Co-op Newsletter - June 3rd, 2019
Upcoming Events
Farm Profile
Sweet Grass Farm, Lopez Island
Last week I had the opportunity to visit Sweet Grass Farm on Lopez Island, and I am so excited to share about my experience and the incredible wagyu beef they are producing. Owned and run by Scott Meyers & Brigit Waring, who purchased the property in the 1990’s, Sweet Grass grazes 260 contiguous acres, owned and leased, of bovine paradise nestled in a northeast corner of Lopez Island near Spencer Spit.
Scott manages his herd of premium wagyu cattle almost single-handedly, rotating them every few days to a new pasture. He’s half farmer and half rancher, deeply aware of land management in a way that strikes me as unique in a cattleman. He sees his farm as a thriving ecosystem, of which the cows are only a part, and works everyday to promote its regeneration and biodiversity. He also leases acreage elsewhere on the island for haylage, meaning he has total control over the nutrition of his herd-the cattle at Sweet Grass Farm are 100% grass-fed animals. As we walked the fields, he stopped constantly to point out what was growing, the beneficial grasses and the pesky, invasive species like daisies, and every few meters he would stoop to pull up a handful of something he didn’t want growing there. He uses no herbicides or pesticides in his fields, but in the maintenance and care of them, he’s fastidious.
The day before I visited, Scott and Brigit had weaned the new calves away from their mothers, which is, as you can imagine, a fairly stressful event in the life of cow. As we walked his property, he pointed out the various groups of cattle (steers, cows, and calves) grazing quietly in their different pastures, the cows and calves separated only by a fenceline, still close enough to touch noses. Scott does everything he can to ensure his cattle live as stress-free a life as possible, and I can say with confidence they are the most contented cows I’ve ever seen. Smaller than your typical Angus, with a downy, rich brown coat, they calmly let us wander among them, offering a curious lick or a generous rump to be scratched. Scott told me, “Wagyu can typically be a little high strung, but I’ve always trained my herd. They see me everyday, and they come when I whistle.”
The meat produced by these cows is truly exceptional. A lot has been said about Wagyu beef, but until you’ve tasted it, you just don’t know what you’re missing. It does truly melt in your mouth, full of vital Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids that boost heart health. It has a richness unlike any other beef I’ve tasted, a savory depth and beautiful mouthfeel. Before I left the farm, Scott and Brigit graciously treated me to a cut of tenderloin, cooked simply with salt over medium heat in the cast iron skillet, served with a butter knife. It will linger in my memory as one of those perfect food experiences: deeply satisfying, elemental, unexpected.
In today’s world, it’s more important than ever to be conscientious about what we eat. Our diets should lean less on animal protein than has been advocated in the past, but when they do, we should be eating the most nutrient-dense and delicious protein available, a form of protein that supports not just the functioning of our own bodies, but the health and fertility of our local landscape. Sweet Grass Farm Wagyu beef is exactly that, and we are thrilled to be offering some at the Co-op this summer!
Member Spotlight -
Patty Garcia
I first experienced the San Juan Islands when I was 6 years old, in 1952. My dad had been stationed in Hawaii during the war, and felt drawn to islands after that. We had a small cabin cruiser also, and we spent a lot of summer time cruising in the San Juans. Dad worked for the Seattle Schools and had two months free in the summer. I have so many memories of our summers here. I inherited 4-1/2 acres of the property dad had, and my husband and I continued to spend week-ends and a week or two in the summer on the land, after I had moved back to the northwest. (I had spent 5 years in southern California, from 1968-73, where I met my husband Bob.) We built a little cabin, starting with logs rescued from the sea, and finished it with some cheap 3-sided 2 by 4s in 1981. It was finally sided permanently in 2008, after we moved into the house I live in now.
We joined the co-op in 2009 and after my husband died in 2011, I started volunteering doing produce stocking, under the direction of Rosa Blair. Eventually I became an "open hours host", then a "shopkeeper" and now I help with things that don't take too much physical energy. I do things like make labels, front products, dust. I also serve on the co-op board of directors.
Alongside my activity with the co-op, I was on the board of the Friends of Lime Kiln Society for a few years. And I belong to the Grange. My favorite activity, though, is hanging out at the Farmers' Market. I was also part of the group that organized the first Women's March here, in 2016, and like to support a variety of activities in the community. 
I retired after working 44 years at the University of Washington, the last 20 or so spent managing the research program of the Chair of the Department of Medicine. I was born in Seattle and spent most of my life there, before moving to San Juan Island. 
I enjoy playing marimba with Margie Smith's classes, and I'm hoping to get back into painting. I have fun riding my electric trike around town. And my favorite passtime is spending time with people, although I do enjoy quiet time at home too.
Gardening with Master Gardener Alice Deane

