‘Tis the Season for Turkeys

This season Food Conspiracy is offering Mary’s Natural antibiotic-free turkeys and Mary’s Organic turkeys.  Read below for a description of the meaning of the labels.

Mary’s Organic Free Range: $3.49/lb

Mary’s Antibiotic Free, Free Range: $1.99/lb

Local ReZoNation Heritage Turkeys: $8.99/lb

Talking Turkey: A Poultry Primer

Nutritious and versatile, poultry is an affordable staple in many omnivore households. Poultry lends itself to a variety of cooking methods—baking, grilling and stir frying, for example—and flavorings from sweet and savory to hot and spicy.

As with other foods, knowing where and how your chicken, turkey, Cornish game hen, and other poultry have been raised can help you choose the products that are right for you (and provides information about animal welfare and environmental impact).

Understanding some commonly used poultry-producing terms can help put you in the know. However, it’s important to know that some of the terms are regulated, while others are not. When in doubt about poultry terms or what’s offered at your local grocery store, ask for more information at the meat counter.

Poultry Terms

Organic

marys-organicPoultry that meets the requirements of the National Organics Program (NOP) has been raised in housing that permits natural behavior, with outdoor access, has been fed certified organic feed (including pasture), has not been given antibiotics or hormones and has been processed organically. The USDA organic label requires producers to follow production and handling practices in accordance with the national standards; certifying agents ensure compliance through annual inspections.

Free-range

marys-naturalThis USDA regulation means that the animal has been allowed access to the outside. The government doesn’t specify that poultry must go outside, for how long, or the amount or kind of space that must be provided, but the idea is that poultry is free to roam outdoors and engage in natural behaviors (this is the way most poultry was raised before high-density confinement was introduced in the 1950s). And poultry that exercises produces leaner meat.

Natural

USDA allows this label to be used when a product contains no artificial ingredients or added colors and is only minimally processed. The label must explain what “natural” means, so be sure to read on. It might say “no added colorings or artificial ingredients; minimally processed,” for example.

“No hormones added”

This means just that, but keep in mind that Federal regulations prohibit the use of hormones in raising poultry, so this term should apply to all poultry anyway. Regulations also require that if a poultry label says, “no hormones added,” it must also say, “Federal regulations prohibit the use of hormones.”

“No antibiotics added”

This means that the producer has provided documentation to the USDA that the animals were raised without antibiotics.

Cage-free

Poultry that’s cage-free is allowed to roam, but not necessarily outdoors. This allows poultry to engage in some natural behaviors, such as walking, nesting, and perching. However, this term is not regulated by USDA nor by third-party certifiers for poultry, though it is regulated for eggs.

Pastured poultry

This is a term coined for chickens raised on grass pasture all of the time after the initial brooding period. However, this term does not guarantee that poultry feeds only on pasture.

Fresh

A “fresh” poultry label means that the temperature of the raw poultry has never been below 26 degrees F. (Frozen poultry, on the other hand, has a temperature of 0 degrees F or below.) A turkey could be kept at 27 degrees F for weeks or even months, though, and then sold as “fresh.” Buy from a grocer who can tell you how long the “fresh” poultry has been in storage.

To locate local poultry sources (including farms and co-ops), check out the Local Harvest website.

A little turkey tutorial

You might want to keep in mind when shopping for your Thanksgiving turkey that a plump, round shape means an abundance of tender meat. Other tidbits that might come in handy:

  • Fresh turkeys and heritage or heirloom turkeys cook faster than most commercial turkeys and turkeys that have been frozen.
  • A hen is a female turkey (smaller) and a tom or gobbler is a male turkey (larger). Neither is more tender than the other.
  • Brining (soaking) a turkey before cooking adds flavor and moisture. Sometimes brined turkeys have artificial ingredients, but you can also find turkeys that are brined with just sea salt, spices, and water. Or you can brine your own.
  • Heritage or heirloom turkeys typically have denser, moister and more flavorful meat than most commercial turkeys. That’s because they have a higher proportion of dark meat, are customarily fed more diverse diets and are more active. It’s also because they take longer to reach maturity (about 26 weeks versus 14 weeks for commercial turkeys) and turkeys add fat as they age; heritage turkeys have an additional fat layer under their skin that keeps meat moister during cooking. Individual breeds have specific flavors (chat with your grower or grocer to find out more).
  • Wild turkeys have more dark meat and are more intensely flavored than domesticated turkeys. (Did you know that a wild turkey—which weighs half what a domestic turkey weighs—can actually fly?)
  • An “oven-ready” turkey is ready to cook, while an “oven-prepared” turkey is fully cooked and ready to eat.
  • Basted turkeys are injected or marinated with liquid (like broth or water), fat (like butter), and seasonings. Commercial turkeys often include artificial ingredients, but they must be stated on the label, along with the total quantity of the injected solution (3%, for example).
  • What size turkey do you need? The rule of thumb is one to one and a half pounds of turkey per person (this also allows for some leftovers).
  • Find tips on roasting your turkey in Turkey Roasting Tips.
  • For vegetarians, consider purchasing a Tofurky or other “mock turkey,” made from wheat protein or tofu.

