Savvy Seafood Shopping at the Co-op

October is Seafood Month!

Seafood is a whole category of animal protein with diverse flavors, textures, and preparation methods in addition to offering serious nutritive content. Even if you love seafood, you may worry it’s too expensive to incorporate weekly or too difficult to cook well. Learn how to shop and prepare budget-friendly seafood that doesn’t compromise quality or sustainability. You can find ingredients mentioned in this blog at the Davis Food Co-op. 

You can always visit the Meat & Seafood Counter at the Co-op with questions! Our experienced Meat Cutters and Seafood Buyers know everything about the products in the case and can help with special orders if there’s something specific you are looking for. 

There’s plenty of fish in the sea. Let this blog help you find the right one for your next meal!

 

At the Meat & Seafood Counter

If you’re looking for fresh seafood, the best place to go is the Meat & Seafood Counter. Both availability and price are largely determined by the season.

In many cases, you can make swaps to save some money. Steelhead Trout and Salmon cook up very similarly as orange fatty fishes – choose whichever is cheapest. Similarly, Tilapia and Sole can be used interchangeably as well as Cod with Mahi Mahi, and Tuna with Swordfish. 

If you’re unsure of what to purchase, ask someone behind the Counter. They are very knowledgeable and friendly! 

*At the Davis Food Co-op, all of our seafood is MSC and BAP certified.

Product Highlight: Bluehouse Salmon

Bluehouse Salmon raises salmon in environmentally conscious Bluehouses, the aquaculture equivalent to a greenhouse. Their Bluehouses are 95% water, 5% fish, and use 99% recycled and filtered water. In the Bluehouse there is no waste, no escapees, and no microplastics left into the ocean. The result is a salmon with no added hormones, antibiotics, or pesticides – only all-natural, protein-rich, sushi-grade salmon. Ranked Best Choice by Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program and recommended by Ocean Wise.

In the Frozen Aisle 

You may have heard that frozen seafood is cheaper than fresh, and it often is! Don’t be afraid to source your seafood from the frozen aisle. Look for the following when shopping frozen seafood.

Filets in Bulk

You can find frozen filets of a wide variety of fish (and shellfish) available at the end of Aisle 10. These packages usually contain multiple individual servings/filets. Definitely price compare with what’s in the case to find the cheapest option (make sure to calculate price per ounce!) but this is a good option for someone shopping for one or a family. 

Frozen fish must be thawed prior to use. Slow, even temperature changes are best for maintaining taste and texture, which means you should thaw the portion you intend to use overnight (or all day) in the refrigerator. If you’re human and forget to do this, your next best option is to thaw in a bowl of cold water or cold running water. It will take about 15 minutes. Do not thaw in hot water, in the microwave, or on the counter. These methods not only compromise taste and texture, but allow for more potential for harmful bacteria to grow. 

Product Highlight: Pacific Seafood Clams

Harvested by hand from the West Coast of California and Baja Mexico, Pacific Seafood White Hard Clams are a rich source of protein, iron, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, vitamin C, iodine, and selenium. And, as one of the cheapest frozen seafood options, frozen clams are one of your best tools in savvy seafood shopping and eating. If you don’t know what to do with clams, check out the recipes at the end of this blog!

Discount Fish (10–50% OFF)

Everyday the Meat Department freezes fresh fish from the case that has reached its “freeze by” date. You can find this 10-50% off discount seafood at the end of Aisle 10. This is a great way to save some money and try something new (ask at the Counter the best way to prepare your catch of the day). 

Sushi-Grade Fish

If you’ve heard that you must use the freshest, best quality fish for sushi and sashimi, you heard right! We stock frozen sushi-grade Salmon and Ahi. Use sushi-grade white fish for ceviche too. Thaw overnight in the fridge for best results. Sushi-grade fish may not always be the most budget friendly option (but it’s nice to know we have it).

In the Grocery Aisles 

Don’t forget about the grocery aisles when shopping seafood – you’ll find your most economical options here. Yes, we’re talking “tinned fish”, which you may have seen had its viral moment on the internet earlier this year. The internet (read: younger generations) went wild for canned Salmon, Anchovies, Sardines, etc. in part because of the affordability and sustainability of these products! 

We offer a lot of tinned fish options, so here’s what to look for. The most affordable canned fish are usually Sardines, Anchovies and Tuna (Salmon, Oysters, and fancier things can be more expensive). Mackerel, Trout and Sardines are mild and less “fishy” tasting. Anchovies are little umami bombs that melt deliciously into sauces and dishes. 

Another great way to get delicious, salty, fishy taste into your dishes is with Red Boat Fish Sauce (made with just fish and salt). Add to your next stir fry, starting with ½ a teaspoon and adding more as you like.

Product Highlight: Wild Planet Sardines

Wild Planet is our pick when it comes to affordability and sustainability. Wild Planet Sardines aren’t too “fishy” and have a delicious, mild flavor. Sustainably caught and firm in texture, Wild Planet Sardines are an easy way to eat lower on the food chain while gaining essential nutrients such as EPA and DHA omega-3s, iron, and potassium. 

 

Recipes

Roasted Salmon

 

  • Salmon filets
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Rub each salmon filet with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place skin-side down on the parchment and cook for 12 minutes for every inch of thickness on the filet. 

You can take it a step further and wrap your salmon in a parchment packet with aromatics, citrus, veggies, and a drizzle of olive oil. The steam trapped in the packet will infuse the fish with flavor and cook it gently, making it tender and juicy. The parchment packet method only takes about 15 minutes at 425°F. Try lemon, capers and parsley.

