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1809, 2020

Pear-fect Fall Fruit

September 18th, 2020|Categories: Blog|Tags: , |0 Comments


This wee pear is crisp and very sweet. Perfect for fresh snacking and making preserves. Only available at the co-op for a limited time!


A most versatile pear! A perfect pick for fresh eating. Bartlett pears are sweet and juicy with a flavorful aroma. The skin will become bright yellow when fully ripened. An excellent choice for canning, baking, drying or eating fresh.


A mild, sweet pear with a subtle floral aroma. It is very juicy when ripe and has a pleasant, smooth texture, making it perfect for snacking, salads, or any fresh use that shows off the brilliance of its skin.


Firm in texture with a nutty aroma. They have a dense flesh which is ideal for baking and cooking, such as in preserves, pies, muffins or poaching.


A true pear with an apple shape, this variety has a high moisture content and is best suited for raw applications as their crunchy texture, and sweet flavor is showcased when consumed fresh, out-of-hand. Great ‘peared’ with an aged cheddar or Manchego cheese.

Pear Tips & Reminders

Pear skins can taste bitter when cooked, so peel pears before poaching, baking and canning if you prefer. When picking pears in the produce department, collect them gingerly or cradle them in a box since ripe pears can easily bruise.
1109, 2020

August 2020 Board Highlights

September 11th, 2020|Categories: Blog|0 Comments

Highlights from the Board of Directors meeting held on August 26th, 2020.

1.  The first month of sales in the new fiscal year continue to show strong sales for the co-op. Sales for July 2020 were 28% higher than sales in July 2019! Thank you for shopping!

2.  Due to the derecho, the co-op lost power from Monday Aug. 10 until Thursday, Aug. 14. Wheatsfield is putting together the insurance claim to cover spoilage, business interruption, lost wages and additional expenses covered by the store’s insurance policies.

3.  The application period for Wheatsfield Board candidates has closed. The Nominations Committee will vet candidates and present a slate to the board for approval at a special meeting of the board on Aug. 29.

4. The Annual Meeting of the Members will be a virtual meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 21 from 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. Details on how to join will be shared in the store and through co-op emails and social media. Hope to “see” many of you there!

109, 2020

Sept. Change For Community: Mid-Iowa Community Action

September 1st, 2020|Categories: Blog, Co-op Nickel|0 Comments

MICA’s mission is to provide opportunities to people in vulnerable situations. We equip them to achieve stability, security, and success. We collaborate with families and partners to create communities where fewer people find themselves in poverty, and those who do have a path out.

Our Story County Family Development Center serves those in need by providing families struggling with poverty with an array of services including energy assistance, health and nutrition services, referrals, emergency food, one-on-one goal setting, and more. Our family development center houses a community-supported, full-time food pantry that allows families to visit once a month to receive a food package that includes protein, pasta, cereal, and other foods, including fresh milk, eggs, produce, and bread when available.

Through our work with the food pantry and our other programs, we hope to create a safe and healthy community that offers abundant opportunities for all people to thrive. You can find out more about the work that MICA does through our website,

2508, 2020

August Produce Parable

August 25th, 2020|Categories: Blog|Tags: , |1 Comment

Mental Health During A Crisis

By Adam Calder

            On July 22nd, FUEL Story County hosted a virtual panel discussion focusing on the implications the COVID-19 pandemic is having on mental health, and what can be done to bolster mental health when it is fatigued.

            Jean Muhammad spoke first, mainly about the impacts of COVID-19 on youth and children.  Her experiences in her four years as the Student and Family Advocate at Ames high school give her a unique perspective on how young people are affected by and coping with this pandemic.  She also worked at Boy’s Town of Omaha for 5 years helping at-risk teens.

            Muhammad talked about the loss that many of her students have experienced at a time when they might not have the resources developed or available to help them cope.

            “A lot of our students have lost major milestones, those things that kind of provide closer, they just weren’t able to have” Muhammad said. “They lost a lot of their peer interaction, especially the more intimate and authentic type of peer communication that you get in person and that you can’t get over social media. They’ve lost that time and investment of their vision, and they’ve lost support and therapeutic relationships.”

            Muhammad spoke of many changes her students have endured since this pandemic began, especially in their homes.

