What’s Dippin’ in the Well: Fennel ‘n’ Fig

WSVFCFigFennelcome the seasonal return of the Co-op’s own handmade organic ice cream flavor that’s sure to perk up your taste buds: Fennel ‘n’ Fig!

This flavor is a customer and staff favorite. Crafted with fried organic black mission figs and fennel seed, as well as locally sourced cream, eggs, and milk, it’s loaded with zesty flavor and texture.

Fennel n’ Fig flavor captures the earthy sweetness of black mission figs and the licorice spice of fennel. We begin with a base of our handmade organic Vanilla ice cream, then add fennel-infused cream, chewy bits of fig, and whole fennel seeds. The result is a complex, but not overly sweet treat, with flavors of toasted licorice, caramel, and plum.

Try this autumnal treat on your favorite cobblers, pies, tarts, and pastries. Add a scoop to the Co-op’s fresh baked Apple Crisp, Caramel Apple Bars, or Gluten Free Blueberry Loaf for a twist on the classic cake and ice cream pairing.

Posted by Claire

Skagit Brew Corner: Tripels and Pranqsters

SVFCHeSaidHeNew in the Co-op beer aisle: He Said, He Said a split personality 4-pk and an award-winning Pranqster!

He Said He Said is part of 21st Amendment Brewing’s Insurrection Series. This particular four pack is a seasonal collaboration between 21st Amendment and Dick Cantwell of Seattle’s Elysian Brewing. Each year they unite their brew forces to create a split 4 pack of canned ales. This year they’ve chosen a Baltic Porter with Pumpkin and a Belgian Tripel with Pumpkin. Loaded with rich flavors and relatively low bitterness, these ales are unlike any other. The golden He Said Pumpkin Belgian Tripel, 8.2% Alcohol by volume / low IBU) is brewed with pumpkin juice, pumpkin puree, galangal root, and tarragon for a unique spicy flavor with creamy pumpkin undertones.

Sipping He Said Baltic Pumpkin Porter (8.2% Alcohol by volume / low IBU) is like falling into a delightful rabbit-hole and bumping into flavors of roasted coffee, candied walnuts, and a hint of zesty pumpkin (it’s also brewed with Vietnamese cinnamon and caraway seed). These brews make delicious ice cream floats — just add our Co-op organic Vanilla or Fennel ‘n’ Fig ice cream. Treat yourself to He Said He Said while it lasts!

SVFCPranqAnother newcomer to our beer collection hails from North Coast Brewing out of Fort Bragg, California. Their Pranqster (7.6% Alcohol by volume / 20 IBU) receives ratings of 100/100 on Beeradvocate.com and 91/100 on Ratebeer.com.

This world class American brewed Belgian boasts big flavors of orange peel and tropical fruit and warming spices such as clove, nutmeg, and cardamom. With a light to medium body and full fruity flavor, it’s a surprisingly food-friendly brew. Savor it with roasted chicken, spicy nachos, or chili-spiked mango, or melon. Pranqster just won the Gold Medal for Belgian Pale Ale at the 2014 San Diego International Beer Festival. Way to go, you Pranqsters!

Posted by Claire

Getting to Know the Co-op’s Olive Bar

SVFCCastels

The luscious Castelveltrano olive. It’s Paleo!

Now is a perfect time to get to know your local Olive Bar: it’s on sale this month for $8.99 per pound! The Co-op’s gourmet selection of olives and antipasti is one of the finest in the Valley.

Olives are one of humankind’s oldest foods. Enjoyed for millennia across the globe, olives offer a burst of tangy flavor, saltines, and tender fruit-like texture to snacks and recipes.

Olives are the fruit of evergreen trees or shrubs in the Oleaceae family, found throughout the world, from Africa, through the Mediterranean Basin to the Arabian Peninsula, southern Asia, and some island regions including the Canary Islands. Green olives are picked as young fruit, before the ripening cycle begins, whereas purple or black olives are harvested when they become fully mature. Olives are whole foods cured for bright flavors and salty finish. They are processed to remove a naturally occuring bitter phenolic compound known as oleuropein. Cured olives are traditionally enjoyed with rich, fatty foods such as cured and smoked meats and cheeses.

