December 2009

Volume 25, Issue 7
The FireStarter

Co-op News and Other Information

Our little Co-op has been steadily improving in appearance, efficiency and vitality, as evidenced by the warm, welcoming atmosphere and abundant offerings within its doors.

A long-awaited feature is that we now carry beer and wine! Among others, we sell Esther Bricques wines as well as four different varieties of Twisp River Pub beer, both of which are Tonasket exclusives. A major focus has been to try and feature mostly regional, local, organic and select imported wine and beer. However, if you have a favorite you’d like to see us carry let Alice know and she’ll see if we can bring it in.

Another exciting development is a new highway sign letting folks know that we are here for business. It’s a motorist information sign (a small blue sign like the ones you see on various highways throughout the country) right on Highway 97--both northbound and southbound in the center of town. The sign has been made and now we are waiting for the State Highway Department--it could take another 6 to 8 weeks, but we’ve been approved for it. Store manager Alice Simon says, "We're hoping it enhances our business by bringing travelers to our store."

There has been some concern among shoppers regarding increased store prices. In addressing that issue, Alice explains that it is partly the steady increase in costs of goods, including fuel surcharges (we pay extra because we live way out here) as well as the fact that we must buy in small batches--we don’t have the buying power that large stores such as Safeway and Walmart have.

Also cited is the increase in costs to run the store, such as electricity, property taxes, labor costs, utilities, credit card processing fees, bank fees and more. Our deli uses natural products and organic products whenever possible and the cost of the biodegradable and compostable paper products we use is triple that of generic paper products. It all adds up, and in order to keep the store running those costs must be absorbed.

Board Members Needed

There are currently three vacant board positions.

If you would really like to help YOUR Co-op, this is your perfect opportunity!

The Benefits of Flaxseed

Is flaxseed the new wonder food? Preliminary studies show that flaxseed may help fight everything from heart disease and diabetes to breast cancer.

Research suggests that plant omega-3s help the cardiovascular system via several different mechanisms, including anti-inflammatory action and normalizing the heartbeat. Several studies have suggested that diets rich in flaxseed omega-3s help prevent hardening of the arteries and keep plaque from being deposited in the arteries, partly by keeping white blood cells from sticking to the blood vessels’ inner linings. Lignans in flaxseed have been shown to reduce atherosclerotic plaque buildup by up to 75%.

Eating flaxseed daily may help your cholesterol levels, too. Small particles of LDL or "bad" cholesterol in the bloodstream have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. A French-Canadian study in menopausal women reported a decrease in these small LDL particles after the women ate 4 tablespoons of ground flaxseed daily for a year. Studies have shown that the cholesterol-lowering effects of flaxseed are the result of the synergistic benefits of omega 3 ALA; fiber and lignans.

Other benefits have begun to be recognized for such ailments as diabetes, inflammation and hot flashes. Preliminary research suggests that daily intake of the lignans in flax may modestly improve blood sugar (as measured by hemoglobin A1c blood tests in adults with type 2 diabetes). Two components in flaxseed, ALA and lignans, may reduce the inflammation that accompanies certain illnesses (such as Parkinson's disease and asthma) by helping to block the release of certain pro-inflammatory agents, Fitzpatrick says. The plant omega-3 ALA has been shown to decrease inflammatory reactions in humans. And studies in animals have found that lignans can decrease levels of several pro-inflammatory agents. Reducing inflammatory reactions associated with plaque buildup in the arteries may be another way flaxseed helps prevent heart attack and strokes.

One preliminary study on menopausal women, published in 2007, reported that 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed (taken twice each day) cut the women's hot flashes in half. And, the intensity of their hot flashes dropped by 57%. The women noticed a difference after talking the daily flaxseed for just one week, and achieved the maximum benefit within two weeks.

Many experts believe it's better to consume the actual flax seed than flax oil (which contains just part of the seed) so you get all the components.