            “Family life has completely been reorganized” Muhammad said.  “A lot of parents who work outside of the home are now home, families are sharing a lot more time and space, a lot of families have been under a lot of financial stress, or the impending sense of financial stress. A lot of young people are experiencing vicarious trauma because of what is happening in their communities. “

            A virus doesn’t cause the rest of the world’s problems to go away, and Muhammad noted that children are aware of and affected by what goes on in the world around them.

            “Our kids aren’t experiencing coronavirus in a bubble,” Muhammad said. “They’re also experience the Black Lives Matter movement and police brutality in Portland. They understand what’s going on with our governor and asking us to go back to school when we are in the red-zone as a state. Kids are experiencing a lot right now. There security is being threatened and challenged. A lot of mental health providers are seeing teenagers with increased symptoms of anxiety and depression and other severe mental health issues.  Some students who have never had these problems are now starting to show some of those signs.”

            Toward the end of her presentation, Muhammad provided a list of tools and strategies to help people manage all of the new problems and disruptions in their lives.

            “I have some strategies for helping yourself or helping a young person to cope during a pandemic” Muhammad said. “Usually when I say a lot of these things to teenagers they roll their eyes at me, and they have to get pretty desperate before they’re willing to implement some of these things.  Maintaining a consistent daily schedule including limitations on digital media.  Getting regular, healthy sleep.  I really encourage everyone to put your phone away an hour before you go to bed.  Staying connected with others and connecting in new ways.  Maintaining healthy nutrition is obviously important.  Getting outside as much as possible and moving your body.”

            Muhammad also touched on the unique nature of how social media can impact mental health, and what can be done about it.

            “Identify patterns and triggers” Muhammad said.  “So if you’re on social media and you see a hundred messages that are coming at you that don’t agree with you political ideology or are a personal attack on your human dignity or identity, those things are going to build inside of you.  You get to choose who you allow in social media.  You don’t have to let people be your friends in social media who make you angry, who hurt you, who are just ignorant.  You don’t have to allow that! Be kind to yourself.  It’s ok to take a day off and to say you know, I think the best thing for me right now is rest.

            The next speaker, Christy Krause, spoke about her role as the Director of Behavioral Health at Mary Greeley Medical Center, and how it has been changed by COVID-19.

            “What we have learned is constantly changing” Krause said. “Methods of treatment, visiting hours, the equipment, and the supplies we use. So many things changing.  All the anxiety around the pandemic, the misinformation, we’re bombarded with information.  It’s a continuously changing situation which limits our experience and control.  That’s what makes life very difficult for all of us.”

            Krause said that while they do have COVID-19 patients, they feel there is some hope based on their data.

            “A month ago, we here at the hospital were experiencing decreased hospitalization, decreased number of people on ventilators, decreased deaths and that has changed one month later.  Now we are seeing a bit of an increase in hospitalizations.  It appears though that deaths and folks being put on ventilators is not going up proportionally to those numbers. That gives us some confidence and relief in seeing that information.”

            Krause also had some data to share about the nationwide impact of this pandemic on adults.

            “One third of American adults are reporting that the virus is seriously impacting their mental health,” Krause said. “That’s one in three. Thirty percent.  Sixty percent of folks reporting this thing has a negative impact on their life, manifesting itself through specifically trouble sleeping, trouble eating, and drinking alcohol.  We are seeing a specific uptake of folks presenting to the emergency department with exacerbating of perhaps a substance abuse problem that they haven’t had to face in years.  Folks with new onset of substance use issues.  Be very conscious of that as not an effective means of coping with this.”

            Krause said the emotional and mental impact of COVID-19 on the hospital staff was apparent in several ways.

            “Here at the hospital, this essential worker thing is very real” Krause said. “Very early on here at the hospital, our employees were really struggling.  There was a lot of fear, a lot of irrational thinking around this, I can’t do this, I won’t do this, a lot of emotional episodes.  Really expressing a lack of control, lack of information.”

            To alleviate some of those anxieties, the hospital took several steps to inform and support their staff.

