The Vine Newsletter Archive

August/September 2014 Features
August September 2014 Cover - Jeremy MineauDiscover Local

The Next Generation — Jeremy Mineau established Super Tuber Farm in 2012, growing potatoes, cabbage, carrots, corn, and salad greens on land he leases in Penn Valley and Nevada City.

August – September – October chart showing local and regional produce outlook … Click here

Veggie Starts - no captionPlant your winter vegetables – use locally grown starts
While the idea of planting fall veggies while your tomatoes are still growing may feel a bit odd, now is the time to prepare for those yummy fall and winter veggies. Read more

Organic: sustainable, transparent, and no GMOs
When it comes to food labels, the USDA Certified Organic seal is the gold standard, and it designates much more than just “pesticide-free food.” Read more 

usda logoStudies show organic foods’ nutritional benefits, plus less exposure to pesticides, hormones, antibiotics Organic farming practices are not only beneficial for the environment, but protect our own health as well as the health of future generations. Read more

Erika_Kosina_nocaptionEveryone’s invited to Sierra Harvest farm potlucks
Something special happens when people come together over a meal, especially when everyone contributes something, potluck style. Read more

Cooking class cooksThink you can cook?
Do you have a cooking specialty that you’d like to share with a small, friendly group? We’re always looking for interesting new cooking classes and teachers, and would love to consider your class idea. Read more

Cooking ClassesCooking Classes!
Read the class descriptions and see the schedule for upcoming classes

Deli and Produce departments honored as “Top Performers”
See the pictures 

New co-ops prosper
Food co-ops across the country are growing by leaps and bounds. Read more

CCMABoard and staff inspired at Madison co-op gathering: workshops, tours, bicycling, and Wisconsin cheese
A record high of 580 cooperators from over 150 U.S. co-ops attended the 58th annual Consumer Cooperative Management Association (CCMA) Conference held in Madison, Wisconsin in June. Read more

Next Steps logoAnswers to frequently asked questions and concerns about BriarPatch’s Next Steps
We reported some of the survey results in the June/July issue of The Vine and have posted the full results — all 68 pages of them — as well as a compilation of 100 comments online at www.briarpatch.coop/our-next-steps. This article addresses the major points that people raised in the survey and elsewhere, and explains what we’re doing to address them. Read more

Community events feature wine, food, and philosophy
Find out more about Treks for the Mind, Nevada City Uncorked, and Sample the Sierra Farm to Fork Festival

Sweet Roots Farm TourSweet Roots Farm hosts free tour
This is the third year that BriarPatch and Nevada County Grown have co-sponsored a farm tour, free of charge, with coffee and baked goods from the BriarPatch kitchen. Read more 

June/July 2014 Features
Cooking ClassesThe time is ripe to get cooking

Editor’s Note from Stephanie Mandel –
People are really into food these days — reading about food, watching food shows, blogging about food, and sharing about food through social media. Yet along with this increased interest, we’re actually cooking less and less. Read more and visit the BriarPatch Co-op Cooking Class page

Banana TreeBehold the “banana tree”
BriarPatch’s new “banana tree” — the first of its kind in Nevada County — seems to be a big hit, as an announcement of its arrival with a photo posted on the Co-op’s Facebook page garnered over 200 “Likes” and a dozen enthusiastic comments. Read more

Penney the ClownSummer fun at local farms and at the Patch
Penney the Clown will share her fabulous face painting artistry with children throughout June and July on Monday afternoons from 2:15 to 5:15 p.m. It looks like this summer season will feature a bumper crop of local food and farm activities. Read more for dates and descriptions.

Grange dance pictureWhat’s new at the Grange? 
The Banner Grange has been very busy networking with community groups to promote our mutual goals of healthy food and lifestyles. Read more 


Chris MaherParking improvements on the way
I am truly grateful that so many of you took the time to respond to our efforts to engage in a serious conversation regarding BriarPatch’s Next Steps. Read more

The Buckeye RanchThe season starts with garlic from The Buckeye Ranch
The Buckeye Ranch has a long and storied history. It began in 1852, when Matthew Shapero’s ancestors moved to the township of Penn Valley. Their ranch was the nucleus of the family. Read more

golden oysterTumbling Creek mushrooms, organic and biodynamic
We humans have always had a love affair with mushrooms. Even J.R.R. Tolkien wrote about our obsession with the tasty fungi – an appetite only surpassed by that of the hobbits. Read more

Man looking at art exhibitArt exhibit on GMO corn brings knowledge and power
In 2012, on the eve of what some referred to as the End of the Mayan Calendar and the Beginning of a New Dawn of Higher Consciousness, I felt a seed of creativity germinating inside me. Like many these days, I wanted to see some positive change and knew that I could be a catalyst in the food sovereignty movement on a global level. Read more 

Local groups rally for state GMO bill
Right to know activists gathered at the California State Capitol on April 22 to support a bill to label food with genetically modified ingredients. Read more

Julie and DylanChoose positive practices for feeding children……even your pickiest eaters
Parents of toddlers and preschool-aged children often describe their child as a “picky eater.” This can often turn the dinner table into a battleground. During the toddler and preschool years, a child’s rate of growth is relatively slow, as compared to infancy and adolescence. Read more

School program helps children enjoy carrots and more
Sierra Harvest’s Elizabeth Lane is a FoodCorps Service Member who teaches kids about healthy food and where it comes from. Read more

alan1_200Co-op owners support our store in many ways
In April, the BriarPatch Board and staff made a major effort to bring you up to date on our quest to determine how we might expand our store, so we can better serve everyone in the next decade or two. Read more

CHARTCommunity joins the conversation about BriarPatch’s Next Steps through survey and more
Since early 2013, BriarPatch General Manager Chris Maher has led a development team of staff, Board members and industry experts to examine the most effective ways to respond to the ever-increasing demand for the foods and services BriarPatch provides. Read more and visit the Next Steps page with a link to the full survey results.