Summer in the City is for Saving While Supporting Local!

Food Conspiracy Co-op together with 140 local businesses is participating in Summer in the City all summer long. Purchase a $5 Summer in the City saver card and start saving on all of your favorite local businesses in Tucson in six different downtown districts: University of Arizona, Main Gate Square, 4th Avenue, Downtown Tucson, Mercado District, and the Sunshine Mile.

Food Conspiracy Co-op, where you can also purchase your saver card, is offering great added value for the purchases you want to make all summer long.   Purchase a gift card and get 10% of the value added through August. Food Conspiracy wants you to save and be able to choose whatever you wish at the co-op with the purchase of a co-op gift card. For example, if you purchase a $100 gift card, you pay $100 and we will add $10 for a total $110.

For more information on the Summer in the City program and for a listing of all of the participating businesses and their discounts and deals visit www.tucsonsummer.com 

Read about Food Conspiracy Co-op as a participating business in Tucson Summer Saver program.

Menu – May 11

Kale & Mushroom Quinoa Bake (Vegetarian & Wheat Free), Kale & Sausage Quinoa Bake (All-Natural & Wheat Free), Herby Mashed Cauliflower (Vegan & Wheat Free) and a Forever Yong Farms Squash Saute (Vegan & Wheat Free).  Cream of Cauliflower & Conspiracy Kale (Vegan) and Italian Chicken and Vegetable (Wheat Free).

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Conspiracy Beer

Our latest batch of Conspiracy Beer is courtesy of the fine folks at Barrio Brewing Co. It’s a hefeweizen with hand-zested orange peel and vanilla beans. Please enjoy and remember, proceeds from the sale of growlers of Conspiracy Beer go to El Grupo Youth Cycling. 5.2% ABV. 20 IBU. $12/fill.

Beginning in December, Conspiracy beer will be brewed by Dragoon Brewing Co. It’s a Northern English Style Brown  Ale.  Proceeds from
this batch will benefit BICAS, now celebrating 25 years as Tucson’s bicycle recycling and education center!

 

 

Eden Foods and Affordable Care Act

Thank you to those of you who’ve contacted the Food Conspiracy Co-op and shared your thoughts regarding Eden Foods and the Affordable Care Act.  When a few owners called for the co-op to take action on this issue it presented an opportunity for a conversation.  On Tuesday, July 23rd, 8 owners, two Board members and three Food Conspiracy staff met in an open meeting in the Hoff building.  The intention of this meeting was not vote on whether or not to remove Eden Foods from the store.   It was an opportunity to meet in a safe space, share and create a better understanding of the issues, and to share the co-op’s history and philosophy on requests for boycotts.  Our policy is to focus on providing choices and information so our customers can choose which companies and products they believe in and want to support.   We did agree that more educational information that may impact customers shopping choices needs to be provided and available in the store.  If you are an owner and would like to have more conversation with other owners about Eden Foods, the next discussion will be at the Owner Linkage Committee meeting on Saturday, September 20 at 10:00 a.m. in the Hoff Building behind the co-op.

Unfamiliar with the Issue?

Eden Foods appears on track to win its fight with the federal government over funding insurance coverage of contraception in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s controversial Hobby Lobby ruling.   This has upset some of our shoppers who don’t agree with Eden Foods’ politics. A few have called for the Co-op to boycott the company’s products.

Food Conspiracy Co-op serves a diverse customer base and there are individuals on both sides of this debate. As a result, we feel that we can best serve our community by continuing to focus on providing healthy foods without taking a stance on the politics of this particular issue.