            “Some of the things we did specifically here, we had some time to prepare” Krause said.  “Very early on we established a command center.  This was staffed by the right people in the organization.  This is a place where any employee can go to ask or pose or clarify a question or concern. Maybe those folks didn’t have the answer, but they were committed to finding the answer. Another thing we did was increased communication. We have daily COVID huddles.  That information is then pushed out to department huddles so that people have accurate and up to date information.  We’ve also increased a lot of one-on-one communication with the staff.  Connecting with them individually, how’s this going for you, how’s this going for your family, how can we help you, what resources can we point you to?  We also developed an internal mental health website for our staff.

            Krause concluded the discussion with warnings for all to precede with caution as we move on into the future with COVID-19.

            “Our education and teaching staff,” Krause said, “I’m talking about the public, private schools opening, the universities opening.  Whatever your opinion about this, their fear is real.  They’re going through the same thing that we went through at the hospital in mid-March.  Facing all of this.  I do know the public health arm of the health center is working closely with the schools and with the university, helping them with planning and recommendations from what we’ve learned.  Historically, pandemics have led to a stigmatization of affected people.  Folks really develop a mistrust of those who provide medical treatment, those who provide medical treatment and those in authority.  A lot of this inaccurate information out there contributes to that.”

1508, 2020

GM Report | Derecho Storm 2020

August 15th, 2020|Categories: Blog|1 Comment

Linda Johnson
Wheatsfield General Manager
August 14, 2020
On Monday, August 10 at about 11am, the Co-op lost power due to the Derecho that blew through Ames. Power wasn’t restored at the store until noon on Thursday and in the period of time that we were without power we lost most our inventory of perishable products including, frozen, produce, bakery, cheese, meat and refrigerated items. We were able to offer some of the usable products to the public for free to avoid all of it going into the dumpster.
The Co-op has insurance to cover most of the damaged product, lost income, employee wages and other contingent expenses due to the power outage and we are working to get a significant claim filed for our losses today. We were able to order a small amount of replacement product for delivery today and will continue to refill our empty shelves as quickly as possible.
We want to thank our IT consultant, Jeremy Bents from Bents Consulting for all the help he provided with a generator and his expertise in protecting our IT equipment from damage during the outage, Jerry and Chris Nelson from Nelson Electric for working hard on Wednesday afternoon into Thursday to find a generator to power the store so we that we could open only to have the power come back on as they were preparing to deliver it and hook it up, and to our refrigeration contractor, Marick Incorporated for their help in protecting our refrigeration equipment during the outage and getting all of the equipment back up and running when the power was restored. Thanks also to Aaron Christensen from Waste Management who was able to schedule additional trash pickups to accommodate the product that was unusable and had to be destroyed. We are grateful to the managers and staff who cleared shelves of product and cleaned up the mess that was inevitable with a loss of this magnitude.
We appreciate all of the phone calls and messages of support that we received once the power was restored yesterday and want you to know that we are working hard to be able to serve your needs in the store and with curbside pickup in the days ahead.
We keep all of our community members who are still without power and who are dealing with damage in our thoughts. A final thank you to the utility workers and the City of Ames for working to get everyone back up and running with electricity!
708, 2020

August Change for Community Recipient: COVID-19 Emergency Fund for Story County Immigrants

August 7th, 2020|Categories: Blog, Co-op Nickel|0 Comments

Our August Change for Community recipient is the COVID-19 Emergency Fund for Story County Immigrants, which was founded in late March 2020 as the pandemic began to hit Iowa. It quickly became clear that immigrants were one of the populations being hit hardest both economically and health-wise.

This fund – which is run collaboratively by about a dozen partners and is housed at St. Cecilia – provides financial assistance for rent, utilities, and other basic needs for immigrant households. This includes undocumented or non-status households.

To date, the fund has raised slightly more than $100,000 and has distributed $96,411 of these dollars in over 250 instances of financial aid. Immigrants helped are from throughout the world, including roughly 60% from Latin America and 30% from Africa.

Given that many immigrants in Story County are not eligible for governmental pandemic benefits and work in fields most impacted by COVID-19 related layoffs or reduced hours, the need is great.

Please consider rounding up your transactions at the registers to help make a difference in our community!

If you are able, please consider providing a tax deductible donation: Checks can be mailed to St. Cecilia, 2900 Hoover Ave, Ames, IA 50010. Please write “COVID-19 Fund for Immigrants” in the memo line.

