2023: International Year of the Millets

The United Nations declared 2023 the International Year of Millets, which got us pretty excited about this little grain. There are a number of reasons why the United Nations is shining a spotlight on this little-known nutri-cereal including millets’ suitability for cultivation under adverse and changing climate conditions.

 

Wait, what is millet?

Millets are a group of grains referred to as “nutri-cereals” because of their high nutrition content compared to more common cereal grains like wheat, rice and corn. Millets are a genetically diverse group including pearl, proso, foxtail, barnyard, little, kodo, browntop, finger and Guinea millets as well as fonio, sorghum (or great millet) and teff. Millets were some of the first plants to be domesticated and serve as a staple crop for millions of people in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia to this day. These grains can grow in poor soil with few inputs, are resistant to many crop diseases and pests, and can survive harsh climatic conditions. So far, everything is coming up millets!

Millet is a nutritional powerhouse

  • Gluten free
  • Low Glycemic Index
  • Good source of fiber and protein
  • Excellent source of Vitamin A, Vitamin B, phosphorus, potassium, antioxidants, niacin, calcium and iron

More Reasons to Love Millets

  • Adaptable to different production environments, without high fertilizer or pesticide needs
  • Deeply tied to ancestral traditions, cultures and Indigenous knowledge
  • Good for animal health as feed
  • Diverse in taste and applications in the kitchen (recipes follow)
  • Quick cooking time
  • A source of income for marginal production areas in rural, urban, regional and
    international trade

You can read more about the International Year of the Millets here.

Find millet products including whole grain millet and millet flour on Co-op shelves year round! Not sure what to do with it? You can swap it out for rice or quinoa in most recipes. I like to toast it and add it to granola, chocolate chip cookies and other bakes goods. Check out some of our favorite recipes below.

Perfect Stovetop Millet

  • 1 cup whole grain millet
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Rinse millet under cold running water for about 30 seconds. Add to a pot with 2 cups water and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat but DO NOT remove the lid. Set a time for 10 more minutes for the millet to steam. When the timer goes off, remove lid and fluff with a fork.  

Vegan Millet Pancakes

  • 1 cup millet flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt 
  • 3 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • ½ cup nondairy milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • vegan butter
  • For serving: maple syrup, fresh or stewed berries, peanut butter, toasted coconut, banana slices, etc. 

Combine millet flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a bowl. Mix well. In a separate bowl, combine mashed bananas, milk and vanilla. Add the dry to the wet and whisk until no lumps remain. 

Heat vegan butter in a skillet over medium heat. Once hot, spoon about 1/4 cup of batter into the pan. You can do more than one at a time, but don’t crowd the pan. Reduce heat and cook until you see bubbles coming to the pancake’s surface and the bottom is golden brown, about 3-4 minutes. Flip and cook another 2-4 minutes. Keep pancakes warm in a 180 degree F oven until ready to serve then top with your favorite things! 

Maple Pecan Breakfast Bowl

  • 1 cup cooked millet
  • roasted pumpkin or squash
  • maple pecans*
  • ground flaxseeds
  • pumpkin seeds
  • hemp seeds 
  • ground cinnamon
  • maple syrup
  • ½ cup warmed milk of choice

*To make maple pecans preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Toss raw pecans with a little maple syrup, vanilla extract and a pinch of salt. Spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes. Cool at room temperature before eating or using in a recipe. Store at room temperature for up to 5 days in an airtight container. 

Heat milk over low heat until steaming (hot but not boiling). Add cooked millet to a bowl. Top with roasted pumpkin, maple pecans, seeds, a sprinkle of cinnamon and a drizzle of maple syrup. Finish by pouring warmed milk over everything. 

