In the Defense of Beets


It seems as though today the familiar velvety red and earthy beet has lost its glamor. Have many of us just had too many of these roots forced down our throats as children by our parents that the thought of them make us cringe? Perhaps we’ve allowed our fear of beets linger too long into our adults lives and it’s time to rediscover the bright and BEETiful nature of the beet.

Before the beet had its claim as a root vegetable, it was long consumed only for its leaves. It wasn’t until the late 1500s that it was starting to be cultivated for its root, and even then, it wasn’t for another couple centuries that it had positive global recognition. Northeastern Europe was the first area in the world to start cultivating the beet as a stable, seeing its value as being one of the only vegetables to grow through the winter.

Though an incredible value to grow throughout the winter, the beet also has outstandingly positive health effects. Beet root has long been used for its ability to stimulate the liver’s detoxification processes. The compound that gives beets their rich dark color called betacyanin, a pigment, has been thought to suppress the development of some types of cancer. Beet root has been shown to increase the level of antioxidants in our bodies, which also aid in preventing cancer. The beet root is one of the greatest sources of the amino acid glutamine, an essential nutrient to positive intestinal health. Beet roots also aids in the production of nitric oxide, a powerful molecule that increases blood flow and has heart protective properties. The leafy greens that grow on the surface are also chalk full of vitamins, minerals and fiber to keep our bodies happy and strong.

It’s no doubt that these familiar vegetables are good medicine, for our mothers always told us that, but do they stand up as worthy and palatable for consumption? Yes they do! Beet root is as versatile as our beloved potatoes. Roasted with herbs and spices; chopped and thrown into a vegetable soup or stew; shredded raw on salads and sandwiches. How about for a sweet treat in a smooth with bananas, berries and seeds?

At the Fort Collins Food Co-op we know the importance of beets. For much of the year, due to our longer cool vegetable growing season, we carry local, organic beets from our friends at Native Hill Farm. If you’re interested in trying something with a zest, try MM Local’s pickled beets, a Boulder company committed to quality pickled products using local and organic ingredients. Or support the local growing business of Turtle Mountain Tea by trying their vegan beet kim-chi.

In the words of Tom Robbins, “The beet is the ancient ancestor of the autumn moon, bearded, buried, all but fossilized; the dark green sails of the grounded moon-boat stitched with veins of primordial plasma; the kite string that once connected the moon to the Earth now a muddy whisker drilling desperately for rubies.” (Jitterbug Perfume)


Thanks is for Giving

BLogIMageHappy Sweet Potato Awareness Month (did you know they are different than yams?);Happy National Peanut Butter Lovers’ Month (did you know you can freshly grind your own at the Fort Collins Food Cooperative’s bulk section for just $5.99/lb?); Happy Movember furry–faced fellows!

Much there is to be happy about this time of year (like Yoda speak), and even more to be grateful about (like The Force Awakens). As earth tones catch your eye, with spiced cider/tea to warm your bones and abundant squash/root vegetables fill your belly with some slices of apple/pumpkin pies to delight your taste buds; indeed it is a timely celebration of our hard–earned harvest of 2015.

Like the Ancient Greek Hippocrates, the western pioneering physician, once stated, “Let food be thy medicine, and let medicine be thy food.”

I have since consciously adopted a diet that works for me, without attaching any rigid labels to myself because I know that just as certain ailments require certain remedies, so also do I feel the need for different foods, based on their symbiotic effects on my overall health.

It’s important for people to be in tune with their own individual needs, as the eastern Ayurvedic tradition notes will differ based on body constitution.


Staying Healthy over the Holidays

During the holidays, we are more susceptible to infections due to increased stress and the fact that most of us attend more social functions at this time of year, increasing our contact with viruses and bacteria.

Naturopathically, we speak of optimizing our ‘terrain’, or our inner environment, so that we can be around pathogens and not get sick.  Since 70 to 80% of our probiotic foods resides in our gut, maintaining healthy gut flora is the key to maintaining our health. We do this by eating a mostly whole-food diet, eating probiotic foods or taking a probiotic supplement and by managing our stress effectively.

