-known hybrid wonder of the stone fruit family. Part apricot, part plum. Totally delicious.

We love the concept of small-batch jams, and refrigerator jam is easy to make. There's no special equipment required and best of all, there's no fussing around with canning. This jam recipe will put traditional fruit preserves to shame! We love both plum and apricot jams, that's why pluot jam makes perfect sense. Most jams are just sweet, but this slightly savory jam is a bit more modern. We up the flavor profile by adding some Rosé wine, rose water, and a hint of rosemary. It's the perfect pairing with soft cheeses; make it the sweet component on a cheese board, or simply smear it on some toast.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ripe organic pluots

  • 1/2 cup- 3/4 cup of organic granulated sugar

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed

  • 1/4 cup Rosé, sparkling or still

  • 2 tablespoons of honey

  • 1 tablespoon Indo-European rose water

  • Small sprig of rosemary

  • Pinch of salt (optional)

Directions

  1. Wash pluots well, cut the fruit in half, and remove the stones.

  2. Chop the pluots into small pieces (leave skin on, it’s high in pectin), and place into a large bowl.

  3. Sprinkle sugar on top of the fruit and mix in with the lemon juice. Start with 1/2 a cup of sugar add up to 3/4 of a cup for desired sweetness. Let everything hang out at room temperature for about an hour for the fruit to macerate, drawing out out the juices and breaking down the flesh of the fruit (This will help the jam cook faster).

  4. Dump the macerated fruit, juice and all into a small saucepan with the Rosé, honey, and rose water. Turn the heat up to medium-high. Cover and bring it to a boil.

  5. Once the fruit mixture boils, lower the temperature to medium. Uncover the saucepan allowing it to cool slightly. Simmer, stirring occasionally to ensure nothing burns, until the fruit has completely reduced down and dissolves into a gooey-glossy mess, about 20 minutes.

  6. Add the spring of rosemary and let it hang out on low heat for 5 more minutes.

  7. Taste, to round out the flavor, you can add a pinch of salt.

  8. Remove the sprig of rosemary (you don’t want it to overpower the jam) and store in a jar in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.

August Cheese Of The Month

Deer Creek Cheese:

The Rattlesnake

Premium Tequila & Habanero Pepper Infused Specialty Cheddar

The Rattlesnake is a true flavor experience — spicy, sweet, tropical, and HOT. We start with a smooth, creamy medium aged Cheddar and infuse it with premium gold tequila and Habanero peppers. The warmth and sweetness of the tequila open your palate to the smooth and creamy mellowness of a perfectly aged Cheddar. And just when you are wondering where the Habaneros are, the heat bursts forth for an unforgettable finish. Watch out — this cheese just might bite you back!

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Our Favorite Pairings

  • Beverages: Tequila, Margarita

  • Beer & Wines: Iced Sangria, Mexican Beer

  • Nibblies: Pineapple, Mango, Chocolate, Potato Chips, Burgers, Chicken, Tortilla Chips

RECIPES WITH GRASKAAS:

Content Thanks To Deer Creek Cheese!

Honey Ricotta Fig Toast

Total Time: 10 minutes

Servings: 2

If you love figs, this recipe is undoubtedly one of the easiest ways to enjoy the natural flavors of this delicious fruit. Simply smear your toast with a no-fuss whipped lemon honey ricotta spread, top on some fresh figs, and sprinkle on some toasted walnuts. Voila! You’re done! But, if you want to elevate this recipe into something a little more elegant, make every bite gooey by drizzling on a little more honey, round off the sweetness with a dash of sea salt, and finishing everything off with some fresh lemon zest. This is a perfect energy-boosting treat you can enjoy any time of the day. Serve this to your friends, and they’ll completely forget about avocado toast.

Ingredients

Fig Spread

  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese

  • 1 tablespoon of heavy cream

  • Zest of 1/2 a lemon

  • 1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice

  • 1/2 tablespoon of honey

  • Dash of sea salt

Fig Toast

  • 2 slices of whole grain bread

  • 1 teaspoon of walnut oil

  • 4 brown turkey figs

  • 1 tablespoon of chopped lightly toasted walnuts

Optional Garnish

  • Light drizzle of honey

  • Pinch of sea salt

  • Lemon zest

Preparation

  1. In a small bowl, combine ricotta, heavy cream, lemon zest, lemon juice, and sea salt.

  2. Whisk together for about 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Set aside.

  3. Brush toast on both sides with walnut oil and toast on a grill or cast iron pan on both sides until toasted to your preference.