Saucy Clam Pasta

  • 1 lb. pasta of choice (see what you already have!)
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 heaping teaspoon Italian herb blend or dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon or more red pepper flakes
  • ⅓ cup dry white wine (whatever you don’t mind drinking the rest of!)
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 cup reserved pasta water
  • 2 lb. clams, thawed if frozen
  • 1 large lemon, zested and juiced
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • Parmesan cheese, grated
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • For serving: crusty bread

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Once boiling, add salt and dried pasta. Cook until just under al dente (about 2 minutes less than the lesser cooking time). Reserve 1 cup of pasta water before draining pasta. Set aside.

Meanwhile, melt butter and olive oil in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium-low heat. Add garlic, dried herbs, and chili flakes. Cook for about 30 seconds or until the garlic is fragrant. Add white wine and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer, and reduce by half, about five minutes.
After reduced and thickened, add in vegetable stock and pasta water. Bring to a boil, again, then add the clams. Lower the heat to a simmer, and put the lid on the Dutch oven. Let the clams cook until they open, about 10 minutes. Once the clams have opened up, remove from the sauce, placing them onto a separate plate. Throw away any clams that have remained closed.

Add lemon zest, juice, parsley, pasta, and a good amount of grated parmesan and freshly cracked black pepper to the cooking pot. Let simmer until the pasta is al dente, 2-3 minutes. Taste and season with salt if needed. Add the clams back to the pot and serve in bowls with crusty bread.

Mediterranean Style Fish Toasts

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 big pinch red pepper flakes 
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 2 cans sardines in olive oil, drained
  • 4 slices fresh bakery bread
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan. When hot, sizzle the garlic clove and red pepper flakes for about 10 seconds, stirring the whole time. Add the lemon zest, stir, and immediately add the sardines. Cook, stirring frequently, until warmed through, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Toast the bread. Stir the parsley into the sardines, add a squeeze of lemon juice, and mix. Divide between the toasts and serve.

Tahini Caesar Salad Dressing and Veggie Dip

  • 1/2 cup well-stirred tahini (Soom is a great brand at the Co-op)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 anchovy filets
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • About ½ cup water

Combine everything except the water in a bowl or glass jar with a well fitting lid. Whisk or shake until it comes together. The mixture may thicken and “seize”. Add water a tablespoon at a time while whisking slowly until the mixture relaxes and thins. Add water until desired consistency is reached. You can do this in a blender or food processor as well. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

Tuna Banh Mi

  • 2 (5-ounce) cans solid, water-packed tuna, drained
  • 1.5 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup or granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 French baguette
  • Mayonnaise
  • 1 large carrot, julienned
  • 1 jalapeño, sliced
  • 1 English cucumber, sliced
  • Half a bunch of cilantro, torn

In a medium bowl, combine tuna, tamari, maple, sesame oil, and garlic. Mix. You can make it spicy by adding chili paste or your favorite hot sauce, but don’t overdo it since you’re adding jalapeños too. Set aside. 

Slice baguette in half (so you have 2 half size baguettes) and then slice to open each sandwich up. On one side of the bread, spread mayo. Split the seasoned tuna between both sandwiches. Then topped with shredded carrots, thinly sliced cucumbers, sliced jalapenos, and cilantro as desired. Enjoy!

Classic Tuna Melt

  • 3 (5-ounce) cans solid, water-packed tuna, drained
  • ¾ cup mayonnaise or plain Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup finely chopped cornichons or small kosher dill pickles
  • 3 tablespoons minced red onion
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 packed tablespoon minced fresh dill
  • 1-2 green onions, minced
  • 2 teaspoons whole-grain mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 8 slices rye or sourdough bread
  • 8 sandwich slices extra-sharp Cheddar 
  • 4 tablespoons softened unsalted butter, plus more as needed

Place the tuna in a medium bowl and flake with a fork. Add the mayonnaise, cornichons, red onion, lemon juice, dill, mustard, salt and pepper. Mix well.

Depending on the size of your bread, spoon ⅓ to ½ cup tuna salad on each of four slices of bread, heaping it in the middle slightly. Divide the cheese among the sandwiches, tearing and arranging the cheese to fit neatly. Place a piece of bread on top of each and generously spread the top piece of each sandwich with about ½ tablespoon butter.

Heat a 10-inch skillet over medium-low. Place two sandwiches, buttered-side down, in the skillet, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the bottom pieces of bread are golden brown. Meanwhile, spread the top of each sandwich with another ½ tablespoon butter. Carefully flip the sandwiches, turn the heat to low, and cook for 3 to 4 more minutes, until the bottoms are browned and the cheese is melted. Repeat with the remaining two sandwiches and serve immediately.

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Adapting My Great-Grandmother’s Recipes for the Co-op’s Holiday Meal

Adapting my Great-Grandmother’s Recipes for the Co-op’s Holiday Meal

Reflections by Marketing Specialist Christine Ciganovich

Each July, at the peak of summer, the Marketing Team begins planning the Holiday Meal. The Co-op has hosted the Holiday Meal, a free hot meal on Christmas Eve, every year since 1985 (read more about the Holiday Meal here). The first meal was hosted by a LGBTQ+ couple, both employees of the Co-op, whose families wouldn’t take them in. Seeing that others in our community also had nowhere to go for the holidays they organized a meal for any and all to attend. The event continued the following year, evolving into a community wide effort on Christmas Eve to provide a free and warm meal for as many as 700 people. Scheming for this year’s Holiday Meal, its 38th iteration, began some weeks ago in a meeting in the Teaching Kitchen on a very hot July day.

