Co-op Connection News
In this issue we get things growing! We introduce you to the Family Farmer Seed Co-op, provide gardening tips and inspiration, and let you know about some great upcoming workshops. In addition, find refreshing and warming soups in our recipe section. And, now you can get many of the Co-op Connection articles on our Community blog!
From Cooking With Kids.
For the past seven years La Montanita Coop has supported the Cooking with Kids program at Gonzales Elementary Public School with the ingredients necessary for the program. It is near and dear to our heart that the children who go to the school next door to the Coop location in Santa Fe have this important opportunity. Seven times a year, the Coop funds a Cooking with Kids unit that teaches, feeds and touches every child at the school.
The Cooking with Kids program teaches children the importance—and joys, of eating healthy foods and how to prepare them. It also links math, science and cultural awareness and cooperative skills in the process of cooking a meal and sharing it with their classmates. All children at the school share in the opportunity.
In February at Gonzales Cooking with Kids classes enjoyed the following meal. Thanks to Cooking with Kids for sharing this recipe. AND THANKS TOO, for helping our community kids learn and appreciate healthy food.
Middle Eastern Falafel, Flatbread, and Tomato Cucumber Salad
Serves 4 to 6
In Middle Eastern countries, falafel is made from garbanzo beans and spices, shaped into
balls or patties and deep-fried. It is a popular form of street food, often served wrapped in
thick pita breads. These falafel patties are made on a griddle, using much less oil. Children
can help mash the chickpeas and form the falafel into the patties.
2 (15-ounce) cans garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2/3 cup finely chopped parsley
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/4teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon olive oil
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon unbleached white flour
Olive oil for griddle
Make the falafel
Put the drained and rinsed garbanzo beans into a bowl. Use a potato masher to completely mash the beans. Stir in the lemon juice. Add the parsley and green onions to the mashed garbanzo beans, stirring well. Then add the salt, cumin, turmeric, cayenne, and thyme. Add the egg and olive oil and mix until well combined. Stir in the flour. Form the falafel mixture into patties about ½ inch thick and 2 inches in diameter. Heat a griddle to medium high heat. Spread about 2 teaspoons of olive oil evenly over the surface. Cook the patties for about 3 minutes on each side, until browned and cooked through.
1 cup plain, low fat yogurt
2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, minced
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
In a bowl, stir together the yogurt, mint, salt, and pepper. Serve as a dipping sauce for falafel patties.
By Amylee Udell
Essential oils are natural extracts from plants’ flowers, seeds, roots, bark, and stems. They make flowers smell the way they smell AND they give plants protective qualities against disease and predators. When I first heard about aromatherapy, I thought it a little much to think you could just smell something and have it heal you. While inhaling essential oils CAN affect you, I learned that it’s more than just the odor. It’s the actual plant constituents that are able to enter your cells that make it effective.
Well, that sounds great – a plant based, more natural approach to healing. But for a long time I hesitated. First, I can’t make essential oils at my house and that is what I consider ideal. I can (conceivably) make my own bread or granola, grow my own sprouts, render my cooking fat, create salves and herbal teas and tinctures. Concentrating the oils of plants seemed a somewhat involved process during which the natural properties could be altered and even damaged. Second, the “magic bullet” reductionist approach to health is counter to holistic health. In the search for the one chemical or one molecule that will cure our ailment, we often miss the forest for the trees. Yes, it’s easier to take a pill than change a lifestyle but it’s the lifestyle changes that will truly improve our health. Isolating the essential oil of a plant and then just “taking” it with no thought to underlying issues didn’t sit well with me.