  4. Spread ricotta mixture onto your toast.

  5. Cut figs in half and lay 4 fig halves on each slice of toast.

  6. Sprinkle on the walnuts.

  7. Garnish each toast with a light drizzle of honey, pinch of sea salt, and a little lemon zest.

Wellness Tuesday Tips: Gratitude for Food

By Cathy Smith

Take advantage of summer's abundance! We have an amazing amount of delicious produce coming in, representing the abundance of summer. A few of my current favorites are fresh figs, peaches, blueberries, arugula, beets, carrots, and cucumbers. Working at the Boise Co-op for the past 23 years allows me access to the best organic food, quality skincare, and supplements. I am truly grateful I get the privilege to eat fresh and clean every day (not counting the nacho cheese sauce I recently consumed at an outdoor concert). Unfortunately, not everyone has such ready access to quality food.

Good digestion is important. Without it, we may not be getting all the nutritional benefits of the food we consume. Not to mention the discomfort of food moving slowly through our intestines. When dinner just sits around in our gut, it can cause indigestion, keeping you awake at night. Have you tossed and turned in bed, gotten out of bed to drink some water or taken an enzyme tablet, or stumble to the loo late at night before trying to get back to sleep? Sound familiar? Let’s check out a few solutions that can help!

It's very important to chew, chew, chew. Allow the food to macerate in your mouth until a soft paste. Or, simply chew your food 20 times before letting it go down the hatch. Chewing your food properly will activate the enzymes cellulase and amylase in the saliva. This will start the process of breaking down carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. It will also signal the stomach, pancreas, and intestines to release protease, lipase, and lactase. They work to break down food which allows vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to be absorbed into the bloodstream.

Protease: breaks down protein into amino acids

Amylase/Cellulase: break down carbs into simple sugars

Lipase: breaks down fats into three fatty acid compounds

Lactase: breaks down lactose found in dairy

Many of us are lacking in these enzymes. The good news is they are available in supplements. Try taking a full-spectrum enzyme blend at the beginning of each meal to ease bloating, gas and cramps. Peppermint capsules will help to soothe and calm your tummy better than Tums.

If eating is your jam, add the following foods that rate high in natural enzymes.

  • Pineapple

  • Papaya

  • Sauerkraut

  • Avocado

  • Mango

  • Kimchi

  • Kefir

  • Kiwi

  • Ginger

  • Raw honey

  • Shiitake, Reishi, Maitake mushrooms.
    Note: always cook mushrooms to release the beneficial compounds or take them in capsule form.


Beet the Heat Wrap

Ingredients

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  • 12 oz Co-op beet hummus

  • 4-6 Savor Tooth paleo pumpkin seed wraps

  • 4 oz lemon goat cheese

  • 1 local cucumber

  • 2 cups fresh greens ~ romaine, spinach, kale or arugula

  • 1/4 cup cilantro

  • Karam’s garlic sauce ( you’ll want to use this on everything!)

Directions

  1. Top the wrap with a dollop of goat cheese and warm in the oven on 350 degrees until soft and toasted.

  2. Add 2 Tablespoons of beet hummus per wrap.

  3. Throw in a handful of your favorite greens.

  4. Layer on a few thinly sliced cucumbers.

  5. Garnish with cilantro.

  6. Top everything off with a drizzle of Karam’s garlic sauce.

  7. Serve with sliced lemons and pumpkin seeds.

Enjoy the lush season of fresh produce from The Co-op, the Farmers Market, or handpicked from your garden!

Preserved Lemons

By: Co+op, stronger together

Total Time: 20-30 days; 30 minutes active

Servings: 36 (serving size: 1 tablespoon)

If you think a fresh lemon delivers a great flavor, you need to try a preserved lemon. The peels soften, and the fermentation adds a great depth of flavor and umami. A salty, tangy flavor explosion, a jar of preserved lemons in your fridge can be your secret weapon for perking up boring foods. Try it minced into a salad, added to casseroles, even pureed into some hummus.