It is important to consider that Eden Foods has been an industry leader in maintaining organic standards and bringing BPA-free packaging to the U.S. market. Eden’s offerings are amongst the most high quality products available at the Co-op due to their commitment to organics, GMO labeling, and using BPA-free cans. Eden has been an industry leader in organics and maintaining standards in the face of corporate attacks. They have fought to maintain organic standards in the face numerous attempts to water them down. They also almost singlehandedly brought BPA-free lining into cans to the U.S. market and raised the bar, so that BPA-free cans are becoming or have become the industry standard for natural/organics.

What does the Hobby Lobby case have to do with Eden Foods?

Eden Foods was not a plaintiff in the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby case, meaning the Supreme Court has not made a ruling specific to Eden Foods. However, in their Burwell v. Hobby Lobby ruling, the Supreme Court ordered the lower courts to reconsider their earlier decisions against Eden Foods.

FAQ’s

What is Eden Foods’ stance on the Affordable Care Act as it relates to women’s health care?

Eden Foods objects to a provision of the Affordable Care Act that requires companies, if they choose to offer health insurance to their employees, to include coverage of a wide array of contraceptive choices. Here’s an excerpt from Eden Foods’ statement on the issue:

We believe in a woman’s right to decide, and have access to, all aspects of their health care and reproductive management. This lawsuit does not block, or intend to block, anyone’s access to health care or reproductive management. This lawsuit is about protecting religious freedom and stopping the government from forcing citizens to violate their conscience. We object to the HHS [Health & Human Services] mandate and its government overreach.

Some people are calling for a boycott of all Eden Foods products. What is our co-op’s stance on this issue?

Our co-op serves a very diverse customer base and there are individuals on both sides of any issue. We believe that we can best serve our community by continuing to focus on providing healthy foods without taking a stance on the politics of this particular issue.

We also encourage our customers to vote, on this and other issues, with their dollars by supporting those companies they like and believe in. When (for any reason) products don’t sell, the co-op stops carrying them. As always, consumers can and should choose to purchase the products that meet their own needs. Consumers can choose to personally not buy the product, but we will not be discontinuing our sales of Eden Organics at this time.

We are, as members and shoppers of a co-op, united in a common set of principles. We are also individuals with differing views on a multitude issues. It is not when we all agree that makes the Co-op stronger, it is when we all have a voice.

Owners wishing to have a deeper discussion about Eden Foods are invited to the next Owner Linkage committee meeting on Saturday, September 20th at 10:00 a.m. at the Hoff Building behind the co-op at 425 East 7th Street.

There is a provision for an owner to start a petition to have a special meeting called or a have a proper issue presented to a vote of the owners. Here are the by-laws and links to Food Conspiracy Co-op bylaws.

Section 3.2 – Special meetings.  Special meetings of owners may be called by the Board. Special meetings shall be called by the President as soon as possible after the receipt of petitions signed by ten percent of owners, such petitions stating any proper business to be brought before the meeting.

Section 3.9 – Issues submitted by owners.  Notices of a meeting of owners shall include any proper issues submitted by petition of at least five percent of owners.  Petitions must be received by the co-op not less than one hundred and twenty days before the date of the meeting at which or in connection with which they are to be presented to a vote of owners.

www.foodconspiracy.coop/about-us/co-op-bylaws/

www.foodconspiracy.coop/contact/suggestion-page/

Statements from Eden Foods July 11

www.edenfoods.com/articles/view.php?articles_id=230

On response to Affordable Care Act  Heath and Human Services Mandate April 2013

www.edenfoods.com/articles/view.php?articles_id=219

Salon Article  Organic Eden Foods’ quiet right-wing agenda (April 11, 2013)

Salon Article Eden Foods doubles down in birth control flap (April 15, 2013)

Salon Article  Eden Foods CEO’s bad week continues (April 18, 2013)

Philidelphia Inquirer Co-op’s Quandary: Boycott or Not? September 2, 2014

 

 

10 Ways for Kids to Go Local

“Eat your veggies!” “Clean your plate!” “You don’t know what’s good for you!” When it comes to eating healthy foods, these might be some parents’ daily mantras. At the peak of the local food season, there’s no better time to engage your kids in enjoying good food.

Encouraging kids to get excited about local foods is a great way to increase their appetite for nutritious foods like tomatoes, broccoli, eggs and carrots as well as healthy grains, dairy and meats.