Go Organic to Avoid rBGH, Monsanto, and Eli Lilly's
Genetically Modified Bovine Growth Hormone

~ from organic

Dr. Sam Epstein, Chairman of the Cancer Prevention Coalition, warns:

Dr. Epstein and other scientists recommend boycotting rBGH-tainted milk and dairy products and purchasing organic products instead. According to The Hartman Group, a well-respected firm analyzing consumer, organic milk is now a leading priority for health-minded consumers. Demand for organic milk has grown at an annual rate of 20% until recently, while overall milk consumption has dropped by 10%.

"Nevertheless," Dr. Epstein emphasizes, "only a few schools make organic milk available, nor do most state governments, under low- income food programs, particularly by the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children."

Samuel S. Epstein, M.D., "Cancer Expert Counters Reckless Claims That Hormonal Milk Is Safe," October 14, 2009

Recipe Corner: Vegan "Cheesecake"

3 cups tofu
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup oil + ¼ cup margarine, melted and cooled
1 - 1¼ cups organic sugar
¾ tsp. salt
1¼ tsp. vanilla
¼ cup cashew milk (recipe follows)

Combine ingredients in a blender in order given, adding the liquid at the end a tablespoon at a time until tofu is well blended. (It’s possible that it won’t all be needed.) Mixture should be a fairly thick, creamy consistency. Pour into partially baked crumb crust (recipe follows) and bake approximately 40 minutes at 350 or until tofu is set in the middle. Tofu cheesecakes may be toped with fruit syrups or pureed fruit.

Cashew Milk ¼ cup raw cashew pieces
1-cup water
1½ tsp. maple syrup
Combine cashews with ½ cup water and sweeter in blender. Blend on high to form thick cream. Slowly add remainder of water and blend on high for 2-5 minutes. Use this in place of milk in all your baking!

Crust for Cheesecake
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
½ cup organic sugar
¼ tsp. salt
dash cinnamon
2 Tbsp. oil
¼ cup soft margarine, scant
2 Tbsp. water
Mix flour, sugar, salt and cinnamon, Then work in oil and margarine with fingers, Work in water. Pat on bottom and halfway up sides of pan. Partially bake for 10 minutes at 350, then fill and bake as above.

Deli Update

Hot Entrees from our Kitchen 11 am ~ 2 pm

Mondays ~ Meatball Stew with roll
Tuesdays ~ Vegetarian 3 Bean Chili with corn muffin
Wednesdays ~ Chicken Stew with roll
Thursdays – Vegetarian Lentil-Veggie Stew with roll
Fridays ~ Beef and Bean Chili with corn muffin

$5.50 for Vegetarian Specials, $6.50 for Meat Specials

We've discontinued fresh carrot juice, pre-paid lunch cards and free birthday sandwiches

National Organic Standards Board Votes to Crack Down on Labeling Fraud; Victory on Organic Body Care and Cosmetics Products

In a milestone victory after years of work by the OCA and the organic community to demand an end to blatant labeling fraud in the organic marketplace the National Organic Standards Board voted 12 to 1 at their November 2009 meeting to direct the USDA National Organic Program to enforce the law for organic personal care products - just as they do for organic food. This means that shampoos, body care products, and cosmetics that claim to be organic but are not certified would be forced to drop their organic label and advertising claims, or else reformulate their products (getting rid of petrochemicals and problematic synthetic ingredients) to meet "USDA Organic" or "made with organic ingredients" standards.

The Organic Consumers Association is initiating a letter-writing campaign asking the USDA to take quick action on the NOSB recommendation. While we wait for the USDA to begin enforcement actions, (they are) calling on consumers to boycott fake, falsely labeled organic body care brands, and instead to buy only USDA certified organic products.

See more at


The Co-op News is published as a service to the members of the Tonasket Natural Foods Co-op.
Editing, Typesetting and Layout by December Guest Editor River Jones.
Online layout by highlandwebs

Letters and articles are welcome from members. Deadline for articles is the 24th of each month. Please email your submission for consideration to us at .

Views expressed in The FireStarter are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the Co-op management, directors, or membership. Acceptance of advertising does not indicate endorsement by the Co-op of the produce/ service offered.