April/May 2014 Features
egg-cartons-2_200The P.E.R.I.S.H.A.B.L.E.S. bring in A.W.A. — introducing Animal Welfare Approved local eggs 

Editor’s note: BriarPatch’s Perishables Department is proud to offer, for the first time, locally-raised eggs that carry the label “Animal Welfare Approved.” So proud that John Bivens was inspired to tell their story in a most creative manner… Read more

AWA_chickens400Know your egg labels
The Food Labels Exposed app that is available from Animal Welfare Approved explains what the most common terms and claims on food labels really mean, so you can make informed food choices—wherever you are. Read more

Hilary1Reflecting on co-op achievements and opportunities
The sublime beauty of a cooperative is that it embodies the ideals, principles, and mechanics of democracy, in a business environment. Each person who is an owner and receives this newsletter has the opportunity to participate in the guidance and governance of our awesome store. Read more

Board Development Process ReportBriarPatch’s Next Steps:  A Development Process 
After a year of dialogue and research on BriarPatch Co-op’s next steps, the Board has compiled a Development Report to share the information gathered with Co-op owners, shoppers, and staff. Read more 

ELECTION 2014: Six candidates, four seats
For the 2014 election, six candidates are running for four open seats. Each year three of the nine Board Director positions are up for election, for three-year terms. The three candidates with the most votes will serve these three-year terms. The fourth seat is open in this election due to a Director’s early resignation. Therefore, the candidate with the fourth highest number of votes will complete this term, which will be up for election again in 2016. Candidate Forum April 16 A candidate forum will be held on Wednesday, April 16 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. in the Community Room. Read more

Food Love CampSummer camp teaches children to love fresh veggies
Sierra Harvest’s Food Love Project is an educational farm, located on the Burton Homestead in Nevada City, devoted to promoting nutrition education, food security, and community involvement in the growing, harvesting, eating, and celebration of fresh food. Read more

February/March 2014 Features
Amigo Cantisano4th Annual Sustainable Food and Farm Conference 

Winter workshops and lectures sow seeds of success, supporting the local food movement in Nevada County. A bounty of information about farming and ranching was shared by members of our local community on January 17th, 18th and 19th, 2014. Read more

Local granges see renewed role after long history in American farming The Grange is a grass roots organization that began in 1867 in the aftermath of the destructive and divisive Civil War. It was started to support small family farmers who needed to get back to growing America’s food after that horrific war. Read more

GMO Rally Major food regulation changes due in 2014
2014 is predicted to be pivotal for food safety issues, as the Obama administration works to complete a host of regulations to shore up a system seen as exposing the American public to too many health risks. Read more

GMO RallyTop 10 Non-GMO Labeling achievements of 2013: Mexican corn ban, CT labeling law, new Hawaii law 
2013 was a year of great progress for the non-GMO movement. Landmark efforts to require mandatory labeling at home and abroad helped catapult the GMO issue into the mainstream, and consumer demand for non-GMO choices was off the charts. Here are our top ten non-GMO victories for 2013. Read more 

Backyard Garden ProgramSierra Harvest launches backyard garden program for family health and food self-reliance  
Fully 20 percent of Nevada County residents are struggling to put food on the table, 20 percent are obese, and rates of diabetes are rising nationwide. Read more

Taste for LIfe PosterSupplements boost ATP for cardiac fitness and to increase your energy for living long and well
In this article we first take a look at the heart and some of the common ailments it is prone to, and we then consider some very positive things we can do to cultivate our heart health. Read more

Nextsteps_150Board planning to gather input from owners on growth 
by Chris Maher, General Manager
In case you haven’t already heard, BriarPatch is involved in a development process to chart our future direction. Read more alan1_200

BriarPatch’s goals emphasize building local community 
from Alan Weisberg, Board President
  As always, I had a great time this January attending SYRCL’s Wild and Scenic Film Festival. The focus of this year’s festival was on energy and its role in shaping our future world.  Read more

Map of CaliforniaCalifornia food co-ops in rare boom If all goes according to plan there will be almost twice as many food cooperatives in California in 2016 as there were just 10 years ago, with 11 new co-ops. This is a trend we’re seeing nationwide, with about 200 operating co-ops and 150 communities in some phase of new co-op development. Read more

Author speaks at the GrangeGrange brings author Suzanne Ashworth to speak Seed Swap and Local Food Gathering • Saturday, February 22, 1-4 pm free of charge • Banner Grange, 12629 McCourtney Rd, Grass Valley. The seeds that gardeners hold in their hands are living links in an unbroken chain reaching back into antiquity. – Suzanne Ashworth, “Seed To Seed.” Read more

December 2013/January 2014 Features Owen-in-pasture_150
4th Annual Sustainable Food and Farm Conference 

Nevada County’s Sustainable Food and Farm Conference is coming soon. This year’s event is the fourth annual and is being held on January 18 and 19 at the Grass Valley Veterans Hall and next door at Grass Valley Charter School. Read more

PiELL-2007_4_Delfino_Judi_34150BriarPatch supports the community  BriarPatch’s community giving programs have grown along with our store, evolving from the dynamic interaction with our owners and the community. Read more

mediterranean150
The evidence behind today’s most popular diets — a dietician reveals what each has to offer

While there is no such thing as a “perfect diet,” we can all agree that the Standard American Diet (a.k.a. S.A.D.) is one to be wary of, especially from the standpoint of the prevention of disease. Read more

Wild & Scenic Film Festival explores food issues: GMOs, bees, compost, urban farmers, and more 
This January, the South Yuba River Citizens League’s 12th Annual Wild & Scenic® Film Festival returns January 9 through 12, 2014 to Nevada City and Grass Valley, offering another incredible selection of films. Read more 

Nextsteps_150Answers to your frequently asked questions about the development process  
1. Why are you looking into growth? We’ve been fantastically successful in our current location and we need to deal with some of the issues that our success has brought us. Read more

CafeEnsemble__Pollan_110813_Chris_Michael_1752013 wrap-up: it was a very good year
by Chris Maher, General Manager