The Co-op’s Ends say we exist to provide “access to healthful, local and high-quality food,” among other things, but we keep coming back to this one as we’ve seen food insecurity grow in our county and among our shoppers in recent years. Naturally, our conversation about this year’s Holiday Meal started with access. When considering need in the county, especially our most vulnerable unhoused or elderly housebound neighbors, most can’t get to the Vet Memorial Center in Davis, where the meal is, so that’s something serious to consider. In the past we’ve offered meat and vegetarian meals to accommodate as many diets as possible. We also pull this off with a volunteer team and as many donations as possible. 

Soon a plan came together: we partner with shelters and community organizations like Meals on Wheels, Yolo County with existing networks to provide meals to those who cannot attend the sit-down dinner, which will still take place as so many have made it a part of their holiday tradition. The meal itself needed deciding upon too. What would be delicious, nutritious, accommodate the most diets, and be relatively easy for a volunteer team to make 600 portions of in about 8 hours? In the past, we’ve done traditional American holiday foods (turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, etc.) This is my very favorite kind of puzzle to solve. Making a meal so large requires so many moving parts. It is the peak logistical and creative challenge for me. And then I had a lightbulb moment: tamales. In truth, vegan tamales.

“Hear me out: vegan tamales solve all of our problems,” I told Marketing Manager Vince. They’re a main course that serves both meat eaters and vegans and they’re gluten free too. We can make 1200 between now and December and freeze them, which means our main course is already taken care of before we even pull up to the Vet Memorial Center on 12/24. This also means I can train the whole Marketing Team on how to make tamales, a valuable skill! From there it was easy to decide to scrap the traditional sides in favor of spanish rice, (vegan) refried beans, and a kale and pepita salad. A quick text to my mom and subsequent trip to her little metal recipe box meant I was adapting my Great-Grandmother, Ofelia’s, recipes for rice and beans to feed 600 people just twenty minutes later.

My Great-Grandmother was born in Mexico in 1911 and immigrated to the United States as a girl. She was a gifted seamstress, making dresses for golden age Hollywood starlets. She would later make my Halloween costumes and teach me how to sew and crochet. Summers were spent with my Grandma and Great-Grandmother until I was a teenager and they watched me, my brother, and my cousins before we started school while our parents worked. 

Both matriarchs were gifted cooks and my Grandmother, Norma, still is. When we were young my brother and I pestered my mom to make “Nana’s rice and beans” at home, because five days a week wasn’t enough. The elder women always seemed to leave out an ingredient measurement or forget that the rice *has* to be *this* brand or just gave vague instruction (“Smash beans – not a lot of juice” for example) until, after many attempts, my mom had some recipes written down, possibly for the first time in their many decades of use.

Truth be told, I hadn’t made these recipes myself, but always looking over my Great-Grandmother or Grandmother’s shoulder. To make enough rice for 600 for the Holiday Meal, I reckon I ought to be able to make a single batch, so I grabbed ingredients from the Co-op and went to work in our Teaching Kitchen. Soon the whole building filled with the smell of rice frying in oil, something I hadn’t smelled in a very long time. It was a very special moment, essentially facilitated by my workplace, and so I was standing in the Kitchen, heart very full, crying a little bit about how beautiful it all was.

Since then, the weather has cooled, the students have returned, and our Tamale Tracker tells me we’re 3 ahead of schedule at 103 cooked and frozen tamales. Only 1,097 to go! Although the Holiday Meal is probably the largest undertaking of the Marketing Team each year, it is truly a store-wide and community wide cooperative effort, and this year more than most with so much preparation happening beforehand. I want to give a huge shout out to Fresh Operations Manager James, the Meat Department and the Deli Department for letting us use their equipment and freezer for tamale production and to Store Operations Manager Rocio and Center Store Specialist Mike H. for helping us secure ingredients at this early stage in the process. The team at Meals on Wheels, Yolo County is helping ensure homebound seniors in Davis get to participate in the meal in addition to donating the kitchen equipment we’ll need to make it all. Many more folks from the Co-op and from across the county will be responsible for the success of this year’s meal. I feel deeply humbled and so very proud to share my family’s food and history with our community as a small part of that effort.

The Meal is still several months away! We’ll share more about it, including how you can volunteer or donate, as we get closer to December. Until then, happy Hispanic Heritage Month! Myself along with General Manager Laura and Store Support Manager Briza have been sharing family recipes at the registers. Look for those recipe cards until October 15th or find them all here.

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Hispanic Heritage Month 2023 Staff Recipes

It’s Hispanic Heritage Month

Celebrated each year from September 15th through October 15th, Hispanic Heritage Month recognizes the cultures, histories, achievements and contributions of Hispanic Americans. September 15 was chosen as the starting point for the commemoration of Hispanic Heritage Month as the anniversary of the Cry of Dolores (1810), which marked the start of the Mexican War of Independence. It was this moment that eventually led to independence for the Spanish colonies that are now recognized as the countries of Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Honduras, and Nicaragua. For a great list of resources related to Hispanic Heritage Month, we encourage you to visit this page here from the National Museum of the American Latino.

 

For the last few years, we’ve asked our staff to share their favorite family recipes with our community during this month. You can find these recipes at our registers over the next few weeks or collected below for your enjoyment. All of the ingredients for these recipes can be found at the Co-op, excpet where noted. 

Laura Sanchez, General Manager

Ensalada de Nopales

This is my mom’s recipe for a nice salad, healthy and refreshing recipe. Perfect for summer barbecues. Buy Nopales that are already cut.” -Laura S. 

  • Bag of cut nopales, approximately ½ pound (find at La Superior in Woodland)
  • 2-3 fresh chopped tomatoes
  • 1 small onion, chopped 
  • 1 small bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • The juice of a lemon 
  • ½ tbs of olive oil
  • A pinch of oregano, crumbled
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • For serving: queso fresco, chips or tostadas

In a pan with water, boiled the nopales with a small amount of salt and onion for about 20 minutes. Turn off the pan and rinse the nopales with cold water. Let them sit until the nopales cool off or rinse them with ice water.

