Co-op Newsletter - May 6th, 2019
Upcoming Events
Farm Profile
Sweet Earth Farm, San Juan Island

This month we’re profiling our friends at Sweet Earth Farm, and there simply aren’t enough positive descriptors in the dictionary for the work they’re doing and the kind of people they are. Sweet Earth Farm is one of our San Juan Island polyculture farms and have long been one of the Co-op’s key suppliers of local, organic produce. Sweet Earth is a family-owned farm, run mainly by a farmer named Amanda Zee, with help from her parents, Ron & Elaine, and her sister, Amara.
Comprising a total of 20 acres on the northwest side of San Juan Island, the property was purchased in 1997 by Ron and Elaine, who stumbled upon the islands during their summer travels away from New Mexico. Elaine explained that when they originally purchased the property, the land was raw, just acres of blackberry thickets and shrub. Over time the family worked to clear land, moving parcel by parcel, trying out new ideas in different spaces as the farm slowly revealed itself. When asked if there was a tradition of farming in the family, Elaine laughed and said, “No, none whatsoever. This is all Amanda.”

Amanda attended college in Oregon, and then completed a master’s program in Environmental Education at the Prescott College. She returned to San Juan Island in 2004 with a daughter on the way, full of ideas and ready to try her hand at operating at farm. The past 15 years have proven that she has a natural and intuitive talent for working the land, and coaxing plants to their fullest potential. Plus, she’s just about the kindest lady around the island!
Sweet Earth produces beautiful market crops throughout the season. We love their cherry tomatoes, greens, market vegetables, and the beautiful fruit from their orchards: primarily plums, apples, and pears. They also raise a heritage breed of pork native to New Zealand called Kune Kune, which produce rich, marbled meat, available in the Co-op meat department! Ducks and chickens supply eggs and produce waste for compost.

Amanda works hard to promote sustainable and regenerative farming practices. She practices rotational planting and grazing to offset nutrient depletion and is constantly experimenting with new methods and different inputs. Her farming philosophy includes acting as a land manager and working with natural systems to create a productive and biodiverse landscape.

Member Spotlight
Tom Reynolds and Mariluz Villa live on Brown Island, but are well established in the San Juan Co-op community coming over each week to assist with UNFI deliveries as well as representing the store at the farmer’s market on the first Saturday of each month during the spring and summer.
They have been spending time in the islands since 2002, transitioning to full time in 2010 when their kids got out of high school. Mariluz began volunteering with the co-op in July 2011, stocking shelves on UNFI delivery days. Tom joined her in this capacity in 2013.
Outside of the co-op, both Toma and Mariluz are highly involved with islands community. Tom is involved with the San Juan Islands National Monument Community Advisory Board, San Juan Island Trails, Washington Trails Association, and sits on the Friday Island Homeowners Association Board of Directors. Mariluz is active with Hospice of San Juan, Women’s Fund of the San Juan Island Community Foundation, Peace Island Medical Center Community Health Board, St David’s Episcopal Church ministries, The Grange, WA Trails Association, San Juan EMS Community Paramedicine, and Friday Island Homeowners Association. 
Outside of their community activities, Tom and Mariluz both like to be out on the water in human powered craft (stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking), practice Tai Chi, and clear/clean trails. Mariluz grows produce, knits, and makes bread. Tom hikes extensively, cuts wood, bakes the bread Mariluz makes, and is an amazing chef.
Gardening with Master Gardener Alice Deane

