Letters to the editor, May 2005

This article was originally published in May 2005

Sound Consumer education

I want to tell you how much I appreciate your PCC Sound Consumer articles. You really enlighten us. I read it all.

Especially liked your article, so well written by Anne Mosness, on Offshore Fish farming (April). I also read with great interest Goldie Caughlan’s Insights. I appreciated reading about rBGH at Tillamook Creamery.

It’s very difficult to eat healthfully these days. I certainly don’t buy meat anywhere except at PCC in West Seattle. I have taken several classes there also. I think you have a wonderful store there, and the employees are exceptionally cheerful and friendly. I also like your new decorations inside and the new landscape outside.

After people have been members for some 10 years, I think you could ask us to start all over.
— Paulita Bernuy, member of PCC since coming to Seattle 15 years ago

PCC in Yakima?

Not sure if this is the best place to submit my question, but I’m trying to find out if there’s any way that PCC is considering opening a market east of the Cascades? I live in Yakima and we have no co-op or decent health food store in town. There are a few grocery stores that have “natural food” sections, but they are pretty minimal. And the few “health food stores” that we have are primarily vitamin stores. Finding reasonably priced, high-quality organic produce is the biggest difficulty. I’m confident that there’s a large number of people living in and around Yakima who could support a co-op. Thanks for letting me know if this is a possibility being considered by PCC.
— Kathy Early, Yakima

Editor: While PCC is looking for new store sites, we have no plans to expand as far as Yakima at this time. We’ve also received requests to open stores in California and even Japan! I know first-hand what it’s like not to have a good natural food store nearby, having lived before in many towns across the country without a co-op. Consider signing up with a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program in your area that features organic farm produce and maybe dairy and meat. CSAs are a way for consumers to purchase in advance a share of what’s produced by local farms, usually receiving a box each week of local produce throughout the growing season.

Make recipes more local

This letter is to express appreciation for what a wonderful newsletter you put out and to suggest that your recipes could do much more to give the reader a sense of place in Seattle to echo your editorial voice.

After reading the article on food security and the one on farm-to-school, I felt an editorial voice that spoke for local farm preservation and eating local foods as a way of connecting one to a sense of place. I did not get that sense from the recipes, yet it would be easy to write them in a way to provide a mouthwatering connection to your local landscape.

This can be done through referencing sources for the food in sidebars, in the recipe under ingredients, or in the article as was done for the grass-fed lamb with a description of Oregon’s Umpqua Valley.

As a reader I don’t taste your terroir. Why not feature a completely seasonal, local meal? The corn pudding recipe lists frozen corn, and I don’t know if (the Puget Sound) area is making goat cheese or pepper jack … if not, what cheeses are you making and why not feature that? And why not feature local cheeses with a local micro-industry chutney or fruit preserve? And the eggs that go into the pudding — any local egg farmers? How about “grow your own eggs” in a side bar?

Asparagus recipe … yes, asparagus is spring and perhaps you have asparagus growers in your area — could we read a little about them? Mangos in Seattle? Maybe there’s a substitute ingredient that tasted of Seattle, not Hawaii. The fresh thyme is nice; perhaps people could be directed to their garden to pick it, or to a sidebar on where PCC gets its herbs.

I’m not mentally tasting Washington with the recipes. I could be anywhere, like I just read a generic USA menu. I’m not often moved to write such a letter; perhaps the content of your paper was so impressive, I just couldn’t let go of how the recipes could pair with the local editorial flavor. You could do so much more in educating your readership about local food and farmers through your recipes. I care passionately that we lead people back to their place through taste so they’ll feel ownership of the land around them and a motivation to care for and preserve it. If we can’t do this in our co-op newspapers, especially one with the consciousness of yours, where can we?
— Ann M. Evans

Brian Schaeperkoetter, PCC copywriter: Ann, thank you for your insight. The spring menu was developed by one of our PCC Cooks instructors, Lynne Vea, a well-known Seattle cooking instructor and chef who is a proponent of using local ingredients. Your letter sparked many ideas on ways to better highlight the uniquely Northwest products that are carried in our markets. Of course, as we enter the warmer months in our region, we look forward to even more opportunities to talk about our connections with local farmers and growers.

Bring bio-diesel to PCC

Today I went to Dr. Dan’s Alternative Fuel Werks in Ballard to sign up for an account so my husband and I could fill our new diesel car with bio-diesel, when something occurred to me. Why not have Dr. Dan fuel cooperatives at area PCCs? It would make this domestic farm product all the more convenient to use in our cars, and co-op members are the exact demographic who would purchase bio-diesel. We prove every day, with the purchase of organic, Fair Trade and natural products, that we’re willing to invest in our health, the health of our children and the future of the planet.

As a co-op, we already support Flexcar and allow (the cars) to park at PCCs around the region. Bringing Dr. Dan’s Fuel Werks cooperatives to PCC parking lots would be even more consistent with our stated desire to support farming communities and local products. The system Dr. Dan uses is simple and would require little space, parking the large stores could afford easily. The purchasing power alone of PCC would increase the supply and decrease the price for bio-diesel enormously.

The benefits of bio-diesel are many (including):

  • Non-toxic, biodegradable
  • 100 percent renewable and domestic
  • Reduces greenhouse gas emissions
  • No retrofitting required

Please consider the enormous positive impact we as a co-op can have and bring Dr. Dan’s fuel cooperatives to local PCCs.
-— Amy Kramer Hawks, West Seattle

Editor: This is an interesting idea and management agrees that it warrants evaluation for future PCC sites. Feasibility at current stores, however, would be more challenging. Look for a story on biofuels in a coming issue.

Also in this issue

Your co-op, May 2005

Vote now — PCC annual board election April 28 through May 27, An important message to our valued member/owners, Notice of ballot count meeting, and more