In a bowl, mix the nopales, chopped tomatoes, chopped onion and cilantro. Set aside. 

In a small bowl mix the olive oil, the lemon juice, the pinch of crumbled oregano, salt and pepper. 

Put the olive oil and all the ingredients with the nopales. Refrigerate for about 1 hour and serve. You can add crumbled Mexican fresh cheese when serving. You can serve them on tostadas or eat them with corn chips.

Beef Chile Colorado

  • 2 pounds of beef, cubed
  • 1 28-oz. can of Las Palmas Red Chile Sauce
  • ½ white onion, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a deep pot over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Sauté the onion until soft and translucent, but not brown. Remove cooked onion from the pot.

Add the meat and brown nicely. Once the meat is brown, add the onion and the can of red chile sauce. Let it simmer for about 20 minutes, then transfer to the crock pot.

Cook in the crock pot for 5 hours on high or 7-8 hours on low. Serve with red or white rice (recipe below).

Chicken Fajitas

  • 1-1 1/2 lbs chicken breast cut into thin strips (about the same size so they cook evenly)
  • Olive oil, about 2-3 tbsp
  • 1 tsp salt (maybe 1 and 1/2 tsp if you like your food on the saltier side)
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • Limes
  • For serving: tortillas, guacamole, sour cream, shredded cheese

Mix olive oil and spices to make marinade.

Add chicken to the marinade, mix, and marinate at least 1 hour (in fridge).

Heat pan, add a little olive oil, once hot add chicken and cook about 8 mins (turning about half way so they cook evenly) until no longer pink. Also, cooking time depends on how thick the chicken strips are, thinner = less time. Once done cooking squeeze some fresh lime if you like.

Serve with tortillas, guacamole, sour cream and/or shredded cheese.

Briza Ramirez, Store Support Manager

Sopa de Fideo

  • 8 oz. package of fideos (You can substitute with thin spaghetti, vermicelli noodles, or angel hair pasta broken into 1inch pieces if you cannot find fideos – we do carry fideos at the Co-op)
  • 3 very ripe tomatoes (Roma or Plum but any tomato will work)
  • ¼ white onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 cube of chicken bouillon or equivalent (you can also use a vegan vegetable cube)
  • 6 cups of water or broth
  • Salt to taste
  • Vegetable oil

Cut the tomatoes in half. Puree the tomatoes, onion, bouillon, 2 cups of water/broth and garlic in the blender. Set aside.

In a pan, preheat 3 tbsp. of vegetable oil to medium-hot. Add the noodles and stir to coat with oil. Continue stirring until the fideo pasta has turned golden brown and a few strands have turned deep brown. Browning the noodles adds depth of flavor to the soup. When the noodles are browned, add the reserved mixture and add the remaining 4 cups of water/broth and stir. Bring the soup to a boil at medium heat and then cover with a lid and cook for 10 minutes or until the pasta is soft but not mushy. Adjust with salt to taste.

You can garnish with queso fresco, avocado cubes, and my favorite, pickled jalapeños.

Red Tomatillo Salsa

  • ¾ lb of tomatillos (husks removed and washed)
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • ½ white onion
  • 10 Chile de Arbol peppers for a spicy sauce, 5 if you want it mild
  • ½ teaspoon salt or to taste

Place tomatillos, onion and garlic in a medium heat skillet. Keep turning your tomatillos and garlic to get an even roast until they are soft and roasted, about 18 to 20 minutes. However, garlic cloves will roast faster so remove them and add to your blender or food processor after just a few minutes.

In a separate skillet or over the open fire, toast the chile de arbol peppers as evenly as possible. It takes about a minute. Make sure to not burn them or your sauce will have a bitter taste. Remove the stems once they are roasted..

Process tomatillos, onion, peppers, garlic and salt in a blender until a slightly chunky sauce forms. You can add some water in case it is needed and if you want it on the smoother side. This salsa will last up to 3 days refrigerated in an airtight container.

Pozole Estilo Jalisco

  • 2 1/2 lb stewing pork
  • 2 lb pork neck bones (call ahead and ask for the Meat Department to determine availability)
  • 8 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1/2 medium white onion, finely diced
  • 2 cans hominy 28 oz, you can use yellow or white (but if you can find purple, you should give that a try!)
  • 3 Chiles Anchos, deveined and soaked in hot water until softened
  • 1 very ripe tomato
  • 2 Chiles de arbol, toasted (optional)
  • salt 

Garnish

  • 1/2 sm green cabbage, finely sliced
  • ½ med onion, finely diced
  • 1 bunch radishes, round slices
  • Limes, cut into wedges
  • Tostadas
  • Hot sauce (Chile de arbol based)

Trim off excess fat of stewing pork and pork neck bones. Cut into 2-3 inch pieces if possible. Place in a large bowel with cold water and rinse well.

Place meat in a 6qt pan and cover with cold water. Water level must be approx. 6 inches above submerged meat. Add onion, 4 garlic cloves and salt (1 to 2 tablespoons) to the pot.

Bring to a fast and hard boil,then reduce heat to a gentle boil. After approx. 15 min of gentle boiling. remove and scoop off the gray foam that has appeared on the top. And taste for salt, if more is needed, add to your taste and boil the meat for 1 to 1 ½ hours or until meat is tender.

Open the cans of hominy and drain the liquid. Give it a quick rinse, reserve half a cup of the hominy, and add the hominy to the broth.

