November 2019
Featuring CGFC's Reusable Bag Initiative, Our November Roundup Recepient, & A Word From the GM
In this month's newsletter:

  • A Word from the GM
  • A Word from the Board
  • November Cafe Feature
  • Preorder Your Local Turkey
  • Common Ground Food Co-op: Reusable Bag Initiative
  • Creating a First-Class Charcuterie Board
  • Introducing Nature Keepers Original Black Currant Preserve 
  • Meat & Cheese's Word on the Street
  • Top Ten Products at Common Ground
  • October Round Up: Black Lives Matter CU
  • November Round Up: Courage Connection 
  • Upcoming Classes & Events for November
From the GM
Gary Taylor, General Manager
Read Gary's update on the steps the Co-op is taking to reduce its waste.
Introducing Our Newly Appointed Board Directors
Karen Carney tells us all about three new Board Directors
On behalf of the board of directors, I’m pleased to introduce you to three new Common Ground Food Co-op board directors, each of whom was appointed at the October board meeting for the 2019-2020 term.

Rey Dalitto sees his service on the Common Ground board as the next step in a journey to better our local food system, local economy, and community. An artist and baker, he also works as a program coordinator for SNAP-Education in Decatur, using policy and systems to foster healthy eating environments for low-income children and adults. Previously, he served as the Farmer’s Market and Food Access Manager for the Champaign Farmer’s Market, connecting low-access families in Champaign and Urbana with healthier, local food options. Rey notes that the co-op “brings together owners from all walks of life for the purpose of promoting a common set of ideals and principles and bettering the community,” and hopes to be an enthusiastic representative on the board for all owners.

Michael Feltes is a developer at Wolfram with a long-standing enthusiasm for cooperatives. He writes that “co-ops have a unique capacity to do useful work that is not driven by profit, doesn’t require the support of charitable donations, and builds our knowledge of how to practice democracy.” A former resident of co-operative housing, he has also served on the boards of local and national housing co-op organizations, and has studied the history of both the British and American co-operative movements. He is interested in exploring potential connections between Common Ground and other Midwestern co-ops, and looks forward to learning more about co-operative finance. Raising capital for expansion and other large-scale projects can be challenging, and he’d like to be able to contribute to creative solutions if and when an opportunity arises.

Robert Taylor serves as director of operations for CHEP USA, a supply chain pallet pooler. He looks forward to “making a difference in our community with an organization that touches so many, particularly through the Round Up for Good program.” He hopes to utilize his professional background in supply chain and operations management to benefit Common Ground, and has previously been involved with Junior Achievement and local food pantries. A self-described foodie, he likes being part of an organization like Common Ground, centered as it is on good food and local producers. 

Please join us in welcoming these three individuals to the board! And if you’d like to know more about what your board does, come to the next board tabling event in the store on Friday, November 8, 5:30-7:30 pm. And plan to attend the next board meeting on Monday, November 11, at 6:15 pm on the second floor of the Urbana First United Methodist Church, located just west of Lincoln Square Mall.

The next meeting of the Board of Directors is Monday, November 11th, from 6:15 to 8:15 pm at First United Methodist Church of Urbana located on Race Street near the west entrance to Lincoln Square. Owners are welcome and encouraged to attend. Please use the entrance with the maroon awning, on the east side of the church.
November Cafe Feature
The month of November features the Pumpkin Spice Latte
$4 (12 oz) or $4.50 (16 oz)
$1 off on Fridays
Made with house-made OG pumpkin spice syrup, espresso, and your choice of milk.

About our Cafe: Ethical sourcing is our bread and butter. Whenever possible, everything is made local & organic. You can get your morning coffee, build your own sandwich for lunch or order one of our signature options, have a slice of pizza with our featured drink, and much more.