Some stars of the bar:

Castelveltrano – a staff favorite! These brilliant green olives hail from Sicily, where they are picked young and cured in a pure sea salt brine. Unlike many olives, Castelveltranos have a mild, delicate, and sweet flavor, similar to olive oil. Ideal for meat and cheese platters, or just a snack with crackers or a slice bread. Available in pitted or whole varieties. Plus, it’s Paleo diet approved!

Sweety Drop Peppers – new sensations from the Southern Hemisphere. Sweety Drops are tiny, tear-drop-shaped peppers, grown in the Peruvian Amazon rainforest. For more information and a recipe for “Sweety Drop Pasta Salad”, check out a previous blog post: Amazonian Sweety Drops.

Whole Greek Kalamatas – a familiar, large, purple olive with an intense smoked and salty flavor. A classic for serving table-side or adding to salads and pasta recipes. Named after the city of Kalamata, in Southern Greece. One of our most popular sellers!

Visit our Deli Olive Bar today to discover an excellent selection of other olive medleys as well as Peppadews, Kosher Sauerkraut, Marinated Mushrooms with Red Peppers and Garlic, Roasted Whole Garlic Cloves in Oil, Moroccan Preserved Beldi Lemons, Roasted Red Tomatoes, and more!

The Cheese Whisperer: Double the Gloucester

SVFCDubGloucThere’s no shortage of fine cheese at the Co-op’s Specialty Cheese Island. Our latest offering is genuine Double Gloucester Cheddar from Singleton’s Farm. Now available by the hand cut wedge for $9.99 per pound!

A vibrant orange color, Singletons’ Double Gloucester cheddar is loaded with flavor. Aged for at least 6 months, this high-quality cheese is made from the milk of Gloucestershire-breed cows farmed within the English county of Gloucestershire.

This cheese earns its title of “Double Gloucester” for two reasons: from its location, made in rural Gloucester county in England; and of the cheese makers’ use of milk and added cream for an extra smooth, buttery texture. It has a milky, slightly nutty flavor and is an excellent melting cheese. The bright apricot color of Double Gloucester is due to the naturally orange color dye known as annatto, derived from the flowers of the Achiote trees of tropical and subtropical regions around the world.

Double Gloucester is a fine cooking cheese. Stir it into garlic-spiked mashed potatoes, hearty soups, mac-n-cheese, grilled cheese sandwiches, or melt it down gently to make a delightful sauce for broccoli and other steamed vegetables. Or simply slice and enjoy with apples, pears, pickles, or green salads.

Pair this classic cheddar with a hearty English ale. The Co-op’s Beer Aisle offers a representative sampling of brews from the world-renown Samuel Smith Brewery in Yorkshire, including their light and refreshing certified organic Lager, elegant, toasty flavored Nut Brown Ale or their rich, velvety Taddy Porter.

Posted by Claire

Stark Crimson Pears

skagit-valley-food-coop_organic-crimson-pears31Stark Crimson Pears are, simply put, amazingly delicious.

Sometimes a certain fruit reaches its point of optimum ripeness and flavor — and now is that time for Stark Crimson pears from Brownfield Orchards in Chelan, WA. Located on the slopes of the Cascade foothills, Brownfield was the first certified organic fruit producers in Washington State and was a founding member of Tilth Producers of Washington. And their pears are stars!

Ruby-colored with a pale creamy flesh, organic Stark Crimson pears from Brownfield Orchards are sweet and smooth. They are somewhat fragile, despite a medium thick red skin, so use caution when handling and storing. Make all your pear-related dreams come true.

What to do with Stark Crimson Pears:

Option #1: Eat it right now; don’t wait. Have a napkin and maybe a spoon handy — it could get messy. Dice for instant baby food — remove the peel for younger babies. These pears are a good source of carbohydrates, fiber, vitamin C, with some calcium and protein.

Option #2: These pears love cheese and salad. Take a bit more time and serve Stark Crimson pear slices alongside your favorite strongly flavored cheese, such as local sharp River Cheddar from Golden Glen Creamery, bright, tangy goat milk cheese like Cypress Grove Creamery’s Humboldt Fog or raw milk Point Reyes blue cheese from northern California. Select mixed greens (use the Co-op’s locally sourced spicy salad mix), add cheese, pear slices and a handful of your favorite nuts.

Option #3: Use as a topping for desserts. Serve over ice cream, butter tarts, and cookies. Go decadent and add diced Stark Crimson pear to a scoop of the Co-op’s own organic vanilla or chocolate ice cream. Get creative!

Posted by Claire