Monday, June 28, 2010

still learning

First, let me say that I'm sorry for the lack of photos with this post. I wanted to take pictures but wasn't sure it would be appropriate during a class. Thought it might be too distracting.

The People's Grocery is a food co-op that I've gone to a few times. In the past I've gone there when looking for specialty items. Their store has always been very basic; no bells and whistles like you find at the big supermarkets. And, I'll admit it, I like some bells and whistles so I don't go there often.

Last week I received an email that they were hosting a class on Saturday -- "Healthy Eating on a Budget." I decided I'd suggest to Alison that she and I go together. I figured it would do 2 things -- I'd get a tour of their new store, and she and I would get good quality time together while doing something a bit out of our normal realm.

The class was on Saturday at 11:00 and there were about a dozen attendees. Our instructors were Dolly, the Deli Manager and Jenny, the Produce Manager. They began by sharing basic information about healthy foods that have a low cost per serving, how to create a budget for your food expenses and other suggestions such as cooking quantities large enough to allow for leftovers and menu planning.

Next was the tour. This was what I enjoyed most. They have local producers for fruit, vegetables, bison, cornish hens, pork, eggs, milk. They have a wonderful bulk selection  -- oatmeal, popcorn, beans, lots of varieties of grains, yeast, flour, spices and more. They have a "grind your own peanut/almond butter" station; this is what Alison wants to do next time we need peanut butter. They even have shampoo, conditioner and lotions in bulk -- take your own container in and refill it. Who knew? Not me. We did buy sample sizes of the shampoo and conditioner. So far, Alison is the only one that's used it but she likes it. And, their selection of natural remedies is incredible -- we found a couple of things that we think we may go back for.

Following the tour was taste testing. Dolly shared samples of a few dishes that she prepares in the deli -- Sesame Gingered Kale Slaw, a Canellini Bean spread served with black bean chips (mmm, good) and no bake cookies*.

After sampling the foods, we were able to  pick up some hand outs and then visit with others in the class or the instructors. I struck up a conversation with the lady next to me -- she and her husband are both overweight and she also has high blood pressure. They've decided to make a change so she was there in hopes of getting recipe ideas. I think she was a bit disappointed but she and I had a great discussion about food and why we eat what/how we do. I could have talked about this all day because I have such an interest in it.

*Alison and I both laughed when Dolly told us she'd be sharing her no bake cookies with us...just that morning at home, we talked about making them that afternoon. We did. And we used Dolly's recipe. So darn good. Best part was that we made bar cookies -- spread all the batter in the pan and freeze for about 30 minutes til they set up. We will definitely be making them again. And, I'll be purchasing some items in bulk at the food co-op. Maybe I'll take pictures too. I really liked Dolly. Jenny was very well educated about produce in season, heirloom varieties and she'll even take special orders. She said she'll be getting blueberries in soon and suggested that blueberry lovers order multiple flats for freezing so you can enjoy them all winter long. I'm hoping they offer other classes. I may be an old dog but I'm willing to learn new tricks.


Anonymous said...

that sounds like such a good time. I just made no-bake cookies today! and, they are in the freezer. that is too funny.


co-ops are so great. what a good idea for a class - i would love that!

Diana Lee said...

I still can't believe they're going into that huge new building. I remember when they were in a house!

Anonymous said...

That sounds so good. I'd love to shop there. I'm afraid I probably turn people off when i get so anxious to talk food. I liked it when you said you could have talked about it all day. I bet we could have a nice foodie chat!

Anonymous said...

this place sounds FANTASTIC! wish we had a co-op like that here. Our nearest co-op recently changed and now is kind of an overpriced organic specialty shop, and it's an hour away.

love the bulk shampoo idea, i hate going through all those containers :-(