Plant Sale!
It’s that time again, the Master Gardeners’ Spring Plant Sale is just around the corner, on Saturday May 11th. Why do I mention that? Is it because my entire life has once again been overtaken by a thousand tiny vegetable starts? Because I dream about slugs eating cabbage plants? Because watering has become an obsession? Because a few degrees in temperature can cause a big discussion between several ladies? The answer to all the above is YES! And we do it all for you, dear gardeners and eaters
Over the last number of years I have overseen the sale and it has grown by leaps and bounds, a testament to the good news that more of us are growing our own food now. It’s so exciting to see the crowds rush into the Mullis Center lugging trays and grabbing up the tomatoes and squashes to take home and plant. And the perennials that the Orcas master gardeners grow and bring to the sale get more gorgeous each year. We’ve taken over several greenhouses for our plant production, the big one at the Community Garden and at several of our homes
(thanks to you who have given over your precious space for this endeavor.)
We’re offering a large assortment of tomatoes large and small, squashes winter and summer, cucumbers slicing and pickling, cabbages, kales, cauliflowers and other brassicas, and herbs. The perennials from Orcas will be a surprise to me, but I’m sure will be a plethora of delights.
The sale is, once again at the Mullis Community Senior Center, the day before Mother’s Day, this year that’s Saturday May 11th. We’ll be open at 9 AM and close at 11 this year. We are growing many more plants than ever, no need to worry about selling out before you get there to shop. And we have a wonderful new education system to help you identify the various veggies and help you grow them properly so they produce well for you.

Just a big thanks to everyone who is working on the sale, we have spectacular gardeners on our team. Be sure to get to the sale early, you know from experience how folks line up before the doors open!   SEE YOU THERE!
A Bit About Biochar
From Roger Ellison of Thornbush Farm

Biochar has been in the news lately as a way to handle waste products, improve soil, and cut down on greenhouse gas emissions. That is a tall order for what is essentially charcoal. Biochar is charcoal made from plant materials that is intended to be used as a soil amendment. It is a great way for growers to eliminate piles of brush and weeds by turning them into more and better soil. One thing that distinguishes biochar from other charcoals is the purposeful introduction of soil organisms and minerals into the charcoal pores through a composting or brewing process. 

Benefits to gardeners include increased water and mineral availability, more life in the soil, and a matrix to capture excess nutrients that would otherwise gas off or leach out. The first two features mean bigger and better crops. Irrigation is easier and more reliable, and we can cut down our purchases of imported fertilizers. Vegetables can be more nutritious because they have a richer, more balanced soil to grow in. The third feature is useful in livestock operations where the main nutrient issue is having too much of a good thing. Creative farmers are using biochar in the litter of chicken houses or floating on manure ponds at dairies. Capturing the excess nutrients means that they can be returned to the soil rather than allowed to get away to pollute the air and water.

In addition to cutting down on water and air pollution, making and using biochar has another major environmental benefit. It is a way to fight global climate change because it takes carbon that would otherwise enter the atmosphere through fire or rot and sequester it in a stable form in the soil. "Sequester" because it stays in the soil away from the air. "Stable" because it can remain that way for hundreds if not thousands of years. Plants and soil organisms use the biochar but do consume it. The carbon always stays behind for further benefit, making biochar one of the truly useful things that local growers can do, themselves, on their own land, without planning permission, to reduce and maybe reverse global climate change. All the while improving things right at home for their families and fellow islanders.
To learn more about biochar, its benefits, and productions techniques, join Roger at the co-op on Sunday, May 19th from 5-6 pm!
Meet the Co-op Board of Directors!
Chad Coffey, Board President
Looking for a new adventure, Chad and his wife moved the family to San Juan Island two years ago from northern Minnesota, and it proved to be a great decision

In Minnesota the Coffey family were grower/producers for a number of years and actively involved in their co-op, located in Duluth. Chad served on the Board for there for 6 yrs and enjoyed working with the co-op while it experienced growth, relocation and expansion. 

Sustainability is a concern we should all be aware of and Chad believes the co-op's connection with grower/producers at a local level is an important element of community sustainability.
Valdi Bjarnason, Vice-Chair
Valdi spent 9 years working at Market place from being in the meat department to manager of frozen food. More recently, he worked at the co-op for three years. 

Valdi us passionate about organic, locally grown food. During his time at the Co-op, he helped with Hunting and Gathering from the mainland: farm-fresh meat, milk, poultry, and eggs, as well as honey and flour. 

