Beans for Bags

FullSizeRender(50)“Beans for Bags” is a popular donation program we’ve seen at several food co-ops and we’re going to give it a try! The aim is to encourage conservation of disposable bags by offering customers a dried bean in exchange for bringing in their own shopping bag; one bean is given for each bag used. The bean represents 5¢, and customers may choose which one of three community organizations they would like to support with their bean.

Shoppers simply place their bean(s) in the slot(s) of their choice in jars located in the store. At the end of each quarter the beans will be counted and each of the organizations will receive a check proportionate to the number of beans they received in their jar.

Current Recipients:

This fall when you bring a reusable shopping bag to the Co-op, you’ll be helping the planet, and supporting some great community causes.

North Coast Watershed: supporting a goal to improve stream habitat to create a sustainable environment for salmon and people.

Camp Kiwanilong: general maintenance, replacing bunk beds, and replacing cabins.

Clatsop Animal Assistance: veterinary care including spay and neuter fees, pet adoption promotion, and any other needs not covered by the Clatsop County Animal Shelter’s budget.

Apply to Become a Recipient:

Community organizations can apply to become recipients of funds and they will be selected by the Co-op Board quarterly.  Click here for an application.

We will update you with how the program is going and hopefully we can all share in the success by turning reusable shopping bags into money for worthy causes, diverting landfill waste, and conserving trees.

Montinore Estate Wine Tasting

Rudy Marchesi, a winegrower and owner of Montinore Estate, will be at Astoria Co-op Grocery on Thursday May 14, 2015 from 4:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m. offering samples of his wine.  This is part of the fun for Co-op Owner Appreciation Week!



Montinore Estate is a 270 acre certified organic and biodynamic vineyard south of Forest Grove. Biodynamic practices enhance the health and vitality of the farm and subsequently aim to improve quality of the product, making wines more expressive of origin. A pasture, wildflowers, and pond provide habitat for wildlife including beneficial pollinators as well as predatory insects that go after pests.

montinore 1


Montinore wines come from the seven varieties of grapes grown on the estate. Half the vineyards are pinot noir, in addition to white wines from grapes that grow well in Oregon; Riesling and pinot gris to name a few.

pinot grisMarchesi purchased Montinore in 2005. When he was growing up, he remembers his grandfather making wine at home. Then in graduate school for clinical psychology, living near vineyards in Sonoma County, Marchesi started making wine himself, and never looked back. That was 40 years ago. In the wine business, his psychology background does come into play, handling the people that come with selling wines in 45 states, several countries, plus up to 30 employees depending on the time of year.

“Working with living systems and organisms is a healthy way to spend my time. It provides a lot of insight into the world around me and it’s very creative, especially on the winemaking end. It is a craft that involves a great deal of subtleties; it heightens our senses as winemakers when we work with these subtleties to create an expression of our farm,” Marchesi said.

Co-op Board Election

On Sunday May 3 2015, all current owners of Astoria Co-op Grocery are invited to our Annual Meeting where there will be a vote for the following people who serve on our Board of Directors:

Andrea Larson Perez
Current Board Member Running for Re-election

013Q: Where are you from and how did you find yourself on the North Oregon coast?

A: I am a native Floridian. I moved to Sacramento, California after high school and made my forever move to the Lower Columbia in 1994. First residing in Ilwaco, WA and then in Astoria beginning 1998.

Q: How do you spend your days, including career and/or family, plus hobbies/recreation?

A: My career was spent in public relations, marketing and sales primarily in the publishing industry, but also included healthcare and some local business representation. After writing for others for years, I decided to move into that arena for myself. I have one book published and am beginning work on a second. Other than the long list of writing projects I will be working on over the next twenty years, I devote my time to my family, travel and other artistic endeavors.

Q: Why do you want to be on the board?

A: I have worked part-time at the Co-op for nearly 3 years. I have enjoyed every single minute of that experience, but other demands on my time have led me to seek a transition in my role at the Co-op. I want to maintain my involvement in this wonderful organization that I believe in so deeply!

Q: What aspects of the Co-op do you think are going well currently?

A: Due to my up close and personal experience being a staff member at the Co-op, I would say that this place ROCKS! It’s an exciting time to be a contributing member of the team.

Q: What do you hope to accomplish during your term, if elected?

A: If elected, I hope to continue to be a positive and supportive voice in the future of the
Co-op. We have exciting growth plans and I believe my experience and skill set have much to offer in helping the organization reach it’s goals.

Norma Hernandez
Current Board Member Running for Re-election

norma for webQ: Where are you from and how did you find yourself on the North Oregon coast?

A: I was born in Puerto Rico and spent 20 years in the northeast before coming to the Oregon coast. I vacationed here and fell in love with community and the beauty.

