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CAKES!

Chocolate cake w/salted peanut butter icing Vanilla cake w/cherry & vanilla buttercream
We have these two lovely 6" cakes available for pre-order. Just call in your order at least 24-hours in advance. Currently available is the chocolate cake with salted peanut butter icing, and a white cake with cherry vanilla buttercream. Both cakes are gluten-free, and the chocolate cake can be made vegan upon request!
(530) 891-1713


BEETBALLS

Made from scratch in our kitchen, this heart-healthy alternative to meatballs is made with beets and almond flour.
In addition to being rich, moist, and delicious, they are also:

Gluten-free,
Vegan,
& Paleo-friendly

Look for them in our deli case throughout the month.
Sweet Nantes Carrots

NANTES CARROTS

One the Co-op's most popular produce items is a western carrot called the Nantes, named after the largest city in Brittany, France where it was developed. The Nantes is a beautiful reddish-orange with almost no core. The taste is sweet and cool with a smooth, crunchy texture. It is the gold standard of culinary heirloom vegetables. They pair well with poultry and cheeses, are excellent in salads and casseroles, and can even be used to flavor lemonade.
The Co-op is lucky to have fresh, certified organic Nantes carrots (pictured) delivered several times a week from Pyramid Farms, a local farm run by Matthew Martin and Lisa Carle just five miles west of downtown Chico.

ANGEL CHOCOLATES TOUR

Richard Helmsey is a personal chef, Co-op shopper, and father of three.  He is also the craftsman behind Angel Chocolates, the delicious local delights sold in the Candy and Raw Food sections of the Co-op.  Two lucky staff members had the unparalleled privilege of visiting Richard as he made his chocolate.
Every hand-made batch starts with the same two ingredients:  cacao butter and solidified cocoa liquor. Richard keeps the chocolate melted and constantly churning. He must be constantly attentive to the temperature of the mix: let it get too hot, and it’s no longer raw; too cool, and it begins to solidify.  The chocolate being mixed during our visit had been kept stirring at low heat for over 48 hours by the time we arrived.
When the cocoa is ready, Richard cuts whole, dried vanilla beans in half and scrapes out the delicate, gooey seeds (aka “vanilla caviar”). He laughs, “This is the best part”. Richard adds Real Salt (purchased from CNFC!) to the vanilla caviar, and puts the admixture directly into the chocolate. Cocoa nibs add extra crunch (we were even treated to an impromptu demonstration of how to hull a cocoa bean by hand).  A healthy dollop of Sutter Buttes Honey (also from the Co-op!) adds some sweetness to the cocoa concoction.  The simplest of the Angel Chocolate items, the Love chocolate, is now complete.
“Pure Love is the base of everything,” Richard says matter-of-factly. What he does with that Love has left countless Co-op customers swooning. Richard pours his melted Love over a pan of goji berries, creating a special treat for us to bring back for Co-op staff. While walloping the tray on a counter (to  remove air bubbles) he tells us about his Valentine’s Day project: nut-butter cups.
Only so much can be expressed about chocolate with words, so Richard whips us up a batch of his butter cups.  He pours almonds and walnuts into a seafoam green Champion (“an old-school hippie juicer”) and out comes his own fresh nut-butter. To that, he adds mesquite powder and coconut palm sugar, both to add caramely, sweet flavor and to keep the natural nut-oils from leaching into the surrounding chocolate.
Richard hand-rolls the nut-butter for each of his butter cups, placing every delicious little ball on a base of his Love chocolate. He pours more chocolate over the top, and puts them into the fridge to cool. While we wait for the butter cups to solidify, Richard makes us super-food smoothies, extolling the beneficial properties of each ingredient as he adds it. He promises that after finishing a smoothie, we’ll feel as good as he does (he’s right). We finish our smoothies just in time to get the fresh walnut/almond-butter cups out of the cooler and into a box to take back to the store for staff. Valentine’s Day can’t come soon enough for the Co-op.

"Pure love is the base of everything"

SUSTAINABILITY & WATER

On Friday, January 17, Governor Brown formally declared what all of us in Chico already knew: California is in a drought. Snow hasn’t been falling and rain hasn’t been raining. Rivers are running low. The governor has called on residents and businesses to reduce water consumption by 20% in order to get through what is shaping up to be the driest year in California’s history. Fortunately, CNFC has made water efficiency a central focus of our sustainability efforts for the past two years.
In 2011, we hired our very first Sustainability Coordinator. Having a staffer dedicated entirely to measuring and improving our environmental impact has had a profound impact on how we do business.  The first Sustainability Coordinator, Lauren Kennedy, was hired from within our very own Produce department. Her intimate familiarity with the process by which crops go from farm to shopping cart allowed us to make major improvements in water use.
Lauren first turned her attention to the produce sink, where our staff washes and inspects every fruit and vegetable before releasing it to the public. She analyzed the amount of water used per day, and determined that we were over-filling the sink. The collaboration between Sustainability and Produce resulted in new guidelines that maintained our strict standards for cleanliness while vastly reducing the amount of water used in the process. The combination of new washing guidelines with the purchase of a new, more efficient produce case resulted in the Co-op reducing the amount of water used in 2012 by 40%!
We’ve continued that pattern of analysis and action in the intervening year.  Most recently, our current Sustainability and Facilities team turned their keen eyes onto the store’s cleaning procedures. 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. When combined with other water-saving techniques (for example, the installation of dual-flush toilets) CNFC was able to reduce water usage by another 15% in 2013.
The cumulative effect of all our efforts is staggering. Since first hiring a Sustainability Coordinator, the Chico Natural Foods Cooperative has reduced its water usage to 51% of its 2010 levels. We here at the Co-op aren’t the kind to rest on our extra-dry laurels.  The upcoming remodel will allow us to upgrade nearly every piece of equipment in the store to higher-performing, more efficient models.  In September of 2013, we combined our Facilities and Sustainability departments together, guaranteeing that every aspect of our building’s operation is held to the highest standards.
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.
Read about our sustainability efforts, and find a copy of 2012’s Sustainability report here: http://chiconatural.com/sustainability.html
And keep an eye out for 2013’s Sustainability report in Spring 2014.
818 Main Street | Chico, CA 95928 US
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