Ingredients

  • 10 lemons, scrubbed very clean (you may not be able to fit all of them in your jar)

  • 2 extra lemons, for juice

  • 1/2 cup kosher salt, more if needed

  • Extra fresh-squeezed lemon juice, if needed, from the lemons that won't fit in the jar

  • 1 quart canning jar, sterilized

  • 2 tablespoons whole cumin or fennel seeds, optional

Preparation

  1. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of salt into the jar. Prepare each lemon by slicing off just a little of the stem end and tip, then quartering each lemon lengthwise, leaving them attached at one end. As you slice each lemon, pry the quarters open and sprinkle salt inside and outside of each one, then pack into the jar. Pack them in with some force, to squeeze out some juice to fill the gaps with liquid. Once all the lemons are salted and packed in the jar, sprinkle a couple tablespoons of salt over them, then squeeze the remaining lemons, if necessary, to fill the jar with lemon juice. Screw the lid on the jar and let the jar sit out at room temperature for up to 30 days, turning it upside down occasionally to mix. Refrigerate once the skins soften.

  2. To use, take a lemon out of the jar and rinse well to remove the salty brine. If desired, use pulp, or discard. Chop remaining lemon rind for use in recipes.

Tips & Notes

Save the salty lemon brine—it's delicious in small amounts in dressings, marinades or other dishes that might use lemon and salt. Hummus, tabbouleh, even pastas with greens or chicken are uplifted by a little preserved lemon and brine.

Nutritional Information

7 calories, 0 g. fat, 0 mg. cholesterol, 776 mg. sodium, 2 g. carbohydrate, 1 g. fiber, 0 g. protein

Posted by permission from StrongerTogether.coop. Find more recipes and information about your food and where it comes from at www.strongertogether.coop.

Garnet Yam Burger Patties

By: Co+op, stronger together

Total Time: 45 minutes; 30 minutes active

Servings: 6

Sweet potatoes, chickpeas, millet, and spices team up for a fabulous burger.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth

  • 1 cup peeled and diced garnet yams or sweet potatoes

  • 1/4 cup diced yellow onion

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1/2 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed, drained and smashed

  • 1/2 cup millet

  • 1 teaspoon cumin

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder

  • 2 teaspoons vegetarian Worcestershire

  • Salt

  • 1 cup bread crumbs (use panko if you can find it), divided

  • 1 egg, beaten

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Preparation

  1. Bring the vegetable broth to a boil in a medium soup pot. Add the yams and simmer for about 8 minutes, just until the yams are getting tender. Add the onion, garlic, chickpeas and millet, cover the pot and simmer for another 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. The millet should be tender and the liquid should be entirely absorbed when done.

  2. Remove from heat and stir in the cumin, chili powder, Worcestershire, a pinch of salt and half of the bread crumbs. Stir well and form into 6 even burgers.

  3. Put the beaten egg in a small dish and the remaining bread crumbs in another small dish or plate. Gently dip each burger in the egg, and then coat well in bread crumbs. Place the burgers on a sheet pan or plate and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

  4. Heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add the yam burgers to the pan and cook for 4 to 5 minutes until browned well on one side. Gently flip the burgers and cook another 4 to 5 minutes.

Serving Suggestion

Serve on a toasted whole-wheat bun with Sriracha mayonnaise, sliced pickled jalapeños and crispy lettuce, or sweet pickles, ketchup and mustard if you prefer. Or make this a main course option for vegetarian holiday guests!

Nutritional Information

190 calories, 2.5 g. fat, 0 mg. cholesterol, 230 mg. sodium, 35 g. carbohydrate, 4 g. fiber, 5 g. protein

Posted by permission from StrongerTogether.coop. Find more recipes and information about your food and where it comes from at www.strongertogether.coop.

Wellness Tuesday Tips: Summer makeup...light and dewy

By Cathy Smith

Summer makeup...light and dewy

Are you habitually late, constantly rushing out the door, always feeling overwhelmed, and frequently stressed because you spend way too much time getting ready in the morning? Do you want to find a quick and easy way to feel pretty and look put-together? With no time to fuss around in the morning, I’d rather spend any opportunity I can get wandering through my garden and sipping my cup of Four Sigmatic Mushroom Coffee. So how to make it look effortless?

Let us go on a journey for radiant skin! This morning routine takes less than 10 minutes and will last you throughout the entire day.