Valdi loves teaching and helping young people who want to eat locally grown meat and vegetables. He is very interested in turning the young people into consumers of locally grown food and active members of the co-op 
Cloud Oakes, Secretary
Cloud has lived on San Juan since 1997 raising four children on the island and has been an active community member in many capacities. Cloud
brings to the San Juan Food Co-op a unique set of skills as she has worked to enhance
public open space through serving on the County Parks board for 6 years, leaving in 2006. She also created the SJI Children’s Theatre through serving on the San Juan Theatre Board for a few years and greatly enjoyed the interactions with the
community through the arts while working there. In 2007 Maureen and Cloud thought up starting a Co-op and in 2008 she became one of the founding members of our Co-op and diligently served on the board until leaving to earn her Masters Degree in Art
Education. In 2017, Cloud returned to full time living on the island and once again wished to serve on the board of the SJI Food Co-op.
Patty Garcia, Treasurer
Patty Garcia is in her second year on the Co-op Board. She was a Co-op member when the organization consisted of 35 families and was located at Surina Business Park. It was a good beginning, and Patty has watched as the co-op has grown into a valuable community asset. She began volunteering in 2011, stocking the produce deliveries from Blue Moon Farm. She continued volunteering as an "open hours host" and now volunteers as a "shopkeeper" on Monday afternoons, in addition to serving on the board.

Patty's connection to San Juan Island goes back to 1952, when her parents bought property along Pear Point Road. Her dad built a small cabin on the land and the family spent memorable summers there. Thirty of the thirty-five acres was sold in 1960, 20 acres to Dr. Whiteley and 10 to Dr. Fernauld, both of the Friday Harbor Labs. Patty and her sister were given the remaining 5 or so acres, and Patty bought out her sister's share in 1970. Patty and her husband built a small cabin on that land in the late '70s and finally built a home to retire to in 2008. She wakes up every day thankful to be able to live in this wonderful place.
Matt Marinkovich

Matt Marinkovich gillnets for salmon out of Friday Harbor, WA and Bristol Bay, Alaska. He sells his catch locally on San Juan Island through the "Fish List" and at the co-op.
Brien Sesby
Briena and his family have been community coop members and producers for as far back as he can remember. Brien became more involved about 6 years ago when he returned to San Juan after a career in business management to pursue a new career as EMT/Firefighter, and start an excavation business. His attention however turned to hsi family business, Heritage Farm, of which he is now owner/operator/farmer. Brien also works with his partner Lori Ann David who owns Aurora Farms. Brien believes that a strong community that supports its local food production is sustainable and vibrant. He looks forward to helping the coop grow in many ways to ensure that it can be all it can be for and with local producers in a healthy financial way far into the future.
Maggie Olsen
Maggie has been a staff member at Co-op since September of 2018, when she was hired as the Produce Coordinator in a part-time capacity. After four months, Maggie was offered an additional role as the Meat Department Coordinator, which has brought her to a full time position. While she has only been working at the Co-op for a short time, Maggie has become deeply involved with the community and network of producers who support the organization, and feels sincerely invested in its long term growth and success. Maggie is particularly engaged by connections with the local farmers and ranchers, and is incredibly passionate about supporting the health and vitality of our local food systems.
Maggie brings with her a decade of experience in the food/hospitality/retail sector, working for some of the most well-known and respected food-based businesses in the greater Seattle area. Her greatest strengths lie in a keen awareness of food trends, and for coalescing various stakeholders around a common interest.
A Message from co-op board president Chad Coffey

You may have heard that our General Manager Paul Richards has resigned his position with the co-op. Paul has accepted a new position on San Juan Island and we wish him the best. Bethery von Dassow has agreed to act as Interim GM while we search for a replacement. Thank you Bethery!