Q: How do you spend your days, including career and/or family, plus hobbies/recreation?

A: I work for Clatsop County Public Health and the Healthy Families and WIC programs. I am President of the Astoria Parks and Recreation Board of Directors and on the Board of North Coast Food Web. I host a monthly Latin music program on KMUN and volunteer for other organizations including the Astoria Downtown Historic District Association.

Q: What has your experience on the Astoria Co-op Board of Directors been like and why have you decided to run for re-election?

A: I have learned so much by being part of this group. I believe in the work we do and its importance to the health and quality of life in our community.

Q: What aspects of the Co-op do you think are going well currently?

A: I am proud of the work we’ve done on a strategic plan, the ongoing improvements to the store and the resulting shopping experience.

Q: What do you hope to accomplish during your term, if re-elected?

A: I will continue to be a contributing part of this wonderful team as we work with member/owners to shepherd the Co-op safely and appropriately into the future. The Co-op will continue to be a work in progress as all good things are. That process requires attention to detail, dedication and a passion for the work.

Libby Lawrence
Current Board Member Running for Re-election

libby for webQ: Where are you from and how did you find yourself on the North Oregon coast?

A: I have lived in Astoria for 6 years. I did not move here on purpose, but have grown to love this place deeply.

Q: How do you spend your days, including career and/or family, plus hobbies/recreation?

A: I spend most of my time raising two young boys, and I also work for Astoria Parks and Rec., leading fitness classes. Free time finds me hiking, surfing or reading.

Q: What has your experience on the Astoria Co-op Board of Directors been like and why have you decided to run for re-election?

A: I have learned so much in two years on the Co-op Board. We have big goals for the next several years, and it is exciting to be a part of the process.

Q: What aspects of the Co-op do you think are going well currently?

A: The board and staff leadership have been incredibly thoughtful about our vision for the future. The Co-op has so many smart people who care and are invested in the future of our store. It is a calm, clean and joyful place to shop and run into friends.

Q: What do you hope to accomplish during your term, if re-elected?

A: I hope to be a rational, positive and thoughtful voice on the board for another term.

Our Parking Lot Gardener at May Lecture

034When our General Manager Matt Stanley asked Horticulturist Becky Graham to take over our parking lot garden, Becky says she had a feeling this would be a very special job, due to the special people who shop and are a part of the Co-op. Becky wants to express what a pleasure it is sharing her skills and passion and we at the Co-op feel the same! We get so many wonderful comments about our garden that makes the parking lot a welcoming space.

“I’ve met hundreds of people who tell me how they’ve appreciated the garden. The fact they make a point to let me know how they appreciate I, that they went up and touched it and smelled it is even better, or asking about a plant. It is kind of an instant connection. That has brought so much joy to me. It’s been a gift. Sometimes I have to pinch myself,” Becky said.

Our May lecture at Fort George Brewery will feature Becky. She has a business called Harvest Moon Designs, and has not only helped transform the Co-op’s outdoor space, but she takes her knowledge and passion about plants all over the community; from the rooftop of the Hotel Elliot to a healing garden that’s in the works at Columbia Memorial Hospital, for example. “Nature inspires, art follows” is a guiding principal in Becky’s designs.

One might imagine finding Becky’s home garden in Knappa on the pages of Sunset magazine. It is made up of raised beds that include an artful combination of edibles, ornamentals, and found objects such as rusty pipes that have been converted into planters.


“I hunt and gather for things that make me weak in the knees. Sometimes I don’t have any idea of how I will use it, but I know I will. I have an old copper washing machine and I know I’m either going to make a water feature out of it or a planter. I play with colors, texture, and materials I love,” Becky said.










Becky calls the garden her classroom, sanctuary, and playground. Part of her career includes garden coaching, helping others design their own gardens. Becky’s lecture will include photos and information to provide examples of things you can do with raised beds, containers, and art, similar to the Co-op’s garden.

“Mixing food you can grow locally in containers as well as ornamental and plants good for pollinators. I think about birds, honey bees, and butterflies. Some art happens naturally. You look and you see a combination of foliage and there’s a butterfly that lands there… that’s art as well as the things you bring in,” Becky said.

You can meet Becky and learn about gardening and design at the Co-op’s monthly food and wellness lecture, “Beers to Your Health” at the Fort George Lovell Showroom located at 426 14th Street in Astoria on Thursday May 14th at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6 p.m. There are food and drinks available for purchase. The event is free and open to all ages.

