French Broad Food Co+Op

Hours: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
90 Biltmore Avenue
Asheville, NC 28801
(828)255-7650 | Contact

Everyone is Welcome
Owners get 5% off on the 5th

Hours: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
90 Biltmore Avenue
Asheville, NC 28801
(828)255-7650 | Contact

Everyone Welcome
Owners get 5% off on the 5th

Black-Eyed “Peacadillo” Salad

Black-Eyed “Peacadillo” Salad

Total Time:  30 minutes; 15 minutes active

Servings: 6

This zingy bean salad makes a delicious accompaniment to bean and rice burgers, fried green tomatoes or cornbread.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked black-eyed peas, drained
  • 1/2 cup green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 green onions, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1 cup corn kernels, cooked
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 1/4 cup pimiento-stuffed green olives, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Preparation

In a large bowl, mix all of the ingredients together. Let stand for about 15 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to meld. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Serving Suggestion

Serve this zingy bean salad with vegetarian bean and rice burgersfried green tomatoes or cornbread studded with jalapeño peppers and cheese.

Nutritional Information

211 calories, 8 g. fat, 0 mg. cholesterol, 532 mg. sodium, 32 g. carbohydrate,2 g. fiber, 7 g. protein

One and Done: The Only New Year’s Resolution You’ll Ever Need

One and Done, Only New Year's Resolution You'll Ever Need

By: Eve Adamson, Co-op, welcome to the table

It usually goes something like this

  • I will lose 20 pounds!
  • I will finally get in shape!
  • I will eat better!h
  • I will be more environmentally conscious!
  • I will cook for my family more often!
  • I will spend more time with my family!
  • I will stop ordering pizza and eating fast food!
  • I will save more money!
  • I will enjoy life more!
  • I will be better about helping others!
  • I will be a better person!

Whether you scribble your resolutions into a journal or post them on the refrigerator or just repeat them to yourself in your head as the New Year approaches, you have probably made New Year’s resolutions before. According to the University of Scranton Journal of Clinical Psychology, 45% of Americans usually make New Year’s resolutions, and although 75% of resolutions are maintained through the first week, the number drops significantly with each passing week, so that by six months, barely anyone is sticking to it. A lot of people don’t even remember what their resolution was anymore by June. Bummer.

Yet, I love New Year’s resolutions. I think they are sweet signs of optimism. They prove that people still want to better themselves, and believe they can do it, no matter how many times they fail. I even think my own New Year’s resolutions are adorable. Lose 20 pounds? Aww. That’s so cute, the way I keep thinking I’m going to do that!

But every year’s experience begs the question: Why is it so hard to execute a perfectly reasonable decision to do something good for yourself, like get healthier or spend more time with people you love? The problem, says many an expert, is that our resolutions are either too various, and/or too lofty. We set too many goals and we lose track. We also set goals that are a little bit too difficult—just outside the realm of reasonable.

But what if I told you that just one simple resolution could accomplish just about every resolution I’ve listed at the beginning of this article, all in one fell swoop? Eleven resolutions in one? And what if I told you that one single resolution could actually be easy?

When you focus on one resolution instead of many and that one resolution is something you can actually do, you are about a zillion times more likely to stick with it (that’s the official statistic—a zillion).

What could this magical and powerful resolution be? Are you ready for this? It’s kind of radical, so maybe you should sit down. Here goes: This year, I will eat mostly whole food.

Wow. I know, right? You have to admire the simple elegance. This one resolution is powerful because you don’t have to think about all those other things you want to do, and yet, they will all start to happen, just because you are eating whole food. Let me explain:

I will lose 20 pounds!

The number might not be exact, but whether you need to lose 20 pounds or 10 pounds or 5 pounds or 50 pounds, you’ll start moving in the right direction when you eat mostly whole food. Whole food fills you up faster than packaged food. It’s also more nourishing, so your body feels like it actually ate a meal and you aren’t as hungry later. The more you get into the whole food habit, the more your bad eating habits will fall away; you’ll feel better, and your weight will normalize. Sure, there are overweight whole food eaters. If you eat too much whole food, then you might remain a bit broader around the middle. But while you can probably imagine eating too much candy or too many doughnuts, not very many people binge on apples or carrot sticks or home-roasted chicken with brown rice. Try it. You might find it’s the easiest way you ever lost weight.

I will finally get in shape!

When you eat whole food, you are better nourished, so you feel better, you have more energy, and you are more likely to feel compelled to move your body the way nature intended. Simple.