Spiced Millet and Dried Apricot Salad

 or Salad

  • ½ cup uncooked millet (or 2 cups cooked millet)
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 2 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup chopped almonds, toasted
  • ¼ cup pistachios, chopped
  • 6 dried apricots, chopped into small pieces
  • ¼ cup Italian parsley, chopped

Dressing

  • 3 tablespoons walnut oil (or EVOO)
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon pomegranate molasses (or balsamic vinegar)
  • 1 teaspoon ras el hanout seasoning blend 
  • ¼ teaspoon maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon salt or to taste
  • a grind of black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Rinse millet in a strainer until the water runs clear.  Add to a small pan with 1 cup of clean water and a pinch of salt, put the lid on, bring to the boil and turn the heat right down to low. Leave the millet simmering for 10-15 minutes until cooked. Remove from the heat but do not remove the lid. Set a time for 10 more minutes for the millet to steam. When the timer goes off, remove lid and fluff with a fork.  Cool at room temperature for about an hour or in the fridge for 20 minutes. 

 

Mix the cooled millet with the rest of the salad ingredients in a large salad bowl. Combine dressing ingredients in a mason jar with a well-fitting lid or in a small bowl. Shake or whisk until combined. Pour over the salad and toss. Allow to sit at room temp for 20 minutes before serving as this will allow flavors to really come together. 

Sweet Potato and Millet Falafel

  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 1 cup cooked sweet potato, mashed*
  • ½ cup red onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ¼ cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon salt plus more for sprinkling
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup cooked millet, at room temperature
  • Avocado or grapeseed oil for frying

*Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment. Cube 1 medium sweet potato (no need to peel – lots of nutrients in the skin) and toss with 1 teaspoon of olive oil and generous pinches of salt and pepper. Bake for 15 minutes, flip, and return to the oven for 10-15 minutes. Cool slightly then mash with a fork.

Place the chickpeas, sweet potato, onion, garlic, parsley, cilantro, coriander, salt, cumin, cayenne, and black pepper into the bowl of a food processor and pulse, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally, until all of the ingredients are uniform in size, but still slightly grainy in texture. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl and fold in the cooked millet. Roll 2-3 tablespoons of the falafel mixture into a small patty with your hands. Repeat with the rest of the falafel mixture placing the uncooked falafel on a large plate or baking sheet until ready to cook.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Pour 2-3 tablespoons of frying oil in the skillet and swirl to coat. Place the patties in the skillet and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, until crispy and brown. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to absorb the excess oil and sprinkle with salt.

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Fairtrade Farmers are More Resilient

A 2022 study finds fair trade farmers experience increased economic resilience, social wellbeing, environmental sustainability and governance of their cooperatives, particularly in times of global crisis.

The Fairtrade System uses 2 price mechanisms, the minimum price and the premium, to ensure farmers earn a reliable and, well, fair income. These price mechanisms represent a safety net not only for the farmers who grow the food, but for their co-ops and communities more broadly. From 2012 to 2022 Fairtrade farmers experienced increased earnings, the ability to withstand periods of financial instability and boosted savings. In the case of Fairtrade certified La Florida cooperative in Peru, farmers reported incomes 50% higher than those of non-Fairtrade farmers. 

The study also found Fairtrade cooperatives enjoy

  • stronger governance

  • greater transparency

  • more democratic decision-making

  • increased gender equality

  • improved workplace health and safety

80% of the world’s food comes from 608 million family farms, with one third of those farming less than 5 acres of land. Not surpisingly, the overlapping global crises of recent years have hit smallholder farms in Global South countries the hardest. With pressure from consumers to keep prices low in the United States, costs are often passed back to small farmers and the land itself. Renato Alvarado, Minister of Agriculture and Livestock in Costa Rica, explains, “producers bear the production costs on our shoulders and the profits remain in the hands of others.” 

Carmen is a member of the CONACADO cooperative, and by joining the Fairtrade certified co-op, she has been able to tap into their collective bargaining power when it comes to pricing. Through the co-op, she has secured a better price for her cocoa making it possible to achieve her goals of scaling production and diversifying her crops. And for Carmen, cocoa isn’t just about her own business. It’s about the community working and thriving together. Shoppers in the US are directly participating in this community by purchasing products made with ingredients from Fairtrade certified farms like Carmen’s.