Defining “Local”

By Zetty Nemlowill Astoria Co-op Grocery Marketing Director

zetty headshotIf you’ve ever had food directly out of a garden, you know the flavor beats any conventional grocery produce, correct? The food we source from nearby farmers is just as good, if not better than food from your own garden. Big grocery stores have noticed that people really like local food. You can’t help but miss the large photographs of “local” farmers in produce departments. I’ve seen “local” peaches from Yakima. This is really different from Astoria Co-op Grocery’s idea of what local food is. So, our competition presents an interesting challenge for the Co-op; defining “local”.

Fresh food from farms in the area that are too small to supply bigger grocery stores gives the Co-op a competitive edge. So it’s very important for us to all understand the “local” difference at the Co-op. I wish I could think of something catchy like the Nike “just do it” catch phrase that would, in an instant, meaningfully convey the “truly” local difference at the Co-op to anyone who walks in our doors. But I haven’t yet. So, for now, the Co-op will define our version of “local” with honesty; using all our communication tools to consistently tell you where your food comes from.

Look for signs in the store that say “local” and “farm direct”. These are items we source from farmers and other producers from within a 40 mile radius. Growers and manufacturers we build relationships with actually deliver the products themselves. We like to get products from as close to home as possible, but many food, beverage, and wellness items are not currently available within our defined local area. So you will see “Oregon” and “Washington” signs throughout the store as well. While not exactly “local”, we’re very proud of carrying these unique items.


FullSizeRender(40)Why care about the Co-op’s definition of local? It’s the freshest and richest quality in terms of flavor and nutritional density. When food isn’t transported hundreds or thousands of miles this greatly cuts down on fossil fuel use and greenhouse gas. It’s pretty scary to think about food security, but it’s not just an issue that’s off in the distant future. The drought in California is causing agriculture shortages, resulting in food price increases; an example of why supporting the growth of farms in our area is important. We really like our farmers and other local producers, and want them to succeed with good jobs. We know how hard they work, sometimes for little to no return.


As the Co-op grows, our consumer-owners, shoppers, and board have all said that more local food should be a key element. In our fall survey, shoppers said supporting local, sustainable agriculture is the number one social issue the Co-op should champion. Our strategic plan reflects this stating in the next five years we will expand our capacity to buy and sell local food and products. And throughout that journey we will be explaining what our local is.


March Lecture: Maternal Nutrition

What’s affecting local women’s food choices and its impact on future generations

“Eat healthy,” you hear it all the time; doctors, media, and friends encourage us to eat better for our health. It is easy to say, but it is not always easy to do. A group of community members participated in a project; taking pictures of things that help them eat healthy as well as things that make it harder.

Oregon Health and Science University’s Oregon Rural Practice-based Research Network recently finished a research project on what affects maternal nutrition in Clatsop County. This was a “Photo Voice” project where 10 women took pictures of their food environment, in an attempt to identify the barriers and facilitators to good nutrition.

OHSU Research Assistant and Community Liaison Julia Mabry, is taking the resulting presentation around Clatsop County to those interested in food, medicine, and health. She will be the speaker at our lecture this month (March 2015).

“The results are moving, compelling and personal. The women’s stories about healthy eating are important for the public to hear,” Mabry said.

The presentation will cover why it’s important to study maternal nutrition and its effect on epigenetics, or chronic illness in the future. It will also address how personal behavior fits into the larger context of our environment. How our society’s food environment could change for the better will be up for discussion.

Beers to Your Health, our monthly food and wellness lecture happens Thursday March 12 at the Fort George Brewery Lovell Showroom, located at 14th and Exchange Street in downtown Astoria. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the talk starts at 7 p.m. This event is free and open to all ages.

Food and the Future

Natural Relief for Springtime Allergies

By Angela Sidlo, Holistic Aromatherapist (also a Co-op Board member)

AngelaSidlo2013 for webIt won’t be long and springtime weather will arrive. I know it is time to get serious about using the essential oils that help to stay ahead of many of those allergy symptoms.
Scratching throat, itchy eyes, sneezing, nasal congestion, post-nasal drip and runny water eyes and nose, etc are the most common symptoms. The best course of action is simply inhaling a few essential oils blends daily to help me stay ahead of the ‘game’ and avoid a majority of these.

The correct term for allergies caused by pollen is Seasonal Rhinitis. Indicating that it occurs ‘seasonally’ and second involves namely the nasal passages and upper respiratory tract. Many different allergens cause any number of allergies, or allergic reactions. It is possible you will need to individualize for your situation.
What is a great first line of defense? Roman Chamomile and German Chamomile help many folks. So starting when the first signs of spring to really take hold you may want to start using an inhaler with several drops of either (or both) of these two essential oils. You should inhale 4 times a day.
There are other forms of allergies too. Food and contact allergies will act differently and the body will have a different response. Some people develop hives or swelling of the areas affected.

Others will develop eczema or psoriasis as a more chronic allergic form. Still others may develop mild forms of hives or other skin rashes.

