March 20th is the first day of spring. With dreams of our summer gardens sustaining us through the last of the winter, it is time to start planning! Last year’s seed packets need to be assessed to determine if they are too old to be viable and if more need to be purchased. Now is also a good time to decide if some of last year’s varieties performed well in your garden environment. When you are ready to purchase new seeds, there are a number of sources to choose from that offer organic and heirloom varieties. Choosing organic and/or heirloom seeds helps to preserve diversity in food crops, support seed saving efforts, and keeps potential GMO and chemical hazards out of our gardens. Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah is a local source offering organic and heirloom seeds. They also sell seedlings for those who prefer to start their garden with young plants. Seeds of Change is another company that offers organic and heirloom varieties. Both companies focus on sustainability and the preservation of seed diversity.
Simple Irish Soda Bread
With St. Patrick’s Day on the horizon, thoughts turn to the food and drink originating from the island in the North Atlantic. Among favorites here in the states is Irish soda bread, which is more commonly known in Ireland as “cake” or “cake-bread.” Found in many forms, soda bread at its most basic consists of four ingredients: flour, salt, baking soda, and buttermilk. Baking soda, or bicarbonate of soda, an alternative to yeast, is what gives the bread its rise. If you’re new to bread making, Irish soda bread is a great place to start.
Several local businesses have partnered with the Cedar Falls Food Co-op during the month of March to add value to our blossoming community-owned food co-op!! Sidecar Coffee, Sidecar Coffee Roasters, Oster Regent Theater & Singlespeed Brewing are offering some fun & exciting benefits for new & existing founding member-owners.
What Does it Mean to Become a Founding Member?
The Cedar Falls Food Co-op is a member owned, member controlled business that operates for the mutual benefit of all its members according to a set of established principles. It’s a unique business model — not a typical for-profit business, nor a nonprofit, but a collective of member-owners who have a say in how the business is run.
Even with snow still on the ground, it’s not too early to start thinking about getting our gardens ready for spring.
As February slowly fades to March, home gardeners start eyeing seed catalogues and dreaming about spending hours tending to their plots. While we still may not be able to dig in, it’s not too early to start planning and prepping for a successful growing season. If you are planning a garden for the first time, there are some simple steps to get you started.
February is almost here, believe it or not. To celebrate, we are dubbing it Love Your Co-op Month. If you become a founding member-owner of the Cedar Falls Food Co-op with a full household membership during the month of February, we will send you a coupon for a free cupcake* from our featured business of the month, Scratch Cupcakery.
Since its first cultivation in ancient Mesoamerica, chocolate has been seen as a special treat. It was first consumed as a bitter liquid and was thought to be a gift from the gods. According to Aztec legend, Quetzalcoatl was cast away by the other gods for sharing chocolate with humans, much like Prometheus of Greek mythology. Chocolate was a common drink in the Americas, and was even used as currency in the Aztec empire.
The number of wonderful people who have joined the effort to launch the Cedar Falls Food Co-op grew last week by twelve. They have laptops. They call home places like Boone, Minneapolis, and even Hong Kong. And they like to wear orange. We’re talking, of course, about Wartburg students. Kim Folkers, an Associate Professor of Marketing at Wartburg College, invited the Cedar Falls Food Co-op to be a client of the students as they assemble and integrated marketing communications strategy for area start up businesses.
Over two years ago, the effort to launch a co-op began with a conversation. That was followed by two community gatherings — it was so exciting to see all the interest in the idea! Out of those gatherings grew something we called “The Steering Committee.” (I looked back at an early agenda and found the topic “Co-op name?” on the list. Maybe I’ll do another blog about why we ended up choosing Cedar Falls Food Co-op as our name!)
Cranberries…the name comes from “cranberry,” used to describe how the plant’s looks, especially when flowering, look like a crane. Other names for this fruit bearing plant have included fenberry (traditional English), and mossberry (from Canada). Regardless the name, the cranberry is making its way into your grocer’s aisles this time of year. This Cranberry Sauce’s color and great taste win over all your holiday guests!