December 2005

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Customer Comments

General Manager's Report

Board Report: Owner Involvement

Deli News

Produce News

Health & Wellness News

Book News

Juice Bar News

Community Reinvestment

Specials Information

Grocery News

2005 Farm Tour Report

Producer Profile: Clasen's European Bakery

Ask the Midwife

A Holiday Baking Guide for Special Diets

Recipes & Drink Recommendations


Community Calendar


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Housewares and Book News

Gift Ideas

by Amanda Biederman, Housewares/Book Buyer

As December rolls in and the season of gift giving comes upon us, the Co-op has prepared to offer a selection of gifts and products perfect for the holiday season and for your own personal enjoyment. This month all books, cards, posters, and calendars will be 10% off their regular price; taking advantage of this could save you from the typical holiday shopping experience of overcrowded stores and pricey gifts. Our wide selection of books are great for giving, or for personal reference for meal ideas, gift-making ideas, and ideas for staying sane to those of us who can get a little crazy during this cold and busy season. You may be surprised at the wide selection of non-food items the Co-op offers, which we do so that you can get all of your shopping done with the convenience of one stop.

Books are a great gift for anyone, including you! A great book for those looking for gifts this season is The Soapmaker’s Companion by Susan Cavitch. Susan gives illustrated instructions on making 40 different kinds of soaps, from beautiful marbled and layered body soaps to liquid laundry soaps. Another great book, The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy by Valerie Ann Worwood, is an excellent resource, with 600 original recipes for health and beauty and the uses of essential oils. If a healthier diet is something that you or someone you know is looking to achieve, Living in the Raw by Rose Calabro is a great choice. Rose provides information on recipes and setting up the kitchen, along with fundamental information you need on the health benefits of living and eating raw foods.

If you’re looking to support local businesses and artists, or just want to be sure that what you buy was made under Fair Trade practices, then you’ll be pleased to know that many of our products do just that. We carry a variety of greeting cards from local artists that include Mary Fiore, Lisa O’Connor, Dorith Steinberg, KLN Gallery, and the ever-so-popular Red Oak line. Lakeside Pottery is a local Madison business that makes beautiful handmade pieces such as vases and planters; Healther Fischer and Mark Meyer make cups, plates, and teapots, all of which are great for that hard-to-shop-for person on your list. Aside from local products, we also carry Fair Trade, handmade products from Bali and Soul, a local Madison business that supports artists and their artworks from Bali, Indonesia. Janice, owner of Bali and Soul, has family in Bali, which enables her to pay artists directly. Tribal Fiber is a network of village cooperatives in Thailand that offer variety of Fair Trade linens and potholders made with a hemp/cotton blend and all natural dyes.

Another great gift for just about anyone is the wonderful and environmentally friendly bamboo products here at the Co-op. From plates and utensils to steamers and cookware, bamboo, one of the earth’s fastest growing natural resources, is the perfect non-timber alternative. Since bamboo is not a wood, but instead a grass, it has a growth cycle of three to five years. The hardness factor is comparable to maple and oak, and the natural beauty of bamboo products could fit just about anyone’s home décor. If that’s not enough to convince you of this amazing resource, bamboo is also an oxygen generator, releasing 35% more oxygen than timber, and it plays a vital roll in the reduction of timber and petroleum consumption.

So this holiday season, feel free to feel good about the money you spend and where your gifts are coming from. With so many wonderful products available, you’ll be sure to find something for yourself or someone you care for. December is a great time to save big so go ahead, splurge and feel great about it!