Blog & Latest News2017-01-19T21:01:10-06:00
2210, 2021

Welcome Board Members!

October 22nd, 2021|Categories: Blog|0 Comments

The Wheatsfield Board of Directors and Member-Owners unanimously approved the slate of board candidates during the 2021 virtual annual meeting of the members. We would like to extend a congratulatory welcome to Becky Mattan Pratt, Emilie Ruehs, and Cal Rebhuhn. They each will serve a three year term on the Wheatsfield Board of Directors. We also welcome Derek Franklin, our Student Board member appointed for the 2021-2022 school year.
Candidate statements are below for you to familiarize yourself with the skill sets they will bring to the Board.

Becky Mattan Pratt

Statement of Candidacy

Why do you want to serve on the Wheatsfield Board of Directors?

I am passionate about sustainability, gardening and cooking. This board position would allow me to further explore these passions while adding value through my financial services background. I am excited about  the opportunity to cultivate healthy environments and lifestyles. I know I feel better when I cook my meals with local and organic ingredients. I would like to share this experience as well as help expand the availability of healthy, local, sustainably produced food.

Please describe any skills or experience (such as financial literacy, legal, strategic planning, communications, etc.) that you would bring to the Wheatsfield Board of Directors. 

I am a qualified financial expert and nationally recognized governance, risk and compliance professional with broad experience in banking. I am in the process of completing a program to earn a Certificate in Risk Governance through the Directors & Chief Risk Officers (DCRO) Risk Governance Institute with the intention of becoming a Qualified Risk Director. I regularly advise financial services clients in both strategy and operations. I adapt quickly to change and have held leadership roles in both small and large organizations. I have a history of successfully leading through crisis, as well as overseeing change management and large projects.

What are your hopes for the future of Wheatsfield and its role in the community? 

Further strengthen Wheatsfield’s role and continue on the path of cultivating a healthy environment and socially just community while exhibiting core values and principles. Areas of interest regarding future include education and outreach, sustainability, enhancing cooperation among cooperatives, democratic control, and commitment to community.

Please share anything about yourself including hobbies, passions, family members, etc. 

My family is from Illinois, yet I have lived in Iowa most of my life. My grandfather was a dairy and row crop farmer who was committed to sustainability. He and my grandmother passed their beliefs and practices down through subsequent generations. I still draw on what I learned from them in my cooking and gardening today. I graduated from ISU with an Accounting degree and remained in Ames until I married. I currently reside in Boone with my husband, Jim and our two pups, Siku and Denali. We are avid bicyclists and participate in the Ames Velo cycling club.

Cal Rebhuhn

Statement of Candidacy

Why do you want to serve on the Wheatsfield Board of Directors?

Having lived in Iowa my entire life, whether on the farm or here in Ames, I’ve never been far from agriculture. Principles such as sustainable and ethical food production have always been near and dear to me, and Wheatsfield embodies the best of them. I’m proud to be a member, and in serving wish to contribute to our coop’s continued success.

Please describe any skills or experience (such as financial literacy, legal, strategic planning, communications, etc.) that you would bring to the Wheatsfield Board of Directors. 

I have an academic and a professional background in written communication from my undergraduate degree at ISU and in my time working at Ortho2, respectively.

What are your hopes for the future of Wheatsfield and its role in the community? 

One of my favorite parts of the most recent expansion is the kitchen/learning area.  I would love to see growth in classes and outreach utilizing this space in the future, when it’s deemed safe to do so.

Please share anything about yourself including hobbies, passions, family members, etc. 

My wife and I are both passionate about sustainable agriculture, animal welfare, and preserving our natural environment. In 2020, we purchased an acreage on which we’ve been establishing Terrier Tough Farm, an organic-practice produce and ethical livestock operation . My wife, Dr. Carly Kanipe DVM, is also a veterinarian and animal rescue work is an important part of our daily lives.

More personally, I have been a drummer in multiple musical groups for several years in Ames. Most recently, I have the pleasure of performing with The Cautionaries and with Fred Love.

Emilie Ruehs

Statement of Candidacy

Why do you want to serve on the Wheatsfield Board of Directors?

I am passionate about ensuring that everyone has an equal opportunity to experience the joy, creativity, and excitement for food that I do. Wheatsfield promotes an environment focused in knowledge, connection, development, and community. As a recent college graduate who moved to Ames, I quickly found comfort in the accessibility of the Co-op. As a recently returned resident, I am happy to see the growth and central community focus that Wheatsfield has developed into; and cannot wait to become part of the future of the Co-op.

