Blog & Latest News2017-01-19T21:01:10-06:00
712, 2021

December 2021, Word from the Board

December 7th, 2021|Categories: Blog|0 Comments

December 2021, Word From the Board

Becky Mattan Pratt
Vice President, Wheatsfield Board of Directors

As a new Wheatsfield board member, I’d like to introduce myself and say thank you for this opportunity to serve. One of multiple reasons I am here, which is becoming more important as the world addresses problems such as climate change, is that Wheatsfield’s mission, vision and values align with my passions for sustainability and accessibility to healthy, delicious food.

Sustainability is woven into my personal history. My grandparents lived off the land by farming, raising livestock, planting expansive vegetable gardens and groves of fruit trees. They raised seven children in this manner, my father being one of them. My grandfather knew he needed to nurture the land so it would continue taking care of his family. He stood firm on sustainable farming practices throughout the Green Revolution and was one of the last farmers in his area to move from draft horses to tractor.

Summers in my early years were filled by helping my grandparents on the farm. Two vivid memories of times with my grandmother are harvesting apricots and lunches in the farmhouse kitchen. When harvesting, my grandmother would hoist herself into the crook of her apricot trees and shake the branches. I was mesmerized by the ripe apricots dropping onto her colorful quilts, carefully arranged under the trees to prevent fruit from bruising. For lunch, she shared bread and ring sausage, both made with her hands. She titled them “bologna sandwiches.” I had no idea highly processed bologna existed until I was 12 years old.

Of course, environmental responsibility looks a little different in a business like Wheatsfield than at my grandparents farm, but the core concepts are the same. Reducing waste, investing in quality infrastructure, and supporting like-minded businesses and products throughout our supply chain. Currently Wheatsfield holds Platinum status in the City of Ames Smart Business Challenge. If you would like to know more, just visit the Co-op’s Sustainability page here.

As the store continues to grow, we are excited to continue as a leader in environmental responsibility – as it impacts our community and the globe. The board recognizes that businesses, governments and individuals need to do more and that it will require planning and measurement. You may have seen the calls to participate in the Ames community Climate Action Plan (CAP) survey in recent Wheatsfield emails. The CAP is a vital component of our community response to the climate emergency as it will set a greenhouse gas emissions reduction target and provide a path to get there for all Ames residents and businesses. We encourage members to take this survey which is open until December 10th.

We applaud the efforts of the City of Ames and the community members who have been involved in launching and shaping the Climate Action Plan, and look forward to participating in the next phase and further reducing our climate impact.

If the CAP is new to you, resources are below.
Ames City Council Workshop on Climate Action Plan:
If you prefer a written summary, a briefing document is on the CAP project website at the link below. plan#documents
If you would like to follow progress on CAP, a link to subscribe to updates can be found by scrolling up from the documents.

In closing, I would like to add that the Wheatsfield board will be represented at the December 21st CAP Steering Committee Meeting, either in person, viewing on livestream or both.

Thank you again for this opportunity. I look forward to my first term on the Co-op board.

Becky Mattan Pratt

3011, 2021

Dec. 2021 Change for Community: The Bridge Home

November 30th, 2021|Categories: Blog, Co-op Nickel|0 Comments

The Bridge Home is an organization that provides shelter and food to the homeless, and whenever possible, help to prevent individuals from becoming or remaining homeless. We seek to do so in a welcoming, nonjudgmental atmosphere that respects their human dignity. It is our goal to involve the community in the provision of services to the homeless and in fostering the conditions that prevent homelessness.

Our Mission:

We provide shelter and support to those experiencing homelessness while striving to prevent individuals from becoming homeless

Our Vision:

The Bridge Home will become the premier Midwest agency for alleviating homelessness by providing high quality and safe housing solutions through:

· Homelessness prevention

· Emergency shelter

· Transitional housing

· Permanent housing

· Community partnerships

Our Values:

Respect, Inclusiveness, Community Partnerships, Hospitality, Hope, Empathy/Compassion, Self-Empowerment

3011, 2021

Probiotics May Offer COVID-19 Defense

November 30th, 2021|Categories: Blog|0 Comments

Several recent studies have determined that the health of the human gut has a significant impact on outcomes of COVID-19 infections. The gut microbiome—those bacteria, fungi, yeast, and other microbes that live by the trillions in our digestive tract—can help or hinder recovery from viruses.

Yogurt: Packed with Probiotics

One food that significantly alters the microbiome in a positive way is yogurt. It’s rich in probiotic bacteria, which are vital for a robust immune system. These bacteria are abundant in many yogurt brands, but make sure the label gives assurance that the product contains live cultures.

A Healthy Gut Boosts Immunity

“Given the fact that the gut is heavily linked to immunity, inflammatory status, and the ability to challenge pathogens, it is worthwhile to consider dietary intervention of the gut microbiota as means of potentially challenging the viral outcome,” wrote the authors of a COVID-19 study published July 28 in the British Journal of Nutrition.

Probiotic bacteria are also abundant in kefir, sauerkraut, and other fermented foods.

COVID Connections

Earlier this year, researchers examined the digestive tracts of 100 hospitalized COVID-19 patients. They found that several strains of healthful bacteria were in short supply. Lower amounts of those bacteria were linked to more severe cases of the disease.

  • Speed Recovery – Additional research concluded that improving the microbiome might help speed recovery from the virus and may counter effects of “long COVID.”
  • Reduce Severe Disease Risk – Another study determined that the most severe cases of COVID-19 are often linked to underlying health conditions, “which are intriguingly characterized also by unhealthy microbiome status.”

