August 2021 Newsletter
In this month's newsletter:
  • A word from the General Manager
  • A word from the Board of Directors
  • An Afternoon with Sola Gratia
  • Run For the Board
  • Mask Update
  • Round Up for Good Nominations
  • Chinese Cooking Class & Meal Kit
  • Upcoming Events
  • Common Ground History Corner
  • New Items
  • Saylay's Pregnancy Must-Haves
  • Round Up for Good
For the sake of full transparency, I want to take a little time and explain the reasoning behind our decision to reinstate mandatory mask wearing for everyone in the Co-op for the time being. 

Since the beginning of the pandemic we have been keeping tabs on this situation and have been doing our best to keep up with all of the information. All we can do is read the research and findings of those who are experts in the field. Not all beliefs and opinions regarding COVID-19 align and no matter the decision we make, some people will insist we are wrong, or went too far, or did not go far enough in our response. We have regular discussions in the store and try to include as many staff as possible when making our decisions. Please, do not forget that we are a small grocery store that is open to the public and our staff are coming into contact with a wide variety of people every single shift they work. In the end we feel that we must make the choice that offers the most protection for our staff and customers. 

Looking Forward
Oh boy, we are certainly in the dog days of summer right now! This is about the time of the summer where some of us (me included) start looking forward to the fall. Your Board of Directors here at Common Ground are also looking forward, but not for cooler temperatures. We are looking forward to our Annual Meeting of Owners or as it is better known, the MOO!

An Afternoon with Sola Gratia Farm
From the moment you step foot onto Sola Gratia Farm, you become immersed in their farm and mission. A group of Common Ground staff were fortunate enough to spend a day at Sola, exploring the grounds and learning about their food! Before we could even begin our tour, we got a glimpse of their community impact. Right at their entrance, a woman and her daughter stopped by to drop off some locally grown vegetables. Sola accepts produce that then gets donated through Solidarity Gardens to various organizations including soup kitchens, food pantries, and The Red Herring Vegetarian Restaurant's Bucket Brigade program. Because we were there on a Wednesday, we were also able to witness the weekly donation pickup for Eastern Illinois Foodbank. Sola donates at least 10% of their produce to Eastern Illinos Foodbank and other hunger assistance programs in Central Illinois. Sola Gratia Farm has donated over 100,000 pounds of produce since 2012!

Mark your calendars now! Fall Owner Appreciation Days are almost here. Stop in for sales, discounts, raffles, coupons, and more!
Events & Programs

Chinese Cooking Class & Meal Kit
Common Ground's Cooking Classes are back with an online class and Meal Kit! Learn to cook traditional Chinese dishes that utilize peak summer produce from our local farms. Huan Song, Co-op owner and instructor will walk you through the whole process. The $30 Meal Kit is portioned for two and includes all the ingredients needed to cook these dishes for dinner. The recipes for this class are gluten-free with an option for local ground pork or shiitake mushrooms and tofu.

Help Us Fill the Radish!

We're right in the middle of our 2021 Owner Drive! Help us reach our goal of 300 new owners by November. As more owners sign up, we'll fill in the radish painting. Help us connect with your friends, family and neighbors so they can experience all the joys of Co-op Ownership. Refer a friend and you both get $10 in Radish Rewards! Read more about Radish Rewards here.

Common Ground History Corner
As you know, Common Ground has been around for almost 50 years! Our local Co-op has decades of history, and we dug up some artifacts that showcase our story. Here's another wonderful gem from Common Ground's past.
Do you have old pictures, newsletters, or ads from Common Ground? Send them in to [email protected] to have them featured in our next newsletter!
Local Produce Spotlight
The bounty of summer is upon us! Now is the time to indulge in local fruit and vegetable deliciousness. 
Mileur Orchard - Murphysboro, IL
  • Peaches
  • White peaches
  • Nectarines
Brackett Farm - Bondville, IL
  • Gooseberries
PrairErth Farms - Atlanta, IL
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Onions
  • Zucchini
  • Yellow squash
Blue Moon Farm - Urbana, IL
  • Eggplant
  • Garlic
Round Tuit Farm - Mahomet, IL
  • Green beans
Miller Farm Fresh Produce - Arthur, IL
  • Sweet corn
  • Purple peppers
New Products
New Merch Available!

