Ideas for Celebrating Earth Day!
Learn Something New!
Spend Time Outside
Give Up a Less Sustainable Habit for the Day
3 cups cubed watermelon
2-3 cubed avocados
2 cubed cucumbers
1/2 cup minced basil, plus a handful of leaves for garnish
1/2 cup minced mint
1/2 cup crumbled feta
2 Serrano or Jalapeño Peppers, sliced
3 tbsp olive or avocado oil
1 lime juiced
1/2 red onion, very thinly sliced
salt to taste
Prep ingredients as directed above. Toss everything except for avocado. Add avocado and gently toss.
Prosciutto wRapped Asparagus and Melon
1 bunch asparagus
1 small melon, cantaloupe, honeydew, or similar (not watermelon)
prosciutto, cut into 1-2 inch thick strips
salt and pepper
Heat a skillet with a little oil. Break off ends of asparagus and add to the pan. Cook, flipping at least once for 4-7 minutes until tender. Set aside.
Cut melon. Scoop out seeds and slice into 1 in slices. Wrap a few asparagus and a melon slice with a strip of prosciutto. Serve cold or room temp.
Jammy Eggs with Paprika Aioli
2 jarred peperoncini in brine
4 springs parsley
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp smoked or hot paprika
Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil. Carefully place 4 eggs in the pot and set a timer for 8 mintues. Transfer eggs to an ice bath.
Strain and chop peperoncini, and place in a small bowl. Finely chop parsley and add to peperoncinis.
In another small bowl, combine mayonnaise and paprika.
Cut cooled eggs lengthwise, sprinkle with salt. Top each egg with aioli and peperoncini mix.
Fried Green Tomatoes
1 Green tomato per 1-2 people
Salt and pepper
Oil or butter to pan fry
Slice green onions about 1/4-1/2 inch thick. Whisk the egg on a plate or shallow bowl. Combine 1/2 cup corn meal per 1 cup flour, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat a skillet on medium, once hot add oil. Dip tomatoes in egg, one at a time, coating both sides. Then place on flour and flip, coating both sides. Place in the hot skillet. Cook for 4-5 minutes per side, until brown on both sides.
This recipe works as a ratio. Add more flour and eggs as needed.
This recipe can also be done with zucchinni and other veggies!
Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Miso Tahini
2 small sweet potatoes
2 tbsp neutral oil
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp tahini
2 tbsp white miso
2 tsp distilled white vinegar
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F. Rinse 2 sweet potatoes. Cut potates into quaters lingthwise, then cut each wedge in half crosswise into 2”-long pieces. Toss potatoe, 2 tbsp oil, and 1/2 tsp salt on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast, tossing every 5 minutes for about 10-15 minutes. Check frequesntly!
In a small bowl, combine tahini, miso, vinegar, and 1 tbsp water witha fork until smooth.
Trim root end off of one scallion, then thinly slice from bulb to dark green tip.
Spread tahini sauce on a plater. Arrange potatoes over and top with sesame seeds and scallions.
Smoked Salmon Dip
7 oz smoked salmon (or trout)
7 oz Philadelphia cream cheese , full fat
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup fresh dill , roughly chopped
1/2 garlic clove , minced
1 1/2 tsp lemon zest (1 lemon)
1 – 2 tbsp lemon juice
Pinch of salt and pepper
Add all ingredients to a food processor, starting with on 1/2 the lemon and less salt. Pulse until fairly smooth, scrapping down the sides as needed. Add more lemon and salt to taste. Serve with crackers, bread and veggies.
Artisana Golden Cashew Sauce w/ Roasted Veggies
1/3cup Artisana Organics Cashew Butter
1 small shallot, diced
2 cloves of garlic, smashed/ sliced
1/3 cup + 1 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 Medjool date, diced
2-3 tbsp water
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp kosher salt
Sautee the shallot in 1 tbsp olive oil until translucent, add garlic and cook until softened. Transfer all the ingredients into a bullet blender, blend well until smooth, creamy adding a little water depending on your preferred consistency. Store in a airtight container and use to elevate vegetables, meats, as a dressing or a dip.
We love to drizzle on assorted roasted veggies. Roast hot! Higher temp for less time is your new motto. 450 – 475 F. and acknowledge different veggies roast for different times and either. Start denser veggies first or cut them smaller than the others.
Mini Mushroom Pies
8 ounces mushrooms , minced
1 large yello or white onion , minced
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp dried thyme
Preheat oven to 450°.
In a skillet over medium high heat, saute the mushroom
and onion in the butter until tender. Add sour cream,
salt, thyme and flour and stir to combine. Cook for one
minute, remove from heat to cool.
