Wednesday, August 3, 2011

New in the Cheese Department

Some Like It Raw – New in the Cheese Department
By Kirsten Lindquist
Cheese, Wine and Specialty Manager

Cheese, glorious cheese! It is great grilled on a burger, mixed in with your favorite pasta or just sliced with a cracker. But many people have trouble digesting cheese, and it is the protein casein that is often the culprit. As a result, limiting the amount of cheese they eat is one answer. But raw cheese – made with raw milk – contains naturally occurring enzymes that help the body better digest these proteins. Moreover, cheese made with goat’s milk or sheep’s milk has lower levels of casein and many people find these cheeses even easier to digest.

Europeans have been making cheeses using raw milk for hundreds of years including the world renowned French Roquefort Blue and Morbier and the Spanish Manchegos. California cheese makers also make great raw cheeses as well and Co-opportunity provides a broad selection of all of these delicious cheeses.*

Young Manchego 3 month aged – Raw Sheep’s Milk (Spain)
Made exclusively from the milk of Manchega sheep, who graze on shrubs and grasses in the high plateau of the La Mancha region of Spain, raw-milk Manchego when it is young has a more buttery flavor than its aged sibling.

Aged Manchego 12 month aged – Raw Sheep’s Milk (Spain)
Made exclusively from the milk of Manchega sheep, who graze on shrubs and grasses in the high plateau of the La Mancha region of Spain, raw-milk Manchego has a hearty flavor and an intoxicating lingering, buttery finish. Dehesa contains less salt than most Manchegos, resulting in a more pronounced sheepiness and finely balanced character.

Roquefort Blue – Raw Sheep’s Milk (France)
Raw, Sheep’s milk cheese is used to make one of the oldest and best known cheeses in the world. Aged in limestone caves near the village of Roquefort, this creamy textured cheese has a piquant blue flavor and well-balanced saltiness.

Morbier – Raw Cows’ Milk (France)
Semi-soft in texture, the paste is springy and supple with a fruity and complex taste. The line of vegetable ash that runs through the middle originally separated the morning from the evening milk in the cheese making process.

Point Reyes Blue – Raw Cows’ Milk (California)
Made from raw milk produced by cows grazing on certified organic pastured hills overlooking Tomales Bay in Marin County, this is an exceptional farmstead cheese – crumbly and mellow with a salty, fresh blue flavor.

St. Pete’s Blue – Raw Cows’ Milk (Minnesota)
Aged 90 days in sandstone caves inoculated with Roquefort mold, this raw cows milk blue is tangy and piquant, great with pears and walnuts or in a creamy pasta sauce

Amablu Blue – Raw Cows’ Milk (Minnesota)
Aged 75 days in sandstone caves, this raw cows’ milk blue from Minnesota has a creamy mouth-feel and a not-too-piquant sharpness. The first blue cheeses made in the U.S., this is very similar to Gorgonzola.

Organic Pastures Cheddar – Raw Cows’ Milk (California)
This organic cheddar is made from raw milk from cows that graze on certified organic pastures. Located near Fresno, CA Organic pastures has been family owned and run since 1953, and is the first raw dairy to be certified organic in California.

Redwood Hills Feta – Raw Goats’ Milk (California)
This certified organic and humane dairy farm located in Sonoma County, Calif., has been family owned and operated since 1968. Redwood Hill Farm cheeses are made from 100% fresh goat milk, non-bioengineered vegetable enzymes, natural sea salt, and French imported cheese cultures. Handmade in small batches in the tradition of artisan cheese making, these Kosher-certified cheeses are a great addition to any meal!

Organic Valley – Raw Cows’ Milk (California)
Sharp Cheddar
Mild Cheddar

Greenbank (California)
Goat Cheddar – Raw Goats’ Milk
Sharp Cheddar – Raw Cows’ Milk

Alta Dena – Raw Cows’ Milk (California)
Sharp Cheddar
Pepper Jack

Landmark (California)
Goat Cheddar – Raw Goats’ Milk
Monterey Jack – Raw Cows’ Milk
Mild Cheddar – Raw Cows’ Milk
Pepper Jack – Raw Cows’ Milk
Smoked Mild Cheddar – Raw Cows’ Milk
Swiss – Raw Cows’ Milk

*Although there is much discussion lately about fears that raw milk products can carry pathogens, no raw dairy has had such pathogens detected in its products, as of 2009, according to Organic Pastures Raw Dairy.
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Friday, July 8, 2011

Rethink Rosé – The New Wine of Summer
By Kirsten Lindquist - Cheese, Wine and Specialty Manager

In case you hadn’t heard, Rosé wines are having a moment. Even the New York Times is talking about them!

