Farm to Fork Cooking Class & Dinner

Great response the class sold out!

From cooking novice to full-blown foodie, this class and dinner had something for everyone.  The four-course menu was designed based on what was pulled from the ground and caught off our waters.
This is “chef’s mercy” at its finest, a menu item Marco Davis is known for at the Columbian Café, where he’s worked for 23 years.  Chef Marco is now branching off with his own occasional gigs such as this, to teach people to cook and heal through food using seasonal and local ingredients.

chef marco

The evening kicked-off with a wine spritzer made with organic cranberry juice from Washington’s first organic cranberry farm on the Long Beach Peninsula.  Locally-grown food came from Stewardship Farm,  plus fresh in-season fish from Skipanon Seafood.  Brandborg Winery attended, pairing wines with each course.

Chef Marco happened to attend kindergarten with the chef from Columbia Memorial Hospital (CMH), Kurt Rummel, who has been bringing traditional institutional eating to a whole new level, including a salad bar with local, seasonal and organic food.  Many of the ingredients for that salad bar have come from the Co-op.  That’s where the relationship with the Co-op and the hospital formed.

“Good food is what started our organizations talking and good food is at the heart of collaborating on this event.  We’re thrilled to be able to share our resources and expertise to educate the community on how to cook amazing-tasting food, that makes you happy and healthy,” said Astoria Co-op Marketing Director, Zetty Nemlowill.
CMH and the Co-op are fulfilling mutual missions with this event.

“Nutritious, satisfying food and an economically robust community are central to the health and future of our region. We are excited to offer this tasty tour of local seasonal seafood and produce. This collaboration meets CMH and the Co-op’s shared goal of improving our community’s health through better nutrition,” said CMH Community Relations Manager Paul Mitchell.

The sold-out event happened in CMH’s Columbia Center Coho Room and attached gourmet demonstration kitchen on Thursday, September 26th, 2013.

CMH      logo

Meet Your Farmer Food Demo + Recipe


Farmer Fred Johnson from Fred’s Homegrown Produce in Naselle, Washington hosted the Co-op’s first cooking demonstration of this kind.  Fred is one of the farmers we work with directly to obtain the highest quality local produce around.  For this event, Fred brought his Toscano Kale, and taught about a dozen attendees a new technique for making kale salad.  In this case, Fred “massaged” thinly sliced kale, with salt.  This made the kale start to release some of its liquid, giving way to a softer form of the dark leafy green.  Then with a few additional simple ingredients from the Co-op, the dish was ready to taste.  And boy was everyone happy once it hit their mouths!  But, perhaps the best part of this day was getting to interact with Fred; a master at both cooking and farming, and passionate about local food.

Here’s the recipe for Fred’s Massaged Toscano Kale Salad


Toscano Kale
Extra-virgin olive oil
Fresh Lemon
Sea salt


Clean Toscano, removing stems from leaves. Chop/juilienne finely, and place in a good-sized bowl. Spinkle salt into the chopped kale and ‘massage’ into the kale.  Allow to sit for a few minutes, then squeeze the juice of 1-2 lemons into the mix, & toss.  Add extra virgin olive oil to taste,  minced fresh garlic, and a sprinkle of finely grated Parmesan Cheese.


The Art of Selling Groceries

miki souza

You may have noticed the beautiful changing chalk art adoring our endcaps in the front of the store.  Various artists from around the community have been lending their talents, creating graphical interpretations of the current theme for the products on sale.  Miki Souza designed the above “salad” board.  And Renya Ydstie is to thank for the below “breakfast” board

renya ydstie for web

Jennifer Rasmussen drew this “Spaghetti” board.

jen rasmussen roger mckay

Astoria Artist Roger McKay designed and built our chalkboards and hand-painted the “Co+op Deals, On Sale Now” signs that hang under them.

We are always looking for more creative people willing to lend a hand with our chalkboards as they change to coincide with new sales every two weeks.  If you would like to sign up to do the boards, contact


Sweet Summertime Deals at Co-op


Stop by the Co-op soon and get your copy of the July-August Co+op Deals coupon book! There are plenty of great new products to try and delicious deals on your favorites, like Rudi’s Organic Bakery breads, Organic Valley cheese, Muir Glen salsas and so much more. It’s a great time to stock up on picnic supplies like spritzers, juice, nut butters and chips, too. Get great recipes and ideas for celebrating summer at

 Look for the coupon books at the Co-op beginning in July.  This is a national program through our membership with National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA).  We carry most of the items in the coupon book, but not all, so check the store or ask one of our friendly workers.  Your potential savings if you were to use all the coupons in the book on items we carry would total nearly $20.  We will have coupons available at the shelf on many items as well.  Coupons are valid through August 31, 2013.  To see a sample of the coupon book, click here. 

Successful Start to Farmers Market


The River People Farmers Market started its season on Thursday June 20, 2013 in downtown Astoria.  In the photo Co-op Board President, Allie Evans (along with her beautiful children) and Co-op Board Member Mark Albrecht, are in the Co-op booth preparing food samples for market-goers.  This is an opportunity for us at the Co-op to take food demos outside our walls, to potential new customers.  Our board members take turns staffing the booth to meet and interact with our members and other shoppers.