Pre-order Your Local Turkey
Heritage Breed, Broad Breasted Bronze, & Humanely Raised by Triple S Farms
Common Ground Food Co-op: Reusable Bag Initiative
Owners & Co-op Shoppers, we need your opinion!
Did you know Common Ground customers used roughly 98,800 disposable paper bags in 2018? We estimate that one tree at about 15 years old can supply enough resources for 700 bags. At this rate, Common Ground used about 141 trees on our large paper bags alone in just one year! We know that paper is a renewable resource, but it does take a lot of energy, water, and chemicals to turn wood into paper. Plus, the earth needs living trees, not more paper bags!

To encourage using cloth, reusable grocery bags, the Co-op is considering charging a small fee for the disposable paper bags. This fee will not exceed 25¢. We hope that this will improve our sustainability efforts and bring awareness to easy alternatives to disposable products. As our owners & customers, YOU get a say in this decision. Please let us know your opinion, and we will take action in accordance to the results of the survey. Thank you for being engaged customers of your Co-op!
Creating a First-Class Charcuterie Board
Here are some tips on creating the perfect charcuterie board
The word charcuterie describes a wide range of cured meats. In France, the word also describes the shop that sells them. 

Charcuterie can be used as a starter course for a formal dinner party, or it can be served as an hors d'oeuvre for a social gathering with friends.

The diversity of a charcuterie board allows you to mix and match flavors and textures, focus on a particular style or region, or you can even cater to particular dietary preferences. For instance, you could nix bread or crackers on a gluten-free board, substitute fig salami for Italian salami, exchange pâté for hummus on a vegetarian board, or double-down on variations of a group favorite.

Here are some components you might consider when making your prized charcuterie creation:

The two basic categories are crudo (raw cured meat) and cotto (cooked meat). Cured meats are known to be saltier and more intense, so they should be balanced out with the hearty sweetness of cooked meats like ham.

Traditional charcuterie boards usually include foods that fit into these categories:

Something Pre-Sliced
ie: Jamón Serrano (Italian cured pork legs), Lomo de cerdo (Spanish cured pork tenderloin), Bresaola (Italian beef tenderloin), or Guanciale (a bacon made from pork jowl), 

Something You Slice
ie: Sopressata (Italian salami), Smoked sausage or ham, Finocchiona (sweet salami), or Capicola (or capocollo), (Dried, salt-cured whole pork shoulder or pork neck).
Some examples include:  

Something Spreadable
ie: Pâté (commonly made from chicken liver or duck liver)
Rillettes (usually rabbit, pork, or duck slowly cooked in fat until tender)

Ie: Olives, seasonal fresh fruit, bread, mustard, cheese, jam, preserves, and/or chutney, & hummus or other bean dips

Beer - Focus on three styles: saison, wild ale, & porter

Wine - Hearty red wines are a great pair with charcuterie. The acidity of Italian sparkling wines such as Proseccos and Lambruscos reset the palate, as can off-dry Rieslings

Non-Alcoholic -  Sparkling water and mineral water, especially with a slice of lime or lemon, would be a great substitute for wine & beer. You want the fizz of soda without the sweetness.