The findings of this study underscore our continued commitment to carrying and promoting as many fair trade products as possible at the Co-op. Purchasing fair trade products at the Davis Food Co-op not only helps support our store and local economy, but ensures that we are also being good global stewards by supporting the fair treatment of small farmers and producers worldwide.

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Gift Ideas Under $10, $20 & $50

Find gifts for everyone on your list at the Co-op! Check out our ideas for budget-friendly gifting or go for a sure thing: a Co-op gift card! You can purchase in store or online here

Under $10

Salt Crystal Tea Light Holder $6.49

Aside from glowing in stunning sunset hues, salt lamps release negatine ions into the air which studies show may help lessen anxiety and stress. 

Aura Cacia Aromatherapy Foam Bath 2/$5 thru 12/13 (reg. $3.99 ea) 

Scrunchies $4.99

Instant Plant Food $8.99 for 2 tablets

The perfect gift for plant parents, green thumb not necessary.

Rishi Teas $8.99

Delicious? Check. Beautiful packaging? Check! Tea is a great gift to pair with a mug or insulated tumbler. To keep costs down, choose a tea on sale!

Assorted Enamel Pins $9.99 and Assorted Stickers $3.99

Mini Calendars $7.99

Pocket Sized Decomposition Book $5.99

Under $20

House Plants $17.99+

We have a good variety of house plants in the store, including easy to grow ZZ plants and succulents and this stunning rattlesnake calathea. 

Maggie’s Organic Socks $9.99+

Maggie’s Organic Socks are the BEST. And there’s something for everyone: urban hiker socks, mountain hiker socks, hand-dyed rainbow socks, extra thick cozy socks, etc. 

Aura Cacia Essential Oil Kits $12.49 thru 12/13 (reg. $19.99)

Pachamama Coffee Beans $15.99

Bonus: Pachamama’s new packaging is compostable! 

Assorted Books $15.99+

Fat and the Moon Bath Soak $18.99

Herbalist crafted, small batch skincare made in Grass Valley, CA. 

Assorted Puzzles $18.99

We have tons of puzzles from 400 to 1000 pieces. 

Truffle Honey $14.99

For the gourmand in your life~

Silicone Baking Mat $13.99

This is perfect for the person on your list who loves to bake or for the person trying to go zero-waste. 

Felted Wool Animal Kits $19.99

For the crafty person in your life. Or for the person who wants to get crafty – these kits are pretty easy to do! We have a variety of animals to choose from.

Assorted Calendars $14.99

Under $50

Teaching Kitchen Cooking Class $30-45

Gift someone on your list a cooking classes from the Davis Food Co-op. Our classes are highly rated and often sell out weeks in advance. Get info and buy tickets here!

Crystal Witch Earrings $39.99

Made by local artist and Co-op Owner Jen of Davis, CA. 

Essential Oil Diffuser $33.99

Get this for the person on your list who loves making their home/space luxurious and cozy or for someone who works from home to make their space better. If you have the budget, get an essential oil to go with the diffuser. Peppermint is a festive pick! 

Fair Trade Headband $23.99

Gift warmth and cuteness with these fairly traded headbands. 

Slippers $29.99

Faux-sherpa lined for coziness with hard soles for indoor and outdoor wear! 

Prickly Pear Body Whip $27.99

Made locally with ethically sourced ingredients!

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35 Holiday Cookie Recipes

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Holiday Cheese Pairing: Brillat-Savarin + Champagne

Written by Co-op Owner and former Beer, Wine and Spirits Specialist Sterling Carlton

“I would like to open a cheese shop in Hyde Park like that kept by my friend, Monsieur Pierre Androuet in Paris” – Franklin D. Roosevelt, shortly after winning his 4th term as President when asked about (future) retirement plans

A soft, white bloomy rind encasing a dense and luscious creamy interior that oozes at room temperature. A nose of sweet lactic, nutty, milkiness gives way to flavors of cream and lemon sour notes. Coming in with at least 75% milk fat, this is a true Triple Cream Brie. Named by cheesemaker Henri Androuet in the 1930s after the 18th century gastronome, Brillat-Savarin is something special.