The turnout seemed impressively high when the market opened.  This is one of the North Coast Food Web’s efforts to connect local farmers and their food with local people.  The Astoria Co-op has partnered with the Food Web and other local entities to provide funding for food stamp recipients to have access to the fresh market produce.

The River People Farmers Market is held from 3pm-6pm in the Astoria Indoor Garden Supply lot, at 1343 Duane Street (right across the street from the Co-op).  The market goes through October.

Co+op Deals is Here! What is that you might ask?

Early this year our Co-op officially became full member owners in the National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA). This cooperatively run business services organization partners more than 120 nationwide food co-ops in order to provide purchasing power, staff development programs, financial oversight, and, most notably for our co-op shoppers, a promotional program called Co+op Deals.

The Co+op Deals program consists of several components, the most prominent of which is a bi-monthly sales flyer. Beginning in June, our co-op will distribute these sales flyers throughout our region via the Daily Astorian. We know that you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the competitive pricing inside the flyer. We’ll be highlighting some of the best deals on our sales endcaps in the front of the store. We’ll even have local artists chalking up fun graphics above these sale displays (if you’re interested in helping with these chalkboard signs, email You’ll notice these displays changing every two weeks in connection with the sales flyer.

Co+op Deals will be communicated in store through specific signage. These sales will be available to all shoppers. Our aim is to introduce the co-op to new shoppers by showing them that our store provides competitive pricing on key or staple items. While they check out the organic olive oil for $8.99, they won’t be able to pass up the fresh produce, tasty organic deli, friendly staff, and all the other wonderful things our co-op has to offer. Before they know it, they’ll be co-op owners just like you!
The Co-op will still feature member/owner sales. New signage will clearly indicate that a sale is a member-only deal.  These sales are an additional member benefit that we will continue to offer on a monthly basis. Weekly produce sales will also remain member-only specials.

In addition to the bi-monthly sales flyer, the Co+op Deals program will include a coupon program that permits additional savings at the Co-op! Don’t worry; we don’t expect you to do a bunch of coupon clipping. We’ll post coupon tear off pads right in front of the products to which they apply. Once in a while a coupon will apply to a product that is on sale too. That means some pretty good deals! Our first coupons will hit the store in July. They are valid for two month periods and are available to all shoppers.

All in all, the Co+op Deals program accomplishes what our co-op could never do alone. Only through the combined effort of many co-ops across the country can we offer this additional value to our community. Help us share the program with friends or family who may think the co-op is too expensive.  Co+op Deals will prove that the Astoria Co-op can be your go-to grocery store!

Making Peace with Peas

By Allie Evans, Co-op Board Member, Astoria Mom, & Naturopathic Physician

peas for web

As parents, of course we want to feed our children the most nourishing health foods out there.  We go through great efforts to buy healthy ingredients, and sometimes successfully, sometimes unsuccessfully prepare them into meals our children will eat.  I can remember steaming and pureeing plain unseasoned zucchini for my daughter’s first meal, which she undeniably did not enjoy; nor did I when I tried it.

In terms of the physiology of a child, taste and taste preferences are a very real and necessary part of a child’s development, yet it can be very inconvenient for the health-conscious desperately hoping their child will someday love kale.  Pickiness is in fact normal and physiologic.

In light of this, maybe we, as the adults feeding the children, can shift our paradigm just a bit.  What if we make peace with where the child is at.  Let’s not give ourselves a hard time that all our child wants to eat is the same foods over and over.  Let us teach through example.  Let the children see us adults feeding ourselves in a nourishing fashion and let them learn through our model.  Let’s be brave and try new recipes for our kids, but feel OK when we put a trusted favorite on their plate.  Let’s balance the adventure and the comfort.  Let’s encourage our kids to exercise their taste buds and try bites of new foods without forcing them to like it or finish it.  The more times they try, the more likely they will be to train their taste buds into liking it.  But remember, actions speak louder than words, let them see us shopping, preparing and enjoying wholesome foods, and some day they may just be on board with a lunch of tempeh, greens and quinoa.  Here’s to the adventure.  Let’s go on it with the youngsters we are feeding, and we may find some new foods for ourselves as well.

Featured Wines


One of our favorite distributors, Ewald Moseler, traveled from Portland to the Co-op for a wine tasting recently.


Ewald featured four wines including the following:

The Craftsman Pinot Noir, an Oregon wine with bright cranberry flavors and hints of earth and cinnamon with a luscious mouth-feel, and a great price for under $20. This is a new product at the Co-op.


2 Copas Spanish Red, 50% Syrah and 50% Tempranillo, is an aromatic and “friendly” wine for every occasion.  It has aromas of blueberry jam and plums with hints of pepper and exotic spices.  This is a smooth, great everyday wine that goes well with mildly seasoned meats, cheese and cold cuts.

2 copas

BioKult Grüner Vetliner is a white wine from Austria, which is described as having a fresh and crisp citrus taste, balanced with a creamy texture.  Dry with a touch of pepper, this wine makes a very nice aperitif as well as a pairing with seafood.