While I still think those are valid points to consider, I have been won over ( within reason!) to the wonder of essential oils. First, they’re a great “gateway” remedy for those just beginning to explore more natural options in healthcare. And that’s BECAUSE of my “magic bullet” doubt. Additionally, as my kids get older and sometimes wince at mom’s “weird” remedies, rubbing some oil on feet or wrists is easy and doesn’t taste bad, so they’ve been very receptive. Next, I love having EOs when my family travels. I love my herbs, but dragging several bags of herbs and herbal blends for “just in case” situations takes up a lot of space and possibly attracts weird looks during airport security checks. With EOs, I am able to bring my most likely candidates in very small bottles. Plus, I can administer them very easily with no special equipment. Last, I’m not abandoning my herbs and whole foods lifestyle, which is more powerful and lasting in terms of healthcare. I use these to support that lifestyle and give an extra boost when needed.
So what are some of my travel go-to oils and “extra boosts?” I’ll list a few but there are so very many to explore.
Lavender– Lavender is probably the most famous oil, smells divine and from that comes it’s ability to calm and ease anxiety. It also has antimicrobial properties and can heal and soothe cuts, bruises, burns and rashes, as well as internal infections, as well as to help ease growing pains and assist sleep during the disruptions of travel.
Lemon- Lemon oil is cleansing and disinfecting for your body, your clothing and other items. It cuts through greasy and gummy messes. I love citrus and find it uplifting. I put a drop in my water bottle when I travel to keep my bottle clean but also for overall immune boosting and digestive help. Lemon is also one of the less expensive oils!
Digestive blend – One of our most common travel issues is digestive upset due to restaurant food, overeating, too many sweets and generally being off-balance. You can make or purchase a digestive blend and I do not travel without ours. I put a drop in my water at the restaurant prophylactically, rubbed some on my kids’ tummies when things are moving too quickly or too slowly or if there are gassy stomach aches. My blend contains ginger, peppermint, fennel, coriander, anise and more. You might find just one of those works for you.
Immune blend – There are so many immune boosting oils. Some popular blends include clove, cinnamon, citrus, and rosemary. Other popular immune helpers and antimicrobial EOs include lavender, oregano, thyme and tea tree. I bring an immune blend with me when I travel for cuts and sores, colds, stomach bugs and anything else I don’t want to think might hit. It also provides that extra layer of protection that comes just having it with me: If I bring it, I won’t need it!
Using Essential Oils
You can use essential oils in several ways. You can take your oil internally by placing a few drops under your tongue or in water, as well as in capsules. Topically, you can apply many oils directly to your skin, where it will be absorbed quickly. Some oils may need a carrier oil like almond or coconut, as the oil might sting or burn. Youngsters usually appreciate a carrier oil for their delicate skin. I apply EOs to my children’s feet. In addition to being delivered right into their systems, what ailment isn’t helped some by a loving foot rub? EOs are also great to add to your lotions and salves. To take oils aromatically, rub a few drops on your palms and inhaling from there. You can also buy a diffuser to dissipate the oil in your home. This is a great way to clean the air of bacterial and viruses. Finally, you can cook with your oils. Peppermint, oregano, lemon and more can add a great flavor boost. Be careful, though, as a little goes a long way.
A few final precautions: just like herbs, these can be effective and powerful. Some oils and herbs should not be used indefinitely. Don’t hesitate to ask questions. Most proponents of EOs insist that you make sure your oils are Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade. This will ensure the highest quality and purity of your oil and the best results overall. As with your food and other remedies, take some time to find out where the plants are sourced and how they are treated after harvesting. I know people that use EOs to treat carpal tunnel, ADHD, hormone imbalances and more. As with all medical issues, consult your healthcare provider to see if and how EOs might support your treatment. For common seasonal ailments and everyday scrapes and bruises, EOs are a great addition to your medicine cabinet. Their cost is reasonable up front and very low over time as you need but a few drops per use.
So come by your local La Montanita to take a few whiffs and see what oils might be useful to you and your family.