Our new line of Common Ground merchandise is finally here! We've got 2 new bag designs AND 2 new shirts! Update your wardrobe and support local with our new swag.
Seasonal Grab & Go Items
Roasted Veggie Salsa
A refreshing organic salsa with a delicious blend of roasted tomatoes, peppers, herbs & spices.

$6.69 per pound
Southwestern Quinoa Salad
Bright & colorful blend of quinoa, tomato, corn, onions & peppers. Perfect for lunch or a mid-day snack.

$8.99 per pound
New from Our Bakery
Chunky Monkey Cookie
Classic chocolate and banana cookie made with organic & vegan ingredients.

$6.99 per 6-pack
Cheddar Scallion Biscuits
These indulgent biscuits will blow you away! With plenty of cheddar and green onion, these are perfect for a dinner side or a savory breakfast.

$6.99 per 5-pack
New From Meat & Cheese
Verde Farms Simply Sous Vide Steak Strips
Tender strips of 100% grass-fed, organic beef. Fully cooked and ready to eat in 6 minutes! Pairs well with a dry white wine like our Domaine Cavalier Sauvignon Viognier.

8 oz Steakhouse Ribeye Steak $12.99
12 oz Steakhouse Beef Steak Strips $13.49
12 oz Carne Asada Beef Steak Strips $13.49
12 oz Teriyaki Beef Steak Strips $13.49
KidFresh White Meat Chicken Nuggets
Frozen chicken patties with pureed cauliflower in a whole grain breading. Try them with local Dancing Dog ketchup!

New From Grocery

Chobani Greek Yogurts
  • Black Cherry
  • Peach
  • Blueberry
  • Strawberry

$1.79 each
Bee Grateful Caramels
Melt in your mouth, golden sweetness of honey meets the rich creaminess of organic grass-fed cream and butter. Available in chocolate, lavender, espresso, and sea salt.

$1.19 each
Oatly Yogurt
This plant-based oat milk yogurt pairs perfectly with granola and fresh berries for a light and healthy breakfast.

New Personal Care Items
Unpaste Tooth Tabs
Zero waste and plastic-free, these toothpaste tabs gently polish your teeth leaving fewer places for bacteria to attach, reducing the formation of plaque and tartar.

Own Beauty Lavender Vanilla Shave Cream
This shave cream is enriched with coconut oil and shea butter to deeply hydrate dry skin and leave skin silky smooth.

$7.99 each
Beer & Wine Update From Lisa
Domaine Cavalier by Château de Lascaux White Blend 2019, Val de Montferrand, Languedoc, France
This wine is comprised of 40% Sauvignon Blanc, 15% Viognier, 10% Roussanne, 10% Marsanne, 10% Rolle & 10% Grenache Blanc. Very typical blend from this region with a nod to its Southern Rhone neighbor. The winery is Certified Organic and utilizes biodynamic practices. This wine is a Natural/Orange wine. It is vinified with wild, ambient yeast, is unfiltered and is not manipulated in any way. It is also Vegan! The profile is citrus and pink grapefruit (understated and mild). The mid palate is lush from battonage, so pretty sturdy with a long finish. This is a perfect pairing for fish and seafood, fresh cheeses and would be lovely with carpaccio. $13.99

For you geography buffs: The Val de Montferrand is part of the Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) Saint-Guilhem-le-Desert in the Languedoc-Roussillon. Its Mediterranean proximity is an amazing place to grow grapes of all varietals. Rhone varietals are widely planted

