Newsletter - August 5th, 2019
Upcoming Events
Farm Profile
Mama Bird Farm - San Juan Island
Mama Bird Farm is the hearts work of Mara Lawrence and Lars Johnson. Both feel a deep sense of place, having grown up in the San Juan Islands - San Juan and Lopez, respectively - and are strongly connected to the land and ocean surrounding their home. 
Mara and Lars started Mama Bird Farm in 2012. Both are second generation farmers motivated by their love of land, growing food, and desire to move away from the industrial food system and towards a healthier, sustainable farming practice. Lars a commercial fisherman and Mara a waitress by night, both worked hard, as they slowly grew their business to afford equipment, fencing, and seeds.
Mara grew up on San Juan Island on Thirsty Goose Farm where her family started the tomato business along with raising springer heifers (baby cows), a small organic orchard, ginseng, fruit and vegetables. Here she grew her love for farm life, and after high school, traveled through Mexico, New Zealand and Australia working on farms and seeing the world. She later graduated from Western Washington University where she managed the University's small Farm.

Lars grew up on Lopez Island where his family grew organic wholesale garlic on a large scale (for that time). His family also had reef nets, a traditional style of catching salmon in the Salish Sea. Aside from farming, Lars loves to surf, snowboard, skate, and build things. He continues to commercially fish in Bristol Bay, Alaska during the summer, but helps keep the farm running in all ways as the "mechanic and fixer of all things" of Mama Bird Farm.
Mama Bird specializes in growing heirloom tomatoes that burst with real flavor and rich color as well as a diverse and delicious baby greens mix that includes lettuces and mustards of rich greens and deep purples to satisfy your belly and decorate your plate. They also offer a variety of other veggies, cut flowers, and flower baskets. They are always striving to grow the freshest produce possible, usually harvested and delivered all in the same day! 

Mama Bird tomatoes are at the height of the season. Come in and try one today!
Member Spotlight
Valdimar (Valdi) Bjarnason
Originally from Iceland, Valdi has lived on San Juan Island for the last 15 years. He had previously been visiting and vacationing on the island for years, and when his children were grown and moved out of the house, he and his wife, Patty, got rid of everything they had in Seattle and moved to San Juan permanently.

Valdi has been volunteering at the Co-op for 4 years and and is on the Co-op Board of Directors. Before moving to the island he worked in grocery, and he currently care takes the former Life Care Center building in Friday Harbor.

Outside of working, Valdi enjoy gardening, traveling, and volunteering at the co-op, (volunteering for the co-op is one of his favorite hobbies!)
He also likes to stay busy doing domestic chores at home, working on his property, visiting his grandchildren, and tinkering and fixing things that are in need of help. (He has also been known to fix things that aren't broken and don't need any help). 

You can often find Valdi at the co-op stocking the freezers, weighing and pricing meat, or just stopping by to check up on things and see where he can lend a helping hand.
Gardening with Master Gardener Alice Deane
Earlier this year we master gardeners partnered with the Family Resource Center and held a 4 week class called Grow Your Own Food, in which we taught and showed several families how they could begin to plant and harvest some kid-friendly crops. It was very successful, and each family went home with a pot they had planted with some herbs and veggies. Their interest continued, so we decided to hold a workshop on building a worm bin for composting food scraps. This past Wednesday several moms and kids came to the Family Resource Center and learned how to do that, with hands on experience. They went home with their very own worm bins, complete with bedding, food and worms. I myself do not do vermi-composting, but several of our master gardeners are experts and were good instructors for the families. Needless to say, the kids loved getting their hands in tearing up the bedding, spraying with water, adding the food and playing with the worms.
You start with a plastic bin, drill holes for air and drainage, and fill with bedding, which in this case was torn cardboard, newspaper, and egg cartons, along with some grit for the worms to use aiding their digestion. The kids did a great job of tearing, then they pitched right in and used their spray bottles to wet down the materials before adding some worm food and grit, which consisted of coffee grounds, ground up eggshells, and various other food scraps. Finally the worms were introduced to their new homes. Everyone happily lugged their bins home to begin the adventure, armed with instructional handouts. Now it’s up to them to feed their worms and harvest the worm castings that will make super fertilizer. It’s a pretty simple process that anyone can do, I think I’m inspired to start a worm bin myself, although there is some care-taking involved, kind of like having a pet. I think the kids will enjoy their new endeavor and be amazed at how much food waste those little worms can eat.
I’m really simplifying the process here, but if you want to try your hand at creating and managing a worm bin, there is plenty of information to be had at the WSU extension office. 
In The Store
Featured Wines
Our uncharacteristically drizzly June and July has been replaced with clear hot skies. In the vineyards, most of the work has slowed until the mad rush of harvest begins. Last seasons fresh whites and roses have been released to the world and the aged wines will be sleeping in their barrels and tanks for many months to come. Which makes it a good time to talk about those same bright white wines.

