Growing Our Principles

Values in Action
Menomonie Market Food Co-op has supported small, local and cooperatively run farmers, food producers and vendors for over 40 years. Now we further deepen our commitment to our values by joining the P6 Cooperative Trade Movement.

P6 is a national movement focused on building equitable and just relation-ships between farmers, producers, retailers,and consumers. Currently a collaboration between six food co-ops around the U.S., P6 works to create strong,values-based economies.

Cooperation & Change
Principle Six (P6) is the sixth cooperative principle, “Cooperation Among Cooperatives”. Originallyestablished by the Rochdale Pioneers in 1844 and later by the International Cooperative Alliance, At Menomonie Market we view YOU as a powerful participant in our local and global economy: ENGAGEDEDUCATED EMPOWERED to use YOUR dollars as a tool for change. the seven cooperative principles serve to guide the business decisions of our co-op. P6 co-op members are hard at work creating strong local communities by promoting and living our values of creating healthy, just and sustainable relationships with farmers, vendors, our staff and the community at large.

A Step Further
In addition to finding a wide selection of P6 products in the store, MMFC takes the same P6 care in selecting the ingredients used to prepare our homemade Hot Bar and Deli foods. Whether you are joining us for weekend brunch, a business lunch or quick evening meal, you will enjoy delicious food and feel great knowing you are helping to create a vibrant local economy


Labels 101

By Emily Schwartz

Organic? Conventional? Local? All natural? With all of the different labels used to describe foods these days, it can be difficult to sort through all of them to make the best decision on what to buy at the grocery store.
The majority of today’s fruits and vegetables are conventionally produced. This means that they are grown using traditional or “common-place” methods that are generally accepted as “safe” and “acceptable.” These methods, which may include the use of pesticides, fertilizers, and genetic modification, have been used for years to produce larger amounts of fruits and vegetables to help meet a growing consumer demand for affordable produce with a quality appearance and year-round availability.
Many of the local fruits and vegetables available during our Wisconsin growing season are conventionally produced. Although local produce may certainly be organic, organic is not synonymous with being locally grown. Currently, there is no set definition for a food labeled as local; however, it often refers to a food produced within a certain geographical area. Depending on individual perspectives, a local food may be produced within a set number of miles or grown in a certain county, state, region or country where a person may reside. In general, local fruits and vegetables may travel shorter distances from the field to the store. This yields fresher and more flavorful produce. In addition, this shorter travel time gives fruits and vegetables less opportunity to lose important nutrients. Buying local produce may offer the opportunity to support your local community, as well as introduce you to the farmers growing your food.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) mandates that a food carrying the organic label be produced using sustainable practices without the use of conventional pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, or genetically engineered products. However, forms of organic pesticides and fertilizers may still be used in the growing process. To be able to label a product as organic, a producer must become certified by the USDA. This process may take years to complete and may mean that some producers are following organic growing methods even without the organic label on their produce.
With increasing availability of organic products, natural is another label that is increasingly being used to market foods. Unlike organic, there are currently no set regulations qualifying the use of this term. Today, as much of our food undergoes some sort of processing before it reaches our plate, it is hard to define a food as “natural” from a food science point of view. Currently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) only loosely defines a “natural” food as one that may be without added colors, artificial flavors, or synthetic additives. As this topic is of much debate, the FDA is currently requesting public comments and information to possibly formulate a set definition in years to come.
Regardless of what types of fruits and vegetables you buy, there are benefits to foods in each category. We at Festival like to encourage that all forms matter, but ultimately, the decision to buy organic, local, natural, conventional, or any combination of the above comes down to personal preferences and beliefs.
Emily Schwartz is a nationally accredited registered dietitian-nutritionist (RDN) serving the Eau Claire and La Crosse communities as Festival Foods’ Western Markets Regional Dietitian.

Great Gluten-Free Choices

Do you (or a loved one) feel better when you don’t eat gluten? If so, you probably eat mainly fruits and veggies, and pasture-raised meats. But if you’d like to occasionally try some other gluten-free products, here are some great choices.
Arrowhead Mills Gluten-Free All Purpose Baking Mix  The ingredients are simple, no corn or soy. Verified non-GMO. It’s easy to use to bake quick breads.

Mary’s Gone Crackers They’re organic and verified non-GMO. Made from a mix of grains and seeds, with no sugar or trans fats. They’re so good, they’re gone before you know it.

Enjoy Life, Eat Freely For a tasty treat now and then, these products have simple ingredients and are soy and dairy free. Also verified non-GMO.

Erewhon 100% Whole Grain Cereal This cereal is non-GMO verified, contains less than 1 gram of sugar per serving, and goes great with either milk or coconut milk.

Lundberg Organic Rice Cakes These rice cakes taste great, are non-GMO verified, and work great
as the base for cream cheese, melted cheese, and spreads.

Lundberg Organic Brown Rice Pasta Sturdy. Never mushy. A good wheat pasta substitute.

