Fall greetings to our Owners and non-owners alike! It’s that time of year to be pickling, canning and preserving all of the luscious, local summer produce that has been so bountiful over the last few months. As we move into fall, we’re starting to see a whole new array of products being offered locally and from afar. It’s an exciting time for produce!
I am consistently reminded of how extraordinary our local farmers are. The diversification in their operations has been able to provide the tri-states community with so many different products! I stopped by Little Maquoketa Organics last week to check out their wide array of squash and pumpkins. To my surprise, there were delicata, kabocha, winter luxury, New England pie pumpkins, and last but certainly not least, the Queensland Blue. All varieties have made it to the co-op’s shelves with the exception of the Queensland Blue—these bad boys are heavy, starting around 20lbs. each! We’re looking at bringing them in soon, stay tuned! We also are offering up squash from Honey Hill Organic Farm. Butternut, acorn, and spaghetti squash have been making their appearance around the store and these are amazing! Roast ‘em, bake ‘em, make ‘em into soup—it’ll help keep you warm and add some warmth (and mouth-watering aromas) to your house!
Tree of Life Gardens in Cuba City, WI had a nice surprise last week, local celery and carrots are now in the house! In addition, we have gold and red beets. Don’t worry, we didn’t forget the sweet taters--Tree of Life is also providing white and orange fleshed sweet potatoes. What’s the difference you ask? Well, white sweet potatoes are sweeter than orange fleshed ones and also are better for baking, and they retain their shape more so than the orange fleshed ones. If you’re looking to mash some sweet potatoes you’ll want to use the orange fleshed ones (they have a different, more pumpkin-like consistency).
Apple season is in full swing! Here at the store, we were ecstatic to meet Mike Manogue from Tippy Top Orchard. Mike has been growing organic apples and pears for over 20 years. Located in the driftless area near Dodgeville, WI he grows apples, pears, berries and herbs. Apples are one of the most (if not *the* most) difficult to grow and manage. Some trees take years to produce their first crop, and pest and disease management is ongoing regardless of season. Weather and climate also can make or break a crop. I spoke to one Iowa apple grower this fall who lost his entire crop due to hail storms earlier in the year. Tippy Top Orchard has just delivered freshly picked Fuji and Jon-a-gold reds yesterday and they’re crisp, delicious and excellent for so many recipes. If you’re looking to buy in bulk (who doesn’t love fresh apple pie or crisp in the dead of winter?), then please reach out to us at the co-op and we can order them in for you.
- Local cherry tomatoes are all done, except from Honey Hill Organic Farm. Their greenhouse is keeping sungold cherry tomatoes nice and warm.
- Cucumbers and zucchini are hard to come by. We’re working with our distributors to locate the freshest and closest product.
- Local lettuce from Two Onion Farm will only be available for a couple more weeks, provided mother nature keeps the frost away.
- Jujube fruit will be arriving today in the store. This will likely be around only for a week or two. These little bad boys pack a bunch of health benefits. They’re also known as Chinese or Korean dates. You may eat them whole, like an apple. The don't rot so you may can dry them at room temperature on your counter.
- Persimmons have arrived in from California. We currently have the Hachiya variety in. The Fuyu will be in the store soon.
- Berries will likely not be in the store for some time. The prices are sky high and the quality is poor.
- We’ve expanded our fresh cut section to include more seasonal items like cranberries from Necedah, WI, cut butternut squash, cut and cored pineapple, pecan date rolls (these are to die for and clearly a staff fave), medjool dates, deglect nour (pitted), and cut mango.