In this year’s final issue of the Vine I would like to take this opportunity to offer my sincere thanks to all of you Co-op owners and customers who have supported our Co-op this year. Read more

Pur_Projet_logo_175
Co-ops plant trees to offset carbon emissions 
At BriarPatch Co-op, we take pride in fostering the professional growth of our staff, so we send staff members to trainings as often as possible. Read more alan1_200

Fall brings inspiration from Michael Pollan’s talk
from Alan Weisberg, Board President
My recent focus in this column has been on what the Board and Management are now doing in developing plans to expand our business, given the greatly increased demand for what we offer to our ever-expanding number of shoppers. Read more

OwnerMeeting_01_175Co-op owners fill the Foundry at Cajun Carnivale
October Owner Meeting brings together 500 for dinner, presentation, dancing
BriarPatch’s “Cajun Carnivale” Owner Meeting, held October 10 at the Miners Foundry, was a smashing success. Read more

Cooked-hires100A magical evening — Michael Pollan and Beth Ruyak discuss controversial food topics with intelligence and wit
by Mellisa Hannum
The Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Grass Valley was packed with people eagerly awaiting their ‘Evening with Michael Pollan.’ Read more

toyonciderUSE300
Wild winter spices add local flair to holiday cooking
 By Alicia Funk
During the winter there is still an abundance of delicious wild foods that we can enjoy as an interesting complement to standard holiday cooking. Read more

October/November 2013 Features

Reed in the wheat fieldNow in the bulk section: historic heirloom wheat variety 
Some years ago I became involved with an organization called The Whole Grain Connection, which was founded by Monica Spiller and based in the Bay Area. Read more

small producers logoBy small farmers, for small farmers: the next step in the evolution of Fair Trade
This fall, the first Fair Trade farmer-owned certification system, referred to as the Small Producer Symbol (SPP, for its Spanish acronym) will be found on logos on Equal Exchange coffees in food co-ops and natural food stores across the country. Read more

Coffee processing in CoyonaBriarPatch envoy Hilary Dart tours Peruvian coffee co-op 
Hilary Dart, BriarPatch’s Volunteer and Demo Coordinator, was part of a group of Food co-op representatives who visited Peru in July. Read more 

Non GMO Month 2013 LogoAvoiding GMOs throughout the store — aisle by aisle  
As we enter the harvest and approach a holiday season full of important meals, celebrating Non-GMO Month this October is a great opportunity to practice avoiding GMOs in the grocery store. Read more

Just Label It LogoJust Label It:  BriarPatch supports right to know campaign
Food labels alert us to potential allergens, help us do the math on our sodium intake, and even reassure us that our morning glass of O.J. is “not from concentrate.” Read more

Local SpendingCo-ops keep more dollars local — local wages, local benefits, local products 
Grocery stores play an important role in local economies, primarily as employers, but also as purchasers of goods and services. Read more

Citrus SliceFortify and lighten up your traditional holiday favorites with clever substitutions that add nutrients … and flavor!
Festive meals complete with all the trimmings are part and parcel of holiday celebrations. Unfortunately, these entrees and trimmings are often calorie-laden dishes that leave us feeling sluggish and regretful. Read more

Chris MaherIt’s a season for welcoming changes, big and small
At this time of year, I always find myself trying to hold on to the last vestiges of summer and resisting the arrival of the colder months. Read more

Owner Meeting Cajun ThemeOctober 10th Owner Meeting to focus on expansion and, of course, having a great time!
Our annual Owners’ Meeting at Miners Foundry is just a few days away on Thursday evening, October 10th. If you don’t yet have a ticket, I’d suggest that you act fast; I’m quite sure the event will again be sold out this year, with nearly 500 people filling both halls of that historic building. Read more

Farm education nonprofits join, forming “Sierra Harvest”
Two of Nevada County’s most ambitious and successful food and farm movement organizations combined their related missions early this September. Read more

August/September 2013 Features

Michael-Pollan-200

Michael Pollan’s coming to town! 
Friday, November 8, 2013, 8pm. Veterans Memorial Hall, Grass Valley. For the past twenty-five years, Michael Pollan has been writing books and articles about the places where nature and culture intersect: on our plates, in our farms and gardens, and in the built environment. Read more

TimMeet your local farmer: Tim Van Wagner, First Rain Farm 
Rows of huge leaves of collards and chard practically glow in the sun at First Rain Farm, framed by the dark boughs of evergreens in the background. These healthy plants are only part of what farmer Tim Van Wagner sells to BriarPatch. Read more

local1
Co-ops have the edge in supporting local food systems, building relationships with growers
Supporting local food systems means more than just providing fresh, locally produced products to customers. It also means strengthening the connections between consumers and producers as an investment in our community. Read more

Sierra CommonsSierra Commons: a cooperative office space for entrepreneurs, telecommuters, writers, and more 
Sierra Commons is what we call a “co-working space” in Nevada County. Members share a building, kitchen, fax and printers, internet costs, conference rooms, and two rope swings. Read more 

LiamLiving food with Liam: Cacoco raw chocolate  
There’s a difference between hot chocolate and drinking chocolate. Hot chocolate, of course, is a combination of cocoa powder, milk, and sugar. “Drinking chocolate,” on the other hand, is essentially whole cacao beans dissolved into liquid form, often including a sweetener and various spices. Read more

Josh
BriarPatch named a Top 10 Right to Know Grocer in our region
Our Co-op was selected from a field of more than 150 stores, nominated by hundreds of consumers from around the country. Read more

SeniorPushUps1Eating for healthy aging 
A positive mental attitude, regular exercise and adequate sleep, reducing your exposure to toxins, and a balanced, wholesome diet can be factors that influence how you age. Read more

Survey shows overall shopper satisfaction……and generates lots of thoughtful comments and ideas
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Thank you to the 385 BriarPatch owners and shoppers who took the 2013 Shopper Satisfaction Survey. We conduct a survey each year to help with operational decisions. Your feedback is much appreciated as management, staff, and Board strive to understand your concerns and meet your needs. Read more

wordle
Board forms team to study, analyze, and plan our co-op’s next steps into the future
Not even the most wild-eyed BriarPatch optimist could have predicted the success of our new store when we opened our doors six years ago. Read more