I will eat better!

Whole food = eating better. Done and done.

I will be more environmentally conscious!

Whole food, especially if it’s locally produced and/or organic, is much kinder and less invasive to the environment than packaged food churned out in a factory and packaged up in lots of cardboard and plastic.

I will cook for my family more often!

You can eat a lot of whole food raw, like fruits and vegetables, but you’ll likely want to cook some of it, especially in the chilly weather. Roast meat, boil and mash potatoes, steam veggies, stew fruit or bake it into pies. You don’t have to spend hours every day. Cook on the weekends and store foods for the week, or just whip up simple things during the week—a big salad, turkey soup, rice and peas. It doesn’t take long to throw a few potatoes in the microwave and broil a couple of steaks. The more you do it, the better you’ll get at it, and it really can be fun. Consider it your new hobby (you were thinking of adding, Start a new hobby to your list, weren’t you?).

I will spend more time with my family!

Eating dinner at the table with your family is one of the nicest ways to bond. Even if the teenagers complain, all you have to do is say, “No, Junior, you are not eating your dinner in your bedroom while playing that video game. Your mother needs to be able to look you in the eye for at least 15 minutes per day to make sure your brain isn’t fried.” Meanwhile, teenagers are always hungry because it’s exhausting battling all those virtual aliens and doing homework and friending people on Facebook, so they might even gulp down the vegetables. It’s win-win.

I will stop ordering pizza and eating fast food!

The more you gain a taste for real, whole food, the more the taste of cheap fast food loses its appeal. Sure, we all order a pizza every now and again, but it’s what you do most of the time that counts.

I will save more money!

Whole food is cheaper. They say it’s not, but it is. Fresh veggies and fruits are cheap in season and frozen veggies from the off season can still be your friends. Whole poultry and roasts are cheaper than pre-made frozen dinners when you figure how much meat you get for your dollar. Buy staples in bulk. Rice, beans, nuts and seeds, oatmeal, flour, even special treats like local honey and maple syrup and almond butter—the bulk bins are bargain central.

I will enjoy life more!

When you’re feeling better, losing weight, exercising more, eating better, and spending more time with your family, not to mention saving money, how can you not enjoy life more?

I will be better about helping others!

Feeding your family whole food is a great way to help others. Buying local, organic, and/or fair trade products helps others in ways you might never even consider. It’s a ripple effect.

I will be a better person!

Define better: Happier? Nicer? Healthier? If that’s what better is, then sure. Whole food will do you right.

So there you have it: One resolution. You can do that, right? Just the one. It’s all you need, and it can and will transform you if you let it. Whole food is that powerful.

Best of all, you can really stick to this one. It’s reasonable and realistic. Let’s do it together. We’re going to have a great year. I can already tell

We’d love to hear from you!

Do you have any old French Broad Food Co-op photos or news articles you’re willing to share? 
Please forward them to us here.

Co-op Stronger Together

Holiday Cheddar Cheese Ball

This festive holiday cheese spread is quick and simple to make and great for entertaining.

Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 2 large balls (20 servings)

Ingredients
1 pound cream cheese, softened
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1/4 cup Asiago cheese, grated
2 tablespoons red bell pepper, diced
2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preparation
In a food processor, blend cream cheese until slightly fluffy. Add cheddar, Asiago, and garlic, and pulse until lightly blended.
Scoop cheese mixture into a small bowl and add the bell pepper, chives, parsley, and salt and pepper. Mix well.
Refrigerate mixture until cold, then form into balls.
Roll in extra chives, parsley, or diced bell pepper and allow to come to room temperature before serving.
Nutritional Information
Calories: 105, Fat: 10 g, Cholesterol: 32 mg, Sodium: 124 mg, Carbohydrate: 1 g, Dietary Fiber: 0 g, Protein: 3 g

By: Co+op, stronger together

5 Tasty (and Tasteful) Kitchen Gifts

 

‘Tis the season of giving. And nothing feels quite so jolly good as sharing a great gift with a loved one. Do you have someone on your list who loves food? Well, look no further. No matter the level of foodie passion—beginner cook or master home chef—everyone can appreciate a thoughtful gift that invigorates the senses and warms the heart. Here are some tasty, tasteful kitchen gift ideas to get you started:

1. Specialty chocolate

Add a little sweetness to your gift repertoire with chocolate. It can be as easy as a smooth, rich milk chocolate bar, or you can seek out an unexpected flavor combo with oomph like dark chocolate and chili peppers. You can find many varieties of fair trade chocolate bars at food co-ops, often in pretty packaging. Wrap them in cheesecloth and twine for a perfect stocking stuffer. Or if you’re feeling more hands-on, you can make your own chocolate treats, like these delectable orange chocolate truffles, packaged up snugly in a candy box or cookie tin.