We can further support our immune system by finding out what we are allergic or sensitive to and by avoiding those substances. This frees up our immune system to fight infection.

Sugar and refined carbohydrates are inflammatory, and are taxing to the immune system. In one study, it was shown that the immune system was suppressed by up to 50% for 7 hours after subjects ingested 2 sugary soft drinks. Cutting down on ‘artificial food’ is always the best, but if you choose to indulge and you are around sick people, consider using a neti-pot before you go to bed to cut down on the immune system’s workload.   Also, get plenty of sleep most nights, so you don’t stress your body excessively when you stay up late for a holiday party.

If relational stresses come up, consider performing ‘bilateral cross-crawl’ activities such as walking while swinging your arms, while focusing your thoughts on the distressing situation. Using bilateral cross-crawl movements connects the right and left sides of your brain, making it easier to process through difficult emotions. After dealing with the difficult situation, focus on what you are grateful for.

By Joan Waters, ND

For more article’s like these visit Joan’s website and blog.


November Sales, Turkey Time, and Board of Directors Applications

Sales_Turkeys_BODNovember Sales begin Monday November 1st, but here’s a little sneak peak of your favorite sales items happening in every department:

Once again, the Bulk department is offering a bounty of savings! Save a $1.00 off peanut butter pretzels and Fair Trade, Vegan Dark Chocolate Chips.

Also, save $2.00 dollars off whole raw cashews and roasted salted pistachios.

 Not to be out done by Bulk’s bounty, the Grocery department is offering quiet the selection of savings, especially when it comes to holiday baking. Save $2.40 on parchment paper and don’t forget to use spectrum naturals extra virgin olive oil now $7 dollars off the regular price.

The Refrigerated section is offering limited edition Silk Almond Nog with a dash of Pumpkin Spice; a tasty holiday treat and a $1.00 off the retail price.

Amy’s Burritos are also on sale in the Frozen food department in November. They can indeed be a wonderful day or nighttime snack, 50 cents off!

Lets not forget about the full color spectrum of Dr. Bronners 32 oz castile soap! It’s $4 dollars off its regular price in the Body Care section for the entire month of November!

For more sales offers visit our website or stop by the Food Co-op for more store wide saving offers.


Gobble! Gobble! Its that turkey time of year again at the Food Co-op!

Pre-order your Thanksgiving turkey now with your cashier or over the phone [970]484-7448 .   All of the turkeys offered have never been caged or given hormones or antibiotics.

We offer a wide variety of size selections ranging from 8-12, 12-16, 16-20, and 20-24/per pound. Only $3.35/per pound!

All turkeys are delivered Monday, November 23rd and pre-ordering is based on a first come, first serve basis. There is a limited supply so order yours now!


Only a few days remain for Member-Owners to turn in their Board of Directors applications. There are 3 seats available in this upcoming B.O.D election. Applications are due this coming Saturday and voting will begin on November 4th through November 24th. Applications are at the front register of the Food Co-op or on our website.

Your completed application, your picture, and your ballot statement will all be posted in the store by the ballot box during the voting period.

Three B.O.D positions are available and a single B.O.D term is three years.

2015 Election Timeline:

  • November 4 – Voting begins at 8:30am
  • November 24   –   Voting closes by 8pm
  • November 25  – Votes counted
  • November 27  –  Election results announced
  • January 1, 2016  – Term begins

For more information regarding the Food Co-op Board of Directors and the upcoming election please visit the Fort Collins Food Cooperative website.


Home Storage Guide for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables


There are many reasons as to why properly and safely storing fresh fruits and vegetables is important. Not only does proper storage help to maintain the integrity of the product, but by doing so it increases the value of your dollar by decreasing the rate of spoilage, which also minimizes food-borne illnesses, and food waste.

Here at the Fort Collins Food Cooperative, we understand the challenge of keeping fruits and vegetables fresh for as long as possible. With society’s high standards for pristine looking produce as well as the high cost of organic goods, we’ve learned over the years how to keep products fresh and we’d like to share some of that knowledge with you!

Here are some basic guidelines you can follow to help maintain produce freshness longer and minimize food and dollar waste.

Produce storage location

  • Most vegetables do best if stored under refrigeration.

