Join us at Brookside Park’s Maple Shelter for our annual Local Foods Potluck! Bring a dish to share featuring local ingredients (bring your own table setting too to help reduce waste!).
Saturday, August 24, 5:30-8pm
We’ll start eating at 6pm
Live Music: Wendy P
Wheatsfield will provide a dish (meat and vegan) to share featuring local ingredients. We will also provide non-alcoholic beverages so make sure to bring your own beverage of choice!
Enjoy tons of food, kids activities, games and a great community atmosphere. Everyone welcome!
By Adam Calder, Produce Manager
The local season got off to a bit of a slow start this spring with all of the rain making it difficult for farmers to get out there and plant crops in mucky, muddy fields. We are in full swing now though, with local produce all over the place!
We’ve got: heirloom, red and gold tomatoes from Lee’s Greens; three varieties of kale, collard greens, two varieties of chard, green zucchini, yellow summer squash, cilantro, green and red cabbage, red beets, cherry tomatoes and cucumbers from Flint Ridge Farm; green onions, patty-pan squash and Italian parsley from Wabi Sabi Farm; blueberry pints from The Berry Patch; assorted micro-greens from Organic Greens; loose leaf baby lettuce and broccoli sprouts from Nebullam; grape tomatoes from Salama Greenhouse; and assorted fresh herbs from Mariposa Farms.
We are still looking forward to local summer sweet corn, bell peppers, watermelon, cantaloupe, raspberries and eggplant so check back often in the produce department to see when these seasonal foods arrive.
Some crops and farms have not been doing so well this season. We have only gotten one delivery of flowers from Meadowlark Flowers, our local flower farmer. The wet spring was good for vegetative growth, both that of the flowers and of the weeds unfortunately. The good folks at Meadowlark Flowers have had a hard time working through the weeds to find enough flowers to make the bright, full bouquets we have grown accustomed to over the years.
We have also not had any tomatoes yet this year from Hassevoort Farm. Our customers love the outstanding flavor of these aquaponically grown slicing and cherry tomatoes, and we sell hundreds of pounds of them every summer and fall. Hassevoort Farm is near the Iowa/Missouri border and received more rain than we did this far north in Ames. Even though Hassevoort usually can control the amount of water the tomatoes get, the excessive rain soaked into the ground around and under the greenhouses. Heavy rains normally do not effect crops grown inside greenhouses, but there was so much moisture that it saturated the soil and caused the majority of his tomatoes to burst before they could be harvested. Their yield is so low this season they are not even attending the Des Moines farmers market, which is unfortunate as they have a large following of customers at that market devoted to these tasty tomatoes.
Hassevoort also grows delicious watermelons and cantaloupe for the co-op, and we are waiting to see if he will have good yields on those crops or not. We have other sources for both of those items, so you should still see some on our shelves.
As is the case with Iowa farmers, they are cut from a tough cloth and come hell or high water, they will work, toil and till as much as they can to grow food for their community. We here at Wheatsfield Cooperative are proud to support them in their efforts, and we do so appreciate the delicious fruits and vegetables these dedicated farmers grow for us.
Wheatsfield Co+op is proudly participating in Alaffia’s Eyeglasses Drive through the end of July. Donate your used eyeglasses today!
1 EYE EXAM = 1 MONTH’S WAGE
1 PAIR OF EYEGLASSES = 4 MONTH’S WAGES
Alaffia & the Alaffia Foundation, aka Global Alliance for Community Empowerment collect used eyeglasses throughout the US & employ optometrists in Togo to correctly fit & distribute Rx glasses. They have distributed 25,588 pairs of eyeglasses to children struggling in school, elderly with failing vision, and adults who have never been able to see clearly. Donate eyeglasses, sunglasses (prescription and non-prescription), frames, lenses and cases.
Yanakokari (Thank you)!
In Iowa the wind is an almost constant companion. When it’s absent it’s missed. The lack of a cool breeze on a muggy day, or the insects that won’t leave us alone that the breeze will blow away, make us wish for even a slightest breeze. When it’s blowing so hard it will knock you over, we wish it would go away. As always with Iowa weather, we have trouble finding the sweet spot in the middle. These paintings are my response to the landscape around me and the wind that shapes it.