Please describe any skills or experience (such as financial literacy, legal, strategic planning, communications, etc.) that you would bring to the Wheatsfield Board of Directors. 

Through my professional background as a rehabilitation counselor I have a strong skillset based in communication that includes crisis management, de-escalation, policy implementation, interacting with diverse populations, group management, and classroom instruction.

Additionally, as a member of the Fourth Plan Forward Advisory Committee I have experience in strategic planning for affordable housing, grant moderation, and community engagement.

What are your hopes for the future of Wheatsfield and its role in the community? 

My hopes are for Wheatsfield to become a community staple. For it to draw in people from different backgrounds. To encourage conversations about creating a better world through support of local growers and makers. To expand ideas around what future food production can look like for Ames and Iowa alike.

Please share anything about yourself including hobbies, passions, family members, etc. 

After spending 6 years living in the PNW, I returned in 2020 to make Ames home. I love anything and everything related to food. I have an extensive cookbook collection, love craft beer and locally roasted coffee, and am an avid baker (who likes the challenge of veganzing whatever possible). I enjoy trail running and can often be found somewhere at McFarland Park or Ada Hayden. I may also have a very healthy addiction to Acai bowls.

Derek Franklin

Student Board Member
Statement of Candidacy

Why do you want to serve on the Wheatsfield Board of Directors?

Wheatsfield stands out because of its commitment to environmentally and socially just practices and the legitimate quality of its products. I appreciate that Wheatsfield has a kitchen for cooking classes, as I am all-too-aware that learning how to cook healthy and good food takes time, energy, and usually incorporates a learning curve. Serving this community would be an honor, and I also look forward to learning more about this sector of the food system.

Please describe any skills or experience (such as financial literacy, legal, strategic planning, communications, etc.) that you would bring to the Wheatsfield Board of Directors. 

A unique experience I bring with me to Wheatsfield is my time as an AmeriCorps member, serving as an outdoor educator and garden manager with the Kirksville, MO, School District. The crux of this initiative was to introduce vegetables to elementary-aged students through participation in the school garden. This resulted in many stories of students trying/liking vegetables that they’d help to plant, take care of, and/or harvest. I also led an initiative to engage the local community via food demonstrations at the farmers market, where we would prepare dishes featuring in-season produce and hand out free samples and recipe cards.

What are your hopes for the future of Wheatsfield and its role in the community? 

I hope to see Wheatsfield continue on its current trajectory of growth, and to better understand how its resources such as the teaching kitchen are currently utilized and could be used in future endeavors. I could imagine Wheatsfield partnering with local schools for earth day functions/activities and also more graduate student involvement; Wheatsfield aligns so well with ideals and goals of the sociology department, for example, yet not many sociology graduate students are aware of this.

Please share anything about yourself including hobbies, passions, family members, etc. 

I love being outside with my family, and oftentimes that takes the form of gardening, hunting or hiking. Reading is also a favorite activity, along with playing board games.

2110, 2021

Trick-or-Treat at the Co-op!

October 21st, 2021|Categories: Blog|0 Comments

Saturday, October 30

Bring the kiddos for our 6th Annual Trick-or-Treat at the Co-op. Trick-or-treat stations will be set up all around the store with plenty of goodies. Costumes and masks encouraged!

610, 2021

Virtual Annual Meeting of the Members

October 6th, 2021|Categories: Blog, Classes|0 Comments



We look forward to ‘seeing’ you, sharing the latest from the co-op, and hearing your questions and feedback.

As a member-owned cooperative, your participation in our governance is important, and we welcome you to join us for this year’s virtual annual meeting.

Annual meeting Snack Packs will be available for pick-up at the registers the week before the meeting for all registered attendees. Packs will be labeled with the registering attendee’s name and contain snacks for two people to enjoy during our meeting, plus a raffle ticket for prizes we will draw during the meeting!

All who attend the meeting will receive a thank you gift emailed after the meeting.

After we receive confirmation of your registration a zoom link will be sent for the meeting.

510, 2021

October 2021 Produce Parable

October 5th, 2021|Categories: Blog|0 Comments

Cox Orange Pippin Apple

By Adam Calder
Wheatsfield Produce Manager

The produce department is excited to offer a new apple variety to our customers: the Cox Orange Pippin.