On a floured surface, roll out the dough to about 1/4”
thick. Cut the dough into rounds with a biscuit cutter,
about 2” in diameter. Fit the dough rounds into muffin
tins and lightly tamp them into place. Fill the tarts with
1 teaspoon of mushroom filling. Bake 12-14 minutes.
8-16 oz soft mozzarella cheese, balls or log sliced.
1-2 cartons of cherry tomatoes
salt and pepper
extra virgin olive oil
Organize on a plate, toothpicks are optional. If the basil is large enough, it can hold the tomato and mozzarella inside!
Drizzle with balsamic glaze and olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Serve cold.
Baked Coconut Shrimp
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 lb. large shrimp or prawns (16 pieces), peeled and deveined
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs, beaten
Preheat the oven to 400 F.
In a shallow saucepan, heat oil, breadcrumbs, and shredded coconut over medium heat. Stir constantly and toast until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes.
Stir in seasoning garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper. Mix until well combined and remove from heat. Transfer bread mixture to a shallow plate and allow it to cool down to room temperature.
To prepare the shrimp, cut through the shell along the back with scissors. Remove the veins and the shells (keep the tails on). Rinse to remove the veins and pat dry each shrimp completely with a paper towel.
Prepare another shallow plate with flour, and another with the beaten eggs. Dip each shrimp into flour to evenly coat, then dip it into the eggs, and then coat it completely with the coconut breadcrumb mixture. You can gently press the crumbs into shrimp to adhere as much as possible. (The flour sticks to the shrimp, the egg sticks to the flour, and the breadcrumbs stick to the egg).
Transfer the breaded shrimp onto a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 15 minutes until fully cooked through and coating is golden brown. Flip the shrimp once halfway through baking if you want both sides to be crispy.
Serve immediately with spicy mayo sauce. To make the spicy mayo sauce, combine mayonnaise and hot sauce in a small bowl and stir well to combine.
Houseplant Chores to do Before Spring
Roots – Soil Health – Relocate – Fertilize
Check the roots! Are they coming out the bottom? Are they root-bound inside the pot? This means it is time for a repot. Most plants do not like being root bound and need continual(yearly) pot size increases.
What do I do when my plants look like this? You will need to repot in a larger pot. Gently break free and wiggle all the roots and remove the soil. Repot in the larger pot with fresh potting soil or a soil mix based on the type of plant. Water and you are ready to go.
Since our houseplants are living in a controlled environment, the soil nutrients do not get replenished like in the wild, with decaying plants. Overtime house plants absorb the nutrients from the soil. You should change the soil in your pots annually for the happiest and healthiest plants. Check to see if they are root bound and follow the step above, or simply repot with new soil in the same pot.
As the nights start to warm and the days get longer, your plants may be happier in different places around the house. Be cognizant of temperatures near windows, they will slowly get much hotter as we reach summer. Succulents and cacti can be moved outside once these freezing nights are over.
Fertilize & Water
We can start to fertilize again! These past few cold months have probably slowed or completely halted new plant growth. Start off slow when reintroducing fertilizer, only use 1/2 what you normally would for this first round and if you bought soil with chemical fertilizers to repot, do not fertilize at all.
Along with fertilizing returning, your watering schedule will probably change. The increased growth and warmer weather means watering more often. Take a look at your plants and soil moisture a few times a week to determine how often you will need to water, this will also depend on the type of plant. During the summer, most of my plants get watered once a week.
Why Buying Local is Sustainable
Our Rainwater Navel Oranges travel about 35 minutes from farm to the Co-op. This travel time is essential when considering the carbon footprint of your food. The more miles food travels during transportation, the more fossil fuels are burned, allowing harmful greenhouse gas emissions to be released into the atmosphere. Imported food often travels thousands of miles to get there, all through lengthy truck and plane trips. This not only causes massive fuel consumption and pollution, but also involves the need for facilities such as refrigeration that consumers vast amounts of energy. Compared to Florida Natural’s orange juice, Rainwater Ranch’s transportation emissions are insignificant. Florida Natural’s orange juice has to travel over 2500 miles to get to our shelves.
Although Florida’s Natural travels far to get here, we still love them. They are a Farmer Co-op! So although they may not be the most environmentally sustainable orange product at the Co-op, they are economically sustainable and follow the Seven Co-operative Principles.
Yolo County is surrounded by farmland. This means that many of our neighbors are farmers. Buying locally means that you are directly supporting the financial success of your neighbor and our local economy. When a local business is successfully operating, they utilize and support other local businesses to operate, and hire local people to help run the business. Shopping local provides jobs and keeps money in our local economy!