Amylee Udell, mother of three homeschooled girls, is often found in her kitchen whipping up delectibles and avoiding housework. She works part time with a small non-profit and loves NM. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
General Managers Column
It can be easy for those who live in Albuquerque and Santa Fe to not give much thought to our Gallup store. I dedicated myself several years ago to Gallup and committed to visit our location there twice a month. This allowed me to get to know the Gallup area, the people and all that is Gallup. Our store has struggled for years, never lost much money but never made any money either. Our sweet little downtown location served the community by providing our cooperative values and products in an area that needed them. Our Operations Manager, Bob Tero and I tried every combination of retail magic we knew to assist this store. Slowly sales begin to rise; our losses slowly decreased. When I came to serve at La Montanita in 2008 the best sales week this small 1,000 square foot store had enjoyed was just over $7,000. The sales week that ended February 9, 2014 our weekly sales was $19,242 a dramatic difference. The Gallup also store made a nice profit of $30,715 the fiscal year that ended August 31, 2013.
What happened in Gallup is no secret of retail operations. Bob and I did put some structure and operational efficiencies in place but our success in Gallup is due to the great staff that decided to make this small store the best it could be, by serving the needs of our members/customers, providing service, and becoming a part of the community.
I officially want to thank Michael Smith our Store Team Leader and our staff of Sydney Null, Loreal Wilson, Myles Lacayo and John Philpott. The efforts of this staff have transformed our Gallup location into a thriving downtown store front. What a fantastic success story, once again the co-op model has proven itself the preferred business model.
My thanks to each and every one of you that supports La Montanita. Your co-op staff works hard every day to serve you our member owners. Please let me know if I can ever be of service to you, my e-mail is email@example.com or by phone at -505-217-2020.
By Khara Hindi
Sneeze, sneeze…sniffle, sniffle…itch, itch. Is this what the beginning of spring usually means to you? Seasonal rhinitis, or hay fever, is most commonly caused by pollen, a fine powdery substance released into the air by trees, weeds, and grasses. When we breathe in pollen, our immune system overreacts by treating it as a foreign invader and releasing chemicals such as histamine that cause inflammation and other allergic responses. Sneezing, itchy, red, watery eyes, and nose and throat congestion are common symptoms of seasonal allergies, but post-nasal drip, sore throat, dry cough, headache, fatigue and dark circles under the eyes can also occur.
Common prescription and over-the-counter allergy medications can help ease symptoms, but they often cause unpleasant side effects, such as drowsiness, headaches, dry mouth and nose bleeds. If you’re looking for a more natural approach to treat your allergies this season, the following supplements help strengthen and support the body’s own healing processes to relieve allergy symptoms naturally.
NETTLE LEAF inhibits the production of histamine by stabilizing the immune cells that line the mucous membranes of the nose and throat. Nettles can be used to help prevent the onset of allergies, and also to reduce symptoms caused by all allergic responses, such as hay fever, asthma, and sinusitis.
EYEBRIGHT helps decrease the overreaction of the mucous membranes in the nose, throat, eyes and ears. It is both astringent and anti-inflammatory making it a useful treatment for hay fever, respiratory congestion, sinus infections, and allergy induced conjunctivitis and ear infections.
YERBA SANTA slows down the production of mucous and eases congestion by facilitating the release of mucous from the lungs and respiratory tract. It is indicated for asthma, coughs, and bronchitis when an excess of mucous exists.
CURCUMIN, the active component in turmeric, helps lower levels of enzymes in the body that cause inflammation. Some studies also suggest the compound has anti-allergenic properties and may inhibit histamine release.
QUERCETIN is a natural plant-derived compound known as a bioflavonoid. Research suggests that it blocks the release of histamine and other chemicals that cause inflammation. Quercetin is found in many common foods such as citrus fruits, apples, onions and tomatoes, but taking it in supplement form is often needed to help with allergies.
BROMELAIN can help relieve the swelling and inflammation caused by hay fever. It can also help reduce nasal congestion and cough.
Since natural supplements work in different ways than prescription and over-the-counter medications, it may take a day or 2 to before you actually notice any effect. If you commonly suffer from seasonal allergies, it may be helpful to begin taking natural supplements at the very beginning of allergy season.
Look for the above herbs and supplements as singles and in combination formulas in La Montanita Co-op’s own private label, made locally by Vitality Works in Albuquerque, NM.