Twin Cities co-ops

Finding Coke in a Co-op: A Lesson on Compromise and Acceptance

“Do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day?” asks Tom Rath, author of the book Strengths Finder 2.0. ”Chances are, you don’t,” he continues. “All too often, our natural talents go untapped. From the cradle to the cubicle, we devote more time to fixing our shortcomings than to developing our strengths.”


As a result, Rath writes, 77 percent of parents “think that a student’s lowest grade deserves the most time and attention.” And “teachers reward excellence with apathy instead of investing more time in the areas where a child has the most potential for greatness.”

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Get Your Apples: Good to the Core

Although the Minnesota apple harvest begins in August, for a lot of folks apple season goes hand in hand with the changing and falling of leaves. Apples are a fantastic late summer treat, but there’s nothing like a crisp, freshly-harvested apple (or a hot apple crisp!) on a brisk autumn day.

Walk into a typical supermarket and you’ll see several shades of these sweet treats proudly taking up some serious real estate in the produce aisle. Yet this is a mere smattering of the 7,500 varieties grown around the world. According to Rebecca Wood, author of The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia, “Because every apple seed contains unique genetic material, you can plant ten seeds from a single apple and get ten different kinds of apple trees. However most of our commercial varieties lack genetic diversity.”

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The Evolution of Minnesota's Own Gardens of Eagan

Linda Halley and I stand in the middle of a seemingly empty, sunny field under an impossibly clear sky. She bends over and touches her fingertips to the soil, raking them gently over the top, exposing slightly blacker, wetter soil underneath the grayish first layer. "I don't see any – Oh! There's one. Do you see that?" she asks. "That's the beginning of a weed," Halley explains. Now I see it. She's turned up a tiny matchstick of white, barely noticeable, and easily dismissed as a piece of dried grass. It's the sliver of the root or maybe a stem. Weeds: competition for nutrients, water, and sunlight. Weeds: enemy of the crop and therefore enemy of the farmer. As the manager of the Minnesotan organic farm, Gardens of Eagan, Halley can't use herbicides to rid herself of these pesky plants.

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Minnesota Foodshare Needs Your Help

It’s March. We're roasting the last of the butternut squash. We're down to the last few tomatoes we canned last summer. The frozen corn and blueberry supplies are dwindling. But our pantry shelves are not the only ones running low.

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Sweet Cheeks Baby Food Makes it Local, Organic, and Healthy

It's not terribly unusual for me to come home from a meeting with food. Whether it be Surly cupcakes from the Salty Tart bakery, Fisher Farms bacon from the Birchwood Cafe, or a whole heritage chicken from Jackson Hollow farm, I spend a lot of time talking about food, surrounded by food, and tempted by food. Still, even for me, it felt a bit strange to leave a meeting with my arms full of frozen, organic baby food: sweet potatoes, apples, a carrots/beets and rice combo, and more.

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Thousand Hills Cattle Company Leads the Way to Grass Fed Beef

Thousand Hills Cattle Company, a leading producer of grass fed beef in the Midwest, has its work cut out for it.

First of all, there’s the cost of their product. Although their cattle are relatively inexpensive to raise, according to founder Todd Churchill (they just eat grass, right?), the cost of transporting, processing, packaging, and shipping 24 grass-fed cattle each week is enormous - there’s just not much economy of scale. By the time it gets to the grocery store or co-op, Thousand Hills beef costs more than its corn fed (non-organic) counterparts, nearly every time.

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Respect for the Bird: Where to Find Your Local, Pastured, Thanksgiving Turkey

I feel sorry for turkeys. They get no respect. For instance, the word “turkey” has become a commonly used derogatory term, as in, “You turkey!” And, whether or not it’s true, turkeys have a reputation for being so, shall we say, “intellectually challenged,” that they can drown looking up in a rain storm.  Even our esteemed founding fathers thumbed their noses at the turkey, choosing the bald eagle, instead, as the national bird. (Supposedly, the quirky Ben Franklin was the gobbler’s only advocate.)

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