In a blender mix the chiles anchos, the remaining 4 garlic cloves, some salt, the ½ cup of hominy, 1 cup of the meat broth and the tomato. If you want your pozole spicy add the chile the arbol as well, otherwise you can omit it. Blend until smooth. Be careful when blending with the hot broth as this can cause pressure in the blender.

Add the sauce into the pot and let everything simmer for 30 more minutes.

Serve the pozole in a bowl, and garnish with cabbage, onion, radishes. Serve on the side lime wedges and tostadas.

Christine Ciganovich, Marketing Specialist/cooking class instructor

Spanish Rice

In truth, this is Christine’s great-grandmother, Ofelia’s, recipe.

  • 12 oz. long grain white rice
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • 6 oz. tomato sauce
  • 1 ¾ cups no salt veggie broth
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon garlic salt
  • ½ cup slices green onions (green and white parts)

Combine rice and oil in a pot with a well fitting lid. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring very frequently, until the rice is turning golden brown and smells nutty.

Add remaining ingredients and stir. Turn heat up to bring to a simmer. Once bubbling, put on the lid, turn heat all the way to low, and cook for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn off the heat and leave the lid on for an additional 10 minutes to finish steaming. Fluff with a fork and serve.

Chilaquiles

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 12 corn tortillas, cut in half and then into 1-inch strips
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 38 oz. Las Palmas Red Chile Sauce (1 large can plus 1 small can)
  • 2 cups shredded Jack and cheddar cheeses
  • For Serving: cotija cheese, sour cream, avocado slices, fried eggs, black olives, pickled jalapeno

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Heat oil in a deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add tortilla strips and fry until the edges are lightly browned and crispy. Pour sauce over tortilla strips. Add green onions and 3/4 of the cheese. Stir to ensure all tortilla strips are evenly soaked with sauce and the cheese and green onions are well incorporated.

Transfer to casserole dish. Sprinkle remaining cheese over everything. Bake for 15 minutes, or until cheese is melty.

Serve as is or with all the toppings.

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Maui Wildfire Relief Efforts

Support Relief Efforts in Maui

Like many around the world, we have been devastated by the loss of life and land caused by a recent wildfire in Maui. When these tragedies occur, it is natural to want to lend support to relief efforts that are helping victims. However, with so many different organizations to choose from, it can be difficult to know where you should best focus your attention. Below is a list of vetted local organizations in Maui that are providing grassroots support for the victims of this wildfire.

Ama OluKai Foundation  

The sustainable footwear company OluKai, a certified B-corp, has a decade-long history of supporting the Hawaiian community through its Ama OluKai Foundation.  The Foundation is set up to take direct donations and is matching funds up to $200,000 to directly support victims of the Maui wildfire.

https://olukai.com/products/maui-fire-relief-fund

Hawai’i Community Foundation  

The Hawaii Community Foundation has been the leader in Hawaiian philanthropic efforts for over 100 years. They immediately set up the Maui Strong Fund to solicit donations for fire relief which has raised more than $27M from over 100,000 donors in more than 40 countries. They are continuing to raise fee-free donations that can be deployed quickly, with a focus on rapid response and recovery.

https://www.hawaiicommunityfoundation.org/maui-strong

Hawai’i Food Bank  

Hawaiʻi Foodbank is a non-profit 501(c)3 agency that provides food assistance to the state of Hawaiʻi. Online donations will be quickly utilized to help provide support and food assistance to those in need through their partnership with the Maui Food Bank. 

https://hawaiifoodbank.org/maui-relief/#

Regenerative Education Center

REC is a sustainable Nonprofit farm on the south side of Lahaina that teaches regenerative agriculture. Although the farm was heavily damaged by the fires, they are offering generators, solar power, plumbing, food and the shade of their mango trees as an off-the-grid shelter option for displaced residents.

https://www.recenters.org/

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National Farmer’s Market Week 2023

National Farmers Market Week is an annual celebration that takes place across the United States to honor and promote the importance of farmers markets in local communities. This week-long event typically occurs in early to mid-August and is a time to recognize the vital role that farmers markets play in supporting local farmers, connecting consumers with fresh, locally-grown produce, and fostering community engagement.

In the heart of Davis, California, lies a vibrant and cherished institution that has stood the test of time—the Davis Farmers Market. As we celebrate National Farmers Market Week, we delve into the fascinating history of this local gem. 

Definition of Farmers Markets

 The USDA defines it as: “a multi-stall market at which farmer-producers sell agricultural products directly to the general public at a central or fixed location, particularly fresh fruits and vegetables (but also meat products, dairy products, and/or grains).”

History of Farmers Markets

Farmers markets date all the way back to Egypt over 5,000 years ago. Farmers along the Nile came together to sell their fresh produce.

The first farmers market in the United States opened in 1634 in Boston, Massachusetts. Many markets began following: Hartford in 1643, New York City by 1686, and Philadelphia in 1693, to name a few.

During the 1700s, 1800s, and the first half or so of the 1900s, grocery stores gained in popularity; consequently, interest in farmers markets fell. During the late 1970s, a peach harvest surplus inspired lawmakers to allow farmers markets in California. 

The seeds of the Davis Farmers Market were sown in the late 1960s and early 1970s when five individuals—Martin Barnes, Jeff & Annie Main, Henry Esbenshade, and Ann Evans—found themselves united through friendship, political activism, and their studies at UC Davis. Under the mentorship of UC Davis rural sociologist Isao Fujimoto and his Alternatives in Agricultural Research Project, they developed a shared passion for sustainable agriculture and community-driven initiatives. In 1976, the trio of Henry Esbenshade, Martin Barnes, and Annie Main received approval from the Davis City Council to establish the Davis Farmers Market in Central Park.