With the exception of lettuce, most fresh produce does better if washed just before consumption due to a natural covering that slows spoilage.


These fruits and vegetables do well on counter-tops:

  • apples, bananas, citrus, basil, cucumbers, peppers
  • pineapples, pomegranates, mangoes, eggplant, garlic, ginger
  • Place squash family, onions and potatoes in a cool, dry place.


Store fruits and vegetables separately

Fruits produce high levels of ethylene (a ripening agent) and can prematurely ripening and spoil surrounding vegetables.

Stone fruits (such as peaches and apricots), avocados, tomatoes, apples, bananas and melons will continue to ripen if left out on a counter-top.

Grapes, cherries and berries will deteriorate if left on a counter-top and should be refrigerated.

To slow the ripening process, place fruit in refrigerator and eat within 2-3 days.

To speed the ripening of fruit, place in a paper bag. Be sure to check every day to prevent over-ripening.



Refrigerate fresh produce that has been cut

Once fruits and vegetables have been cut, they should be used promptly or covered tightly and refrigerated for no more than two or three days. If cut produce is left at room temperature for longer than 2 hours it should be discarded.


Leafy greens

Leafy greens as romaine, green & red leaf lettuce and spinach will keep fresher if washed before storage.

  1. Wash with clean, cool running water.
  2. Discard wilted, discolored or blemished leaves.
  3. Carefully dry in salad spinner or on clean paper towels.
  4. Store in salad spinner or wrap lettuce loosely in clean paper towels and store in sealed plastic bag or container.
  5. Use within 1 week.

Happy Storing!


The Bulkier The Better

Jordan's_blog_PictureHot–air balloons, birthday cakes, and Big Bird. What do these three have in common?

Not only do they ignite the interest of children and adults alike, but they also share this simple trait: they are all bulky.

Five years ago, the Bulk is Green Council, or fittingly referred to as BIG, initiated the National Bulk Week, in celebration, praise, and raised awareness of the sheer diverse amount of both staple (grains, beans, salts, sugars, flours) and specialty (coffee, granola, nuts, trail mixes) available for purchase in macro and micro quantities.

Well dear friendly folks & folky friends, we at the Fort Collins Food Co­–op are currently in the belly of the Fifth Annual Bulk Week!

We are joining 1,400 other participating stores around this supersized nation—one that paradoxically seems infatuated with people, places, and things (also called nouns) being ever–so sleek and skinnier still.

Fat (pronounced with a ‘ph’) fact: Portland State University’s Food Industry Leadership Center compiled a 2011 study, finding that people save an average of 89% when purchasing the same foods in bulk, compared to their (over)packaged counterparts.

Rather than preach at/to you about the bulk benefits that burst at the seams, or try to singularly address commonly shared questions, I choose instead to highlight some of our featured (and my favorite) bulk items you may be currently getting (extra) prepackaged:

Lest we forget, it is with sincere appreciation that I give a very honorable mention to the produce(rs) and what I consider to be the freshershest bulk section that considerably provides us with fine fruits, roots, lively leafy greens, prime peppers, potatoes, divine tomatoes, squash and rare heirloom pumpkins throughout the abundant growing season here in Colorado.

Yes, bulk is beautiful, and we’re bringing it back to the max (ever wonder why we keep it all in the back of the store?)

For those of you who skim articles, here’s the skinny: Help us make a difference in the world by supporting our co–op as generously as you can, by bringing your own bags/containers, and by continuing to create quality conversations with one another, i.e. share a recipe, suggest an herbal tea, select a different spice.

You just might find you not only get what you need, but also your savings will bulk up!


Protecting your Thyroid Gland

Blog_PictureYour thyroid gland regulates the metabolism of every cell in your body. Since the thyroid affects every organ in the body, it can cause you to gain weight, lose weight, and have dry skin, to be anxious or depressed. It can cause heart palpitations, constipation or diarrhea.

