February 2022 Newsletter
In this month's newsletter:
  • A word from the General Manager
  • Looking Ahead: March Owner Appreciation Days
  • Call for Local Artists
  • Indian Cooking Class & Meal Kit
  • Perennial Crop Class Series with The Land Connection
  • Round Up For Good: The Urbana Free Library Foundation
  • Recipe Features
  • Local Producer Spotlight: Weird Meat Boyz
  • New Products
  • Wellness Feature: The Power of Mushrooms
Hello Cooperators,

I am so lucky to be working at Common Ground. There are no words that can quite capture the depth of how thankful I am to be here at this moment in time.

As many of you know, I lost my wife of 27 years after a 3 month battle with a very aggressive cancer on New Year's Day, 2022. Devastated, overwhelmed, and shocked are the only words that come close to describing how I feel.

Mixed in with those bad feelings are also feelings of gratefulness for our Staff, our Board, and our Owners. The level of support that has been shown to me over the past few months from all of you has been nothing short of amazing. Joanne, our Operations Manger, along with the rest of our Admin staff really stepped up to fill in for me as I had to take time off for doctors appointments and treatments, as well as be the primary care person and spend as much time as possible with my wife in her last days. The care packages put together for us by our staff were especially welcome and supportive.

The complete understanding and support of our Board of Directors through this personal trial is something that I do not think would have happened at very many of the bottom-line focused businesses in our society. This experience has truly reinforced my belief that, unlike much of the world around us, our cooperative community is full of empathy and compassion for our fellow humans.

Let me assure everyone that while yes, I am sad, I am also OK. 

Thank you all for your support through this difficult time. I appreciate you all.

It's almost time for March OADs!
Come shop and get 10% off your entire purchase, a coupon book with amazing deals, enter to win one of our 4 raffle giveaways, shop exclusive owner sales, and keep your eyes peeled for free Golden Ticket Items!
Call For Local Artists!
Apply to showcase your local art at Common Ground! We are looking for many local artists to feature in our gallery. Our Art Gallery is located in our highly utilized Flatlander Classroom. This multi-use Classroom is ideal for integrating the arts into the urban environment and creating partnerships among artists, the community, and the Co-op.

We always welcome artists of all ages to apply. Collaborative groups, student groups, art classes, and kids are also encouraged to apply. Preference will be given to themes related to vibrant community & culture, food systems & farmers, biodiversity & ecology, and inclusive messages to share with others. We only show local artists, who live within 100 miles of the Co-op.
Events & Programs
Indian Cooking Class & Meal Kit
Sunday, February 13th 4-6 pm

Learn how to make delicious Indian dishes in the upcoming cooking class - just in time for Valentine's Day! Join Sirisha Bhandaru, the Co-op's long-standing Indian cuisine instructor, as she teaches how to make the following dishes:

  • Roasted Veggie Chaat: a seasonal adaptation of a popular street food using local potatoes, sweet potatoes, and beets served with cilantro mint chutney, tamarind chutney, pomegranate seeds, and sev (crunchy fried chickpea flour bits)
  • Palak Paneer: a stewed dish with spinach, onion, paneer, and spices
  • Dark Chocolate Bark with gukland rose petal jam and mukhwas (a fennel seed based condiment)

This $40 Meal Kit serves 2-3 people and includes all the ingredients you need to make the dishes including a choice between naan or basmati rice. The meal kit is vegetarian with dairy.
Perennial Class Series
with The Land Connection:
Plum Torte & Jam
Sunday, February 27th 2-3:30 pm