By Liz Kolbe, Board Member
I lost my bid for student council representative from Mrs. Hollibaugh’s homeroom in the sixth grade. Years later I was not elected Homecoming Queen. In graduate school I was not chosen as the winner of the chili cook-off, placing third to a chili with no beans, no tomatoes, and no ground meat (I maintain it was simply a cheese dip).
Soon after moving to Ames, some friends asked me to run for a seat on the Wheatsfield Board. Losing an election can put a hit on our ego, especially if it’s for something we care about. I cared about Wheatsfield, but as a new member I decided it was pretty ego-safe; if I lost, I didn’t know that many people anyway. When I ask members to consider running for the Wheatsfield Board of Directors, I sometimes sense that they, too, don’t want to run in the election and lose in front of their peers.
But while serving on the Board and recruiting candidates, I’ve learned that running for the Wheatsfield Board isn’t an act of celebrity (like Homecoming Queen or the chili cook-off), it’s an act of service. You are saying to the Wheatsfield membership: “I am willing to give of my time and skills to ensure that our Co-op continues in the right direction.” It’s a wonderful gift to give to Wheatsfield and the membership. No matter the outcome of the election, we will be grateful to know we can count on you to be an active leader in the Co-op.
What the Board does:
The Board works together with Wheatsfield management and staff to ensure that the needs of our member-owners are being met. The Directors work as a team to set policy, hire and evaluate the general manager, maintain the fiduciary responsibility of the Co-op and represent the membership to create a vision for the Co-op’s future. The Board meets monthly, and is also involved with Co-op events, like the Fourth of July parade and “Coffee with the Board.” Serving on the Board has allowed me to learn more about our Co-op, to meet many of our member-owners and to work alongside a group of caring and committed people.
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 26, 11:59pm. Election will take place October 1-22, 2019.
During the summer months, when there is a bounty of melons to be had, the produce department is witness to a lot of shaking, thumping, squeezing, tapping and sniffing. It makes perfect sense, you work hard for your money and you want the best value for your dollar so not just any melon will do. You want the best, and here is how to find it:
First things first, look for a stem. If there is a stem on the cantaloupe (or any melon), put it down and keep looking. When melons are ripe, they snap away easily from the stem. If you see a stem on the fruit you want, then that fruit is probably not ripe and will not taste very good. The netting on the melon should be well defined and coarse. There should be a gold tint to the color of the outside of the melon, a green tint indicates a slightly under ripe fruit. A good cantaloupe should feel heavy for its size, and the blossom end should yield oh so slightly when pressed. Lastly, you should smell the stem end. If it smells sweet and musky, then you have picked a winner!
These are a cross between casaba melons (a melon noted for its sweetness but almost complete lack of aroma) and Persian melons (a variety of small cantaloupe). The melons are slightly oval shaped and taper at one end almost to a point. They should have a light to dark yellow color, and the flesh a pinkish, orange color. The melon should feel heavy for its size, but it will be softer than cantaloupe so don’t be alarmed if you squeeze one and it feels softer than melons you may be used to. The melon should yield slightly when pressure is applied to the stem end, but there will probably not be much of an aroma due to the casaba ancestry of the plant.
The word “galia” is the feminine form of the Israeli word for “wave.” This melon was developed in Israel in the 1970’s by crossing a cantaloupe and honeydew. The surface should be netted like cantaloupe, but the netting shouldn’t be as course or pronounced. The skin should have a golden color and the fruit should feel solid and heavy for its size. The taste is similar to cantaloupe but different enough to have a loyal following. The color of the flesh is more like that of honeydew.
These melons should have a smooth skin, not a netted one like cantaloupe or galia. The color of the skin should be green when the melons are unripe and will change to a creamy yellow color when they are ready to eat. These melons will ripen well if placed on a kitchen counter for a few days. Honeydew should be heavy for its size, but it should sound kind of hollow inside. A good way to test this is to pick up the melon and gently shake it; if you hear seeds rattling around in there then you’ve got a good melon. This test is not as reliable with other melons.
It is very hard to gauge the ripeness of a watermelon by merely looking at it. It must be picked up and analyzed. Hold it, feel the weight of it. It should feel heavy and solid. Gently tap the melon with your knuckles. If you hear a dull “thud” like someone smacking a half inflated basketball, then the melon is probably over-ripe and mush inside. If you hear a higher pitched “knock” like someone with a tight fist knocking on a wood door, then you’ve picked a winner! The melon should be green on top and cream colored on the bottom. If the bottom is still green or whiter than cream or yellow, it is probably not very ripe.