Now that you know the components, it’s time to embark on your own exploration of crafting the perfect charcuterie board.
Introducing Nature Keepers Original Black Currant Preserve
 Take a journey with us to that first bite of a spread you'll love
It's 5:30 AM early in July. We head east from Urbana, Illinois, take the first exit, and drive past corn, soybeans, a lone house, and more corn and soybeans. Our destination is Kevin's black currant planting, now at the 3 year mark. Folks are arriving, an impromptu wash station is getting set up with Kaitie, the farm manager, organizing it. Unlike the acres and acres surrounding, grass and rows of four foot high currant bushes are sheltered by a perimeter of young trees. Each row is marked as part of Kevin's research and the variety is noted. A specialized harvesting machine is attached to the tractor. By 6:15 the show starts, the sun gets higher, and the temperature creeps up. A harvesting crew heads to the first row, stopping to work out bugs and make adjustments. Soon the first 35lb totes of just picked fruit come to the wash station on their way to the cooling trailer-- a makeshift trailer with a room air conditioner jutting out the side. The first of hundreds of berry batches go into the sanitizing rinse, to the clean water rinse, to the final rinse, to the person bagging, and into the cool trailer. 
As the morning proceeds, Kaitie and company make adjustments to the workflow, make impromptu fixes, and make notes for next time. The harvesting crew is refining their processes as well. Totes of fruit are arriving faster and faster. The temperature is climbing, which is the big threat to the ripe fruit. As the persons at the first wash station step, Jennell and I transfer berries as fast as we can, dip them, rinse them, and pass them along to John and Kaitie. As the day goes on and the trailer slowly fills with 20lb bags of ripe, black currants, my thoughts drift back to April in Wisconsin and the 600 little bushes we planted in the corner of an 40 acre, two year old prairie restoration. Will they grow well in a prairie? How will harvesting go if it is prairie between the rows of currants rather than mowed grass? These are some of the questions Nature Keepers is about, and can sustainable, perennial agriculture and restoration of native communities come together to produce food for people and income to do restoration work? Is this a creative way to provide clean water, hold carbon, and provide a place they call home for our native plants and animals? Perhaps these small round berries, that make tasty products, can magically make the world a bit better.. But right now, here comes Kevin with another stack of totes!
At the end of the day, there are a few thousand pounds of black currants in the trailer. I commit to buy most of them for Nature Keepers, but I don't have a finished product yet. Months later, the first product, Original Black Currant Spreadable Fruit Preserve, is ready. It is “fruit-forward”-- black currant fruit is the main ingredient and the minimal amount of sugar needed is added. And that is it, no preservatives, no added pectin. The flavor is intense, there are whole berries and fresh fruit pulp all in a spoon-able sauce, and the color is deep purple-blue. Like other dark blue fruits, black currants are high in anti-oxidants. Of course, we have to try it out as a companion for other foods. Unlike some jams, this preserve works well with soft cheeses, yogurt, ice cream, as a sauce for chicken and pork, and the exploration goes on. 

Thank you for allowing me to share this with you. I hope that when you take that first bite of Nature Keepers Original Black Currant preserve, you will taste a bit of July sun and, perhaps, sense prairie flowers swaying in the wind. With your support, we can create Places They Call Home.  

Again, thank you,

Mark Ballering, founder.
Here is Meat & Cheese's Word on the Street
What's new? What's leaving? Find out here.
Returning Cheeses
  • Somerdale-Red Dragon
  • Somerdale-Wensleydale w/ cranberries.

Leaving Cheeses
  • Divina- Sweet Sangria Olives 
  • Divina-Bloody Mary Olives
  • Singeltons-Stripy Jack
  • Hook's-Pesto Jack
  • Truffle Cheddar (May return seasonally
  • Rouge Creamery-Caveman Blue
  • Somerdale-Challenger IPA Cheddar
  • Meredith Dairy-Marinated Goat & Sheep Cheese


Bane Family Meats $1 price increase
Wild Alaska price increase on King Salmon portions from $25.75 lb to $28.99n lb
Salmon Burger Meat (minced salmon) will not be back this season.

New Product Alert
Empire Kosher-Chicken Franks $4.99 EA
Looking Forward to a Delicious November
An update on local produce from our Assistant Produce Manager Anne
Plenty of awesome local goodness will be available in November! You can look forward to fresh greens, roots of all kinds, winter squash, spuds, sweet potatoes, onions, and more. Oh, wait, I seem to have forgotten something. What was it? Um... oh, that's right. Carrots! Lots and lots of sweet, crunchy Blue Moon carrots will be available as soon as they get enough harvested. November should be delicious.
Top Ten Products at Common Ground
A store-wide top ten of favorites from our Marketing Manager Mia
1. Brian Severson popcorn, packaged or in the bulk aisle ; "This popcorn is far superior to any I've tasted before. It pops evenly, has very little hull, and is extra fluffy. I highly recommend popping it with coconut oil for a little extra flavor.