Are your tomato starts lanky and leggy? Do you need a solution to the problem? Mine are and I do. Sometimes you get lovely sturdy starts, but often they are way too tall. Have no fear, there is an easy remedy. In case you didn’t know, the best way to plant all nightshade vegetables (that includes eggplants, tomatillos and peppers, along with tomatoes) is to bury the stem deeply, leaving only two or three leaves above ground, and pinching off the rest. The plant will grow new roots along the underground part of the stem, creating a sturdier plant. But of course the problem is complicated by the need to dig quite a deep hole, which is a chore and sometimes not even possible. Enter the solution to your problem, planting horizontally or at an angle. 
It’s easy to do, just takes a bit of elbow grease if your soil is heavier. First you dig a long trench in a spot where the plant will end up at the place in the bed where you want it to emerge. Pinch off most of the leaves along the stem, leaving three or so at the top. Then bury all the rest in the trench you have created. Fill in the soil and tamp down. Your tomato will grow new roots all along the stem, and be sturdier and stronger, and it will mature in the same amount of time as if you had just put it in straight down.
Tomato in its trench
Tomato after planting
I’ve included a handy diagram showing the process, also some photos of a tomato I just planted in this fashion. I’ve done this before, it really works! I always plant out my nightshades deeply, even if they aren’t lanky and skinny, but this is a lifesaver for those you thought were beyond hope.
You might have already planted out your tomatoes, but if you are behind in getting it done, like I am, you can still use the technique right now. If not, save the instructions so you can be ahead of the curve next year.

And one day in the not too distant future, our tomatoes will be ready to eat!
In The Store

Reishi - 'The King of Mushrooms'
As we continue to add different varieties of these helpful fungi to our co op shelves, it seemed appropriate to offer a little more information on the benefits and differences of the medicinal mushrooms we carry. And what better place to start than with a mushroom known as the King?
Reishi mushroom,  Ganoderma lucidum , known as Ling Zhi in Chinese medicine, has been used medicinally for thousands of years. Widely known for its adaptogenic properties (ability to help the body deal with stress), Reishi is considered a tonic mushroom that supports mental clarity, immune function, is anti inflammatory and a primary support for longevity.

Over the past several decades dozens of studies conducted world wide have demonstrated the power of Reishi as an immune modulator, meaning it can help bring the body back to balance when faced with a large variety of disorders or diseases, including, but not limited to, heart disease, liver disease, autoimmune disease, cancer, fatigue, sleep disorders, depression and anxiety, and gut issues. 