2. Gourmet coffee/tea

There may be no better way to greet a snowy morning than with a warm, earthy mug of fair trade coffee or tea. Coffee, like other agricultural crops, is harvested at different times of the year and in different areas of the globe. For the freshest varieties in this chilly season of the U.S., look for South American coffees from Peru or Bolivia, or on the other side of the globe, Papua New Guinea. As for tea, this time of year, it’s easy to find festive, seasonal flavors like herbal cranberry spice or peppermint. Or you can look to cold-weather classics like Irish breakfast, Masala chai, Yunnan black, jasmine, or a traditional Earl Grey. If you’d like a slightly DIY gift, stop by the bulk aisle of your local co-op and see what kind of teas are in stock. Try making your own tea sampler with a few cute jars and tea balls, secured with ribbons!

3. DIY mixes and treats

Nothing says happy holidays like a homemade gift—and there are lots of DIY eats you can whip up in the kitchen! If you’re looking for ways to narrow your options, making a mix that will last longer than a few days will help spread holiday cheer throughout the season. Try making your own spices, salts, jam or fruit preserves, or yummy herb spreads. Consider packaging them in a handsome glass bottle that can be reused. Or, try making a beloved holiday treat like brittle this year and gift your creations in a unique cookie jar.

4. Local products gift basket

Thoughtful gift baskets can be as fun to arrange as they are to receive—let your creativity shine. Check out our guide to crafting the perfect personalized gift basket, with tips on packaging categorized gift ideas.

5. Co-op gift card

Consider including a gift card to your local food co-op as the perfect accompaniment to any holiday greeting card or basket. Beyond providing fresh, local, and nutritious groceries for any age, co-ops are home to endless ideas for adventurous, DIY creations. Does your loved one enjoy making innovative entrees or infusing their own oils, or are they looking to start trying? Give the gift of inspiration with this passport to culinary exploration.

A delicious, happy holiday season to you and yours!

Who Owns Your Grocery Store?

By JON STEINMAN is the author of “Grocery Story: The Promise of Food Co-ops in the Age of Grocery Giants” (New Society Publishers, 2019).

“Who owns your grocery store?”

It’s the question emblazoned on the back of a van that has ferried me across 34 states to visit 128 consumer-owned grocery stores (food co-ops) and another 20 in development.

I spent 13 years investigating every facet of the food supply. It led me to the conclusion that the grocery store is, hands down, the most influential force shaping food, the planet, and our health. So I wrote a book about it, bought a tour van, and took the book on the road. The message I’m sharing is that it’s time to pay a lot more attention to who owns the grocery stores we shop at and what those answers mean to the future of food and the future of our communities.

We have invested considerable energy over the past decade into deepening our understanding of how and where food is grown and who grows it. Organic food has exploded into a $50 billion industry in the United States. Farm-to-table restaurants are plentiful. Farmers markets are thriving and community supported agriculture models are enabling new generations of farmers to usher in a new food paradigm. But there remains a cavernous gap in the effort—where we buy our groceries. If 10% of our weekly food budget is at a farmers market, what about the other 90%? It’s almost certainly being invested in a grocery store. So what are we investing in?

If it’s The Fresh Market, you’re investing in Apollo Global Management—a firm that includes the former Blackwater in its portfolio. If it’s Trader Joe’s, you’re investing in Aldi Norda German multinational grocer. If it’s Whole Foods, you’re investing in Amazon and lining the pockets of the wealthiest person on the planet. And what of the smaller chains? The trajectory of grocery consolidation suggests you’re investing in what will likely become an acquisition by one of a handful of hungry grocery giants.

Look at Canada and the U.K., where market concentration in grocery retail is remarkably high. In Canada, two companies alone receive over half of Canadians’ grocery dollars. Combined with the next three largest grocers, those five companies command 80% of the market. The numbers are similar in the U.K.