If you are interested in applying, the opening is posted on our website,

- Chad Coffey, on behalf of the Board of Directors
In The Store
Featured Wines of the Month
Not to belabor the obvious, but it’s been sunny. The weather report shows no rain in the next ten days. There’s no reason for you to know this, but I spent the weekend putting soaker hose in the garden. In early May. Which is why it seems appropriate to talk about rose.
Now, pink wines have been much maligned (and there are good reasons) and are also considered very cool in certain camps (and there are good reasons) or given a “who cares?” shrug (valid, but debatable). There’s a lot of ways you can end up with a wine that isn’t quite white and isn’t quite red and a not entirely related huge range in quality. There have been a bunch of questionable wines sold, which may have soured some of you on the whole field (of rose, we’re presuming, but possibly also wine in general - either way, come talk to me). 
So, for context, let’s talk about how rose can be made and the kinds of wine that result. Rose can mean anything from the palest pink, barely salmon colored off whites - most famously from province in the south of France - to deep red rosatos from Italy or Spain. Historically, that Cabernet California has embraced was also a rose of sorts - Claret, or clarified wine, from Bordeaux, was fined with egg whites, thus making a rose of sorts. Omitting that one, there are three main methods of obtaining pink wine, all of which can yield great results. The first is to take red grapes, crush them and let the juice sit on the skins for between no time to a few of days. The length of time determines the level of color and a host of other things. The advantage of this system is that the grapes are picked at a point where they are just right for making rose, not something else. Which brings us to system number two, saignée, or “to bleed”, so named because you start with a red wine and then bleed some juice off the solids, which creates a more concentrated red in the end and some rose as a side product. The danger with this method is that the characteristics you might want in a red, especially one you are making bigger and more concentrated by removing some juice, are not necessarily the same as you might want in a rose. Most notably, acidity, which is somewhere between important and absolutely essential in rose, may well be lacking. The third potential route is to blend red wine and white wine together. While it seems like this would be the best and most obvious means of obtaining a pink wine the results usually disappoint, with some notable exceptions, like rose champagnes.
On to wines we have on the shelf.  Lopes Island Vineyards  Rose is a blend of Syrah and Merlot, leaning towards the rosato end of the spectrum, with good acidity and red berry fruits. They pioneered growing wine grapes in the puget sound, first near Mt. Vernon and on Lopez from the mid-80’s. All their estate whites are organically grown, but the whites come from eastern Washington, where certified vineyards to source from are very hard to come by. 
Populis  Rose is made from old vine, organic Carignane, dry farmed in Mendicino County. Shane and Diego started their winery after school at UC Davis and internships with natural winemakers in France aiming to make high quality, organic, natural wines that people could afford to drink on a regular basis, thus the “Populis” label. The rose is aged for 14 months in neutral barrels, and has an intriguing blend of freshness, bright fruit, minerality, spice, with light herbaceous and savory notes. It’s a great example of what California is capable of producing, but usually doesn’t.
Using similar grapes and methods to these two new world roses,  Riberach’s  Rose, made from syrah grown on granite soil in the foothills of the Pyrenees, has lightly juicy bright strawberries and soft red fruit, fresh floral notes and soft tannins with good acidity. The vineyard is practicing biodynamic and certified organic, uses no chemicals in either the winery or the vineyard, only native yeasts and almost no sulfites. 
On a similar soil (mixed granite) but very different climate and grape,  Domaine des Pothiers Granit Rose  is the one example of a sagnée rose we have on the shelf at the moment. It’s made from Gammay Noir, which has a lot in common with Pinot Noir, minus the fame, from the Cote Roannaise area of the Loire valley in northern France. Blackberries, ripe plum and raspberries with fresh hay and flowers and a strong backbone of minerality and acidity running through it. A good example of how sagnée doesn’t have to be a compromise, George and Romain Pairs don’t compromise in the winemaking or growing either. Biodynamic, no added sulfites at all, cool temperature fermentation and aging in stainless with no fining or filtration make this an exceptionally pure expression of grape and place.