Bolstered by the support of the Davis Food Co-op, which promised to buy any produce that farmers couldn’t sell, they embarked on a mission to connect local farmers directly with consumers.

Alongside the market’s growth, farmers and consumers began advocating for changes in State regulations that limited direct marketing of food. The efforts of individuals like Davis Farmers Market board member Les Portello contributed to the state Department of Food and Agriculture adopting regulations that created the nation’s first Certified Farmers’ Markets.

These new regulations enabled farmers to sell their products directly to consumers without strict size and packaging requirements, as long as they met minimum quality standards and operated in a market certified by the county agricultural commissioner.

This significant development further bolstered the Davis Farmers Market’s mission of supporting local farmers and promoting sustainable agriculture.

To this day, there are over 100 vendors at the Davis Farmers Market, where you can find fruits and vegetables, a variety of meats and seafood, nuts, wine, local eggs and honey, fresh-baked goods, plants, flowers and gifts. Today, the market serves between 7,000 and 10,000 people a week with more than 70 percent of the vendors coming from within a one-hour drive from farm to market.

The current schedule for the Davis Farmers Market:

Saturdays 8am-1pm, year-round, rain or shine!
Wednesdays 4-8pm for Picnic in the Park (mid-May through mid-September)
Wednesdays 3-6pm (mid-September through mid-May)

Good Humus

Today, along with their children, Annie and Jeff run Good Humus Produce, which can be found at the Market every Saturday.

Their eight and a half acre farm is made up of orchards, California native hedgerows, flowers, herbs, and vegetables. Beyond their produce they also make jams and jellies with their own fruits and herbs, floral arrangements and wreaths with their flowers, and they also make tons of dry fruit using the natural California sun.

You can find their products at the Davis Food Co-op & they also have their own Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) program.

The Davis Farmers Market Cookbook

Written by Ann Evans, this revised editon of the Davis Farmers Market Cookbook, which celebrates the Market’s 40th anniversary, focuses on the second generation of farmers and vendors. Ann Evans speaks of the importance of Farmers Markets, farmers, and the joys of cooking seasonally.

You can find this book available at the Co-op and online

As we commemorate National Farmers Market Week, let us recognize and celebrate the remarkable history of the Davis Farmers Market and the invaluable contributions it continues to make to the community.

Find more information about the Davis Farmers Market here

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Ujamaa Farmer Collective – DFC’s 2023 Apple-a-Day Recipient

Each year, the Co-op donates $0.10 for every pound of apples sold over the course of a year through our “Apple-a-Day” program. With 61,959 lbs of apples sold from July 2022 – June 2023, we were left with $6,196 to donate to a local organization.

For this year’s donation, we have chosen Ujamaa Farmer Collective
as our recipient.

The $6,196 donation will directly support the Collective’s fundraising efforts to “build a Black-led, BIPOC-centered agriculture business cooperative committed to providing long-term, affordable land access for multiple existing BIPOC farmers/ranchers struggling with land security” here in Yolo County. In this blog we will tell you more about the vision of the Ujamaa Farmer Collective and how you can help them achieve their goals.

Ujamaa Farmer Collective Leadership Team
(pictured from left to right):
Keith Hudson (Grocery Croppers, LLC),
Brian Pinkney (We Grow Urban Farm),
Nathaniel Brown (Brown Sugar Farm),
Nelson Hawkins (We Grow Urban Farm)

 

To best understand these goals, we must first consider some historical context. In 1910, around 14% of farmers* in the US were Black and they owned more than 16 million acres across the country. Today only around 1% of US farmers are Black while nearly 95% are White. Many factors over the past 100 years have led to such a sharp decline.

* It should be noted that “farmer” is also known as “producer” in these counts and consists of a farm’s owner, a member of the owner’s family, a manager, a tenant, a renter, or a sharecropper and does not include the employees (known as farmworkers).

Since the early 20th century, Black farmers have faced a long history of injustices including unequal access to credit and federal aid. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has faced multiple lawsuits, including the landmark case of Pigford v. Glickman in 1999, for its history of discriminatory practices that have limited Black farmers’ abilities to invest in their farms and acquire land. Compounding these economic challenges, many Black farmers deal with the complex issue of heirs’ property – a form of land ownership that arises when a landowner dies without a will, leading to the vulnerable division of property amongst the deceased’s heirs. This precarious situation resulted in a 90% decline in Black-owned farmland nationwide between 1910 and 1997, resulting in an estimated capital loss of $326 billion . In addition to these systemic inequities, Black landowners have also faced intimidation, violence, and illegal land seizures, all furthering the gap in land access for Black farmers.

Enter the Ujamaa Farmer Collective. Meaning “fraternity or familyhood” in Swahili, the term “Ujamaa” is the fourth principle of Kwanzaa created through cooperative economics as a practice of shared social wealth and the work necessary to achieve it.This is at the root of what the Ujamaa Farmer Collective hopes to achieve. Created by a compassionate group of advocates within the CDFA BIPOC Advisory Committee, the Collective has been created to work towards addressing the challenge of land tenure amongst historically underserved farmers.

Built upon the work of AB 1348: The Farmer Equity Act,  the Collective notes in a blog on the Kitchen Table Advisors website that their focus is “to provide land for BIPOC farm businesses to steward through long-term, affordable leases. These leasing opportunities, ranging from ½ acre to 20-acre plots owned by the collective, will enable existing farm business owners to grow their operations on secure land parcels. The collective also aims to provide on-site housing for the farmers, allowing these business owners to fully immerse themselves in their farms while also raising and tending to their families”

The Collective has already successfully advocated for state funding to acquire a 50-100 acre parcel of land in Yolo County and recently attained counsel to aid them in establishing their 501(c)(3). They have raised $1.25 million towards their campaign goal of $2.5 million so far and are working with Possibility Labs as their fiscal sponsor to make this dream a reality. The work to choose and develop a site is underway as they continue to fundraise to build these equitable opportunities for Black and BIPOC farmers. While the Collective has made great progress, and the Co-op is happy to contribute towards that progress, the work is far from complete to reach their campaign goal of $2.5 million. That is where we are calling on our Co-op community to help support these continued efforts. 