June – July 2013 Features

Name TagBriarPatch implements a livable wage for all employees 

This is an important step in our progress toward fulfilling our Ends Policy, which states that we will be “a major local employer that provides a healthy, fair, and considerate workplace for employees.” Read more

What do BriarPatch employees really think about their jobs? Read the results from the 2013 staff survey
If you owned a food store, you’d want it to be a healthy, fair, and considerate workplace, right? How, then, would you find out how your staff really feels about their jobs? Read more

Average Hourly Wage Major CorpsFood co-ops make social impact with high quality jobs
Retail food cooperatives are efficient and prolific job creators. The average food co-op creates 9.3 jobs for every million dollars in sales. Thus, a typical co-op with $10 million a year in revenue provides employment for over 90 workers. Read more

Jo and JanetCo-op HR staff focuses on safety, training, and more 
Keeping track of over 180 employees is no small job. Though most people don’t think about it, a lot of work goes on behind the scenes for each person on BriarPatch’s staff. Read more 

Environmental pollutant diagramLimit your exposure to environmental pollutants by making smart choices in diet and lifestyle  
An ever-growing body of evidence suggests that it is wise to eat organically grown food and to avoid chemical-laden products in order to avoid health risks associated with exposure to Persistent Organic (as in organic chemicals) Pollutants, otherwise known as POP’s. Read more

Federal Legislation introduced to require the labeling of genetically engineered foods • BriarPatch pledges: “No GE fish” • EPA sued over honeybee deaths • Why we buy organic
For the first time since 2000, in April legislation was introduced in Congress that would require food manufacturers to inform consumers when packaged food contains genetically engineered ingredients. Read more

CookedFascinating food books for summer reading Read more
Cooked by Michael Pollan
Pandora’s Lunchbox: How Processed Food Took Over the American Meal by Melanie Warner • Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease by Robert Lustig
The Stop: How the Fight for Good Food Transformed a Community and Inspired a Movement by Nick Saul and Andrea Curtis
• Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss
• Rebuilding the Foodshed: How to Create Local, Sustainable, and Secure Food Systems by Philip Ackerman-Leist.

Paying fair wages at the core of cooperative principles 
by Chris Maher, General Manager
People are often surprised to learn that our co-op is one of the largest employers in Nevada County. The fact is, we are in the top twenty in the entire county, and if you don’t count government and schools, we’re in the top ten. Read more

Inspiration from St. Paul:  We are stronger together!
by Alan Weisberg Board President
First, a confession: I have never been a true co-op stalwart. All the time and energy I have put into BriarPatch these last several years was motivated by my wish to support our store. Being a bit of a “foodie,” I wanted to see the good, healthy, delicious food made available in our community through BriarPatch. But I never truly understood the spirit of being a “co-operator,” a loyalist to co-op principles and to the co-op sector. Read more

Evan StrongLocal raw food restauranteur headed for Olympic gold
Meet Evan Strong, and stay tuned for ways to join BriarPatch in supporting this local hero as he trains for the 2014 Sochi Paralympics. In an unlikely start for one of the world’s best snowboarders, Evan Strong grew up on the waves of Maui, seldom wearing shoes, let alone snow boots. Read more

Flower FarmersLocal flowers from local farmers
The local flower season is here, and the beautiful flower bouquets that greet you at BriarPatch are grown almost exclusively by local flower farmers. Read more

April – May 2013 Features

New seafood guide incorporates both safety and sustainability

Just in time for Earth Day, BriarPatch is distributing new and improved “Low Mercury Lists” to customers, helping them make informed choices based on their family’s health and the health of the oceans. Read more

Make an Earth Day pledge to be a bag re-user every time!
by Bill Drake
Would you ever have guessed that about 25,000 brand-new, large Co+op paper bags go out the BriarPatch door each month? And that since they cost our co-op 11¢ each, that equals a staggering $33,000 a year — Read more

Why reusable bags matter
Why bother with reusing bags? Though they’re made from a renewable resource, new brown paper bags — even those made of 100% recycled paper — have an environmental impact. Producing them uses energy and water, even when the paper is recycled. Read more

Getting greener: reducing our waste and energy use 
We all know about our green building, but what has BriarPatch done lately to take care of the environment? Here are a few recent accomplishments. Read more 

Green living through smart shopping 
by Mellisa Hannum
There are many ways to leave a smaller environmental footprint. Some of them may involve using products you’ve never even considered. The average American family uses as many as 104 rolls of paper towels each yearRead more

Food co-ops outrun conventional stores
It can be difficult for a consumer to evaluate the environmental performance of a grocery store, since some of the most important elements of conservancy – recycling, energy efficiency, and the containment of harmful refrigerants – may not be readily apparent. In a co-op, consumer-owners have the ability to influence their store’s environmental policy. Read more

Keys to preventing Type 2 diabetes
Did you know that one out of four people in America are either diabetic or pre-diabetic? Unfortunately, this disease doesn’t arouse the immediate attention it deserves, because it can simmer quietly for years, all the while damaging the heart, kidneys, eyes, and other organs. Read more

Election 2013 – Meet the candidates – Alana Lucia 
BriarPatch has moved to the forefront of being the community hub for Nevada County. There are more local food options, community education options, and good employment opportunities. As BriarPatch moves forward, I would be an asset in the research and decision-making process in conceptualizing the future of BriarPatch. Read more

Election 2013 – Meet the candidates – Alan Weisberg
I believe my nine years of service have been marked by a strong commitment to BriarPatch, even during some rough times for the Board. In addition to my current role as President, I have served as Vice-President and Treasurer. I have a lot of other Board experience, both as a board member and as a consultant to various boards. Read more