So what do I mean by “fresh” and “bright” anyway? Above all, a refreshing acidity (it’s what makes your mouth water and food taste good) and sense of lightness. Rather the opposite of rich, buttery California chardonnays - what one might think of as a seafood wine.
When seafood and wine are discussed one pairing reigns as classic beyond all others: Muscadet from the Loire valley and oysters. A dry, floral wine, it is defined by two things: its aging on the lees, or spent yeast cells from fermentation, which gives it a richness in the mouth that plays counterpoint to an otherwise light, bright wine, and the subtitles of the underlying geology across the region. Jo Landron’s Muscadet’s are certified organic and biodynamic and he takes great pains to highlight the differences between his vineyards. “La Louvetrie” is grown on a plateau of sandy clay, with quartz and gneiss rocks, and shows a beautiful balance of fullness and an almost chalky minerality, with mouthwatering acidity and bright flowers. Try it with any seafood, not just the classic oysters.
Our local answer to muscadel is found in another grape with Loire valley origins, Madeline Angevine. Lopez Island Vineyard is one of the very few certified organic vineyards in the state and Bret pioneered growing wine grapes in the northern Puget Sound area. Lemons, stones, light floral notes, fresh and delightful with some yeasty notes and a lingering finish, this is another natural shellfish wine that is highly adaptable to a wide range of foods.
On to other coasts and unusual but awesome grapes. The Scilange brothers grow greco bianco and garganega on the inland, unpicturesque side of their home town in Calabria. There isn’t a view, or much water, it’s hot and windy, but they make some great wine without using trendy grapes, chemicals or fertilizers of any kind, using only native yeasts and an absolute minimum of sulphites. Their Cote de Franze Bianco is floral, with ripe meyer lemon, white peaches, sea air and undertones of herbs with a zesty acidity. Certified organic and biodynamic.
Tenuta la Favola Bianco is also made with greco bianco, but from the south eastern coast of Sicilly and blended with moscato. Aeromatic, floral and fruity with good structure and a lovely balance of freshness and richness. Corrado Gurreri was an early proponent of moving back to organic agriculture in his area and the University of Sicily has been running test plots on his land for decades. The vineyard and winery are all powered by solar and green energy and certified organic and biodynamic. The wine makes a facinating comparison with the Cote de Franze Bianco.
I talked about this one recently, but it deserves mention again. Archipelago’s Sparkling Siegerrebe, with organic fruit from Lopez and made here on San Juan, is lightly cloudy from the bottle conditioning, with fine bubbles, bright, rich tropical fruits with aromatic and floral notes on the nose but bone dry in the mouth, with a clean, mouthwatering acidity leading to a savory, creamy finish. Think seafood, fresh chèvre, or summer vegetable dishes.
New On Our Shelves!
Spice Blends
Harissa - A blend of chili peppers, salt, spices, garlic, and red pepper.
Great on all types of protein, including beef, chicken, fish, and pork

Ras El Hanout - Cinnamon, cumin seeds, rose bud leaves, cubebe berries, clove, and thyme leaves. Ideal with poultry, vegetables, grains, and salads.

Za'atar - Native to the middle east, a mix of oregano leaves, sumac, toasted sesame seeds, cumin seed powder and sea salt. Use on all proteins or as a garnish on hummus or vegetables.
Meyenberg Goat Cheese
Our usual bulk, cut, raw goat cheese is currently out of stock from UNFI, so we've brought in Meyenberg goat cheese (although it's not raw!), while we search for a replacement.

Please send any suggestions for raw goat cheese our way!

Federico Farms: Microgreens

Cloudberry Farm: Raspberries

Mama Bird Farm: Salad mix, cucumbers, heirloom tomatoes

Nootka: Arugula, spinach, lettuce mix, broccoli, gailon

New Hannah: Carrots, zucchini

Blue Moon: Fresh garlic, chard, Lacinato kale, parsley, blueberries, scallions

Red Wing Farm: Blueberries

Snowberry Farm: Beauty plum
Sweet Earth Farm: Cherry tomatoes (Monday & Thursday)

Van cherries (WA)

Red Haven Peaches (WA)

Tilton & Goldbar Apricots (WA)

Strawberries (Skagit, WA)

Hakurei salad turnips (WA)

Carrots (Skagit, WA)

Fuji Apples (WA)

Pinata apples (WA)

Yukon Nugget potatoes (Whidbey, WA) 
Crimini mushrooms (OR)    
Shiitake mushrooms (OR)

Russet potatoes (ID)

Red potatoes (ID)
Garlic (CA)
Fennel (CA)
Eggplant (WA)
Celery (CA)
Avocadoes (MX)
Yellow Onions (CA)
Honeygold Grapefruit (CA)
Red Onions (CA)
Cherimoya (CA)
Mini Seedless Watermelon (CA)
Red Grapes (CA)
Valencia Oranges (CA)
Bananas (MX)
Sweet Potatoes (CA)
Purple Potatoes (CA)
Garnet Yams (CA)
Broccoli (CA)
Carrots (CA)
Cauliflower (CA)
Lemons (CA)
Mangoes (MX)
Red Bell Peppers (CA)
Volunteer at the Co-op!

We are currently looking for volunteer help in the following areas -
  • Dairy - checking dates on milk and cheese, stocking, and facing dairy shelves
  • Alcohol - stocking, pricing, assisting with signage, and event and tastings help
  • Produce - Assistance with receiving deliveries, afternoon stocking

In addition to the rewards of donating their time, volunteers earn co-op cash to spend in the store. Any hours worked within the quarter will count towards co-op cash. All cash earned during the quarter is to be used during the following quarter, with transactions recorded at the check stand.
Contact Information

If you would like to volunteer, please email Sarah at the co-op with "VOLUNTEER" in the subject line: .  

Or phone the co-op at 360-370-5170. You can also leave a message with the cashier. 

Thank you!     
  - Sarah
Special Orders

Special Ordering is a  Member Benefit . Save on items you use often--bathroom tissue, pet food, canned goods, pasta, bulk beans, and even chill or frozen items. The markup on member special orders is 20% over wholesale for taxable and non-taxable items. You can request a special order information sheet at the store or via email:
UNFI orders are every week.
Order deadline is Saturday at Midnight.
Orders available for pick up after  3pm  on the following Tuesday. 
Azure Standard orders are every other week. 
This month's  orders are due Saturday, Aug 10th & 24th by midnight.
Pickup the following Fridays,
after 10 am
Thank you for supporting the San Juan Island Food Co-op - - 360-370-5170
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