Superfoods for You!

Kefir: It’s kind of like yogurt, but it has more protein and less sugar. It does, though, have that same creamy texture, great taste, and the helpful probiotics of yogurt. Those probiotics are a healthy type of bacteria that strengthens your immune system. Kefir can be substituted for yogurt in salad dressings and other recipes. It can be found in the dairy aisle of your grocery store.

Jicama: It’s a root vegetable and has a slightly sweet taste and a crunchy texture. It also has insulin, which can help get rid of belly fat and promotes good bacteria in the gut. Jicama also has a lot of vitamin C for boosting collagen and fighting wrinkles. It can be eaten raw or stir-fried. You can find it in farmers markets and Mexican groceries.

It’s jam-packed with fiber, calcium, and omega-3s, as well as iron, which some women can be low in. Sprinkle on salads, soups, cereals, or to thicken stews. Find it at natural or whole food groceries.

Black garlic: Due to fermentation, the garlic acquires a sweet, caramel-like flavor, and the natural antioxidants are double those found in regular garlic. It’s great in lowering cholesterol and preventing cancer. And—it doesn’t give you icky breath!

Kelp: It’s loaded with vitamin K, calcium, and other nutrients that are powerful agents against breast cancer. It also has a type of fiber that blocks the development of fat. Good in meatballs and soups, or try kelp noodles (

Nutritional yeast:
Low calorie and cheese flavored, what’s not to like? It’s also full of protein and B vitamins for energy, de-stressing, and preventing chronic diseases. Use as a dairy-product substitute, for example sprinkle some on baked potato, popcorn, or pasta. Find it in health food stores.

Barley: The starring nutrient in barley is niacin, which promotes healthy hair and skin. It also fights cancer and keeps cholesterol low. It’s a great substitute for pasta, rice, or oatmeal. You can usually find it in the baking goods section of the grocery store.

Four Unique Ingredients for Better Holiday Treats

Whether you’re looking for an out-of-the-box dessert idea or trying to incorporate more natural ingredients in your party table spread, consider using these four nutrient-rich ingredients to wow your guests this holiday season!

►Dates: Fat-free and fiber-rich, pitted dates can help bind and add natural sweetness to many holiday treats. Substitute for some added sugar in nut-based bars and pies or make date caramel sauce and drizzle over ice cream, apple slices or other holiday baked goods.

▪ Date Caramel Sauce: Soak 1 cup pitted dates in 2 cups water for 2 hours to soften. Drain and puree with ¼-½ cup milk (any variety), 1 tsp. vanilla, and 1 Tbsp. coconut oil until smooth.

►Chia Seeds: Full of fiber and heart-healthy omega-3’s, chia seeds add a fun, nutrition-rich crunch to granola or cereal-based bars. Or use in pudding-like desserts, as chia seeds swell in liquid to form a gel.

▪ Maple Cinnamon Chia Pudding: Whisk together ½ cup chia seeds, 2 ¼ cups milk (any variety), 1 tsp. vanilla, 2 Tbsp. maple syrup, and ¼ tsp. cinnamon. Divide into dessert cups and chill until pudding forms, about 3 hours.

►Black Beans: Adding neutral-flavored black beans to chocolate cakes or brownies is a delicious way to get a little more nutrition. Packed with protein and fiber, this sneaky legume addition will help keep hunger at bay this holiday season.

▪ “Better” Peppermint Brownies: Puree 15 oz. canned black beans (drained and rinsed) with ⅓ cup water until smooth. Mix puree into 1 box dry brownie mix and add 1 tsp. peppermint extract.  Bake according to package instructions.

►Greek Yogurt: A protein and calcium powerhouse, Greek yogurt is a great nutritional trade-up in recipes calling for sour cream or cream cheese, like frosting or cheesecake.

▪ Yogurt Cream Cheese Frosting:  Beat 8 oz. reduced fat cream cheese, 2/3 cup plain Greek yogurt and 1 cup powdered sugar together until smooth. Spread evenly over your favorite dessert.

Vanilla Yogurt Cheesecake

1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
¾ cup sugar + 2 Tbsp., divided
½ cup salted butter, melted
8 oz. low fat cream cheese, room temperature
4 large eggs
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. flour
2 cups nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt

Preheat oven to 350°F.
1. Combine crumbs, 2 Tbsp. sugar and butter in a small bowl.  Press into the bottom of a lightly greased 9” spring form pan.  Set aside.
2. Beat cream cheese until very smooth.  Add eggs, one at a time, and ¾ cup sugar until mixture is smooth.  Add vanilla and flour; mix to blend thoroughl.  Gently whisk in yogurt.
3. Pour batter over crust. Bake 42-50 minutes or until barely set in the center.  Turn oven off and cool cake in oven for 20 minutes.  Remove and bring cake to room temperature on countertop. Then, refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.  Remove spring form pan sides, slice, and serve with cranberry sauce, chocolate, or other favorite toppings.

Yield: 12 servings