Election 2013 – Meet the candidates – Peter Lockyer
I have served on the BriarPatch Board for the last three years and prior to that I was a member of the Finance Committee of the Co-op. In addition, during my career, I served on many boards and committees and I appreciate the demands placed on the Board in executing its responsibilities. My experience in finance is complementary to the existing Board members and I would hope to continue to provide the Co-op with the benefit of my experience and expertise.  Read more

Coming soon: more parking and 2012 patronage dividend
by Chris Maher, General Manager
The BriarPatch Board and Management have been continuing our research and discussion regarding the remarkable growth of our cooperative. Much of the focus of this work is on measuring the positive impact of our cooperatively owned business. This Earth Day issue of The Vine will help you to better appreciate the environmental impact of our operation. Read more

Why should co-op owners vote in the Board election?
by Alan Weisberg, Board President
Might you be a good potential candidate in the future? If not, do you know other Patch owners who you think have the “right stuff,” who you could ask to consider running? To help you answer these questions, I thought I would outline for you what the Board does. And a good place to begin is by clearing up misconceptions about what the Board does not do. Read more

BriarPatch’s owner volunteers – enthusiasm and spirit
This is a great way to learn (and share), to participate in a comfortable and friendly setting, be of service to the community, and to have fun! It is so amazing that people shopping at the Co-op are really enjoying themselves and the experience. Read more

It’s not too soon to plant cool season veggies
The things to plant now are chard (which will be sweet all summer), kale, broccoli, cauliflower, salad greens, carrots, beets, radishes, cabbage, spinach, and salad herbs, such as cilantro, mints, dill, and parsley. Read more

A visit to Redwood Hill Farm
Redwood Hill Farm is powered by a vast array of solar panels that track the sun. No pesticides or herbicides of any kind are used on the goat farm, vegetable gardens, or on the organic fruit orchards. No growth or milk production hormones are ever used. The goats are fed a completely organic diet whenever organic hay is available. Read more

Cashews in a nutshell: high in nutrients and satisfaction
by Jessica Jones-Hughes, Registered Dietitian and Equal Exchange Banana Coordinator
Over the years, nuts have sometimes been viewed negatively due to their high fat content. While they do contain a high percentage of fat, the fats found in nuts, especially tree nuts like cashews and almonds, are full of what dietitians refer to as “healthy fats,” (or, scientifically, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats). Read more

February – March 2013 Features

Answering your price questions

by Chris Maher, General Manager
This issue of The Vine is all about prices. We receive a lot of questions, comments, and yes, even some complaints about the price of organic food. Read more

Pricing at the Patch: part process, part philosophy
by Chris Maher, General Manager
Pricing the goods we sell at BriarPatch Co-op is a carefully considered process that reflects the philosophies and values … Read more

Meeting the demand for local food
by Andrew Meyers
Andrew Meyers - Nevada County GrownOur local farmers and ranchers are quite impressive. This year, the BriarPatch Produce Department sold more locally grown produce than ever before — and by a long shot. The idea of “eat local” has gained wonderful traction in our community. Read more

Owner Specials and BriarPatch Basics

Only at BriarPatch 
BriarPatch Basics and Owner Specials. BriarPatch has not just one, but two low price programs of our very own. We want basic, healthful foods to be affordable for everyone. This is why we offer 50 staple foods, spanning every department, at a constant discount, every day — ranging from milk to multi-grain bread, butter to beans, russet potatoes to rice. Read more 

Cooperating for lower prices, great deals 
by Rick Sheller
Rick ShellerBriarPatch’s membership in the NCGA translates into a variety of savings for the store, and in turn, for our shoppers. There are two important drivers of the cost of food (which the industry lingo refers to as a retailer’s cost of goods sold (COGS). Read more

Save big on healthy food … the co-op way!
View the chart showing regular prices and sale prices (Co-op Deals, Owner Specials, and BriarPatch Basics). Read more

Boy with burger

Hidden costs lurk behind “cheap” food: environmental degradation and health problems
What is the real cost of food? The prices at the checkout stand are obvious, but what about the intangibles? How much more does food cost than what we see on our receipts? Francis Moore Lappé, author of “Diet for a Small Planet,” says, “We’ve actually let market prices lie to us. They don’t register all the hidden costs of our ‘factory farming’ model, costs that undermine the very sustainability of nature’s gifts.” Read more

Food prices: the outlook for 2013 by Mark Warner
The outlook for food prices in the coming year is being affected by several factors. The most prominent factor in the U.S. leading to an increase in food prices is the drought in the Mid-West. … Read more

BriarPatch’s product guidelines
BriarPatch Co-op Community Market strives to provide high quality products and merchandise for our owners and customers at all times. We use the following guidelines for choosing products. The full Merchandising Policy is posted at http://www.briarpatch.coop/shop/products/Read the abridged version that was printed in The Vine.

Alan

How our prices are a reflection of our goals: leadership, fellowship, and fairness 
by Alan Weisberg, President
In shopper surveys we’ve conducted, and from what we hear as board members, prices are a great concern for many BriarPatch owners. Since the job of the Board of Directors is to represent Co-op owners’ interests when you have concerns, we welcome the focus on prices in this edition of the Vine. Read more

Grape Tomatoes - Del Cabo Farm

Del Cabo Co-op brings economic opportunity south, and warm-weather, organic vegetables north – to us!
Nevada County’s growing season may be a bit short, but our shoppers’ appetite for tomatoes knows no bounds. So where does BriarPatch find tomatoes, basil, and other warm-weather favorites during the off-season? One answer is from Del Cabo cooperative, which is striving to make a difference in the organic farming communities of Mexico. Read more

veggie heart artworkSimple steps to improve your heart health
by Julie DeHollander, RD
Here’s the bad news: heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the US., and there’s a 25% chance we will each face  some kind of heart issue in our lives. The good news is that by following some basic guidelines, we can stay on the sunny side of these statistics. Read more

Greening the RevolutionPatch presents Friday film series
Films with a focus on food will be shown in the BriarPatch Community Room each Friday night in February. BriarPatch was a proud sponsor of a food film session at SYRCL’s Wild and Scenic Film Festival in January, and is bringing these same films back for those of you who missed them there. Read more