Cardiovascular support is one of the primary uses of Reishi. The compounds known as triterpenes found within Reishi may have blood pressure lowering capabilities, as well as positive effects on cholesterol, circulation, inflammation and blood clotting. 
Triterpenes found in Reishi are also considered natural anti viral, anti bacterial and anti fungal and thus, Reishi offers protection against many viruses, bacterial and fungal infections. Additionally, Reishi is hepatoprotective, helpful in improving liver function and preventing liver disease and also endocrine balancing, helping to regulate hormones and optimize health. All of these benefits and no known toxicity or negative side effects. It is no wonder Reishi is considered the king!
At your co op we carry Reishi in powder form by both Host Defense and Sun Potion, as well as capsules and tincture by Host Defense.
Cider of the Month
A Farm Visit with Madrone Cellars
Shaun and Amy Salamida have come full circle. They went to high school in Friday Harbor. Started dating. Sean worked for San Juan Vineyards as assistant winemaker for a few years. Spent a harvest at Lopez Island Vineyards. Helped plant and manage a cider orchard and small vineyard on the site of a old cider orchard from the 1890’s. Moved to Chelan to work in wine, Sean in the cellars as first an assistant winemaker, then winemaker, Amy in the tasting rooms. Got married. Decided to move to Bellingham, where they started their company and their first vintage in a one car garage, pressing 6 barrels worth of red with a tiny screw press, one bucket of fruit at a time. Decided to move back to San Juan, with their barrels in a u-haul, stepping up to Amy’s mothers 2 car garage, where they started their ciders and whites. Moved the winery again to an old granary building on a farm in the center of the island, where those reds and whites were finally bottled. They’ve taken over the management of the vineyard Shaun helped plant, farming it organically, following biodynamic principles. Those grapes are going into a sparkling wine which will be released in 2020, for now the rest of their wines are made with grapes from eastern Washington, following low intervention, biodynamic guidelines - unfiltered, just yeast and a very small amount of sulfites. A little bit of bentonite, a fine clay, to clarify the whites. Like any other small farmer starting out, they are looking for land of their own to plant. Shaun works full time at Paulson Construction, Amy at Salty Fox. Last week they finally released the first vintage of reds they started in the garage in Bellingham.
Their ciders are sourced from Bellevue farm, near Westcott bay, and Stemilt Growers in Wenachee. “The Local” is yeasty, with bright apple fruit, fine tannins, hints of green grass and lots of complexity. All through their large line of ciders you can see the winemaking training - they are all made like a champagne and have that mouthfeel, lively acidity, complexity and hint of yeastiness. They make 10 different ciders, though not all of them are always available, and we try to keep at least four of them in stock at any one time.

The Riesling is dry and savory, with generous tropical fruit, good acidity and a bit of spice. The Marsanne has lovely white flowers, with notes of orange blossom and honeysuckle, soft fruit, a bit of minerality and some toasted nuts on the finish. Their Viognier is the surprise standout of the whites, the only one made with certified organic fruit, which is hard to find in Washington, but has layers of bright red fruit, slate, pineapple, lemon, smokey notes and a creamy mouthfeel - rich and complex but lively. The Sparkling Cinsault is made in the perlant natural style, or “pet-nat” if you’re feeling in with the natural wine thing, which means the yeast is left in the bottle after its second fermentation, leaving it cloudy, somewhat like a bottle conditioned ale is a fascinating, refreshing take on a sparkling wine.
The three reds that started this journey for them, all aged in french oak for 18 months, have been bottled over the last month and are ready to drink. The 2017 Croissance, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec has lots of fresh red fruit, with cedar notes and a good balance of tannins and acidity. Croissance means “to grow” and for the Salamida’s this wine is about the full circle they’ve gone through, growing up here, meeting, moving away and coming back. The Malbec has more red fruit, savory notes of cedar and leather, nice firm a lovely round mouthfeel. The Cabernet Sauvignon has fine dry tannins, dark berry fruit, some bramble and cedar with faint herbal and savory notes.
Sweet Grass Farm Wagyu Beef Promotion

Available exclusively to our membership, the co-op is offering an incredible opportunity to save on some of the highest-quality wagyu beef available in our region. We are offering 15# mixed-variety boxes of Sweet Grass Farm’s premium wagyu for a limited time only! The co-op will be selling these boxes at a very low margin, only to cover our labor costs, and passing the savings along to you! A fantastic way to enjoy the melt-in-your-mouth goodness of humanely-raised and pastured local wagyu beef without having to commit to a freezer full of meat.

**If you’re not already a member, take advantage of our summer membership option for this great deal!**

Quantities are limited so reserve today! Requires $100 deposit; requested cuts are first-come, first-served. Boxes will be available for pickup from the co-op by July 2nd, 2019.