Questions? Please email [email protected] or contact them via Facebook Covid-19 Emergency Fund for Story County Immigrants

GoFundMe Account👉👉

108, 2020

July 2020 Board Highlights

August 1st, 2020|Categories: Blog|0 Comments

1. The board is seeking applicants for the upcoming Wheatsfield Board election!

All member-owners are welcome to apply to be a candidate for the Board of Directors. Three seats are up for election. Apply by Monday, August 24, 11:59pm. Voting will commence on October 1, both online and in the store.

2. Student members of Wheatsfield are similarly encouraged to apply for the student seat on the Wheatsfield Board of Directors. Applications are also due Aug. 24, and can be found on the Wheatsfield website and at the cash registers.

3.  Wheatsfield has made permanent the $2/hour Hero Bonus implemented at the ouset of COVID-19. Additionally, Wheatsfield has raised the starting wage to $11/hr.

4. Sales are holding strong into the summer, and the co-op remains in a strong financial position. June 30 marked the end of the fiscal year, with sales 7.24% over the previous year!

5. The Wheatsfield Board approved a resolution to reinstate board member stipends. The board had voted in 2018 to pause board stipends during the store’s expansion project. Each board member will receive $30/month, and the board president will receive $60/month. The purpose of the stipend is to show appreciation for the board member’s time, and to help cover any expenses that might be needed during meetings, such as childcare or transportation.

6. Wheatsfield management is preparing for the co-op’s biennial audit, which will be completed by Wegner & Associates.

2207, 2020

Selecting a Ripe Melon!

July 22nd, 2020|Categories: Blog|Tags: , |0 Comments

By Adam Calder, Produce Manager

No one wants to cut into a melon they just bought to find it under-ripe, over-ripe, mealy or rotten. The following should be a helpful guide to help you select the perfect melon the next time you go shopping for one.  With this knowledge in hand, you should feel empowered to select a melon that will meet all of your anticipations and expectations. Enjoy!


By far the most popular melon. We sold about 8,000 pounds worth of seedless watermelon last year at Wheatsfield. Watermelon varieties that still contain their seeds usually are more flavorful and sweet than seedless varieties, but the vast consumer preference is for seedless watermelon.

Seedless watermelon, contrary to what you may have heard, is not a genetically modified organism. They are more like a mule, which is the infertile offspring of a fertile donkey and a fertile horse. Some watermelons are diploid in nature (meaning they have two sets of chromosomes) and some are triploid (meaning they have three sets of chromosomes.) If you take a fertile diploid watermelon and cross-pollinate it with a fertile triploid watermelon, the resulting fruit contains seeds which will grow to produce infertile, seedless watermelons. The seeds contain the right genetic information for creating fruit, but not the right information to create new seeds.

Seeded or seedless, to select a ripe watermelon you need to gently knock on it with your knuckles. You should hear a solid, high pitched noise similar to that of knocking on a door. If you hear a flat, hollow sound that sounds like you just knocked on a half-inflated basketball, then the melon is likely over-ripe and should be avoided. The bottom of the watermelon should have a few cream to yellow colored patches where the watermelon was resting on the ground in the field. If these spots are white, the melon is likely under-ripe.


The second most popular melon at Wheatsfield, with sales of approximately 1,500 pounds, is cantaloupe. Look for a golden color (green indicates an under-ripe melon), no stem (an attached stem means the plant was picked prematurely), defined netting, fruit heavy for its size and a pleasant aroma coming from the blossom end of the fruit (opposite the stem end.)


This melon is very tricky. Most people do not know how to pick a ripe honeydew, and because of this have likely eaten many bland, crunchy honeydews. Honeydew goes from green to white to yellow while ripening. A green honeydew will not ripen after it is picked and should not be eaten. A white honeydew will ripen on your countertop in a few days, and a yellow honeydew should be eaten immediately or refrigerated until you do eat it.

You can also pick up a honeydew and shake it. If you hear seeds rattling around in there, then the melon is ready to eat. If you don’t hear anything, then it is likely still not ripe. Ripe honeydew will also have a soft, slightly sticky skin as the fruit is so full of sugar it is seeping out of the rind.

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