I would like to share a few ideas that you may like to try to protect your thyroid gland. First, your thyroid gland requires a small amount of iodine in order to make thyroid hormone. It doesn’t require a lot, because the body recycles it. Some foods that contain significant amounts of iodine include asparagus, seafood, garlic, kelp, lobster, salmon, sea salt, seaweed, spinach, and sunflower seeds. Iodized salt contains a small amount of iodine, but I recommend the use of Himalayan salt or Celtic sea [both can be found at the Fort Collins Food Cooperative] salt because of their broader mineral content.

Your thyroid needs to be protected from fluoride, chloride and bromide, since they act similarly to iodine and may displace it in the thyroid. Avoid drinking fluoridated water as it has little, if any, strengthening effect on the teeth. A person takes in more chlorine from showering in chlorinated water than they do from swimming in a chlorinated pool, so you may want to install a chlorine filter on your showerhead.  Bromine is often found in hot tubs, so you may want to run a fan to blow the fumes away from you while hot tubbing. Some commercial flours and Mountain Dew contain bromine, so avoid them.

Since many thyroid conditions have an auto-immune component, it is important to keep your immune system healthy by avoiding inflammatory foods and by promptly addressing infections.

By Joan D Waters, ND Practical Health Solutions, LLC

Providing you with the tools to live healthfully in this increasingly challenging world.PractticalHealthSolutions

Preserve Our Food, Preserve Our Planet


As summer winds slowly die down and our sunlight begins to dwindle so does our beloved growing season here in Colorado. Though modern conveniences such as refrigerators, freezers, supermarkets and mass food distribution companies create a world of food accessibility and the illusion of a year-round growing season, there use to be a time when we didn’t have such luxuries and surviving through the winter relied heavily on food preservation and storage.

Much to our dismay, we are literally living in a time where we are seeing and feeling the effects of our consumption and watching our world’s finite resources, such as oil reserves, water-tables and land, decline and degrade, while simultaneously seeing costs increase.

Fortunately for us, the art of food preservation has not been lost. Preserving foods through methods such as canning, smoking, salting, drying and fermenting, not only provide us with delicious and nutritious foods with long shelf lives and no need for chemical-based food preservatives, but also helps us lower our overall carbon footprint. Preserving food at home lowers gas use of refrigeration storage and transportation of food from long distances, as well as lowers food waste and minimizes packaging waste that ends up in landfills.

How does one do such food preservation? One very simple and delicious method is by lacto-fermentation. This form of fermentation pickles vegetables in an oxygen-free environment in which “good” bacteria release lactic acid to produce the tangy flavor we desire. Fermented foods not only maintain high levels of nutrients already in vegetables but also increases the absorption of these nutrients and aids in the digestion of foods.

Please note that any vegetable you desire may be used in this process. At the Fort Collins Food Cooperative, we have over 30 locally sources fruits and vegetables available this time of year. We have local green beans and carrots from Native Hill Farm, garlic, cucumbers, and green peppers from Sunspot Urban Farm, cabbage and hot peppers from Ole Dern Farm, onions from Fossil Creek Farms and much, much more for your fermenting pleasure. We also carry over a hundred different spices in our bulk department, as well as a variety of iodine-free salts such as sea salt and Himalayan pink salt that are packed with essential minerals that keep our bodies strong.

Here is a recipe published by the web-resource, The Kitchn, written by Emily Han.


Lacto-Fermented Mixed Pickles

Serves 8

3 tablespoons sea salt, pickling salt, or kosher salt (see Recipe Notes)
1 quart water (see Recipe Notes)
1 cup small cauliflower florets
1 cup carrot chunks or slices
1 cup red bell pepper chunks or slices
1 clove garlic, smashed and peeled
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
1-2 grape leaves (optional, to help keep pickles crisp)

Combine salt and water in a measuring cup and stir until the salt is dissolved. (You can heat the water first to make the salt easier to dissolve, but it’s not necessary. Let it come to room temperature before making the pickles.)

Place the remaining ingredients in a very clean, large jar (a half-gallon mason jar works well). Pour the salt water over the vegetables, leaving at least 1 inch of headspace at the top of the jar. If necessary, add more water to cover the vegetables. (Optionally, place a small bowl or jar on top of the vegetables to hold them under the brine.)