GE (GMO) salmon public comment period open through Feb. 25
On December 21, 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released an Environmental Assessment (EA) with a “Finding of No Significant Impact” on the controversial AquaBounty AquaAdvantage transgenic salmon. The FDA action is widely viewed as confirmation that the Obama Administration is prepared to approve shortly the first genetically engineered (GE) animal intended for human consumption — in the face of widespread opposition. Read more

December 2012 – January 2013 Features

Ghosts of Christmas past
by Stephanie Mandel
In 1844, on December 21st, on Toad Lane in Rochdale, England, a co-op store opened its doors for the first time. It opened quite late, 8:00 p.m, and then for just two hours, two nights per week. Read more

9 tips for a Green Holiday Season
Here are some tips for making the holiday season wonderfully green. 1. Use Natural Decorations: leaves, birdseed, twigs, logs, and branches can all be used in lots of creative ways. Read moreGet organized for a stress-free holiday season
by Shawn Tuttle
When we think about the good times of holidays past, I’ll bet it’s the memories full of love that stand out. Or is it the raucous good times?  Read moreDelectable Dips for parties 
What’s in the dip? Thanks to your way with spices, that’s what guests will be asking as they wonder why your dips are so delicious and distinctive. Here are some tips to help you whip up your very own version of the ultimate party food. Read moreFrontier Co-op founds “Well Earth”organic training center in Sri Lanka 
Frontier Natural Products Co-op is a leading supplier of organic herbs and spices. Besides being committed to providing quality natural and organic products for consumers, they also have a strong commitment to the people and the land that produce their raw ingredients. Read more

Elster Ranch offers another great local beef option
by Mellisa Hannum
In his search for more local options to meet the needs of our customers, Johnny Miccio, our Meat Department Manager, discovered a cattle ranch that is very close to home. Read moreFarm conference brings great speakers to town (again!)
January 19 - 20, 2013

Nevada County’s Sustainable Food and Farm Conference will once again bring together an internationally renowned panel of speakers, local and national farming related businesses and organizations, and the public, for a weekend full of informative lectures… Read moreChronic inflammation: know the triggers 
by Ilene Crystdahl, ND, L.Ac
This article continues the discussion of inflammation begun in the article by Julie DeHollander, RD, CD, in the October/November 2012 issue of The Vine. Chronic inflammation is increasingly being viewed as a key component in the progression of disease… Read moreProtecting children’s health: American Academy of Pediatrics misses the big picture in its flawed organics analysis
by Charlotte Vallaeys, The Cornucopia Institute
For the first time, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has weighed in on organic foods for children. In its report, which was widely covered in the national media, the AAP acknowledged that many pesticides are neurotoxins… Read moreChris Maher, BriarPatch General ManagerProp. 37 loss is not without its gains 
by Chris Maher, General Manager
The defeat of Proposition 37 was quite disappointing one for the many people who worked so hard on the campaign. Nonetheless, it was an amazing sight to see such a groundswell of popular support for this important cause…. Read moreAlanBoard to focus on co-op’s future in 2013 
by Alan Weisberg, Board President 
As I shared in the last Vine, our Board and Management have begun to engage in a very serious and lengthy process on how to develop and grow BriarPatch over the next 5, 10, and even 20 years…. Read moreCo-op owners fill the Foundry for another lovely, lively (and delicious!) annual gathering.
By every count, BriarPatch’s “Cooperative Celebration” annual Owner Meeting, held October 8th in the Miners Foundry, was a smashing success. A delicious Mediterranean-style meal prepared in our own Co-op kitchen was enjoyed by some 450 owners, who were served in both the main Osborn/Woods Hall and the Stone Hall…. Read moreHow our co-op fulfills our need for community 
from Lew Sitzer, Board Director
I recently had a nice dinner with some friends who have lived in our community for the last 8 years. BriarPatch came up in the course of conversation, as they recalled the store on Joerschke Drive, and told how they now shop at our bigger store… Read moreCo-op Owner Volunteer Program serves the the community, both inside and outside the store
It’s been over a year since BriarPatch expanded our Owner Volunteer program into the community to support the good work of local non-profit organizations…. Read moreFoodie films featured at Wild and Scenic festivalCafeteria Man - the movie
January 10-13, 2013

Not only do we all need food, but as many of us love to share it, we create elaborate traditions around food. Food is an integral part of the socio-environmental movement. The way we approach farming and eating is changing rapidly…. Read more