Your skin is the largest organ in your body. To look great and feel great, we need to take great care of our skin. We all have different skin needs, what is your skin trying to tell you? It is important to protect the base before you explore cosmetics:

  1. Post-shower I smooth on a layer of aloe vera gel, (Badger products are my go-to) all over my face, neck, and chest. The cooling and calming sensation will reduce redness and irritation. Your skin will drink it up!

  2. Followed this with a Hyaluronic Acid Serum. This is great if you have a combination skin type because it will lock in moisture without feeling greasy. Hyaluronic Acid Serum absorbs quickly. Your skin will get the hydration it needs while at the same time filling in those fine lines. 

  3. If you have oily skin, choose a lightweight moisturizer such as Dr. Hauschka Quince Day Cream, Kettle Care Balancing Lavender Facial Cream. If you have dry skin, choose an  Argan oil to keep your skin from looking rough and flaky.

  4. Now for the icing on the cake. Top everything off with a zinc-based SPF; look for a BB cream that contains SPF 30. BB creams with SPF will provide coverage and sun protection. The dual action of a tinted SPF will cut the time and cost. 

Remember, when you're feeling put together, you won't worry about the daily nuances. You'll be able to focus on your everyday tasks. Here is my no-fuss makeup regimen for that dewy sun-kissed-skin:

Mascara - Separate and define those lashes with Dr. Hauschka or Mineral Fusion

Eye shadow - Experiment with a shimmery bronze, tan, or silver for some nice highlights.

Blush - Add some depth to your cheeks with Gabriel cream in Dalia or Peony, also works great on your lips 

Lip – For a natural youthful look, pick a natural nude or pink, or a mix of both and choose a shade of coral.

Southwestern Grilled Chicken

By: Co+op, stronger together

Total Time: 15 minutes active; 30 minutes total

Servings: 4

A simple marinade featuring chipotle chili powder, cilantro and lime juice makes this chicken festive and flavorful.

Ingredients

  • 4 6-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts

  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

  • 1/4 cup tamari

  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, minced

  • 2 teaspoons granulated garlic

  • 2 teaspoons chipotle chili powder

  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper

Preparation

  1. Preheat grill to medium high.

  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the lime juice, oil and tamari. Add the herbs and spices and mix well. Add the chicken and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes or up to 4 hours.

  3. Remove the chicken and discard the marinade. Grill each breast 7-8 minutes per side or until the juices run clear. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the meat to determine when the chicken is done; the internal temperature should reach 165 degree

Serving Suggestion

Pair this chicken with freshly-made succotash, tangy slaw or bean salad, and use any leftovers to make a chicken hash or burritos. Use boneless skinless chicken thighs instead of breast meat for a more economical meal.

Nutritional Information

Calories: 307, Fat: 9 g, Cholesterol: 145 mg, Sodium: 205 mg, Carbohydrate: 1 g, Dietary Fiber: 0 g, Protein: 53 g

Posted by permission from StrongerTogether.coop. Find more recipes and information about your food and where it comes from at www.strongertogether.coop.

Drinking water isn’t enough

Remember that time that you finished a long run, proud that you'd finally remembered to stop for water and gels, only to feel just as exhausted as when you'd suffered through without any nutrition at all? Or that time you finished a 10k, chugged a bunch of water at the finish line, urinated plenty, but still felt thirsty for the rest of the day?

Most people know that hydration is important, but up to 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. Many people have trained themselves to reach for their water bottle on a regular basis, but they don't know water alone isn't enough!

Even if you're certain to drink your 64+ ounces of fluids per day, downing 8 glasses doesn't necessarily mean that you're truly hydrated. Unless your body is getting sufficient levels of electrolytes with your fluids, drinking more water may actually dehydrate you further. Even in small doses, too much water can have a negative impact on your body and state of hydration by diluting your blood, leaching existing electrolytes from your system, and in extreme cases can cause hyponatremia (which can be fatal).

So why are electrolytes so important?

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Electrolytes are essential to fluid and nutrient absorption and play a key role in hydration, sports performance, and health. Your body naturally loses these particles along with fluid through sweat, breath, and urine, making it incredibly important to replenish before, during, and after exercise. Without electrolytes, the water you drink can't be properly absorbed and will make its way through your system quickly and without benefit to your body.