Learn how to make delicious treats using plums with local baker, Heidi Leuszler of Berries & Flour. Heidi will teach you how to process plums for different purposes then walk you through making a scrumptious plum torte and plum jam. The virtual Zoom class is free to attend but class participants have the option to preorder a class kit to make during the class with the instructor. This $30 Meal Kit includes everything you need to make the plum torte and plum jam including frozen plums, sugar, flour, eggs, butter, pectin, and other spices. Funding for this class is provided in whole or in part by the Illinois Department of Agriculture's Illinois Specialty Crop Block Grant program, awarded to The Land Connection and in collaboration with Common Ground Food Co-op.
Last month we raised over $5,024 for Daily Bread Soup Kitchen. The mission of the Daily Bread Soup Kitchen is to feed the hungry of our community regardless of race, religion, or ethnicity. They welcome all volunteers to this service who share an unconditional positive regard for every human being.
February's Round Up organization is The Urbana Free Library Foundation. The Urbana Free Library Foundation advocates for and promotes support of the Library to benefit the community, meet the emerging needs of library users, and plan for future expansion.

Project Proposal: The Foundation is raising funds to refresh the Children's Area. Specifically, they want to make browsing for new books easier for young readers. Children learn through stories and experiences navigated by their families, caregivers, and teachers. The Library is filled with stories! Making access to books easy is a priority, so the Library plans to install shelving that will allow for "face out" browsing of books (picture a vinyl record bin) vs. "spine out" that only shows the title and author. By creating ways for young readers to engage with book covers, they will discover new worlds and strengthen their love of reading.

During the month of February, Common Ground will have a display at the Library! Stop by and check out some of our favorite featured products that tie in to our cooperative mission.
Recipe Features
Co+op Basics:
Peanut Butter Overnight Oats
Do you know about Co+op Basics? Co+op Basics are discounted items for everyone. Over 147 unique Co-ops nationwide have teamed up for collective buying power so we can offer low prices on healthy, organic, and wholesome foods everyday. We've got a recipe for super quick, healthy, delicious, and affordable Peanut Butter Overnight Oats featuring 5 Co+op Basics products!
Game Day Loaded Kimchi Fries
Get ready for the big game! These fries feature jalapenos, avocado, kimchi, and a sriracha mayo. All you have to do is cook the fries, load them up, and you're good to go!
Seasonal Produce Spotlight:
Roasted Root Vegetables
with Miso Tahini Dressing
Our supply of local green things becomes very hit and miss in February, but we still have a variety of local roots available. Big colorful radishes like Red King, Bravo, and Watermelon (also known as Misato) are plentiful and very tasty. We also have beets, a number of potato varieties, celeriac, and carrots available. Storage crops help tide our farmers over during the winter, so make sure to take a look at those big, weird radishes and other roots the next time you're here.
Local Producer Spotlight: Weird Meat Boyz
Local craft hot sauce producer Weird Meat Boyz hit the CU food scene last summer at the Farmer's Market and with their pop up food truck. Common Ground started carrying their sauces in December and they were an instant hit!

In addition to their burgeoning hot sauce business, the Weird Meat Boyz are opening up a restaurant space at Collective Pour in downtown Champaign! Beginning February 10th, you can stop in and sample their "dynamic menu of elevated drinking, food and globally inspired cuisine".

The Boyz also have exciting upcoming plans that will partner them with local farmers to utilize their peppers to create rare and unique sauces.

Next time you're at Common Ground, check out one of these amazing, unique sauces and experience Weird Meat Boyz for yourself.
New Products
Daring Original Plant Based Pieces
Daring is plant chicken with a clean label, a short ingredient list, and perfect flavor and texture. Their goal is to make plant chicken that tastes incredible while helping to solve issues that come with factory farming.

These original pieces are gluten free and sizzle, shred, and serve just like chicken.

$6.99 each
Sunwink Sparkling Herbal Tonics
Sunwink is on a mission to connect people to the power of plants. Each bottle of tonic comes with the equivalent of over 4000 mg of functional superfoods. The best part? 2% of revenue goes back to the community and the planet.

  • Hibiscus Mint Unwind
  • Lemon-Rose Uplift
  • Immunity Berry
  • Detox Ginger

$2.89 each
Craize Toasted Corn Crisps
Craize has pioneered the ancestral Latin "Arepa" into a versatile everyday cracker for global consumers. They are thin, crunchy, natural, gluten free, soy free, vegan, and kosher!