Boxes priced between $275-$300 depending on the final hanging weight of our wagyu, and include:

6# ground wagyu
1-2 roasts (2.5#-3.5# ea, may request between: top and bottom round, eye of round, sirloin tip, rolled boneless chuck, cross rib, or ¼ brisket)
2 ea EITHER tenderloin & New York strip steaks OR top sirloin & prime rib steaks (4 total)
1# stew meat OR Korean-style ribs
2# shank (osso buco)
2# beef soup bones OR 1 cut offal (tongue, heart, liver, oxtail)
1-2 surprise cuts
To learn more about Sweet Grass Farm visit their website at:
Product Updates:
Starvation Alley Cranberry Farm is no longer making its juice or other value added products. The co-op has exactly two bottles of unsweetened cranberry sauce left, so hurry in and grab them!
As the first certified organic cranberry farm in Washington, they will still grown cranberries, but the 10 year old juice company is closing its doors.

Stock up on your Bow Hill Frozen Blueberries - the ones currently in stock are the last until harvest later this summer!
New On Our Shelves
Go Veggie Vegan Cream Cheese

88 Acres Dark Chocolate Sunflower Seed Butter

In Bulk:

Organic Emmer Farro

Organic Kamut

Sweet Earth: pea shoots, chard

Federico Farms: microgreens, baby herbs

Mama Bird Farm: salad mix

Nootka: arugula, spinach

New Hannah: arugula, spinach, butterhead lettuces

Blue Moon: mini lettuces, garlic scapes, pea shoots, green garlic

Pinata apples (WA) 
Honeycrisp apples (WA)

Granny Smith apples (WA)      
Crimini mushrooms (OR) 
Shiitake mushrooms (OR)

Russet potatoes (ID)

Yellow potatoes (ID)     

Green cabbage (OR)
Garlic (CA)
Cilantro (CA)
Fennel (CA)
Avocadoes (MX)
Yellow Onions (CA)
Honeygold Grapefruit (CA)
Red Onions (CA)
Cherimoya (CA)
Sugar Snap Peas (CA)
Navel Oranges (CA)
Bananas (MX)
Sweet Potatoes (CA)
Garnet Yams (CA)
Broccoli (CA)
Carrots (CA)
Lemons (CA)
Yellow Bell Peppers (CA)
Volunteer at the Co-op!

We are currently looking for volunteer help in the following areas -
  • Dairy - checking dates on milk and cheese, stocking, and facing dairy shelves
  • Alcohol - stocking, pricing, assisting with signage, and event and tastings help
  • Produce - Assistance with receiving deliveries, afternoon stocking

In addition to the rewards of donating their time, volunteers earn co-op cash to spend in the store. Any hours worked within the quarter will count towards co-op cash. All cash earned during the quarter is to be used during the following quarter, with transactions recorded at the check stand.
Contact Information

If you would like to volunteer, please email Sarah at the co-op with "VOLUNTEER" in the subject line: .  

Or phone the co-op at 360-370-5170. You can also leave a message with the cashier. 

Thank you!     
  - Sarah
Special Orders

Special Ordering is a  Member Benefit . Save on items you use often--bathroom tissue, pet food, canned goods, pasta, bulk beans, and even chill or frozen items. The markup on member special orders is 20% over wholesale for taxable and non-taxable items. You can request a special order information sheet at the store or via email:
UNFI orders are every week.
Order deadline is Saturday at Midnight.
Orders available for pick up after  3pm  on the following Tuesday. 
Azure Standard orders are every other week. 
This month's  orders are due Saturday, June 1st, 15th, & 29th by midnight.
Pickup the following Fridays,
after 10 am
Store Hours

Monday - Friday: 10 - 7       //       Saturday & Sunday: 10 - 5   
Phone: 360-370-5170       //      Email:

Upcoming Board Meetings 
6:30 pm in the Heritage Bank Conference Room

Monday, June 17th
Monday, July 15th
Thank you for supporting the San Juan Island Food Co-op - - 360-370-5170
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