Forget what you think you know about Rosés– sweet, cloying, or syrupy. Instead, winemakers around the world are rediscovering what French producers have always known – great red wines can make fantastic rosés. Crisp, dry, slightly fruity without the heaviness of red wine, rosés are the perfect chilled summer wine that go with everything from BBQ to antipasta salads and everything in between. The trick is finding a rosé made from your favorite red. Luckily, Co-opportunity has quite a selection, starting at $9.99 a bottle. You will find them chilling in our cold case, and a few are even on sale. So come get them while the weather is hot and the drinking is cool!

Frey Rosé, California $9.99
Made from a blend of red grapes grown in Mendocino, Frey’s rosé has aromas of fresh strawberries and wild roses with smooth, crisp raspberry flavors. Certified Organic, no sulfites added.

Marquis de Goulaine Rosé D’Anjou, France $9.99
French roses are best from the Loire Valley and Marquis de Goulaine is one of the best known. Rosé D’Anjou is the terroir designation and may contain a blend of red grapes, specific to each producer. Bright and refreshing, Marquis de Goulaine has notes of tropical fruits and subtle roses. Good acidity with a dry finish there are hints of sweetness without any residual sugar. Sustainably Grown.

Borsao Rosé, Spain $9.99
Made from Garnacha (aka Grenache), Borsao’s rosé made the New York Times’ top 10 rosés of the year, coming in at No. 5. A delicate pink color, Borsao has light fruit aromas with lingering flavors of cherries and earthy notes. Sustainably Grown.

Hoya de Cadenas Rosado, Spain $7.99
Made from 100% Bobal grapes – native to Utiel-Requena area of Valencia where these vineyards are found – Hoya’s Rosado has an intense red color with a strawberry bouquet. Fruity on the nose, characteristic of the Bobal variety and fruit forward on the palate, with a refreshing acidity. Its aromatic persistence allows the spirit of this wine to linger through the finish. Sustainably Grown

Cantele Rosato, Italy SALE $10.99
Made from Negromaro grapes from the Puglia region of Italy, Cantele’s Rosato is a deep ruby color with rose and red geranium on the nose and tastes of strawberries and cherries. Bright with crisp acidity and a smooth finish. Sustainably Grown.

Biokult Rosé Secco, Austria $15.99
Made from Pinot Noir grapes, Biokult allows for a small second fermentation adding some sparkle to this unique rosé and capping it with a champagne cork. Red berries on the nose and soft floral notes, bright and crisp this rosé is an easy sipper as an aperitif or with a light meal. Organic.

Crios Rosé of Malbec, Argentina $12.49
Crios is the brainchild of one of Argentina’s best winemakers and one of the few women master vintners, Susana Balbo. With 87 points from International Wine Cellar, Crios’ rosé is made from Malbec grapes with aromas of strawberries and a citrus element. Supple, fruity and surprisingly full-bodied for a rosé, it is well balanced with a dominant strawberry flavor. Sustainably Grown.
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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Store Makeover Updates

By Bruce Palma, General Manager

Elvis Has Left the Building

Ladies and Gentlemen, the contractor’s trailer and dumpster have left the building! (Rumor has it, Elvis was in that trailer, but he left, too..) We are officially in the home stretch of the construction phase of our Co-op makeover. We’ll still be adding some final touches to the sales floor as well—but our primary focus will be on fine tuning our merchandising, adding new products, and working with our new equipment and shelving to make it as customer-friendly as possible.

What’s most exciting are all the new items and services we’re adding on a daily basis. (I’ve ended up eating lunch from the new salad bar and hot bar every day for the past several weeks.) And we’re rolling out our new fresh cut cheese program and demo counter as we speak. Check out the many new varieties of cheese we’re cutting and wrapping in-house now. (Self serve olives are coming soon).

We’re also installing new outdoor dining counters on both sides of the building, and we’re replacing the round table and stools with another counter with stools. And we’ll be polishing up our landscaping around the building.

Owner/Shopper Concerns
While we’ve had an overwhelming amount of positive feedback for the store makeover, we’ve also heard concerns from some of our owners and shoppers. I think it’s important to address a few of these concerns.