The good news is that it means your body is paying attention to foreign substances that it thinks are attacking it. Your immune system goes into hyper-mode and over reacts. Unfortunately it is not good news either as it actually is bringing your body’s defenses down. If, and when a ‘real’ invader attacks your bodies reserves may be too depleted to put up a real fight!

Therefore, we need to get things under control so the body gets on the right track. Essential oils are wonderful in their ability to help the body balance itself at the cellular level. However, not only can the essential oils give you a wonderful enjoyment of smelling all those beautiful scents, they get your chemical makeup back into alignment or ‘balanced’. Then your body’s immune system can fight where and when it needs to fight.
Here is a list of a few essential oils known to help with inhalant or airborne allergens to varying degrees.

Some of the best-known ones are the Chamomiles – Roman Chamomile and German Chamomile, both have antihistaminic properties and are typically the first choice. Other essential oils include, Helichrysum, Lavender, Blue Tansy, Tarragon, Yarrow, Geranium. Patchouli, Clove Bud and Niaouli.

Remember there are other essential oils that may work just for you but no one else. The following essential oils may give you some relief too and include: Bergamot, Fragonia, Juniper Berry, Lemon, Lavindin, Orange, Palmarosa, Rosemary, Sage, Spikenard, Hyssop, Rose, Ravensara and Peppermint.

The former list may help with the symptoms caused or related to the allergic reactions instead of actually stopping the reaction.

Try a few oils in a, inhaler and inhale several times a day.

Try this simple blend:

Roman Chamomile – 4 drops
(You may want to try German Chamomile or Helichrysum in place of Roman Chamomile)
Lemon – 3 drops
Lavender – 3 drops

Blend these in an amber bottle and then place a drop or two on a tissue or place several drops in an inhaler.

If you have nasal congestion that is causing you grief add one drop of peppermint to the above mix. One of the best things that may help this time of year is to start using some of the anti-histaminic essential oils prior to the season actually starting. If you know what you have seasonal allergies now is the time to watch the daily pollen counts.

In the spring before the conifer type trees start to pollinate simply use just a little Lavender and if your sinuses start to hurt – sniff a little peppermint. Just a little inhale in the morning and night for a few days and you may not be bothered. Allergy symptoms can make you miserable and if not controlled you can end up with sinusitis and other problems.
To relieve your congestion make sure you drink plenty of fluids. When your body is reacting to an inhalant allergen your body will naturally increase the flow of fluids in your nasal passages. In turn, your body will need more water. It is very important for you to increase the amount of fluids you consume.

Water is best but soothing teas may help relieve the itch and scratch in your throat. Keeping the fluid thin and running helps your body rid itself of the allergen.

Start now and be prepared before the pollen starts to fly.

Simple Allergy Relief Blend
Lavender – 5 drops
Bergamot – 2 drops
Lemon – 1 drop
Juniper Berry – 1 drop
Peppermint – 1 drop

Blend these together in glass bottles. Then put these drops in an inhaler. Use when you feel congested or need relief to breath more easily.

When your Sinuses are a problem:
Eucalyptus globulus – 10 drops
Helichrysum – 5 drops
Peppermint – 3 drops

Blend these essential oils together in a glass bottle. Then place several drops (3-5) in a bowl of hot water (not boiling). Hot water from the faucet usually is warm enough. You can cover your head with a towel if desired and ‘Steam’ yourself for about 10 minutes. Keep your eyes closed during the steaming. Repeat every 4-8 hours as needed for sinus congestion.

So spring in to action and get a jump on those allergy symptoms by using essential oils to help your body fight back!

You can find many essential oils in the Co-op's wellness department.
You can find many essential oils in the Co-op’s wellness department.



Angela Sidlo is a certified holistic aromatherapist in Astoria, Oregon and formulates custom blends for people who want to use essential oils as part of their wellness program.

Free Tour, Talk & Taste Classes at the Co-op

New Co-op Shoppers
February 18 at 5-5:30 p.m.Irene

If you’re new to the Co-op (whether you’ve just started shopping or recently joined), this is the event for you. Co-op GM Matt Stanley will lead you through the aisles to learn about the cooperative model, and basics such as how to shop in bulk and where the shopping carts are located. Class participants each receive a $5 Co-op gift card too! Sign up with a cashier or e-mail
Eating Health & Saving Money
March 19 at 5-5:30 p.m.

Co-op GM Matt Stanley leads shoppers through the aisles of the store with tips on eating healthy without breaking the bank. There are many ways to save money on good food, such as shopping the sales, ordering cases, and shopping in bulk. Class participants each receive a $5 Co-op gift card too! Sign up in advance at the Co-op or by e-mailing