Vitamins and Nutrients for Immunity

Supplements for Immunity

  • Maitake mushroom extract has been shown to stimulate the immune system.
  • Vitamins C, D, and E support immunity. Vitamin C also stimulates the production of infection-fighting white blood cells.
  • Elderberry extract is rich in vitamin C.
  • Zinc is essential for immune-cell function.

Nutrition for Immunity

  • Garlic enhances immune function to protect against infection and contains other substances (vitamin C, zinc) that support the immune response.
  • Oranges and other citrus fruits offer plenty of vitamin C.
  • Salmon is a rich source of vitamin D, which supports cells that battle viruses.
  • Almonds provide a natural dose of vitamin E.
  • Green tea offers many health benefits, including immune support.

Selected Sources:

“COVID-19 could have long-lasting impacts on gut microbiota composition” by Giorgia Guglielmi,, 5/24/21

“Gut microbiota composition reflects disease severity and dysfunctional immune responses in patients with COVID-19” by Y.K. Yeoh et al., Gut, 4/21

“Gut microbiota status in COVID-19: An unrecognized player?” by S.D. Zeppa et al., Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology, 11/26/20

“Mechanisms linking the human gut microbiome to prophylactic and treatment strategies for COVID-19” by G.E. Walton et al., British Journal of Nutrition, 7/21

911, 2021

A Brief History of Pumpkin Pie

November 9th, 2021|Categories: Blog|0 Comments

November 2021 Produce Parable
Adam Calder

Sweet pumpkin pie decorated with whipped cream and cinnamon with a slice taken out

Soon, the aroma of baking pumpkin pie will drift out from ovens all across the United States. These pies are often eagerly anticipated at the end of a Thanksgiving feast, and then forgotten for the rest of the year. Why do Americans eat pumpkin primarily as pie, and also usually only around Thanksgiving?

This story begins with the humble pumpkin, around eight to ten thousand years ago in the Mexican highlands of Oaxaca. This is where the oldest orange field pumpkin seeds have been found by archeologists. There are no wild pumpkins, as pumpkins were cultivated from wild gourds that grew in the moist soils of riverbanks and creeks.

Ancient pumpkins were three to four inches around, and had very hard shells. The flesh of these early pumpkins was thin and bitter, so they were likely gathered and planted to eat their seeds. Over the centuries, plants were selected and bred to produce more, better tasting flesh and bigger seeds.

By the year 2,500 BCE, Native Americans in southwest North America grew pumpkins, and by around 1,200 BCE so too did the people living in the east. By the time colonial settlers from England arrived in the late 15th century, Native Americans all over the continent were growing pumpkins.

Native Americans roasted pumpkins on hot cinders, boiled them to make sauce and dried them to make jerky-like strips or flour. In keeping with European cooking traditions, colonial settlers boiled pumpkins to make a thick “porrage” or pudding, which was very similar in texture to apple butter.

Contrary to popular belief, there is no record of pumpkins or pumpkin pie being served at the first Thanksgiving in 1621. The two written records of the event list a menu of Indian corn, barley, fowl, deer, parsnip, carrots, turnips, onions, melons, cucumbers, radishes, beets, cabbage and colewort (a brassica like kale). Not one word is mentioned of pumpkins.

The first pumpkin “pies” were whole pumpkins with their tops cut off and the seeds scooped out. The pumpkin was then filled with a savory porridge of stewed pumpkin, bread crumbs, apples and eggs. The top was placed back on the pumpkin and the whole thing was baked in an oven. A sweet pumpkin pie of this era would have been a pumpkin stuffed with only apples and baked whole.

The first printed sweet pumpkin pie recipe appears in 1796 in the cookbook American Cookery, and is similar to the modern pies enjoyed today:

One quart stewed and strained pumpkin, 3 pints cream, 9 beaten eggs, sugar, mace, nutmeg, ginger, laid into paste No. 7 or 3, and with a dough spur, cross and cheque it, and baked in dishes 3 quarters of an hour.

This pie likely had the consistency of cheesecake, and was unusual in that it was intended for lavish, high society consumption. For the most part, by this time in American history pumpkins were food for poor farmers and their families. It was easily planted, grew well in a variety of soils, and produced large volumes of food that stored and traveled well. These qualities led to the pumpkin being

widely grown all over New England, and then across the United States as the country grew and the settlers expanded.

As the nation grew and industrialized, young generations left farms for urban life. Pumpkins reminded them of fond childhood memories on the farm. To hold onto that nostalgia, pumpkin pie began appearing at Thanksgiving meals. That tradition grew and spread, and to this day you likely find a pumpkin pie capping off the feast no matter what part of the country you live in.

A New England writer from the early 1800’s wrote the following passage in a Thanksgiving poem, and any who enjoy pumpkin pie will appreciate his sentiment:

     And the prayer, which my mouth is too full to express,
     Swells in my heart that thy shadow may never be less,
     That the days of thy lot may be lengthened below,
     And the fame of thy worth like a pumpkin-vine grow,
     And thy life be as sweet, and its last sunset sky,
    Golden-tinted and fair as thy own pumpkin pie!

111, 2021

Nov. Change for Community: Habitat for Humanity

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

Habitat for Humanity of Central Iowa helps families build strength, stability, and independence through affordable home ownership. Central Iowa Families partner with Habitat to build a place they can call home and, in turn, they help build stronger neighborhoods and communities. With every dollar you donate, every hour you volunteer, and every message of hope you share, you are standing up for your fellow neighbor. You are making an impact by strengthening your community and the social fabric that binds us together. With every gift, you are affirming the belief that everyone, everywhere, deserves a decent place to live. Thank you for your support.

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.

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