Check out these 10 tips for getting children interested in local foods from spring and summer to harvest.

  1. Take your family on a farm tour. Encourage your kids to take pictures and make a photo book or poster about the farm to share with friends and classmates during show-and-tell or a similar time.
  2. Let your kids play with their food. Make an art project out of local foods, such as seed art or veggie sculptures.
  3. Planting a back yard garden or container garden? Don’t just share in the dutiesDesignate one row or one type of vegetable or fruit that is your child’s to plant, weed and harvest throughout the season.
  4. Encourage your child to pick out an item at the farmers market or co-op; then prepare a meal with them using their chosen local food.
  5. Make freezer jam out of their favorite berries. By making freezer jam, kids can learn about food preservation and enjoy their favorite fruit into the fall season. There’s always room for jam!
  6. Declare your food independence! On July 4, make homemade ice cream featuring locally-sourced milk, cream, fruit and nuts.
  7. Throw a local food pizza party.  Devote a Saturday afternoon to baking a pizza with as many local foods as possible. Let your kids roll the dough while you chop and shred local ingredients that they can sprinkle on top.
  8. Sip cider and jump in the hay at the local orchard. Pick apples with your kids and talk about the year-long work it takes to produce an array of apples.
  9. Pick the perfect pumpkin for Halloween. Take your kids to a local pumpkin patch to enjoy the festivities. Then, bring home an extra pumpkin and make a holiday pie, and don’t forget to roast the seeds.
  10. Prepare a meal based on your heritage. Were your grandparents farmers? Prepare a meal based on the food they once grew. Is your ancestry Italian? German? West African? Make a meal based on their native foods with as many local ingredients as possible. Share stories about your family over the dinner table.

– See more at: http://strongertogether.coop/fresh-from-the-source/10-ways-for-kids-to-go-local/#sthash.kLH0BtXQ.dpuf

Two winners tie at the Pie Party

The results are in!  The 11th Annual Pie Party proceeds will be shared by the two winning organizations, El Group Youth Cycling and Tucson Village Farm who each received 175 votes, congratulations!  Your pie eating and baking enthusiasm raised a total of $845.86!
We were pleased with the turnout and know what to expect next year. More pies!  We know there is always a level of surprise hosting a potluck and this year’s mere70 pies were gone by 4:15 pm!  While the pies were few, they were delicious.  People enjoyed the Tropical Mai Pie, the Vegan Mango Madness, Spanish Tortilla and the Cornmeal Apricot. Next year we will promote the party with more advance notice, will roll out some incentives for bakers to get baking pies (possibly a contest) and will hold classes at the Food Conspiracy Co-op on how to make pie crusts.

Thank you to all of the bakers, servers, the pie eaters and the organizations.   Visit our facebook page to view photos of this year’s party or look for them in the July/Augustedition of the Co-op’s Community News.

 

See you next year!

Download our new cookbook, Tucson Cooks

Photo by: Mamta PopatTucson Cooks is available for sale at the Food Conspiracy Co-op for $20. You can also download a PDF version of the cookbook for $5 using the form below:

Download Tucson Cooks

  • $0.00

The Food Conspiracy Co-op has published a new cookbook, Tucson Cooks, that features recipes from the Conspiracy Kitchen as well as some of your favorite local vendors.

“For years, people have been asking us for the recipes for some of their favorite Conspiracy Kitchen foods,” said Food Conspiracy General Manager Kelley Kriner. “This book has some of those recipes, as well as recipes from many of our wonderful local vendors.”

More than half of the 26 recipes in Tucson Cooks come courtesy of the Conspiracy Kitchen, which makes many of the co-op’s delicious prepared foods. Conspiracy Kitchen recipes featured in Tucson Cooks include peanut-ginger rice noodles, cashew coconut bars, and curried tempeh salad.

Local companies that contributed recipes to Tucson Cooks include:

  • Exo Roast Co.
  • Forever Yong Farms
  • Isabella’s Ice Cream
  • La Tauna Tortillas
  • Rex’s Perogies
  • Sleeping Frog Farms
  • Tucson Tamale Co.
  • Walking J Farms
  • Zenhens

Everything about Tucson Cooks is local. The color photos featured in Tucson Cooks were taken by local photographer Mamta Popat, and the book was printed locally at Action Printing.