Brillat-Savarin the man was a lawyer and politician who moonlighted as a chemist and foodie, or gastronome to use verbiage of the day. He gained fame after his book “The Physiology of Taste ” was published. Along with one Alexandre Balthazar Laurent Grimod de la Reyniere, they are credited with essentially creating the literary genre of the gastronomic essay.  Savarin’s life was a fairly tumultuous one, at one point being forced from France due to a bounty that had been placed on his head during the French Revolution. He bounced around the world eventually living in New York, Boston, and Philadelphia until he returned to France to live out his life as a judge on the Court of Cassation.

Now, to Brillat-Savarin the cheese. Originally created by the Dubuc family in the 1890s and called Delice des Gourmets (“gourmet’s delight”), Henri renamed the cheese when he brought it to Paris two decades later. In 1909 Henri Androuet was working as a peddler when he had an idea to bring cheese from all over France to Parisians who had not had the opportunity to try the regional cheeses of their homeland. That same year the House of Androuet was born specializing in curing and aging cheeses. Today Brillat-Savarin is produced year round, mainly in Burgundy and Normandy.

Needless to say, Brillat-Savarin is the height of milk-based hedonism for me. My go to pairing with something like this is most assuredly always going to be Champagne. Paul Bara Champagne is my pick simply because the quality for the price, still not cheap at $60, is exceptional. Paul Bara sources from their vineyards composed of 9.5 hectares of Pinot Noir and 1.5 hectares of Chardonnay. Located in the village of Bouzy, which resides in the region of the Montagne de Reims, known for Pinot Noir in Champagne, the non-vintage cuvees age for at least 3 years in bottle and most often 6 years on the lees before release. The lees being the dead yeast cells that are responsible for the secondary fermentation in the bottle and whose breakdown in the bottle, known as autolysis, contributes the yeasty, bready, sourdough brioche aromas we love so much in Champagne.   Green orchard fruit still sings through the bubbles and the acid and bubbles of the Champagne will help to cut through and refresh the palate after every bite of the cream laden Brillat- Savarin. Add some sharp cranberry sauce or brandied cherries and enjoy.

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What to Do in Davis if You Aren’t Celebrating this Week

There are many legitimate and completely understandable reasons why folks choose not to celebrate Thanksgiving. And regardless of whether or not you celebrate, there are a lot of logistical challenges to cross-state or cross country travel that it just may be way easier to stay in Davis over the short break. 

Not Celebrating Thanksgiving? Check. 

Staying in Davis? Check. 

Here are some ways to spend your week/day instead!

Book a Staycation

You definitely need to have the financial resources to do this, but if you can, book a night or weekend locally! For women and People of Color, a trip specifically for relaxing is a very powerful counter to a holiday that asks these groups to spend more money, prepare more food, and be more stressed. 

Go on a Hike 

When I was a freshman at UC Davis, I couldn’t travel to see my family in Southern California for Thanksgiving so I walked the whole Arboretum and really enjoyed myself. This morphed into a tradition I continue with my partner. Lake Berryessa and Rockville Hills Regional Park are our favorite spots to spend the 4th Thursday of November. Rockville Hills Regional Park is pictured left/above (psst, the park has GREAT mountain biking). 

Ask to Work, Make $$$

Okay, hear me out. If you really want nothing to do with this day, ask your employer if you can still work. Many workplaces, including the Co-op, pay staff time and a half on holidays like Thanksgiving.

Tackle a Project You’ve Been Circling 

With the extra time you can make progress on any projects you’ve been wanting to work on. Painting the coffee table, weeding the backyard, and making a will are just a few examples of projects on my To Do List that may get tackled this week.

You Can Still Go Out to Dinner

You’re going to want to eat at some point and many of Davis’ restaurants remain open over the holiday. Bonuses: they won’t be as crowded as usual and this means you don’t have to cook. You are definitely allowed to go out by yourself too. Bring a book or journal if you’re feeling a little nervous about it.

