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April Customer Newsletter 2016
April Customer Newsletter 2016
H A P P Y   E A R T H D A Y

PRODUCE SPOTLIGHT

References to wild strawberries date back to the first century A.D. The first American cultivars were Chilean Indians. European commercial production began in Brittany, France in the 1750s. A larger but more fragile Chilean strawberry was crossed with a Virginia strawberry.  This created the Fragaria vesca, the first commonly cultivated strawberry.

The cultivation of strawberries is unique in that it is an aggregate accessory fruit, meaning that the fruit comes not from the seed but the fleshy part surrounding the seed. Each apparent seed on the outside of the fruit contains the ovaries of the flower with a seed inside it.

The USA is the biggest producer of strawberries in the world, with California and Florida being the most productive states. In 2011 1,312,960 tons of strawberries were grown in the USA, and production has increased annually. Albion, Monterey, Chandler and Seascape are some of the more common varieties of strawberries cultivated in California.

The flavor of the strawberry is very popular in desserts, baked goods, salads, beverages, and all manner of food products. Its beautiful red color and sweet and tart flavors enhance cakes, salads, and entrees. The strawberry’s fragrance is used in perfumes and scents. The pigment of the strawberry is used in dyes and food coloring. Besides citrus and loquats it’s the first fruit available locally as early as April and can be grown through early November.

Nutritionally, strawberries are loaded with vitamin C. Studies have indicated that consumption of strawberries is associated with lower rates of cancer and lower rates of cardiovascular diseases. Strawberries are good for maintaining healthy blood sugar levels. Strawberries can reduce oxidation of LDL cholesterol, and reduce cholesterol in general, especially when eaten after a high fat meal.
We will continue to have strawberry sales here at the Co-op through the month of April, with local varieties coming in at the end of the month. Veritable Vegetable, Earl’s Organics and Nor Cal will be providing us with most of our April strawberries. Fang Farms of Chico will have local certified organic strawberries once May and June production gets into full swing.


KEVIN DURKIN 
PRODUCE BUYER

MESSAGE FROM THE BOARD

Spring has exploded and I don't think the canyons and hills have been this wet and green in at least five years. Or seven years. How old am I again? Our local produce is green and vibrant, glowing with the vitality of that water we needed so badly. For a minute there we were close to drinking mud. Remember how low Lake Oroville was? 
Our board President Natalie Carter has been in the local news lately after getting the top job at the Butte Environmental Council, the decades-old centerpoint of our local environmental movements and a potent institution of environmental guardianship in Butte County. We're proud of her, and are fortunate to have her passionate and highly capable leadership on the board.
Big changes are on the horizon. We are preparing to move to a much larger location to better serve a community that contains many more natural foods shoppers. Those shoppers inspire a lot of out-of-town and corporate competition. Be skeptical of "Local" signs at stores with thousands of locations. Their local might not be your local.
We are in the process of growing and moving, with as much investment from ourselves as possible. Later in the year, we hope to offer investment shares. Many Co-ops like ours have offered investment shares with great success. As a financial instrument, they will feel similar to other investments you may already have, except the money will stay in Chico, rather than fund questionable Wall Street behavior.
Another thing to consider this year is fully investing in your ownership. To be a fully invested owner of Chico Natural Foods costs $300. Most folks pay that down each year with their annual renewal. I fully invested a couple weeks ago, and I encourage you to do the same.
Our store is about to make a giant leap, and I'd like to show the community that economic democracy, our collectively owned private enterprise, can rise to any challenge. Thank you for your continued support and engagement through this exciting year. Enjoy those green hills and communicate with us anytime.
         
AlLEC BINYON 
BOARD MEMBER

PRESERVE PRODUCTS

Anyone who has dined at the Co-op in the last year, or bought a cup of kombucha from our bike cart has used Preserve products. We have cups, forks, knives, toothbrushes, razorvv-blade handles, and all manner of other products made by Preserve.  You might be wondering: why the enthusiasm for a company that manufactures plastic products?


Preserve isn’t just any plastic company. The company’s founder, Eric Hudson, founded Preserve in 1996 in order to start producing recycled plastic products that were of a higher quality than the usual recycled items found at the time. Along the way, he and his co-workers managed to build a remarkably sustainable business—all while working with plastic!


All of the Preserve products we carry, whether razor blades, toothbrushes, or drinking cups, are made entirely of 100% recycled materials. Not only that, they are 100% recyclable as well. But here’s what’s really special about Preserve: they will actually take all their items back and directly recycle them! No need to worry about whether or not Waste Management will take your used Preserve fork—just bring it back to the Co-op and we will send it directly back to the manufacturer. The life-cycle loop is guaranteed to be closed.


Preserve items are well-made, too. Our Co-op cups have all the incredible sustainable traits Preserve is known for, and in addition they are dishwasher safe, BPA- and phthalate-free, and can even hold up to being microwaved. If you bring your Co-op cup (or any other reusable drinking vessel) to the Kombucha cart, you’ll even save a dollar on your drink!


We hope you’ll utilize your Co-op’s partnership with Preserve. Try out their American made, recycled, recyclable products. Take advantage of the fact that we are a drop-off location for Preserve’s Gimme 5 program, wherein we send discarded items made of #5 plastic (such as used Brita filters, lip balm and deodorant containers, and many other plastic items) straight to Preserve for recycling.