2. Co-op Bakery Snickerdoodle Cookies ; "These cookies are super soft and really satisfy the sweet tooth. You can definitely tell they're made from scratch with lots of love!"

3. Marcoot Tipsy Cheddar ; "This local cheese is made with a Schlafly Pale Ale, which adds some flavor but doesn't overpower the cheese. It's an excellent choice for a cheese and crackers snack. Plus it's locally made!

4. Organic India Tulsi Sweet Rose ; This tea is caffeine-free and so soothing. If you're feeling stressed out or the winter wind has chilled you to the bone, this tea is your solution. Sweet without any added sugar, and it has lovely floral flavors.

5. Shady Crest Apple Cider ; Does it get any better than freshly pressed local apple cider? It's sweet. It's crisp. It's delicious cold or hot.

6. PrairiErth Chioggia Beets ; These are the first beets I've ever liked. I always thought the red beets taste a little too "earthy," but the chioggia beets have a much milder flavor. Plus they're pink and white striped on the inside! They're excellent raw, dipped in the co-op housemade hummus.

7. Central Illinois Bakehouse Herb Focaccia ; Central Illinois Bakehouse is my go-to for freshly baked bread. The herb focaccia is flawless. It has a strong rosemary flavor that is truly delightful, and its ultra-soft texture keeps you coming back for more.

8. Mildly Sassy Salsa ; This salsa is made in-house and makes it onto my grocery list every week. It's not spicy and has a really fresh taste. You can tell it's made with the best organic produce! Find it in our Grab 'n Go cooler.

9. Glow by Lola Facial Butter ; This facial butter includes both coconut oil and shea butter which makes your skin outrageously soft. I apply it right after washing my face and it leaves my face super moisturized. A little bit goes a long way, so it lasts for a long time! 

10. Local Folks Foods Enchilada Sauce ; I'll tell you, I don't like enchilada sauce, except for this stuff. It's so tasty and made with all natural ingredients from a small business in Sheridan, Indiana. Tip: top your enchiladas with this stuff AND the Marcoot Tipsy Cheddar Cheese!
October Round Up: Black Lives Matter CU
An update on the October Round Up
In October, together we raised over $5,500 for Black Lives Matter Champaign-Urbana and contributed towards its efforts to working vigorously for the freedom, justice, and dignity of Black people, and by extension all people.

As a chapter of the Black Lives Matter Network, the organization will engage in collective action against anti-Black racism in Champaign-Urbana and organize movement assemblies.

Thank you for helping us support such a great organization!

Round Up For Good is a call-to-action inspired program, which began in February 2010 when Common Ground owners expressed a desire to help fund the relief of the earthquake in Haiti. Since then, the program has transformed into a community-focused ongoing effort to help fund local organizations that are selected democratically by store owners during September.

November Round Up: Courage Connection
Introducing the November Round Up For Good Recipient
Courage Connection provides a continuum of services so that individuals and families facing domestic violence can achieve safety, support and success.

This includes, but is not limited to, housing and support to individuals and families who are victims of domestic violence. The organization believes in the right of every person to safety and the potential of every person for success.

As a member of the Champaign-Urbana Continuum of Care, the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and other community collaborations, Courage Connection is committed to identifying and addressing the growing and changing needs in our community. This organization is guided by its mission: to help individuals and families achieve safety, support and success.

See what else is new for the month of November in our current classes email .

You can always sign up online or in store and classes are listed on the class calendar.
Sat, Nov 16, 2019 2:00 PM CST
Turkey Pot Pie Class
Common Ground Food Co-op, Urbana
Sat, Nov 9, 2019 2:00 PM CST
Indian Cusine: Aloo Tikki Chaat
Common Ground Food Co-operative, Urbana
Enjoy $2 off your next purchase of $15 or more
Just bring in this slip or show it on your device. Valid through the end of November. May not be reused or used for sale items, Co-op Basics, or alcohol.