What happens when a market becomes this concentrated? Take Loblaw Co. Ltd., the largest of Canada’s grocers commanding 30% of the market. December 14, 2017: Loblaw admits to the Canadian public that they’ve been cheating their customers for 14 years – alleging they had colluded with four of their most notable competitors to fix the price of bread. It’s understood Canadians were spending $1 more per loaf of bread than general rates of food inflation would have predicted. Back in 2007, over in the highly concentrated U.K. grocery market, Asda and Sainsbury’s admitted to fixing the price of dairy between 2002 and 2003. The scheme was said to have cost consumers the equivalent today of $438 million.
If 10% of our weekly food budget is at a farmers market, what about the other 90%? It’s almost certainly being invested in a grocery store. So what are we investing in?

As a Canadian, I’m particularly interested in what will come of the investigation into bread price fixing, but despite the ongoing investigation it appears we have already moved on.  On April 9, 2019, Canada’s Environment and Climate Change Minister announced Loblaw would receive a $12 million subsidy to upgrade refrigeration units at 370 of their stores. Company admits to cheating Canadians. Canadians gift them $12 million. Incredible.

Are Canadians outraged? Are they switching grocery stores? Absolutely not. Loblaw is doing just fine.  Granted, there aren’t a whole lot of alternatives. Four other grocery giants are alleged to have participated in the scheme. In many areas of the country, those five grocers are the only options available.

Similar levels of market concentration are also emerging across the United States. After Walmart’s explosion into grocery in the late 1990s and early 2000s, waves of grocery mergers and acquisitions followed, leaving only a handful of grocery giants operating in any one geographic area. As I traveled through the eastern states this past spring, it became clear how few people are aware of the companies behind the banners. The once regional chains are no longer so regional. Hannaford, Food Lion, Giant, Stop & Shop, all are now subsidiaries of Ahold Delhaize (Netherlands.) Fred Meyer, Harris Teeter, Ralphs—now Kroger banners. Safeway, Shaw’s, Star Market and Vons—all now part of Albertsons.

With the exception of some areas of the country where fierce grocery store battles are playing out, we eaters are generally at the mercy of one of a few giants. In rural communities and many urban neighborhoods, there might be just one single option available—textbook monopolies.

“Well, that’s capitalism for ya,” some will say. No doubt. But this is different. This is about food. Grocery stores are not, in any way, just some other “business.” These buildings operating in our neighborhoods bear tremendous social and economic responsibilities.

Take human health. The connection between food and health is now well understood. Studies show that the common cold, diabetes, and heart disease can be prevented, curtailed, or managed through the foods we eat. Food is medicine. So what responsibilities have we placed upon these grocers that are proportional to the vital health services they’re providing? What have we done to ensure all people, regardless of income, race or geography, are provided access to healthy, wholesome, and risk-free food at the grocery stores in their neighborhoods? Not much. We’ve left the health implications of our grocery stores entirely in the hands of market forces.

A grocer’s economic role is also deserving of scrutiny. Ten years ago, it was nearly impossible for local/regional food producers to get their products on the shelves of a major national chain operating nearby. Whereas some progress has been made in this regard, there remain many producers who continue to come up against substantial barriers when trying to access the shelves of their local/regional grocers. These barriers effectively throttle local economic development and diminish the wider social benefits that extend from the presence and growth of a diversity of local businesses.

For the past 100 years, grocers have also been shaping the entirety of the food system. With only a handful of grocers dominating any one region or nation, they have effectively acted as bottlenecks within the system—gatekeepers to the foods that will and won’t make it to market. It’s the grocers who are determining the how, where, and who of food production both locally and globally. Grocers are determining the future of food.

As there is no regulatory oversight of grocery store behaviors and practices in these three key areas of influence, where can we eaters find modest assurance that grocers have our interests at heart? And how might a grocer’s commitment to our community be sustained for generations to come? I believe it comes down to who owns your grocery store. It should come as no surprise that the most locally owned grocer is most likely to be the most accountable and responsive to the community it serves. After all, the owner(s) and senior management are often residents of the town/city/neighborhood in which the store is located.  As long as our neighborhood grocer is privately owned, any assurances of long-term commitment are precarious. No question there are many independent grocers out there who are in it for the long haul and dedicating themselves to their customers, but it’s risky for any of us to place the future of our neighborhood grocer entirely in the hands of a single individual or family. Just as closures of chain stores are commonplace, so too are closures of independent locally owned grocers, particularly in today’s hyper-challenging climate of grocery retail. Acquisitions are also a risk to the future of the grocery stores in our neighborhoods. In both cases, community consultations are not required despite the enormous repercussions a closure or acquisition may have on food access, health, community and economy. If it’s merely a change in ownership, the unique characteristics that may have set a store or chain apart often erode into the culture of the acquiring chain. The accountability and commitment to the community often goes with it.