October – November 2012 Features

YES on Proposition 37 - your right_to_knowLet’s get out the vote!
BriarPatch joins Yes on 37 effort, will match $100 shopper contributions.
Millions of dollars are pouring into the campaign against Proposition 37, the Right to Know about GMOs initiative. BriarPatch Co-op is donating $5000 to the Yes on 37 campaign. On top of that, the Co-op will match donations of $100 or more to the Yes on 37 campaign…. Read morevote YES on Proposition 37Our golden opportunity
by Stephanie Mandel
It’s October, and around the country our sister food co-ops are beginning to welcome fall’s persimmons, pomegranates, and pumpkins.
They’re also celebrating Co-op Month by selling co-op-labelled fair trade Theo chocolate bars, and… Read moreNon GMO Project LogoWhy Choose Non-GMO Project Verified?
October is Non-GMO Month, and the celebration at BriarPatch will be bigger than ever this year. In nearly 50 countries around the world, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) must be labeled because they haven’t been proven safe…. Read moreJulie DeHollanderCommon foods may reduce chronic inflammation by Julie DeHollander, RD, CD
Everything we eat, breathe, think, and feel has an effect on inflammation.Inflammation is influenced by the level of pollutants in our environment, the amount of sleep we get, and… Read moreBack to Basics, chicken and her eggsThe chickens and the eggs by Mellisa Hannum
Back to Basics Farm in Grass Valley, run by Rob and Patty Bielen, sells both chicken and eggs to BriarPatch. Fowler Family Farm, located in Penn Valley, is run by Brad and Alana Fowler with help from farm liaison Theresa Huck…. Read moreDinner Bell Farm Tour - Pigs!Community comes out to tour Dinner Bell Farm
Dinner Bell Farm in Chicago Park, with support from BriarPatch, hosted a farm tour on Sunday, August 12th. Though the morning went from warm to quite hot, this didn’t stop people from coming out to see the farm, or from having a great time…. Read moreEqual Exchange LogoEqual Exchange stands with small farmers by Mellisa Hannum
The concepts of cooperative business and fair trade are integrally mixed in the company philosophy of Equal Exchange. Equal Exchange helped introduce Fair Trade coffees to grocery stores in the United States. It was also the first U.S. company to use Fair Trade Certified sugar as an ingredient, as well as offering it as a stand-alone product…. Read morePachamama Farmer-Direct CoffeePachamama Coffee Co-op owned by farmers by Mellisa Hannum
Pachamama Coffee Co-op is unique. Not only do its farmers receive Fair Trade pricing, but since they’re also the owners, they enjoy all of the profits. Because the members own the company, they are also the ones who invest in its marketing, branding, and distribution…. Read morePercentage of money that stays local when purchasing local vs. purchasing commercialCo-ops turn social, economic profits
National Co-op Grocers Association releases study quantifying the impacts of food co-ops as compared to conventional grocery stores… Read moreChris Maher, BriarPatch General ManagerCo-ops, communities, and growth by Chris Maher, General Manager
Growth has been a major topic of discussion around the co-op of late, as we are currently experiencing double-digit growth in revenues over last year. This growth is being led primarily by our fresh food departments, such as produce, meat and seafood, and prepared foods…. Read moreAlanBriarPatch Co-op today and in the future: planning for the next 5, 10 – and even 20 (!) – yearsby Alan Weisberg, Board PresidentI have fond, exciting memories about the construction period [of the new store building], and will never forget the time the Tibetan monks came to bless the store when it was little more than a shell…. Read moreNo Kid Hungry LogoWorld Food Day: food co-ops join campaign
Every parent knows that a hungry child is a disadvantaged child. Such children can’t grow, develop, and learn like other kids. They have trouble focusing and getting along. They complain often of headaches, stomachaches, and other ailments. They fall behind in virtually every way…. Read moreNational Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA) LogoBriarPatch General Manager, Chris Maher, elected to national co-op board
BriarPatch now has a seat on the Board of another co-op. Chris Maher, BriarPatch’s General Manager, has been elected to the Board of Directors of the National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA). Chris will attend meetings and lend his talents to this group for a two-year term. Congratulations, Chris!… Read moreInterFaith Food DriveBriarPatch and Interfaith hold food drive
Thank you, shoppers, for donating 700 pounds of food and nearly $500 in cash to the food drive held at BriarPatch on August 24 and 25. All donations went to Interfaith Food Ministry, which spearheaded the drive. BriarPatch pre-filled grocery bags with items requested by IFM, for which shoppers bought for $20 and then donated…. Read moreRyanPatch partners with One-Stop for employee training
by Mellisa Hannum
BriarPatch Co-op recently partnered with the One-Stop Business and Career Center in order to enjoy the benefits of its On-the-Job Training (OJT) program for one of the Co-op’s newly-hired employees, Ryan Orzalli…. Read more

 

August – September 2012 Features

vote YES on Proposition 37Volunteers needed for GMO ballot battle
by David Edwards
To pass this initiative, we must educate the people of California. And to do this, we need volunteers, people like Pamm Larry, or you, dear reader, who have woken up and decided to take action…. Read moreCCMA March Ben FranklinLiberty thrives in the form of food co-ops, local farms
Editor’s Note – by Stephanie Mandel
We started sharing the stories of local farmers in this newsletter back in 2002. I remember this well; it was my third year at this job, and the Co-op was in our location on Joerschke Drive. Our Produce Manager, Takayo Harriman, suggested that… Read moreBrett with basilYou know their veggies, now meet the farmers!
Township Valley Farm in Browns Valley is a new organic enterprise founded by the Pedley family, Martin, Kim, Brett, and Ben. Willow Creek Farm in Nevada City is a part of the Living Lands Agrarian Network. The farm’s one acre of land off of… Read moreChildren connecting with food 150Farm-to-school programs ready for growth this fall, connecting our kids with their food
Building on a pilot program that began last year, a coalition group called “Live Healthy Nevada County” is gearing up for the launch of a county-wide farm-to-school program…. Read moreWeisswassersBeware of unnecessary, unhealthy sugar in your diet
by Dr. Carolyn Weisswasser and Dr. Gregory Weisswasser
Do the words high-fructose corn syrup, glucose, dextrose and organic evaporated cane juice sound familiar? These are just some of the names that sugar can be called. Let’s face it: sugar is everywhere. So much sugar is added to… Read moreOnce Again - Kim MoriartyEmployee-owned co-op supports fair trade
by Mellisa Hannum
Once Again Nut Butter has a perfect motto, “We spread integrity.” That sense of integrity can be seen in every aspect of Once Again’s operation, from its development and support of domestic and international fair trade, to its… Read moreDavid ThompsonHall of Fame speaker coming soon, to your Owner Meeting on Oct. 8!
To properly celebrate the International Year of the Co-op, BriarPatch is making our 2012 Owner Meeting-Banquet-Party extra special by inviting an acclaimed speaker, Cooperative Hall of Fame Honoree David Thompson…. Read moreKristin OttoFall starts…already?!?
Yep, it’s time to plan and plant for those scrumptious cool season veggies: broccoli, kale, carrots, cabbage, beets, lettuce, and lots more. The idea of planting fall veggies before your tomatoes are ripe may make you feel safe about waiting a bit, but NOW is the time to… Read moreChris at Placer meetingBriarPatch supports GMO ballot initiative campaign
by Chris Maher, General Manager
As readers of the Vine know, BriarPatch has taken a strong stance against the proliferation of genetically engineered ingredients in our food system. In the past two years we have hosted events and initiated campaigns to raise our customers’ awareness of this important issue…. Read moreRick Sheller Vine articleCo-ops across the U.S. support local economic initiatives
by Rick Sheller, Vice President
August is the month we dedicate to local products — to the people that grow the produce, give us our local eggs, and produce the other local products BriarPatch proudly sells to us all. To view the number of local and regional suppliers our Co-op supports, simply go the web site and click on “Shop at the Patch,” then “Local”. There you can see all the farmers and… Read moresurvey resultsSurvey shows overall shopper satisfaction
Thank you to the 1000 BriarPatch owners and shoppers who took the time to complete the Co-op’s 2012 Shopper Satisfaction Survey. The feedback is much appreciated as management, staff, and the Board of Directors strive to understand your concerns and meet your needs…. Read moreComments reveal concerns about rising food prices
377 of the 1,000 shopppers who took the survey this year added a comment under question number 16, “Is there anything else you want to say about BriarPatch?” Here is a sample of their responses…. Read more