Some of you have wondered if prices have been increased to pay for the store makeover. I can assure you we have not raised any prices to cover these costs. We only raise prices when we receive increases from our vendors and distributors. We have many vendors, and each has a different wholesale cost structure depending on their size, product lines and other factors.

Our competitors also source from many of our primary vendors and distributors, so price increases are usually reflected in our competitor’s pricing as well. We’ve been in our current location for over 15 years and it was time to make some major capital improvements. This is a normal function of all retail businesses, and we planned the makeover to be financially successful without raising prices. Furthermore, we are committed to passing on as many vendor deals and discounts we can. I’m confident that you will find some amazing deals throughout our Co-op. (And don’t forget, we’re one independent store, as opposed to a giant global chain with huge buying power).

Food and food product prices have always been subject to conditions such as weather, fuel prices, commodity prices, availability and other factors—all of which cause prices to fluctuate. Some prices have been rising lately due to increased oil prices, bad weather (affecting produce and commodity prices), and vendor and distributor price increases. As for our produce prices, I am always amazed at the great prices I end up paying for fresh, local, organic produce in our Co-op.

Produce Department
Even though we’ve remodeled—and added a salad bar/hot bar and other services—it was never our intention to compromise our existing product offerings or to minimize our focus on providing simple, fresh, local, organic and nutritious food.

We are still 100% committed to offering the best and freshest local, organic produce we can find. The display cases, fixtures and layout may have changed (and we’re all learning the new layout), but we still carry all the produce we did in the “old” store. So, please ask one of our staff members if you can’t find something. As the seasons change, more seasonal produce items will become available.

We’re still learning how to best merchandise our produce department. If you see somewhat less product on the shelves than before, it’s simply because we want to maintain quality and freshness. And it’s easier to do with less shelf stock. We’re just bringing out produce as needed in smaller quantities—again, to ensure quality and freshness.

While we believe we excel in many areas, we’re fully aware of our parking lot limitations. But we still felt it was necessary to address our store interior and make changes. We are making every effort to have a parking lot attendant (sometimes two) on duty during peak hours (usually 11 am – 7 pm). We’re also researching the possibility of extending the parking spaces a few feet on the south side of the lot (where the shrubs used to be).

And now that the store makeover is almost complete, we will be focusing on creatively addressing some of our parking lot limitations.

Once again, I want to thank all of you for your support during these past few months. Our goal was to complete a store makeover without disrupting normal business as much as possible. I know the remodel has been a huge change for our Co-op, and we’re still working hard to iron out any kinks and make it as amazing and shopper-friendly as possible.
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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Introducing the New Co-op Logo!

About This Design Direction
Our store's makeover has brought us a lot of physical improvements. With so many updates taking place, it was only natural that our brand image also saw an update.

The last logo design occurred in the 90's and worked well for that time. But as we embark upon a new chapter in the Co-op's history, we believe that a new, fresh logo has to be part of the story. In the coming days and weeks, you'll notice our brand presence being updated on everything from our store sign and private-label vitamins, to business cards and reusable bags. Click here to view a video of the new sign going up.

About the Branding Firm (GEYRHALTER & COMPANY)
Geyrhalter & Company is a renowned local design firm with a history of creating award winning brands for countless clients. You might recognize their work with Evolution Juice, where they created the packaging and website for one of our bestselling vendors.

We have had a fantastic experience working with Geyrhalter & Company. They have been professional, responsive to our needs, and a true joy to work with.

About This Design Direction
The challenge was creating a brand identity that was professional, yet not corporate. Our aisles are stocked with items from small and independent vendors, many of whom don't have slick, professional packaging. Fortunately, we select vendors based on the quality of their products rather than their design aptitude. The Co-op is different, and our logo needed to convey that difference. This meant pushing the envelope a bit from a design standpoint.

The logo in its entirety feels full of life, maybe at times even busy, representing the market-life and its vendors, employees and shoppers/owners. It also comes a bit closer to an artwork than a traditional corporate logo, something that takes away from simplicity, but adds authenticity.
We have addressed the simplicity in the following ways:

1. The use of "CO-OP" in the logotype.
* This shorter "CO-OP" version gives us more brand unity in that it dovetails with the NCGA "CO-OP" branding found in our store.
* Incorporating "CO-OP" into the logo type is a nod to all the owners/shoppers that refer to us as the "CO-OP" instead of "Co-opportunity."