Lagar de la Santina Albariño 2020, D.O. Rias Baixes, Mencia, Spain
Albariño is a lovely white grape that can produce varying styles in the finished wine. This particular offering displays white peach, mild lime and really nice minerality making this wine a great sipper on a hot day as well as a perfect pairing with freshly shucked oysters, mussels, seared scallops or anything from the sea! It is also a CO-OP! The winery can choose to buy from 200 producers insuring the best selection for their production. If ratings are your thing, James Suckling has rated the past 3 vintages 90 points. This vintage has not yet been rated, but I’m sure it will not disappoint Mr. Suckling! $13.99
Abadia de San Quirce Tempranillo 2018, D.O. Ribero del Duero, Castilla de Leon, Spain
This Tempranillo is from Ribera del Duero which is located on the extensive, elevated northern plateau of the Iberian Peninsula. This winery is a very small, family owned and operated estate practicing organic and biodynamic farming. This is their entry level and certainly over delivers for its price. Medium bodied, bright blueberry and cassis, it is finely structured, very clean with firm, silky tannins. Whether you are grilling a juicy ribeye a burger, this wine will pair nicely. James Suckling also rated this vintage 90 points. $15.49
Coppi Pellirosso Negroamaro IGT 2016, Salento Peninsula, Apuglia, Italy
I got a great deal on this wine and am, of course, passing the savings on to you! The Salento peninsula is the (stiletto) heel of the boot that is Italy and Negroamaro is the main varietal grown there. It means black-bitter: Negro=Black / Amaro=Bitter. Harvested from 25 year old vines, planted on clay and silt soils, and vinified for 6 months in stainless tanks to enhance the unique features of this variety. The wine is rested in bottle for 6 months before release. Rich aromas of black currant, cassis, smoky graphite, and dried rose petals. The lively palate is full of juicy berries and plum, soft tannins and a dash of acidity tying everything together. The perfect accompaniment for barbequed meats or a strong cheeses like stilton or cheddar. Great value at its price point. AND… Due Bicchieri (Two Glasses) Gambero Rosso Magazine (Gambero Rosso rates by “glasses”; 1, 2 or 3!) Normally $13.99 HOT BUY PRICE $8.99 ( sound the horns 😊 )
Prairie Artisan Ales Lemon Slice Sour
Fruited sour with lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla. At 4.8% ABV, this is the perfect summer sipper.
Saylay's Pregnancy Must-Haves
Hi, I’m Saylay and I am the Wellness Manager. I am now back from maternity leave and have a beautiful, healthy 4 month old at home. Having been through pregnancy and post-partum rather recently, I thought I’d like to provide a series detailing the items that got me through the tough times! The first in the series will be my must-haves DURING pregnancy. Below you will find a list of 7 items from the Co-op that were indispensable to me.

Last month we raised just over $5,000 for Planned Parenthood of Illinois: Champaign Health Center! July's Round Up Funds will support the provision of high quality, affordable reproductive and sexual health care at our local Champaign Health Center.

August Round Up For Good: Sola Gratia Farm
Each year, Sola Gratia Farm participates in strategic partnerships that help our food insecure neighbors receive fresh food and support in eating healthy. Since 2012, we have donated over 100,000 pounds of produce through food pantries, soup kitchens, cooking classes, free markets, and produce prescriptions. Our commitment to feed our food insecure neighbors fresh healthy produce remains the focus of our farm, and it's appeared most recently in Solidarity Gardens CU, a collaborative initiative to support community members in growing food for themselves and others. Our outreach programs also focus on bringing fresh food and cooking and growing skills to everyone in our community. We've undertaken a Farm to School planning process in collaboration with C-U Public Health District in order to make sure that all Urbana students (and in the future, Champaign students as well) have equitable access to fresh, healthy food and agriculture education opportunities at school. We're also continuing to respond to the effects of the COVID-19 crisis through our partnerships with Cunningham Township Supervisor's Office and the Channing Murray Foundation, by donating food and coordinating programming to better reach the very low-income and houseless. In order to do all this, we need to run a lean, efficient farm operation and participate in effective, meaningful partnerships. Funds invested into our farm by the Round Up for Good Grant are focused on both enhanced food production efficiencies and maintaining our outreach programs, all with an eye for a balance of social, environmental and economic sustainability so we can continue to serve our community.