The Cox apple was discovered as a chance seedling by horticulturalist and brewer Richard Cox in 1830 at Buckinghamsihire, England. It has since grown in popularity and now represents more than half of the acreage in the United Kingdom for dessert apples.

Apple connoisseurs claim the Cox is unsurpassed in its’s complex, multi-layered flavors and aromas. The flavor of the Cox is described as subtle and shifting, with notes of anise, cherry, honey, mango, melon and pear that is moderately sharp and subacid.

The “orange” in the name comes from the color of the skin, and not so much the taste of the apple. The color of the skin is red with an orange flush. The Cox’s flesh is juicy, fine-grained, yellow-white and crisp. The seeds are loosely attached to the flesh so the apple rattles when shaken. The apple can range in shape from round to oblate (flattened at the poles).

Unfortunately, the Cox tends to fall victim to apple scab, canker and mildew. These qualities make it difficult to grow outside of an oceanic (mild summers and cool but not cold winters) climate so it is mostly grown in the United Kingdom, New Zealand, small pockets of the Pacific Northwest in the United States, and parts of Nova Scotia in Canada.

Netted veins on the skin of the Cox also can cause the apple to split and crack open, most often during especially wet springs. The stem basket (the small indentation on the top of the apple where the stem sticks out) is deep so water pools there, making a spot where pathogens can grow. The scion (young shoot of an apple tree) is very weak and yet the weight load of the fruit is high. The usual remedy for this problem in apple trees is an application of nitrogen. In the Cox apple, however, the application of nitrogen causes unpleasant changes to the texture of the flesh of the apple.

The highly prized flavors and aromas of Cox apples has led to the development of many new breeds of apples when farmers have tried to meld these characteristics with other apples that are easier to grow. The results of those efforts are over 77 different apple varieties.

Cox apples are excellent for fresh eating, make delicious baked goods and the juice is often blended in with other apples to improve the flavor of cider. They store for about three months in a cool, dark place but are best eaten before the end of the December.

110, 2021

October Change for Community: ACCESS

October 1st, 2021|Categories: Blog, Co-op Nickel|0 Comments


(Assault Care Center Extending Shelter and Support)

Their fundraising campaign called Pennies 4 Change is taking place during the month of October – Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Domestic violence happens every day and touches every corner of our community. Most of us know someone who has been impacted by violence. By participating in this fundraiser, you are EMPOWERING victims and survivors of crime in your community. ACCESS supports and advocates for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and other violent crimes. Additionally, ACCESS provides services such as counseling, housing and shelter assistance, support groups and crisis response services. ACCESS serves Story, Greene, Boone, Marshall and Tama counties. By working together, we can BE THE CHANGE our community needs to end violence.



Sexual Abuse Help Line – 1-800-203-3488

Domestic Violence Help Line – 1-855-983-4641

Shelter Services Help Line – 1-855-696-2980

Business Line – 515-292-0500

110, 2021

October Member Drive!

October 1st, 2021|Categories: Blog|0 Comments

Help us reach 100 new member-owners!

In coordination with National Co-op Month and other food co-ops across the country, we are holding our annual member-owner drive during October! At Wheatsfield, you’re not just a member, you’re an OWNER! Join 6,450+ others in member-ownership!

Not a member-owner?! Did you know that member-ownership is a one-time refundable purchase with some excellent benefits?!

Why join the Co-op? Since 1974 Wheatsfield Co-op has been cooperatively owned by individuals in the community. Today, join more than 6,700 of your friends and neighbors in owning Wheatsfield Co-op. Although you don’t have to be a member-owner to shop, we think the benefits are outstanding. Receive member-owner coupons and discounts, keep more money in our community and invest in a business that will always be locally-owned. Join us!

Bonus for Joining in October: FREE Wheatsfield T-Shirt! If you pay in-full you will be entered to win one of five $50 gift cards! We’ll pick a winner at the end of October.

How to Join: A one-time, fully refundable, $100 investment. Not a yearly fee! You can pay in $10 installments over 10 months if you choose. It’s quick and easy to join! Just talk with a cashier. You’re moments away from owning a grocery store!

Student-Membership is a $20 yearly fee vs a one-time refundable $100 investment. Student-Members receive all the same benefits of equity membership except: patronage dividends and voting in elections.

Current Member-Owners: Refer a new member and receive a thank you beverage bar coupon. Any current member-owner on a payment plan can pay in-full to be entered in the gift card drawing.