As a co-op in our community for the past 50 years, we know the power of collective effort to make changes in our local food systems. In recognizing that, we must also recognize that the changes that our co-op has influenced during that time have largely benefitted only White communities. As noted in an article on the Cool Davis website, supporting this project “is a once in a generation opportunity to do something well within our grasp that will have a significant positive impact right here at home. The impact will reverberate in all aspects of Yolo county racial equity lived experience, in our sustainable food system, in the resilience of our community”.

Co-op shoppers are encouraged to visit the Ujamaa Farmer Collective’s website to learn more or get involved and make a donation through either GoFundMe or Raisly.

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Rawgust Recipes: Raw Foods for Summer Scorchers

Rawgust

This is not a hardcore raw food blog. You don’t need any fancy equipment to make these recipes. And you certainly won’t be making raw spinach and apple “tortillas” for raw “burritos”. This is not that kind of raw food blog, no offense. 

This is the kind of raw food blog that celebrates the bounty of summer produce while acknowledging summer’s reality: it’s really hot and running the AC is expensive. So let’s skip the oven, all heat sources really, and go straight to raw preparations of our favorite fruits and vegetables!

What is raw food? 

For some, eating primarily raw foods – uncooked and unprocessed – is a dietary and lifestyle choice. There are many definitions of what a raw food diet is, with most providing a temperature food should not be heated above. We’re not going to get too technical here. For our purposes, raw means we won’t be using heat (stove, oven) to prepare these veggie-forward dishes. 

I am not a raw foodie. A lot of my diet comes from cooked foods. In fact, my body has a much easier time digesting cooked vegetables than raw ones. But I can’t go through life only eating cooked veggies, so here are some of my favorite raw foods I’ve been eating on repeat! Find all of the ingredients for the recipes below at your Davis Food Co-op. 

 

Kelp Noodle Salad

I love this kelp noodle salad by itself, stuffed into spring rolls, or as a way to give second life to leftover proteins.

  • 1 package Kelp Noodles
  • 1 lemon, cut in half, divided 
  • ¼ cup tahini
  • 1-2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon tamari 
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • Water to thin
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • ½ small red onion sliced
  • 2-3 celery ribs, thinly sliced
  • ½ small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 1 small daikon radish, grated
  • Handful cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup raw sunflower seeds
  • Optional: lime wedges for serving

Rinse kelp noodles in cool water. Transfer to a mixing bowl or storage container and fill with water until covered. Squeeze juice from half a lemon over noodles. Stir and let sit for 30 minutes to tenderize noodles. 

In a large bowl, whisk together juice from the other half of the lemon, tahini, maple syrup, tamari, and sesame oil. Add water 1 teaspoon at a time if needed to thin to dressing consistency. Add veggies, cilantro, and sunflower seeds to the mixing bowl. 

Drain kelp noodles and transfer to a cutting board. Chop several times to make noodles smaller (2-3 inches). Add noodles to the veggies. Toss together and serve with lime wedges.

Crunchy Topper

I usually have a sweet and savory version of this in my pantry, although I toast everything in the oven at home. For this iteration, no toasting necessary. Use this sweet crunchy topper over yogurt, smoothies, oatmeal, fruit, mixed into nut butter (then use on a PB&J), or over ice cream!

  • ½ cup raw walnuts or pecans

  • ¼ cup raw pumpkin or sunflower seeds

  • 5-8 pitted dates, depending on how sweet you like things

  • 1 tablespoon hemp seeds

  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds

  • ¼ cup shredded unsweetened coconut 

  • ½ cup gluten-free rolled oats 

  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • Big pinch salt

  • Optional: 1 tablespoon unsweetened cacao powder

  • Optional: 1 tablespoon cacao nibs

  • Optional: 3 tablespoons roughly chopped dried fruit such as cherries, mangos, or blueberries

Add walnuts/pecans and pumpkin/sunflower seeds to a food processor. Pulse a few times to roughly chop. Add dates and pulse a few more times to loosely combine. Add seeds, coconut, oats, cinnamon, and salt. Pulse a few more times until the mixture is crumbly. Stir in any optional flavorings. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 weeks.

Customizable Tomato Salad

I make this for dinner about 3 times a week in the summer. It comes in handy when I realize my dinner plate isn’t very colorful or when I have 6 cherry tomatoes and other odds and ends left from the week or when the tomato plants in the backyard just won’t quit.

  • Tomatoes (whatever you have on hand), cut into wedges (large tomatoes) or halved (cherry tomatoes)
  • 1 summer vegetable (cucumber, zucchini, or corn) OR 1 summer fruit (watermelon, peaches or cantaloupe)
  • Red onion, thinly sliced
  • Chopped fresh herbs (basil, mint or parsley) 
  • Olive oil
  • Lemon
  • Salt and pepper 
  • Optional: feta cheese

Start with whatever tomatoes you have on hand. Little ones can be halved and large ones can be cut into wedges. 

Decide what your secondary ingredient is. Slice cucumber, cut zucchini into small cubes or cut kernels from the ear of corn. You can also choose a fruit as your secondary ingredient, which I do when I buy a large melon and need something to do with any leftovers. Cube whichever fruit you choose. Add to a bowl with tomatoes, red onion, and herbs. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon juice, a generous pinch of salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Add a little feta if you have it on hand, otherwise, serve at room temperature.