A good example of Italian rosato from an out of the way location,  Cote di Franze Cirò Rosato  is made by two brothers, Francesco and Vicenzo Scilanga from Gaglioppo, an old variety unique to Calabria. Dried strawberries, hints of spice and flowers, wild ripe and fresh, this is lovely, balanced wine on the lighter side for a rosato. Certified organic, with 18 hrs. of skin contact and naturally made through the whole process.
Help us clean out our freezers and make way for summer inventory! This is an amazing opportunity to stock up on some incredible local, pastured meats, with lots of options for your spring BBQ’s! Beginning Tuesday, May 7 th the Co-op is offering a 20% discount on the following local and regional specialty meat items:
**Please be aware that cuts are limited!
BBB Ranch Pork Leg Steak (SJI)
           *amazing on the grill!
BBB Ranch Pork Country Ribs (SJI)
BBB Ranch Pork Spareribs (SJI)
BBB Ranch Pork Tenderloin (SJI)
Sweet Earth Farms Kune Kune Pork Chops (SJI)

Skiyou Beef Sirloin Tip Steak (WA)
BBB Ranch Beef Top Sirloin (SJI)
BBB Beef Stir Fry (SJI)
BBB Beef Stew Meat (SJI)
BBB Ranch Cross Cut Shanks
           *Great for braising!
Lazy G Cube Steak
Sweet Grass Farms Beef Patties, 4 pk (SJI)
BBB Beef Chuck Roasts (SJI)
BBB Beef T-bone Steaks (SJI)

**Sale meat located in the meat freezers, bottom shelf.**
New In The Store
Nutpods Hazelnut Non-Dairy Creamer
Reeds Crystalized Ginger
Clean Well Hands Wipes - in canister or travel packs
Clean Well Disinfecting Bathroom Cleaner

Coming Next Week: Grab & Go food selections from Real Live Food beginning Thursday, May 9th. Look for it in the cooler by the register!

Back In Stock
Bruce Bowen Honey will be back on the shelves next week!

Aurora: lettuce heads, tatsoi, Asian greens, baby kale, parsley, radicchio

Sweet Earth: pea shoots

Federico Farms: microgreens, baby herbs, herbs

Mama Bird Farm: salad mix

Dancing Seeds: kale Buds, plant starts

Blue Moon: purple sprouting broccoli

Nootka: Arugula, kale/spring buds, bok choi, kale

New Hannah: arugula, spinach, red, pink, purple radishes, salad turnips

Ralph’s GH: leeks, red beets

Hedlin Farms: cauliflower
Cr Cripps Pink Apple (WA)
Honeycrisp Apples (WA)
Cilantro (CA)
Granny Smith Apples (WA)
Crimini Mushrooms (OR)
D'anjou Pears (WA)
Shiitake Mushrooms (OR)    
Avocadoes (MX)
Yellow Onions (CA)
Honeygold Grapefruit (CA)
Red Onions (CA)
Murcott Tangerines (CA)
Sugar Snap Peas (CA)
Lemons (CA)
Red Bell Peppers (CA)
Navel Oranges (CA)
Russet Potatoes (ID)
Bananas (MX)
Yellow Potatoes (ID)
Papaya (HI)
Sweet Potatoes (CA)
Pinapple (MX)
Garnet Yams (CA)
Broccoli (CA)
Green Cabbage (OR)
Carrots (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. 
Please be prompt for chill and frozen items.

Azure Standard orders are every other week. 
This month's  orders are due Saturday, May 5th and May 19th   by midnight.
Pickup the following Fridays,
after 10 am
Store Hours

Monday - Friday: 10 - 7       //       Saturday & Sunday: 10 - 5   
Phone: 360-370-5170       //      Email:

Upcoming Board Meetings 
6:30 pm in the Heritage Bank Conference Room

Monday, May 20th
Monday, June 17th
Monday, July 15th
Thank you for supporting the San Juan Island Food Co-op - - 360-370-5170 - - 360-370-5170
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