June – July 2012 Features

Mooney Flat FarmLook for early season veggies from these new-to-us farms
Drew has been selling his produce wholesale for the last couple of years, but has been operating a CSA, Community Supported Agriculture by subscription, since he began. Though most of year he’s a one-man operation… Read moreLocals offer luscious skin care
Among the high quality skin care and healing products offered at BriarPatch are excellent creams, lotions, and oils made by your Nevada County neighbors. Each of these… Read moreFlower FarmersOur flowers are not only gorgeous, they’re local!
Why buy locally grown flowers at BriarPatch? 1. To support our neighbor-farmers by creating and sustaining a market for their beautiful and unsprayed flowers… Read moreHow to get kids into local food (and good food into them)
Eat your veggies!” “Clean your plate!” “You don’t know what’s good for you!” When it comes to eating healthy foods, these are the mantras some parents use, with the good intention of… Read moreYuba River Charter School Home Study Farm ProgramCharter program teaches local food and farming
by Raelynn Noel, Program Coordinator and Education Specialist
The Yuba River Charter School Home Study Farm Program is hosted at the Woolman Semester School campus at the Sierra Friends Center. This program, based in Waldorf methods, began… Read moreSalmon survival, a brave rooster, and stockyard fish
An eatery in Tennessee has something new to crow about. Gus’ Fried Chicken Restaurant has a daily, well-combed visitor. Three months ago… Read moreAlaffia shea butterAlaffia Shea Butter Co-op
When Olowo-n’djo Tchala was a child in Togo, West Africa, he would work alongside his mother collecting nuts from shea trees to sell to government-sponsored shea nut buyers. Women traditionally gathered these nuts, and even though shea butter production has a long history as an indigenous product in Togo, it allows for… Read more2012 International Year of CooperativesREI knows no boundaries
REI is a leading outdoor gear and apparel retailer that has been serving outdoor enthusiasts in the United States for over 70 years. Their passion for… Read moreLetters:
Fair Trade USA supporter responds to “crisis” article

As a Nevada City native, long time supporter and customer of BriarPatch, and current Fair Trade USA employee, I am disheartened to see your post about Fair Trade USA and Equal Exchange… Read moreLabel GMOsGMO labeling initiative signatures are in
by David Edwards
The GMO labeling initiative is now awaiting approval from the California Attorney General. At least 504,760 signatures were needed, and statewide we’ve gathered… Read moreChris Maher, BriarPatch Co-op General Manager - for Vine pageSales growth brings challenges and visions
by Chris Maher, General Manager
As anyone who has circled the parking lot looking for a spot can attest, the store has gotten busier since the beginning of the year. In 2011 our sales exceeded… Read moreJeff Gold - Vine pageOur co-op community hub
by Jeff Gold, Board President
I remember our meetings in 2003 when the possibilities of a new BriarPatch store were just germinating. Back then, the old Joerschke Drive store had tight aisles… Read more

April – May 2012 Features

A farmer’s musings on spring
by Alan Haight, Riverhill Farm
At Riverhill Farm we work a piece of land that is easy to take pleasure in. There are subtleties in the lay of our growing fields, and changes in slope and …Read moreSpring clean your body
by Julie DeHollander, RD, CD
As the spring season moves in, it is an excellent time to spring clean your body — a time to let go of bad habits and replace them with …Read moreThe joys and pains of growing grains
by Reed Hamilton, Grass Valley Grains
As a small-scale local grain grower, I’m often asked for crops I don’t grow and products that I don’t produce. People often wonder, then: How do I …Read moreMars menus, cattle rustling, and chocolate mousse for breakfast
by Mellisa Hannum
Menu Fatigue on Mars: Researchers from Cornell University and the University of Hawaii-Manoa are looking for six volunteers to live in a …Read moreCrisis brewing in Fair Trade
Deep controversies in the Fair Trade movement have been simmering over the past decade. Today, the situation has reached a boiling point. Read more…Board works behind the scenes to further the Co-op vision
One of the benefits of being a BriarPatch Co-op owner is being able to cast a vote in the election of our Board of Directors. Four Board positions are open this year, and… Read moreCalifornia almond grower co-op leads its industry
by Mellisa Hannum
In spring, California’s valley is blanketed in a glory of orchards in bloom. Soft, white petals flutter overhead and cover the ground, turning it downy and fragrant …Read moreRemembering Fred Kelly
Fred Kelly began working at BriarPatch in early April of 2011, as a Grocery Clerk. He is sorely missed by all of us at BriarPatch and in the Nevada County community. To help Fred’s family with a memorial contribution, checks payable to Deborah Corrick may be left at the Customer Service window, attention Jackie W. More…Remembering Jacob Wolfe
Jacob Wolfe, an early pillar of BriarPatch and one of its first Presidents, passed away peacefully on February 21st, surrounded by the love of his family and friends.
Donations in memory of Jacob may be sent to the Nevada County Food Bank or the U.C. Davis Hospice. More…