The four main electrolytes that play vital roles in hydration and exercise performance are: sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Sodium and potassium are needed at greater quantity, due to their important roles in fluid retention and preventing muscle cramping. Magnesium and calcium complete the electrolyte profile by aiding in muscle contraction and movement.

How exactly do they help?

Proper hydration has benefits beyond minimizing muscle cramps, maximizing energy, and helping with an afternoon slump. When fluids and electrolytes are consumed regularly and proper hydration is achieved athletes may notice additional benefits such as a more level heart rate and lower perceived exertion during strenuous exercise, less muscle soreness and fatigue, quicker recovery times, and increased mental acuity.

Be sure to consume fluids with a balanced electrolyte profile for better hydration, better performance, and a healthier body!

Article Courtesy of NUUN

Grilled Peaches with Thyme Oil

Total Time: 15 Minutes

Servings: 6-8

This week’s recipe couldn’t get much simpler. The only equipment you’ll need is a grill or a grill pan. Grilling peaches is magical! The peachy flavor will elevate to a whole other level. If you love peaches, you won’t be able to resist this dish.

If I had to choose a flavor profile for summer, it would be warm, smoky, and fruity with a burst of sweet juicy nectar. This dish is IT! Just remember to have your grill grates really clean, you don’t want your peaches to stick to the grill or have any odd flavors transfer. The added thyme oil will make this the perfect side dish to pair with grilled meats like a juicy pork chop or a savory skirt steak. But why stop there? Do a 180 and knock it out of the ball park. Serve these juicy peaches as a sweet treat. Either way, SMACK! You just hit a home run! My favorite way is to set up a grilled-peach-sundae-station. A light drizzle of honey or balsamic glaze, vanilla ice cream, topped with chopped nuts, just don't forget the cherry on top. The truth is, grilling peaches is stunningly simple, there’s no fuss about it. Peach please, your guest will be asking for another serving!

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

  • 2 springs of fresh thyme

  • 6 large firm organic peaches

Directions

  1. Clean your grill grates, and preheat grill to medium.

  2. In a small bowl add olive oil and thyme. Use the back of a spoon to muddle and infuse the thyme with the oil. Set aside.

  3. Cut peaches in half, remove the pits (makes sure to use ripe but still firm peaches, you don’t want overripe peaches, because they will get mushy while grilling).

  4. Strain the oil, discard the thyme.

  5. Brush the cut side of each peach half with the thyme oil.

  6. Lay each peach half cut-side down on the hot grill.

  7. Let the peaches cook for 5 mins without disturbing or moving them. You really want to have well defined grill marks, it’s what makes this dish so appealing.

  8. After 5 mins, flip each peach half over with a spatula and a pair of tongs. Let them cook for 3 more minutes on the fuzzy side.

  9. Remove from heat, and serve this side dish any way you’d like, sweet or savory!

July Cheese of the Month

UNIEKAAS MELKBUS® 39 LAVENDER

Uniekaas cheeses are of the finest quality in Holland for one reason: tradition.

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Since the 1950’s our cheeses have been crafted and hand made by Holland’s most respected cheese makers and farmers. Whether you prefer a fresh spring milk aroma, tangy notes of citrus, crunchy protein crystals, or even a traditional creamy gouda… we are certain you will find a cheese or two to satisfy your palette. All Uniekaas cheeses are passionately created to have their own distinctive characteristics that stand out above the rest on your cheese plate, atop a delectable recipe, or on their own.

This refreshing Spring cheese is produced on a typical Dutch Farm in the middle of Holland known as Het Groene Hart or “The Green Heart” of Holland. Melkbus 39 Lavender starts out as a traditional “Kaas van de boerderij” or Raw Milk Farmer Cheese that it is infused with fragrant French Lavender blooms, rosemary, and thyme just prior to pressing and shaping.

After 10 weeks of aging, the lavender’s slightly sweet flair gives this indulgent and creamy cheese just the right balance of floral essence while subduing you into a dreamy state with its herbal garden aroma. Made with raw hormone free unpasteurized cow’s milk. This goes great on a summer cheese plate with some crackers, a healthy mix of fresh fruit or dried fruit, and a drizzle of honey.

Pairings: Creamed Honey, Prosciutto, Dried Cranberries

Content Thanks To Uniekaasusa.com