Monday, January 5, 2009

Seward Co-op Grand Opening This Week

On this blog I write a lot about restaurants and their intersection with sustainable food.

I suppose I assumed that it went without saying that I am also a home cook. I adore cooking at home, and am enjoying it more than ever now that we received so many rad wedding gifts for our kitchen.

As for scoring food for cooking at home, we shop for our groceries primarily at the Seward Co-op in Minneapolis. It is the closest co-op to our home, and their quality of food has been on point.

At Seward Co-op, they are committed to offering healthful, locally/regionally grown and organic foods. From their Christmas trees to their CSA fair in the summertime, Seward Co-op is more than just a place to buy food though - it's a place fully engaged in building a community.

Our weekly grocery purchases at Seward include Cedar Summit Farm bottled milk, organic eggs from Larry Schultz of Owatonna, pork products from Pastures A' Plenty, all kinds of local and regional cheese, local buffalo and lamb meat, bulk Peace Coffee, and fresh free-range chicken and beef from Kadejan, Beaver Creek Farm, and Thousand Hills Cattle Company. We divide our local (mostly organic) produce purchases between Seward Co-op and the Cornercopia organic farm at the University of Minnesota, St Paul campus.

We are pumped for grand opening of the new Seward Co-op store on Franklin Avenue this week on Thursday, January 8th. We are especially excited for the expanded meat department that will be a part of the new Seward Co-op location.

Highlights/interesting talk we've heard about the new Seward Co-op expansion:

- expanded departments across the board means greater variety across the board, (especially meat!)

- the Deli also will be serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner during the week, as well as a brunch buffet on the weekends

- Coastal Seafoods is assisting in the training of their Meat Department staff

- Bill Baskins, formerly of the Red Stag will be making sausage behind the counter

- Chris Dick, Seward Co-op’s new Meat and Seafood Manager, will be heading the expanded meat department (all fresh meats - except certain
fish - will be locally sourced, Grass-fed and organic meats will be available, as will fish caught using sustainable methods)

- a self-service/grab-n-go case nearly double the size of the current one

- a new Cheese Department, currently featuring 175 varieties of cheese (100 of
which are local!) will see a 40-percent size percent increase in the new store

- a full-service, fresh meat case. The same goes for fresh seafood. Freshly made
sausage and sliced lunch meats will also be available.

- building systems were designed to improve efficiency 17 percent above code requirements

- site will capture and retain at least 90 percent of stormwater for its ample green space

- the new building is LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified

- money for some form(s) of public art is included in the architectural plan to
maximize the opportunities for including public art

- daylight harvesting equipment

- a rotisserie chicken roaster

- the new space will offer community cooking classes, nutritional education, and education on cooperative structures

- more than 20 percent of the site’s construction materials are made of recycled materials

- green space and greenery are maximized within the constraints of the design

- high efficiency refrigeration and low VOC paint throughout

- this is the first official project under the "Great Streets" program banner in Minneapolis

- while they may need to destroy the current public art project currently on site, Seward Co-op is planning for mosaics to be incorporated into the exterior plan

( For all kinds of information on the expansion, check out their latest newsletter)


With all the new groceries that I'll be bringing home from the new Seward Co-op, I'm glad I got two new cookbooks from my mom that are aimed at folks interested in sustainable home cooking:

Food to Live By....Myra Goodman offers tempting recipes that combine casual style with the best ingredients in appealing recipes such as Sweet Corn Chowder, Merlot-Braised Short Ribs with Cipollini Onions, Ginger Lime Salmon, Cherry Panna Cotta, and Farm Stand Carrot Cake, to name a few. And woven through it all are Myra’s own fascinating family stories, from the birth of Earthbound Farm and the opening of the Farm Stand and Organic Kitchen, to her thoughts about personal food choices and the way even small choices can make a big difference.

From Asparagus to Zucchini: A Guide to Cooking Farm-Fresh Seasonal Produce.....was originally created in 1996 by the Madison, WI Area CSA Coalition to help CSA members make the most of the wide variety of produce they received from their farms each week. 17,000 copies later this book has become an indispensable tool for CSA members, farmers, market enthusiasts, and gardeners across the U.S. and beyond. The A-Z Food Book is much more than a conventional cookbook. It includes essays that address the "larger picture" of sustainable agriculture by describing how food choices fit into our economy, environment, and communities as well as information about home food preservation

[where: Sustainable Food, St. Paul, Twin Cities, Minnesota]

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