Weingut Herbert Pazen, Mosel Valley, is a 100% Riesling, out of Germany.  It has a fruity taste with a lemony dry finish, perfect to serve with roasted pork and Asian cuisine.  The winery shipped only 70 of the 110 cases produced to Oregon.


For as long as Ewald can remember, these winemakers, the Pazens, have been “the family next door” in the tiny village of Rachtig, where Ewald grew up.


Ewald Moseler Selections at Mitchell Wines, based in Portland, is an importer and wholesaler of fine wines from Germany and Austria. The Co-op loves working with Ewald and being able to offer his wines to you.

New Products

Brand Spankin’ New Products at the Co-op!

Our Kendall McEuen has been busy stocking shelves with 14 brand new products at the Co-op. Kendall works with companies big and small to bring us specialty products you probably won’t find anywhere else in the area.


In the photo, Kendall is on her break, enjoying a relaxing cup of Alvita Lemongrass Tea. This line of medicinal teas is the new product she’s most excited about. Not only is it sourced from a relatively small company that’s longtime been in the tea business, but it’s organic and reasonably priced.
“I like that these are single element herb teas as opposed to blends,” Kendall said.

In addition to Lemongrass, we also have Milk Thistle, used to alleviate stomach upset, Nettle, traditionally used to support joint comfort, Black Cohosh Root which the company says has been used for centuries to support women’ health, and finally Elder Flower, which is well-known to support respiratory health.

Want to peek at some of our other new products?

In the bar section, there’s the Macro Greens All Natural Energy Bar which is raw, vegan, and grain-free.


Due to the success of Rawnola Bars, we now have a new flavor, heirloom cacao, which Kendall says is, “absolutely delicious”.


This new protein bar, Pineapple Chocolate Chip Wonder, Kendall can also testify to its delicious-ness. It’s a tough job to try all these new treats, but seriously someone has got to do it! If we get one in that doesn’t taste good, we do not try to sell it to you!


On the raw food shelf, we have a new brand of raw, organic unpasteurized almonds. Raw means the nuts retain all the beneficial enzymes that pasteurization eliminates.


Another flavor of Gone Nuts, because these have been hot-sellers, now you can try the Mesquite Pod Maple Walnuts.


Over in the cracker department, new organic saltines are kind of special and cool because they contain rosemary and sesame plus they’re individually wrapped in increments of three so they’re good for-on the-go or school lunches.


People have been asking for it and we now have Rice Bran Oil. It’s for high heat cooking as well as salad dressings and Asian cooking.


A new type of Lily’s Dark Chocolate, Almond, which is stevia-sweetened, and considerably less in calories.


Vinegar-soaked garlic cloves for a “ridiculously” good price have Kendall, “using them in pretty much everything because they’ve been so convenient.”


Finally Organic Sriracha Sauce, it’s gluten free, and a wonderful condiment and ingredient that adds a spicy kick to whatever you’re eating.


Co-op in the Community: Astoria High School Vice Principal Makes Fresh Fruit Part of His Curriculum


Being sent to the principal’s office might not be so bad if you were offered a piece of fresh fruit. Astoria High School Vice Principal, Chad Madsen, has a bowl of organic apples and pears from the Co-op in his office. This is only his first year as vice principal, but already kids know this is where they can come get fruit; they don’t have to be in trouble to do so, but in some cases, the fruit acts as a peace offering.

“There’s actually a lot of times when a kid comes in, let’s say they’re had a difficult situation in a classroom or they’ve in a bad mood or things aren’t going well and I’ll ask if they’re hungry and a lot of times that answer is yes. A lot of times you will see surprise on a student’s face more than anything. A lot of times this kid is in big trouble, and the first thing I do is say, grab an apple, let’s talk. I don’t know if it’s the physical effect of actually getting some sustenance in their body or maybe just the community piece of that. It sometimes does help for that communication to be a little less contentious, a little more positive,” Madsen said.

Madsen got the idea from his dad, a teacher, who worked with an orchardist to provide an abundant supply of fresh apples in the elementary school Madsen attended in Hood River. When Madsen grew up and became a teacher (he taught PE, health, and math) he was shocked to discover some kids either not eating, or eating unhealthy foods. He says that feeling of always knowing you can have something to snack on is a mental relief because a lot of kids don’t know where their next meal is coming from.

This is a collaboration with the Co-op offering seasonal organic fruit at cost and the North Coast Food Web providing funding and support. NCFW Food Systems Coordinator, Renia Ydstie, replenishes Madsen’s fruit supply as needed, usually a few times a week. Ydstie also works part-time at the high school as a youth transitions specialist.

“It’s working with the people who often need it most in a way that’s really concrete. It unifies a lot of parts of the community; to get a piece of fruit to one kid takes all these people working together and everyone is so wholeheartedly invested in it,” Ydstie said.

Not to sound cliché, but Ydstie says this kind of relationship between people and food is building community through food, which happens to be the Co-op’s mission. Ydstie and Madsen both hope to see the program continue and maybe even expand one day to reach even more students.

If you’d like to contribute to this effort, we’ve got donation jars at our cash registers!

apple change jar