This one isn’t really about sustainability but still important! Local produce can be harvested at peak ripeness since it doesn’t have to travel far. Out of state and imported produce is harvested long before it is ripe, so it will still be edible after travel. Many imported goods ripen too quick and often go bad before they are purchased, producing lots of waste. By buying local, this is avoided and food waste is significantly less. Produce that ripens on the vine/bush/tree also taste better! They ripen with all the nutrients and water they need to mature properly. Local tastes better.
Did You Know it’s Compostable?
This blog provides a side-by-side comparison of the packaging of a few common brands and products that we carry and the compostable alternatives that are available. While this is by no means a complete list of all of the compostable packaged products that we carry, it should serve as a good tool to give you some tips to look for when you are in doubt about the best way to dispose of a product. You can learn more about composting in the City of Davis here.
While we are unable to escape the fact that most packaging is not compostable, the Co-op is proud to carry brands that are and is looking to expand their own offerings in this area. You may have already noticed some compostable options in our Produce and Bulk departments and we are proud to announce that our Deli department is making the switch to using more compostable packaging as well. You can already see some package changes which will continue to transition over the next few weeks. Before you dispose of any of these items, be sure to inspect the packaging for some of the verbiage that you can find in this blog.
Compostable products have evolved in recent years to more closely resemble and feel like traditional products. You may be surprised to see a container in our Deli department that looks and feels like clear plastic, but is actually fully compostable. When checking to see if an item like this is compostable, look for “PLA” or “0” inside or below the typical recycling triangle. You can also look for the words “compostable” or “biodegradable”, the City of Davis’ composting facility can handle it all! Some products may say “backyard compostable” or “compostable at a compost facility”, both of which are also accepted in Davis.
Compostable products are an obvious win when comparing end-of-life processing. When you are finished with a compostable product, you can compost it and turn it into a regenerative product: compost. Compost can be used in a number of ways, mostly as fertilizer for farms. Learn more about the benefits of composting in our blogs: Composting Guide and Regenerative Agriculture: People, Planet, and Profit.
It is also important to look at the full lifecycle of a product (and by-products) alongside each company’s sustainability practices and goals to make the biggest impact as an individual consumer. Our Meat department, for example, made the switch to prepacking most products in a vacuum sealed plastic film. The plastic film is not compostable or recyclable in Davis but the switch that was made actually reduced the total plastic used. For food safety, meat clerks must change gloves and plastic film often when handling various meats, which adds up quick. So although the prepacked meat comes in plastics instead of butcher paper, much less plastic is used in the overall process.
Side-by-Side Comparison of a Few Products
These bags are not compostable or recyclable in the City of Davis. These bags remain available in our Produce department by the request of shoppers/Owners who prefer these to the compostable bags.
The compostable bags in the produce section are backyard compostable. You can send them to the City of Davis composting facility or put it in your at-home compost pile.
Seventh Generation dryer sheets are not compostable or recyclable, however they are plant based. This may cause confusion about how to dispose of them. “Plant-based” sounds like it should be compostable, but unfortunately that is not true, and these need to be put in the landfill.
Mrs. Meyer’s dryer sheets are made of a brown paper and nontoxic fabric softeners. These are compostable in Davis.
All our pre-popped popcorn unfortunately comes in a plastic/metal bag that cannot be recycled or composted in Davis.
All of our microwave popcorn bags are compostable. Even better they are all PFAS free. PFAS can sometimes be found in compostable items, which pollutes our compost and waterways. You don’t need to worry about that here! Some popcorn comes individually wrapped in a plastic bag and this is required for food safety, unfortunately we cannot avoid plastic completely.
TetraPaks and shelf stable liquid cartons are not recyclable or compostable. They are made by layering paper, plastic, and metal. Separating these materials take a tremendous amount of water. There are only a few places in the U.S. that will recycle them and you have to ship that at your own cost.
Can’t tell the difference? Look on the inside once it’s empty. If it is silver, put it in the landfill bin. If is clear and you can tear it with your hands, put it in the compost bin
Milk and milk alternatives you find in the refrigerator section are not always TetraPaks. This Oatly container and many of our cow’s Milk cartons are made with paper and wax or very thin plastic. Either way the City of Davis will accept. Cut the plastic spout off the top and put in the compost bin.