Pick up a sturdy new Co-op cup for all your kombucha chugging needs. Feel confident in the fact that the Co-op is always looking forward for new ways to make our operations as earth-friendly as possible, and supporting ethical, sustainable recycling systems is one major way of doing so.

WATER CONSUMPTION

Despite El Niño’s ample rains rinsing the drought’s dust from our faces, all California residents have to be aware of the “new normal”—water is a precious resource, and it is everyone’s responsibility to be as frugal with the fluid as possible. Fortunately, the Co-op has been aggressively pursuing water conservation efforts since the hiring of our first sustainability coordinator back in 2011. In the last four years, the Co-op has reduced its water consumption by 67%. 


Our first major water reduction project was the produce receiving area, where our staff washes and inspects every fruit and vegetable before releasing it to the public. We were able to implement water usage guidelines that maintained our strict standards for cleanliness while vastly reducing the amount of water used in the process. 

We’ve continued that pattern of analysis and action in the intervening years.  Our Sustainability staff has examined every aspect of the store’s operations. For example, our Utility and Maintenance Clerk, Peter Ratner, measured the flow strength of the store’s hoses, and the time taken in our cleaning procedures. Peter used that data to devise quicker, more efficient methods of cleaning the store’s exterior. We’ve also upgraded or replaced outdated equipment. The end result is that, in 2015, the Co-op used barely a third as much water as we did in 2010. All of this while increasing our sales volume! By the end of 2015, we used 79% less water per dollar of product sold than in 2010. 

Water is one of the most important substances on Earth. All of us here at the Co-op take the responsibility of being conscious, careful stewards of our aquatic resources seriously, and we are immensely proud of all we’ve accomplished in just a couple short years. No matter what the weather may hold for us in the future, we are committed to operating in the most rational, efficient, and sustainable way possible.

RECYCLABLE RECEIPTS

In 2015, the Co-op switched over to non-toxic, recyclable receipt paper manufactured by Appvion. We’re mighty nerdy about ecological innovation here at the Co-op, and we want to remind you about how great his paper is:
It’s Recyclable!
The most exciting advantage of our receipt paper is that it can be recycled with other paper products!  Prior to the introduction of this paper, receipt paper was a primary contributor to landfill-bound waste from the Co-op. We’re thrilled to be able to cut all that paper out of our waste-stream.  The new receipt paper joins our recyclable, reusable utensils and recyclable, reusable bags as innovative alternatives to typically disposable products.
It’s Clean!
The receipt paper is manufactured with Vitamin C as the thermal image developer—the surface that the text is imprinted on. The Vitamin C paper has no dyes, BPA, BPS, or any other phenol based chemicals. Like most other retail receipts, the printing is done using heat and pressure; no ink is used in the process at all. Try scratching the paper with a fingernail; you’ll leave a mark just like our thermal printers! Thermal printing minimizes waste and cost to the Co-op—and now the paper is recyclable, too!
New receipt paper may not seem like a dramatic change to be excited about, but the positive effects of this switchover have been significant.  We’ve been able to significantly reduce the amount of paper going to the landfill. We’re hoping to be able to reduce this further in 2016 when we roll out a new Point of Sale system at the Front End. Look for us to be offering the option of e-Receipts to owners later this year.

GROCERY

Sliced Beef Summer Sausage
Organic Vegan Shells & Creamy Sauce
Breakfast Blend Whole Bean Coffee
French Roast Whole Bean Coffee
Mind Body & Soul Whole Bean Coffee
Premium Still Spring Water in Glass
Premium Still Spring Water in Glass
Premium Sparkling Spring Water in Glass
Premium Sparkling Spring Water in Glass
Alfredo Pasta Sauce
Creamy Tomato Soup
French Onion Soup
Creamy Butternut Squash Soup
Roasted Red Pepper & Tomato Soup
Cashew Carrot Ginger Soup
Apple & Grape Fruit Pouches
Strawberry & Banana Fruit Pouches
Mango Banana & Orange Fruit Pouches
Chocolate Layer Cake Cookies
Peanut Butter Cup Cookies
Organic Blood Orange & Honey Fruit Chew Candy
Organic Meyer Lemon & Raspberry Fruit Chew Candy
Organic Fruit Chew Candy, Assorted Flavors
Organic Ezekiel Sprouted Corn Tortilla

WELLNESS
Sunscreen, FF Mineral SPF 30
Sunscreen, Sport Mineral SPF 45
Diva Cup Model 1
Diva Cup Model 2
Organic RAW Protein Powder,  Vanilla Spiced Chai
Organic RAW Protein Powder,  Original
Organic RAW Protein Powder, Chocolate Cacao
Organic RAW Protein Powder, Vanilla
Organic Plant Protein, Vanilla
Organic Plant Protein, Chocolate

DAIRY 
Organic Pulp-Free Orange Juice

 PRODUCE 
Organic Asparagus
Organic Artichokes

CO-OP BAKERY
Almond Bar
Coconut Rice Crispy Treat

BULK
Organic Go Take a Hike Bulk Trail Mix

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