All melons can be stored unrefrigerated and uncut for three to five days.
After cutting, be sure to put the leftovers in an air tight storage container in the refrigerator (their flavors will permeate other items in your refrigerator if the container is not air tight.)
Saturday, July 13
Join us to save 20% on local products around the Co-op (that’s right around 1,000 products!). Enjoy local vendor sampling, live music, a kids activity and giveaways!
No further discounts. Non-members save 10%.
Peverill’s Apiary, Ankeny
CADO Ice Cream, Fairfield
Raccoon Forks Farm, Red Field
Kalona SuperNatural, Kalona
Jenuinely Pure, Ames
The Cellar Winery, Cambridge
Bubbling Brine Brothers, Fairfield
En Gedi Grove, Ames
11am-1pm: Wendy P, Ukulele
1:30-3:30pm: Sugar & the Vincents
The response to the email we sent at the beginning of May about restructuring our member loan debt has been overwhelmingly positive. We have heard from many people about how important Wheatsfield is to member-owners and the community. A common question has been, “What else can we do to help?”
A number of member-owners have suggested that we need to change the round up campaign at the cash registers to raise funds to help out the Co-op. After hearing this multiple times, we want to try it out!
For the summer months, June-August, the Change for Community funds will go toward the purchase of a new bread slicer to slice the delicious Co-op Made Artisan bread on demand!
This piece of equipment costs about $6,000, sits on the top of our most wanted list and is often requested by customers. We have even heard that people shop here less because we do not have a bread slicer. A new bread slicer will help us serve you better and can help increase sales! Round up to the nearest dollar or contribute more if you like.
We fully appreciate all of your support and hope that this is something that can help us start to get sales growing again.
4th of July, 10:30am-2pm
Our annual 4th of July grill-out is back! Stop by before, during or after the parade for hot dogs, bratwursts or a veggie brat grilled in our parking lot! Make it a meal by adding chips and a drink. We’ll offer a traditional made-from-scratch 4th of July dessert as well!
By Adam Calder, Produce Manager
Much like a mighty thunderstorm, spring has rolled across the plains, and in its wake the land has come alive once again. The trees have all their leaves, the flowers are blooming, the birds sing and the bunnies are bouncing.
This cool, wet spring weather is helping Lee’s Greens provide us with some really tasty red, green and romaine heads of lettuce. They add flavor and crunch to any salad and are a welcome addition to sandwiches and wraps. We’ve also been getting some tender and delicious baby spring mix, baby spinach, baby red kale, baby green kale, baby collard greens, arugula and bunches of full grown rainbow chard.
Our Iowa spring weather has also been a great boon to the asparagus out at Iowa Asparagus LLC in Ankeny. We get this delicious asparagus delivered fresh weekly and it is often picked the day we order it! This gives us a product with excellent shelf life, exceptionally good flavor and a delightfully crisp texture. The only way to get fresher asparagus would be to eat some right out in the field. Really fresh asparagus has a patina of naturally occurring yeast on it that you also often find on really fresh cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale and collard greens. You can see it, like a fine film that covers the tips of the asparagus. At this stage of freshness, the asparagus also squeaks when the stalks rub against each other. These signs of freshness fade after a week or so, and are rarely seen on asparagus that goes through larger distribution channels.
We have an exceptionally diverse variety of seedlings this spring, with plants from Onion Creek Farm, Wabi Sabi Farm and the ISU Horticultural Research Station. There are tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, fennel, kohlrabi, onions, kale, lettuce and herbs galore. They are healthy, strong, vibrant little plants and they want to go home with you to live in your garden.
Stay tuned for local blueberries and raspberries from The Berry Patch in Nevada, IA. We usually start carrying those mid-June if the weather cooperates and if Judy and Dean can hire enough nimble fingered pickers to bring in their berry bounty.
By Kim McDermott, Wheatsfield Wellness Manager
Many of us faithfully eat organic foods, knowing the value of nourishing our bodies with a healthy diet. And while you may have made this healthy switch to being more intentional about what you put IN your body, perhaps it’s time to take a closer look at what you put ON your body.