The Earth naturally has a flow of carbon dioxide. It is stored in large deposits, often called “Carbon Sinks”, as fossil fuels, forests, and in the ocean. It is stored in microorganisms in the soil and in plants. We have accelerated the release of carbon through burning fossil fuels and conventional farming practices, and have slowed near a halt of the reabsorption of carbon dioxide through conventional farming and deforestation. The result, climate change and global warming. The excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere “simply” needs to be put back into the soil.
Regenerative agriculture, also known as “Carbon Farming”, has tremendous global potential and consists of widely available and inexpensive organic management practices. According to the Regenerative Agriculture Initiative at Chico State and the Carbon Underground, “Regenerative Agriculture is a holistic land management practice that leverages the power of photosynthesis in plants to close the carbon cycle, and build soil health, crop resilience and nutrient density”.
Regeneration International claims that “the deployment of all of these regenerative and organic best practices across the world on 5-10% of all agricultural lands…would result in…50% more [CO2 ] than the amount of sequestration needed to drawdown the CO2 that is currently being released into the atmosphere and the oceans”
Regenerative farming includes, but is not limited to:
Tilling, the practice of breaking up and rotating soil to churn weeds and crop residue back in the soil, breaks up root structures in the soil thus releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and deteriorating the topsoil. No-tilling practices, disturbing the soil as little as possible, results in healthier soil, which means healthier plants and higher crop yields.
The following photo shows a tilled farm with unhealthy soil. This practice deteriorates soil, puts Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere and will eventually make the soil useless to farmers.
Regenerative farmers also use cover crops. These plants cover the fields while leaving space for the intended crop and keep Carbon Dioxide in the soil. Cover crops provide the microorganisms in the soil with the nutrients they need to keep the soil healthy and balanced.
You may have already read our blog about composting and it’s environmental benefits. Composting some of the cover crops or main crop residue can be used to sequester carbon quickly and improve soil health. According to the Rodale Institute, “the benefits are significant and accrue quickly: after only one application season of amending with compost, soil organic carbon and aggregate stability increase significantly compared with non-amended soils.”
Crop rotations, switching the crop seasonally or yearly, has shown to “increase soil biodiversity and sequester Carbon” according to Rodale Institute. Keeping plants in the soil year round keeps a high amount of microorganisms in the soil, which we already know means healthy soil and higher crop yields.
Residue Retention is the practice of keeping the roots and base of the original plant, whether it be the cover crops or the main crop. Removing the plant residue by tilling or for bio-energy removes the Carbon from the soil and puts it in the atmosphere.
Rotational grazing is a regenerative practice where ranchers section off their land and move the cattle around the land to promote plant growth and soil health. SunFed ranch from Woodland, CA practices rotational grazing throughout their farmland and describes it as “the practice of guiding our cattle to new areas of the ranch to avoid overgrazing and allow forage to recover between mealtimes.” Learn more about SunFed Ranch’s commitment to regenerative agriculture in this video and be sure to stop by our Meat Department next time you are at the Co-op to check out our selection of SunFed products!
In an article from the Journal of Environmental Management, Samantha Mosier, et al. found that rotational grazing led to 13% more soil Carbon and 9% more soil Nitrogen compared to conventional grazing. Rotational grazing keeps the soil and plant life flourishing. With this practice ranchers are able to support more cattle than with traditional grazing. Not only is rotational grazing good for the environment, it can result in a higher yield for ranchers.
The intersection of these practices gives you regenerative agriculture. They all intertwine and improve each other. Rodale Institute claims that “recent data from farming systems and pasture trials around the globe show that we could sequester more than 100% of current annual CO 2 emissions with a switch to [regenerative agriculture]”. All of these practices are widely available, inexpensive to use, and result in a healthier soil, planet, and crops.
Regenerative agriculture is a win-win for the planet and farmers.
Resolutions and Traditions of our DFC Staff
Resolution: Drink more green juice
Tradition: Plays at or attends a house show
Ryan is cynical and thinks New Years is arbitrary.
Resolution/Tradition: Health and Wisdom for his family and friends
Tradition: Get a very fancy wine and watch the NYC 9:00 pm pst ball drop, then bed by 9:30 pm.
Resolution: Buy more good wine
Tradition: An evening and day to reset, eat pizza, watch Friends, and sleep.
Resolution: She doesn’t make one, prefers to live in the present and be thankful for all that she has. Take it one day at a time.
Tradition: It is her partner’s birthday, so they go to a movie and have a mellow day.
Resolution: Does not make one. Why put off till tomorrow what you can start today.
Resolution: More vacations, more time for me.