Cover the jar tightly and let it stand at room temperature. About once a day, open the jar to taste the pickles and release gases produced during fermentation. If any mold or scum has formed on the top, simply skim it off. (If using a jar fitted with an airlock, you don’t need to “burp” it; just open occasionally to taste.)

When pickles taste to your liking, transfer the jar to the refrigerator. They will continue to ferment very slowly, but cold storage will largely halt fermentation. As a fermented food, these pickles will last for quite some time, at least a month or longer.

Recipe Notes:

  • Salt: Use salt that is free of iodine and/or anti-caking agents, which can inhibit fermentation.
  • Water: Chlorinated water can inhibit fermentation, so use spring, distilled, or filtered water if you can. It is also recommended to rinse the vegetables in un-chlorinated water rather than tap water.

Happy food preserving!


For the Love of All That Is ‘Whole–y’: Food


Next Wednesday the 23rd signifies the Autumnal Equinox here in the Northern Hemisphere, as we harvest and celebrate the fruits (veggies and whole grains) of our labor.

With a healthy heaping of satire and a (whole) grain of salt, this week I ponder: What is the difference between Whole Foods and ‘whole–y’ foods?

To this I respond: How much of your (soul’s) paycheck is spent after shopping!

At the Fort Collins Food Co–op, your favorite, friendly, natural grocery store, since 1972, we do our best to emphasize the local, hometown heroes who provide wholesome foods, liquid life elixirs, and other healing products we sell (as distinguished by the various blue ‘L’/product cards in bulk and produce). A fun Food Co-op fact: all this “local business” consists of more than 20% of our overall sales and upwards of 40% of what we as a Food Co–op purchase directly from the farmer/vendor.

When you choose to purchase Wisdom’s eggs and/or poultry, you are supporting a local family–owned and operated farm from Huxton, CO where chickens live in a “stress-free environment with full access to water that comes directly from our deep well [and are] given full access to the fresh air and sunshine of the great outdoors.”

When you select produce from Native Hill Farm, located in Laporte, you are supporting not only this fantastic farm that continues to offer the highest quality veggies, but you are also investing in the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) model, which allows increased accessibility and affordability for individuals/families to obtain nutritious food.

When you decide to try Turtle Mountain kombucha/tea/kimchi, you are literally supporting your life with these probiotic products (from its Greek origins, bios meaning life and pro– meaning in support of). What’s more, you are supporting a woman–owned, Fort Collins startup that recycles beer bottles for all of its kombucha creations. Backing bacteria has never been more beneficial.

We, the foodies of the Food Co–op, exist as individuals with a mind of our own, choosing to share the profits and the losses in this cooperative investment in the heartfelt whole.

For the love of all that is ‘whole–y’, the next time you are fixin’ to go to Whole Foods, consider supporting our community’s organically homegrown shop and see for yourself what’s in store with our envisioned relocation (r)evolution!


Savings! Sales! And a New Fall Deli Menu!

Did you know? Have you heard? Food Co-op Member-Owners are now receiving 10% off all day, everyday. This offers excludes Produce, Deli, already discounted items and other sale offers. Last August, Member-Owners received a total of $82.50 dollars worth of savings for the entire month. Thanks to our new 10% savings Member-Owners received a total of $3805 dollars worth of savings in August of 2015. Member-Ownership is always encouraged and are all welcome to shop Co-op.

Hey guess what? It’s September and that means new sales! Bulk is still beautiful with over 20 different items on sale including; Golden Temple Low Fat Granola, Roasted and Salted Pistachios, and Penne Pasta.

Grocery sales are getting sassy with $1.60 off Blue Sky Organic Cola, $2.00 dollars off Garden of Eatin’ Blue Corn Chips, and $2.30 off Barbara’s Bakery Shredded Wheat Cereal.

Refrigerated has $1.30 off on Straus Family Creamery yogurt and Body Care has Tom’s Of Maine Mouthwash on sale for a $1.40 off its retail price.

Our Fall Deli menu is in full swing with some new sandwich choices. Also, it’s cloudy with a chance of soup will take affect when our Colorado weather becomes more brisk.

Swing into the Food Co-op for more additional in-store savings, more information on Member-Ownership, and a hand out of our Fall deli menu. All of these are also available online at