  • Minnesota was the first state to declare an official Co-op Month proclamation in 1948.
  • Co-op Month has been a nationally recognized celebration since 1964, when U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Orville Freeman, a former Minnesota governor, proclaimed October Co-op Month.
  • The first national Co-op Month theme, in 1964, was “Cooperatives: USDA Helps Build a Better America.”
  • The U.S. Government sponsored Co-op Month from 1964-1970.
  • Every October, the U.S. Department of Agriculture releases its annual Co-op Month proclamation.
2309, 2021

September Member-Appreciation Giveaway!

September 23rd, 2021|Categories: Blog|0 Comments

Thank Gourdness for you!

Saturday, Sept 25, we will be giving away 300 Local decorative gourds and squashes at the registers. As we welcome Autumn and the change of the seasons, may this gift remind you than you are appreciated!
Starting at 8am, one per person, while supplies last.
1409, 2021

September 2021 Produce Parable

September 14th, 2021|Categories: Blog|0 Comments

Local Apple Update

Adam Calder, Wheatsfield Produce Manager

Last year, we were able to procure only a smattering of local apples, and then they were done for the season. The limited apple availability was a direct result of the damage the derecho caused when it roared across Iowa last summer, leaving behind it a wake of devastation and loss.

One of our local apple farmers, Steve Carlson from Hall’s Orchard in Madrid, was kind enough to share his story with me and to update me on the post-derecho status of the orchard.

“…The derecho was devastating for us,” Carlson said. “In terms of wiping out the entire 2020 crop. There were a few apples left hanging on the tree, but we had hail along with the insane wind and so the hail damaged the remaining fruit. We typically start harvest during the 3rd or 4th week of August, so this was just before we were ready to start picking.”

The damage to the orchard was severe, and the repercussions are still being felt by the trees that survived.

“We had around 350 total trees, many of which are around 30 years old on a semi-dwarf rootstock” Carlson said. “They’re well-established, gnarly apple trees. The derecho took out 30 of the apple trees by snapping the trunk right at the base, or totally uprooting the tree. There were 20 more trees that were left leaning all the way to the ground, resting on the eastern branches. If the root damage wasn’t that extensive, we pulled those trees back upright with the tractor and staked them to a couple of T-posts. Most of those seemed as if they’d re-root and survive, but after the winter and the weight of an apple crop on them this year, many are leaning back closer to the ground again. We’ll continue to try and stake them up, but I imagine the lifespan of these trees was cut way short.”

As is the case with many farmers who do not grow commodity row crops, insurance for the loss isn’t an option.

“Unfortunately we are at a small enough scale there doesn’t seem to be an insurance product out there that is a good fit for us, so we didn’t have insurance to help cover the total crop loss of 2020, or the downed trees. There’s a Non-insured Disaster Relief product offered by the Farm Service Agency, but we were just under the threshold of the number of trees lost to get that assistance. Of course, the damage from the derecho probably won’t be totally realized for several years.”

Despite all of these setbacks, the trees have pulled through and the yield estimates look good for this fall.

“Luckily we have right around 20 varieties and we still have some trees from each variety” Carlson said. “And after worrying about how the trees would yield this year following such a stressful event, they have exceeded my expectations with their production. And in addition to that, this has been a fairly mild year for the pest and disease pressure.”

“Right now from our larger plantings we’re harvesting plenty of Jonathan, Jonagold, and September Wonder Fuji.” Carlson said. “Very soon we’ll begin to harvest Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, and Empire. In smaller quantities we’re harvesting Gala, with Cortland and Liberty to come very soon. Later in the season it looks as if we’ll have large crops of Rome, Granny Smith, and Chieftain, which was developed at Iowa State University in 1917 as a cross between Jonathan and Red Delicious. All of these apple varieties have a unique quality that deserves appreciation, and it’s a passion of mine to help educate consumers how and why to value the diversity of our apple heritage. A Red Delicious stored for 6 months and shipped half-way across the country is nothing to get excited about, but a Red Delicious picked at peak ripeness in our Iowa growing conditions is a whole different story.”

Wheatsfield Cooperative appreciates Steve’s passion for apples, and his dedication to his orchard. Hall’s Orchard apples are in stock at the co-op, so stop in soon and give yourself an autumn treat!

Showing 90% of apples blown off the trees.

Apple tree snapped off at its base.

Uprooted tree falling over again after staking.

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