  • Sweet Corn
  • Plantain
  • Roasted Corn

$5.99 each
Uncle Bubby's Rubs & Sauces
This local company from Mahomet, IL got its start in the world of Competition BBQ. Check our their unique selection of rubs and sauces!

  • Cow Rub, Pig Rub, & Yardbird Rub $6.99
  • Sweet BBQ Sauce & Sweet Heat BBQ Sauce $7.49
Prepared Foods
Strawberry Mousse
This delicious mousse made by our talented bakery chefs has only 4 simple ingredients: strawberries, water, sugar, and heavy cream. Treat yourself to a simple yet amazing parfait.

$3.99 each
Vegan Cashew Nacho Cheeze
Our plant based nacho dip is cheezy and creamy with a little spice. Loaded with vegetables, this cheeze is the perfect alternative to the real thing.

$6.99 per pound
Breakfast Bagel Sandwiches
We've got breakfast bagels in the grab n 'go! A perfect on the run choice for when you need a quick and hearty breakfast. Available in the following varieties:

  • Ham & Swiss
  • Bacon & Turkey
  • Pesto, Egg & Cheese
  • Vegan Pesto, Egg & Cheese

$5.50 each
Meat & Cheese
Spero "The Goat" Sunflower Cheese
This plant based goat cheese is made with only natural and simple ingredients, antioxidants, and probiotics. Spread on pizzas, toasts, bagels and sandwiches, dollop onto salads, whisk into pastas and sauces, bake with squashes and sweet potatoes, and dip with crackers.

$5.50 each
Beer & Wine Features
La Cantina Pizzolato Prosecco
Sparkling Brut Prosecco

Brut sparkling organic and vegan wine comes from the vintification of the Glera grapes of the plains of Treviso. Traditional wine, the Prosecco sparkling wine whose white vintification preserves the quality of the grapes, has a very bright straw yellow and harmonious, fruity taste reminiscent of rennet apples. This wine is excellent with light dishes, sushi, and vegan sashimi.

$13.99 each
Sparkling Rose Extra Dry "M-use"
"Pizzolato" Rose organic sparkling wine is a sparkling rose of great elegance, with its bottle in pink and its label rich in glittered details. An ideal wine to pair with all appetizers, among the best-selling roses in Sweden. Ideal as an apertif, excellent with soup, fried vegetables, and other kinds of starters.

$13.99 each
Bell's Brewery LoSun Wheat Ale
LoSun is the first lo-call beer in Bells' Wheat Series. Bright and smooth with subtle citrus hop aromas, this easy-drinking wheat ale is only 110 calories, 4% ABV, and is sessionable any time of the day.

$7.99 per 4-pack
Moody Tongue Juiced Lychee IPA
In a search for balance, Moody Tongue began to explore the creation of a beer which would celebrate the flavors and aromatics of South Pacific tropical fruits without the bitterness of many West coast IPAs. Coming in at 6% ABV, Juiced Lychee IPA showcases the same tropical profile which provides acidity for salsas which cut through rich dishes like al pastor tacos and fried shrimp.

$9.99 per 4-pack
Valentine's Day Features
These adorable gift baskets are the perfect last minute Valentine's Day gift! Each kit features assorted cards, Chocolove chocolate bars, Goodlight candles, and a bag of rose petals. Pick one up for your Valentine, or treat yourself!

$9.99 each
Crafting a Valentine's Day
Charcuterie Board
A Valentine's Day charcuterie board should be equal parts delicious and gorgeous. This one features a selection of cheeses and meats, filled in with crackers, fruit, mixed nuts, edible flowers, and various chocolate pieces. A charcuterie board is the perfect Valentine's Day snack that's sure to impress.
Wellness Feature
The Power of Mushrooms
Our wellness clerk Sara shares her experience delving into the mysterious and magical world of mushrooms.