Offer to House- or Pet-sit for a Friend Going Out of Town 

You probably know someone who is leaving town for the afternoon or the whole week. Lend them a hand and make your week exciting by changing up your routine and setting. You can help take care of their pets, water their houseplants, and bring in the mail.

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How Gratitude Changes our Minds and Bodies

As the holiday season swells, many of us find ourselves turning inward and reflecting. You may have an outlet for this reflection if your family traditions revolve around sharing one thing you’re thankful for at the table, making a gratitude tree, or something similar.

I like to help manage my depression and anxiety with a daily gratitude exercise that I can do from bed before I even open my eyes (now that’s a low barrier to entry, y’all). I make a list of 5 things I’m grateful for in my head. Big things, small things, very important things, silly things, beautiful things, whatever I am feeling grateful for. Then I smile really really big for a few seconds and then open my eyes. Good morning, World, I feel a little better than I did before. 

My ND recommended this practice specifically because of the benefits practicing gratitude has for our minds and bodies, even for those practicing in the midst of adversity. Some of those benefits include improving sleep, reducing stress, increasing empathy, creating more social connections and improving self esteem. Let’s look at these benefits more in depth!

1. A wealth of studies over the last 15 years have shown us that gratitude is one of the most reliable methods for increasing feelings of happiness, optimism, joy, pleasure, enthusiasm, and other positive emotions.
2. Gratitude can also reduce negative emotions like stress and anxiety, even among folks living with chronic mild or moderate depression.
3. Studies show gratitude strengthens the immune system, lowers blood pressure, reduces symptoms of illness, and lessens the effects of pain in the body. 
4. Count blessings, not sheep! People who practice gratitude get more hours of sleep each night, fall asleep faster, and feel more refreshed when they wake up in the morning. 
5. Gratitude makes us more resilient, including helping people recover from traumatic events
6. Gratitude strengthens relationships, making us feel closer and more committed to friends, family, and romantic partners.
7. Gratitude makes us more helpful, altruistic, and compassionate as individuals and as a society.

Gratitude can look a lot of different ways: a morning meditation, a gratitude jar, prayer, volunteering or journaling. Here’s a list of 10 ways to be more grateful. It’s a practice that will take time to cultivate, but the benefits aren’t far off if you keep at it! Studies do show that gratitude has a lasting effect on the brain.

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How to Host Friendsgiving

Hosting Friendsgiving 

There are a myriad of (completely understandable) reasons that people choose not to celebrate Thanksgiving. You may find yourself feeling the same way this year but still longing to gather around the table with good friends and good food. If that’s the case, a Friendsgiving may be an option for you! Whether this is your first attempt at hosting a gathering such as this or you are a seasoned pro, here are some quick tips to help you out.

First things, first

Pick a date and time! Have some open dialogue with your friend group to see what may work well for everyone. It is never too early to pick a date, especially since this is usually a very busy time of year for people. There are also no rules of when you have to meet…maybe it is not until December and maybe it is lunch instead of dinner!

Make note of special diets

You want everyone to be included and you never know where someone may be at with their current dietary requirements or choices. Check in when setting your menu and shopping list! Here’s a few things to keep in mind when preparing food for folks with special diets:

Hosting does not = Do everything alone

Lean on your friends and their skills to contribute if and how they are able to. It can be tempting to want to make it a one-person show but people generally want to help and you should enjoy yourself too instead of working overtime! This can can look like someone staying 20 extra minutes to help you with clean up/dishes or making your meal potluck style.

Make it Collaborative, Flexible & Fun

The cool thing about friends is that they usually have good ideas. And while some people like the idea of a gathering that mirrors a traditional Thanksgiving-style meal, that may not be appealing to your friend group. Be open to any and all ideas to make this gathering collectively your own. Maybe it is actually at a restaurant, or it is a picnic in a park. Maybe there are board games involved, or you opt to go on a hike instead. The opportunities are endless and all about gathering with friends in a way that you all can enjoy!

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