What defines a consumer food co-op? Rather than any one individual or company owning the grocery store, consumer food co-ops spread ownership out to however many people want to become a shareholder.

In August 2019, Musser’s Markets, with three locations in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, was acquired by Giant (a subsidiary of the Dutch multinational Ahold Delhaize.) This followed Giant’s single store acquisition in May of Ferguson & Hassler in Quarryville and prior to that, Darrenkamp’s in Willow Valley in September 2018.

In January 2019, the Long Island-based King Kullen (c. 1930) with 32 locations and its independent subsidiary Wild by Nature with five locations were acquired by Stop & Shop (also a subsidiary of Ahold Delhaize.)

In 2015, Chicago’s Mariano’s, with 44 locations, was acquired by Kroger. The culture change at Mariano’s is not going unnoticed. An August 2019 article in Crain’s Chicago Business magazine reads, “Is Kroger ruining Mariano’s?”

So where can eaters find greater assurance in the future of their grocery stores? My research and experience within the food system leads me to only one model. That is the consumer cooperative—food co-ops—full-service grocery stores collectively owned by their customers.

Here’s why:

There have been zero instances of a food co-op in America being acquired by a chain grocer. Why not? It would first require a vote by the co-op’s thousands of shareholders who would be asked to decide on whether or not to sell the store. It’s true that there are examples of food co-ops closing, but any decision to change the ownership of a cooperatively owned grocery store is a democratic one, made by the people who would be most affected by the decision: eaters and workers—us! Community consultations on the future of neighborhood grocery stores are built directly into the cooperative model of ownership.

What defines a consumer food co-op? Rather than any one individual or company owning the grocery store, consumer food co-ops spread ownership out to however many people want to become a shareholder. There are no limits to who can become a shareholder nor how many shareholders can co-own the store. Better yet, no one shareholder has any more voting power than another. Each share in the co-op is equal to one vote and each shareholder is limited to one voting share. Once a year, shareholders in a food co-op will vote for their board of directors to govern the co-op. Co-ops democratize the economy.

We’ve generally placed any business or service that a community deems ‘essential’ into an entirely different category of oversight, scrutiny and expectations. Public transit, public libraries, community centers, drinking water, roads and first responders are generally stewarded by public agencies and institutions. They’re simply far too important to leave entirely in the hands of the private sector. Is food deserving of the same attention? Co-ops, particularly consumer co-ops, are effectively public institutions. They build accountability to the community directly into the ownership model. They allow the public to steward the food system from the primary point of convergence between eaters and the system—at the grocery store.

While a food co-op may in practice be a for-profit business, by virtue of their ownership model, they operate far more along the lines of a nonprofit businesses. Every dollar of profit generated at a co-op is channeled into one of two directions—back into improving the business or returned to shareholders in the form of dividends proportional to the level of purchases a shareholder made over the previous year. As a shareholder of a food co-op, I’ve received checks as low as $10 to as high as $50 at the end of the year. These dividends are essentially the grocer saying to its customers, “sorry, we charged you too much this year, here’s how much we overcharged you.”

The recirculating effect of a food dollar spent at a food co-op doesn’t end with the distribution of profits. At a cooperatively owned grocer, the head office is not only in the community served by the co-op, it’s almost always located directly inside the store itself. With the head office located inside the store, the co-op grocery store becomes home to more jobs, including more full-time positions. Marketing managers, human resources, finance, outreach, any positions that would otherwise be located at a distant head office are instead located within the community. Over 180 people are employed at my food co-op, almost 100 of them full time. The largest chain grocer operating in my city claims 150 employees. Then there are the third-party services a cooperatively owned grocer will utilize. This translates into more of our grocery dollars circulating into local businesses that in turn re-circulate those dollars locally.

Today, 230 co-ops operate over 300 locations in the United States. Another 100 are in various stages of development. The food co-op movement is expanding and evolving. Of the 144 new food co-ops that have opened in the past 11 years, 72% of them have weathered the challenging grocery retail climate and have remained open.  Nationwide, interest in food co-ops is spreading beyond consumers of organic and local foods. All types of communities, including those in designated food deserts, are turning to this model of grocery store ownership to secure a more promising future for their communities.

source: https://www.yesmagazine.org/opinion/2019/12/06/grocery-store-own/