Tradition: Watch the eastern ball drop, then sleep
Resolution: To never make a resolution
Tradition: Stay up with the kids and neighbors to watch fireworks. Her son likes to dress up and wore a suit last year.
Resolution: Does not make resolutions
Tradition: Stay up with family and celebrate. The kids scream and run around with sparklers and blow horns.
Tradition: Everyone gathers around, writes down one regret on a piece of paper, shares if you want, and throws it in the fireplace or fire pit.
Resolution: My resolution is to stick to my monthly budget so I can save more money!
Resolution: ” Stereotypical, get in shape”
Tradition: Drive around with family and watch the fireworks in Sac
Learn how to minimize your Food Waste during Thanksgiving
In the United States, 40 percent of food goes to waste. This is a time of family, friends, and food. Unfortunately, because of our individual habits and struggles of our national food systems, in 2013, $277 million worth of turkey ended up in the trash after Thanksgiving.
Read the ReFed Annual 2020 Report
NRDC Update 2017 Food Waste Report
by clicking the following images to learn about national food solutions:
Why Reducing Waste is More than Just Saving Food
Wasting food wastes more than food, it wastes all the resources needed to make the food. The EPA elegantly explains all the great things that reducing food waste does for the environment:
- Saves resources: Wasted food wastes the water, gasoline, energy, labor, pesticides, land, and fertilizers used to make the food. When we throw food in the trash, we’re throwing away much more than food.
- Reduces methane from landfills: When food goes to the landfill, it’s similar to tying food in a plastic bag. The nutrients in the food never return to the soil. The wasted food rots and produces methane gas. Methane is a strong greenhouse gas with more than 21 times the global warming potential compared to carbon dioxide. Learn how to start your own compost pile in our blog: https://davisfood.coop/composting-guide/
- Returns nutrients to the soil: If you can’t prevent, reduce, or donate wasted food, you can compost. By sending food scraps to a composting facility instead of to a landfill or composting at home, you’re helping make healthy soils. Composting improves soil health and structure, improves water retention, supports more native plants, and reduces the need for fertilizers and pesticides.
So as part of showing thanks to our American food bounty, consider the following strategies to help you avoid wasting it this year on Thanksgiving.
What you can do while you shop
- Coordinate recipes with friends and family so you don’t end up with 3 green bean casseroles (unless if you want 3 green bean casseroles!). Setting up a shared Google Doc is a great way to simultaneously plan the meal with the friends and family you’re sharing the day with.
- Prepare less by cutting recipes in half. If you can’t have Thanksgiving without sweet potato casserole, but like me also “need” to make at least five other traditional side dishes, consider making a half recipe for one or all dishes, instead of full recipes.
- Plan ahead, make a list and compile ingredients from different recipes to avoid over buying. Be prepared to make conversions in the store, you may need 10 cups of flour, but it is sold by the pound.
- Resist the temptation to impulse buy, and buy in smaller quantities. Don’t be tempted by the big bag of pecans that are on sale when you only need a ¼ cup! Our Bulk Department is great way to only get what you need for recipes.
- Save a turkey! Instead of eating a turkey as the main course, consider adopting one from Farm Sanctuary! The Natural Resources Defense Council estimated in 2013 that $277 million worth of turkey ended up in the trash after Thanksgiving. The resources wasted from all that turkey is “equivalent to the amount of water needed to supply New York City for 100 days and greenhouse gases equal to 800,000 car trips from San Francisco to New York.”
What you can do while you prep
- Resist the urge to cut off all the “ugly parts”; the wilted leaves, top of the beet, and leave the skin on the root veggies. Carrot, beet, and potato skins are full of nutrients! You can also eat squash skins, like delicata and acorn, but pumpkin and butternut may not get soft enough to really enjoy.
- Set multiple timers! Hopefully nothing will burn and therefore less waste.
- Use ingredients you already have. If you accidentally bought celery but you already had some in the fridge, be sure to use the older one first.
- Save the veggie and meat scraps in the freezer to make broth with another time. Learn how to make Turkey Bone Broth from you Turkey Day Bird HERE
- Last resort is to compost them.
What you can do when it’s time to eat
- Serve smaller portions, you can always go back for seconds! This will reduce the wasted scraps of food on all the plates.
What you can do with leftovers
- Turn those leftovers into something new with our Thanksgiving Leftover Recipe Blog
- Freeze them to save for when you can stomach stuffing and cranberry sauce again!
- Save some of the dog-friendly items and mix them in with their normal food for a special meal too. Be cautious, dogs have a difficult time digesting chocolate, onions and garlic, and grapes are poisonous.
- Use the Turkey remnants to make broth!