2. The addition of CO-OPPORTUNITY in the sub-line.
* We kept our name in an easily legible font, and changed the color to draw attention.

Put plainly, the rustic, simple (perhaps even basic) items in this logo make it feel very handmade, very honest. Furthermore, we have maintained the logo's simplicity by shortening our tag-line to "Natural Foods."

Throughout the years, we have heard from countless owners/shoppers that they drove by our store hundreds of times without realizing we sold food. The old logo and tagline weren't successfully conveying what was behind our walls. This lack of clarity regarding our storefront signage is the reasoning behind the shortened and simplified tagline. A commuter driving by our store will not miss "Natural Foods" and subsequently, won't be confused about what we sell.

Rooted in Our History
To fully appreciate the logo, it helps to put it in the context of our Co-op. Co-opportunity grew organically, from its humble beginnings out of a Santa Monica garage in the 70's, to the thriving business it is today. This new mark is meant to maintain the organic, communal nature that defines the Co-op, while also nodding to the history of the logo by borrowing some elements from the last version (i.e. produce).

And when analyzing the logo, you will notice that the letters 'co-op' would not be there without all the items around it. You, the vendors and their items create Us.

Our Co-op is composed of many different elements, working together in unison, to make the store run successfully. To use an analogy, Co-opportunity is like a quilt where each individual piece, when it's interwoven with the other pieces, comes together to create a warm, inviting atmosphere.

This logo invites people in. It makes them peer closer to see how so many different pieces can come together to form "Co-opportunity," much like the store itself.

Basically, this logo is fun, dynamic, a little quirky, and rooted in history and community. Does that remind you of anything?

By Ricardo Chavira
marketing director
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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Makeover Updates 4/28/11

Hello and welcome to the “almost-complete” Co-opportunity makeover! My patented Store Makeover Completion Calculator ® says we’re about 91.6% done. We’re in the home stretch now, and will have a good portion of the store makeover done within the next few weeks. We’ll still be adding finishing touches and some more fixtures and equipment after that. But the department locations will be set and it should get a lot easier to find what you’re looking for!

Thanks to all of you for your support, valuable feedback and positive energy during this process. Our goal was to position ourselves for the long haul in our current location, while providing you with more choices and a more pleasant shopping experience—all while staying open.

As part of our complete makeover, we’re also refreshing some store visuals. Stay tuned for more news on the new look in the coming days.


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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Japan's Co-ops Need Your Help

The Cooperative Development Foundation (CDF) is accepting donations to help Japan recover from the devastating earthquake and tsunami. Japan is home to a wide variety of cooperatives, many of which have been instrumental in supporting co-ops around the world. We have a chance to help them at their time of greatest need.

If you would like to make a contribution to the CDF and assist cooperatives throughout the affected area recover from this disaster, you can do so through any of the following methods:

1. At our cash registers, simply tell the cashier that you would like to make a donation to the CDF’s Japanese recovery effort.
2. Visit and use the Google Checkout Cart on the right-hand column.
3. Send a check to the Cooperative Development Foundation at 2011 Crystal Drive, Suite 800, Arlington, VA 22202 (please make sure to note that it is for Tsunami Recovery in Japan.)

100% of your donations—which are completely tax-deductible—will go towards the recovery!

It’s obviously too early to know how severe the impact will be on cooperatives, but it’s important to be ready to contribute as early as possible. As the CDF has done in the past, their recovery funds will be directed to co-op recovery, not immediate disaster relief.

The CDF doesn’t compete with the Unicefs of the world, rather they are focused on the recovery after those fine organizations have gone in to deal with the immediate relief requirements.

We thank you for your support and cooperation during these difficult times.
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Friday, March 4, 2011

Calling All Co-op Owners!

We need your help. We are planning a series of ads (print and online) that focus on you, our owners. The theme of the ads is “It’s My Co-opportunity.” The theme plays on the fact that it’s your co-op (we are community owned) and it’s your opportunity to be a part of like-minded individuals dedicated to living well.

With that in mind, we ask that you please email with the following:

• A picture of yourself
• In your own words, why you love the co-op

We aren’t placing any word limits on your response. It can be a sentence, or a page. We just want to understand what it is that you love about the co-op. Please note, we might not be able to feature every person who responds to our request. Thanks in advance for your help. We can’t wait to see what you come up with!
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