Natural vs Synthetic Ingredients
Naturally derived ingredients such as olive oil, jojoba, argan oil, cocoa butter, shea butter, etc. are extracted from plants, nuts, and seeds. Real ingredients may cost a little more; but in the long run they are a good investment in your health and present a salutary alternative to synthetic ingredients like mineral oil. Mineral oil is a byproduct of petroleum and prevents the skin from breathing. Naturally occurring oils penetrate and nourish the skin with healthy fatty acids and vitamins. Think of them as value added ingredients – that is, they feed, nourish and support your skin and body in a way synthetic ingredients cannot.
Unfortunately, there is little Federal oversight when it comes to regulation of ingredients in body care products. The FDA does not have the legal authority to approve body care products and there is no pre-market testing required for most body care ingredients. Cosmetic companies may use almost any ingredient they choose with no oversight, and sadly, there are a lot of cheap, unsafe ingredients being used. Following are a few tips to help you choose cleaner, greener body care products.
Natural ingredients to look for:
- Olive Oil
- Cocoa Butter
- Argan Oil
- Shea Butter
Parabens & Phthalates
Parabens (methylparaben, propyl-, butyl-, ethyl-) are preservatives used in lotions, hair care, and other products to increase shelf life, but can act as foreign estrogens that build up in the body. Safer preservatives are available, but generally cost more.
Phthalates are ‘plasticizers’ that are sometimes found in conventional nail polish, hair sprays, perfumes, and fragrance mixes.
Phthalates build up in fatty tissues and negatively influence endocrine function, especially in children.
Fragrance or Parfum
Be cautious of ‘fragrance’ or ‘parfum’ in the ingredients. Companies do not have to disclose what is included in their ‘fragrance’ as it can be considered a ‘trade secret’, and may include any of over 3,000 chemicals used in the industry.
Synthetic fragrance can trigger allergic reactions, and may contain phthalates.
Note that some companies will use the term ‘natural fragrance’ to specify the use of essential oils, which does not pose the same hazard.
Best Selling Lotions at the Co-op:
- Wild Carrot
- Babo Botanicals
A body care product carrying the ‘USDA Organic’ Seal can be certified under the National Organic program regulations of the USDA, and by law must contain a minimum of 95% organic ingredients.
Be wary of the terms ‘natural’ or ‘all natural’ on products, as the term is not regulated, and can be virtually meaningless.
USDA Organic Body Care
- Badger Damascus Rose Facial Care
- Evan Healy Facial Hydrosol Toners
- Moon Valley Organic Lotion Bars
Good: Mineral Based Sunscreens
When choosing sunscreens, consider a mineral based sunscreen. Many health professionals recommend using mineral based sunscreens rather than synthetic chemical sunscreens. Mineral sunscreens employ zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide that sit on top of the skin and act as a physical barrier. The minerals reflect and absorb UVA and UVB rays, affording broad spectrum protection from the sun. Titanium dioxide works best when paired with zinc oxide, as it doesn’t protect as well on its own against UVA rays. Mineral sunscreens present safer options, as they don’t contain harmful compounds found in the chemical based sunscreens.
Bad: Oxybenzone & Octinoxate
Two of the most harmful sunscreen ingredients are oxybenzone and octinoxate. Although these two chemicals are still being used in many commercial sunscreens, the Environmental Working Group (www.ewg.org/skindeep/) recommends avoiding them due to safety concerns, especially for babies and children. Studies have associated them with endocrine disruption and possible cellular changes.
Oxybenzone is absorbed through the skin in significant amounts, and according to the CDC is found internally in 97% of the population.
The same sunscreen chemicals mentioned above that pose healthy concerns in humans also present dangers for coral reefs. Oxybenzone and octinoxate can kill or bleach coral at extremely low concentrations. Hawaii and Key West recently banned these sunscreen chemicals in an effort to help protect reef areas. The term ‘reef safe’ is unregulated, and some unethical companies falsely use the term, while still using the chemicals! The only sure way to know if your sunscreen is reef safe is to read the list of ingredients and check for the offending chemicals.
For true ‘reef safe’ sunscreen options, your best bet is to choose sunscreens that use either zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide, are biodegradable, and water resistant.
Sunscreen Brands to Try
- Babo Botanicals