A WARM BREEZE JUST BLEW IN FROM THE WEST AND IT IS BEGINNING TO FEEL LIKE SPRING. DOESN’T MATTER TO ME THAT WE’VE HAD A MILD WINTER, THERE IS NO BETTER FEELING THAN THE WARM BREEZE TO GIVE US HOPE OF WARMER DAYS AHEAD.
As we transition from winter's indoor farmers markets to spring's outdoor markets throughout our community, this tender season delivers fresh asparagus, chives, scallions and the promise of strawberries. We connect to the markets for the freshness of the product, but also because we want that connection to the person behind that first, fragrant berry. Shaking the hand of our farmers, listening to their tales of newborn calves, spring chickens and budding crops–grounds us in the reality that there is a face behind the local food we love.
But what happens the rest of the week when the markets aren’t open? If you’re shopping here at your co-op, we’re passing along similar stories to the ones you heard from the vendors themselves. Many of our products come with a story–and it's one of the most important stories we can tell–where the product actually came from. Transparency in labeling has been Outpost’s mission way before I started working here some thirty-plus years ago. You won’t just see the required “Grown in the U.S.” signs at the co-op, you’ll see the state of origin, country of origin, and when the product is in season, we will connect you with the name of the grower.
Truth is, with many more stores in our area carrying organic and local, consumers should look a bit deeper for the real story…the real facts. Do the pretty pictures of the local vendors on their walls actually match the product displayed for sale in the store? Is the organic produce displayed in a way where it doesn’t touch or comingle with conventionally grown items? (That is a retail practice required by the USDA, but often ignored by inexperienced handlers.) Do the “miles to market” signs describe the vendor or do they refer to the distribution center from where the product from far away was shipped? I don’t know about you, but I think saying a distributer is “local” is the opposite of transparent…or honest.
Truth is, you will find transparency of product and process at Outpost. When we say something is “local” it is Wisconsin grown or made. If we say “regional” it’s from a neighboring state. Last year 80 percent of our local and regional products came from within 100 miles of Outpost. We believe authentic local matters, not because it’s a buzzword, but because of the caring, cooperative relationships we’ve built throughout our 47 years in business.
~ Pam Mehnert, general manager
In this issue:
Taco Truck Favorites It's Taco Time
Happy Gut Happy Life Fermented Foods For A Happy Belly
Twisted Path Distillery Seed Sown, Pure Spirits Grown
and more ...
Below are some additional recipes from our Home Cook Kathy Papineau's kitchen that we couldn't fit in the magazine.
Fingerling Twice Baked Potatoes
10 various colored fingerling potatoes
2-3 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, diced
2 slices of bacon, cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons milk or heavy cream
¼ cup mild cheddar cheese, grated
Salt and pepper to taste
- Wash and poke a few holes in each of the fingerling potatoes. Bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes - or until tender. Remove from oven. Cut in half, length-wise. Gently scoop out the flesh of each half, keeping each color separated. Set aside the skins and the flesh. Cover to keep warm.
- In a medium saucepan, sauté bacon until just about done. Add the diced onion and sauté until translucent.
- Divide bacon and onions evenly between the potatoes. Mash with a fork until combined. Add the milk, and add the grated cheese. Mash until combined and the cheese begins to melt. Salt and pepper to taste. Try not to over mash the potatoes, leaving some of texture intact.
- While still piping hot, fill each potato skin and serve.
Spiralized Zucchini Parmesan Sauté
2 pounds zucchini, spiralized into noodles
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Salt to taste
- In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, add the olive oil. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute.
- Toss in the zucchini noodles and using tongs turn to cook evenly until tender, about 3–5 minutes.
- Remove from heat. Add the shredded Parmesan cheese and toss with the noodles. Salt to taste.
Simple Mediterranean-Style Quinoa
1 cup quinoa
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon olive or coconut oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Salt and pepper to taste
½ pound grape tomatoes, sliced lengthwise
2 tablespoons, fresh basil, sliced in thin strips
Juice of 1 lemon
- Place quinoa in a bowl with a few cups of water. Let sit for 10 minutes or more, then rinse - this will remove any bitterness in the quinoa.
- Place 2 cups of fresh water and quinoa in a small saucepan. Boil and then reduce heat to simmer for approximately 15 minutes. Gently rinse the quinoa. Set aside.
- In a media sauté pan over medium heat, add oil. Add onions and sauté until translucent. Add crushed garlic and sauté for a minute or two.
- In a separate bowl mix together onions and garlic, quinoa, lemon, Parmesan cheese, tomatoes, basil and lemon. Salt and pepper to taste!