Caesar’s Zucchini

Caesar Dressing

  • 1/2 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 small clove of garlic, peeled and crushed with the side of a knife
  • 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (or tamari if gluten free)
  • 1/4 cup neutral oil, like avocado
  • 2 tablespoons lightly packed fresh tarragon leaves
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives, plus more for garnish
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
  • 3 medium zucchini
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

To make the dressing, add cheese, egg yolk, mustard, lemon stuff, garlic, vinegar, Worcestershire/tamari, oil, tarragon, chives, and salt to a blender. Blend until smooth. Set aside.

Cut the zucchini lengthwise into long strips roughly the width of a pencil. Place in a large bowl and toss with the salt and pepper. Let sit for 5 minutes. Pour half of the dressing over the zucchini and toss to coat. Add more dressing as desired. Let sit for 3 minutes, but not much longer as the zucchini will continue to release liquid. Serve zucchini pieces alongside a main dish or heaped on toasted bread.

Apple Horseradish Sandwich Spread

I like this on a whole wheat slice stacked sky high with a rainbow of veggies, plenty of pickles, and cheddar cheese.

  • ½ cup sunflower seeds
  • 1-3 tablespoons water
  • Half a lemon
  • 1 granny smith apple, chopped 
  • 1-4 teaspoons prepared horseradish
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup
  • Generous pinches of salt and pepper

Add all ingredients to a blender, starting with the lesser amounts of water and horseradish, unless you know you love horseradish. Add water to achieve desired consistency. Spread on a sandwich!

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Students Can Live their Values and Transform their Community

In a world where corporate giants dictate our choices, where every dollar we spend seems to feed into a system that values profit over people, it’s easy to feel like just another cog in the machine as you make your purchases. This feeling may become most prevalent with our most frequent purchases, food and groceries. But what if your grocery store was more than an obligatory stop? What if it could be a statement of your values, a contribution to your community, and a step towards a more equitable and sustainable world?

Let us welcome to the Davis Food Co-op, a grocery store that’s about so much more than just food.

As a college student, you’re not just learning, you’re actively shaping your world. Every decision you make, from your field of study to where you shop, is a reflection of your values and the future you want to create. Are you passionate about environmental sustainability? We prioritize local, organic produce and work hard to minimize waste. Concerned about workers’ rights? We’re committed to fair wages and good working conditions, both for our own employees and for the employees of our vendors. Want to support your local economy? We source seasonally from local farmers and producers whenever possible and carry products from over 500 local brands in store. The Co-op is made of a group of individuals who believe in the power of collective action, who care about fostering a sustainable food system, supporting local farmers, and promoting healthy, ethical choices. We are your neighbors. We are the people you see every time you go for a walk, a bike ride or a trip to the farmers market early on a Saturday morning. We are your community.

When you walk into the Davis Food Co-op, you’re not walking into a sterile, impersonal supermarket. You’re walking into a community hub.

You’re likely to see familiar faces, maybe even friends. You’ll find staff who are more than just employees – they’re individuals who care about their work, their community, and their world.

But the sense of community goes beyond the walls of our store. As a co-op, we’re deeply connected to our local community. We host events and classes, fostering connections and shared learning.

We give back to our community, supporting local causes and initiatives. And most importantly, we listen to the feedback of our customers, most of whom are Member-Owners who not only shop with us, but also own a piece of our business.

Anyone can shop at the Davis Food Co-op but joining as a Member-Owner means you’re not just talking about these ideals, you’re living them. Being an Owner means that you are making a small investment ($15 to start) to be extended rights, responsibilities, and influence to thrive as part of our store and community. You gain access to a myriad of extra promotions and programs, access to issued dividends, and the right to help choose the direction of the cooperative. You can vote, attend meetings, serve on the Board of Directors, track all of your purchases online, and much more. As part of the Co-op, you have an even greater say in our practices and policies. You can help us decide what products we stock, what initiatives we support, and how we can better serve our community. You become part of a cooperative that values transparency and mutual respect. Unlike traditional grocery stores, our goal isn’t to maximize profits. Our goal is to use our profit to serve our Members and our community in the ways that they best see fit. And since we understand that not everyone can stay in Davis long-term, we offer the ability to Member-Owners to be refunded their investment at any time, no questions asked.

Let’s take a moment to contrast this with your typical corporate grocery store. When you shop at one of these stores, your money goes towards lining the pockets of distant shareholders. Your choices are dictated by what will maximize their profits, not what’s best for everyone as a whole. The products on the shelves are there because they’re cheap to produce and yield high profit margins, not because they’re good for your health or the environment. The workers you see in the store are often paid minimum wage, with little regard for their well-being or job satisfaction. In these stores, you’re not a valued member of a community, you’re a consumer. Your value is measured in dollars, your voice is systematically silenced through purposefully inept and complex bureaucracy. There your values are only considered while planning their exploitation, and your community is slowly drained.

Now, imagine a different kind of grocery store. Imagine a store where your voice matters, where your values are reflected in the products on the shelves, where your money goes towards supporting your local store and community rather than distant shareholders. Imagine a store where your value is intrinsic to you for simply being. That’s the Davis Food Co-op. When you join us, you’re not just joining a grocery store. You’re joining a community. You’re working towards creating a better, more sustainable world. So, if you’re ready to keep moving forward, to align your actions with your values, we invite you to join us. Join the Davis Food Co-op, and let’s make a difference together.

For more information on how to become a Member-Owner, visit https://davisfood.coop/ownership-info/

or the Customer Service Desk in store.

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