Write Us!
We welcome your comments and give each one attention and serious consideration. Send them to or fill out a Customer Comment form in the Owner Resources area. Each month a small selection is printed in the Reader. The rest can be found in the commons or in the binder near Customer Service. Thank you!
Write Us!
We welcome your comments and give each one attention and serious consideration. Send them to or fill out a Customer Comment form in the Owner Resources area. Each month a small selection is printed in the Reader. The rest can be found in the commons or in the binder near Customer Service. Thank you!

Spring rolls & almonds
Q: The veggie spring rolls made in the deli used to come with an excellent sweet and sour sauce; will it ever be reintroduced? Also, the roasted almonds seem to have a powder about them that tastes bad; this is new and I miss the old style. Thanks.

A: The spring rolls are a product of Okinawa Sushi, which contracts space from Willy Street Co-op. The sauce was originally removed due to Owner concerns that it contained less-than-desirable ingredients (high fructose corn syrup, etc.). Anya, our General Manager, worked with Okinawa Sushi to come up with a product comprised of “cleaner” ingredients.

Regarding the packed almonds; I’m sorry you did not enjoy your last purchase. It sounds like you may have gotten a bag packed from the end of a case. I will bring this to the attention of the packer and remind them only to pack whole, clean product. Thank you. –Josh Perkins, Prepared Foods Category Manager

Food concerns
Q: Attention Deli and OSK Managers: I came to buy something for dinner at the deli. I am allergic to cayenne and don’t tolerate spicy or GLUTEN. There were six salads on the cold bar today marked spicy or very spicy. All in all I find the deli food substandard. This is a big drag for me and for other Owners. Why don’t you get someone who can actually cook to make the recipes? Why not go to Whole Foods and knock off their recipes? Everything I get there is delicious. I have rarely had anything good here. The gumbo on the hot bar looked bad. The hot dish had wheat. I ended up buying avocadoes and potato salad. We would REALLY REALLY appreciate you getting the food better in the deli. Not so spicy. More gluten free main dishes. Please, please get someone who can cook to make the food. Sincerely, a hungry owner.

A: Thank you for sharing your recent Deli experience with us, we appreciate all feedback, as this helps us constantly improve our selection. I am glad that you did not leave entirely hungry, and that you found our avocados and prepared potato salad acceptable. As a long-time Owner myself, it is true, I don’t always care for the prepared selections available at the hot and cold bars, but I also know that my tastes and the tastes of others are different and I can’t be pleased all the time. In these cases, I usually opt for one of the sandwiches made to order at the Deli and a nice salad I prepare myself from the veggies available at the cold bar and those items are always very tasty to me. This is the same technique I use when I visit Whole Foods and sometimes do not find their hot or cold prepared foods appealing. Unless I go to an establishment that prepares the exact same thing all the time, I can safely assume that there will be times when I will need to be flexible about my lunch cravings. It is what it is.

That said, although just like you I am not always interested in the prepared foods, I am certain that there are others who disagree with my tastes, and I am also very certain that our Deli and Kitchen staff are more than qualified to make delicious food. I also know they take excellent care to ensure that a wide variety of offerings are available for many tastes and dietary lifestyles, and that includes making sure there are some less spicy options and items prepared without gluten on the bars. They may not always be the majority of the offerings, but they are always there. If you do not see them or if a product is running low, please ask for assistance, we will be happy to help. You may also suggest specific items that you like to our staff and we can investigate offering it on the bars.

For obvious proprietary reasons, I am certain Whole Foods would not appreciate Willy Street Co-op copying their recipes, and frankly, we are convinced most of our Owners would not want us to because that would lack the originality our Owners appreciate. If you are really concerned about qualifications of cooks who prepare our food, I recommend you watch for job openings at our store and either apply the next time a position in the Deli or Kitchen is available yourself, or that you recommend to a friend of yours who cooks to your liking that she apply for the position. Maybe then you will become better familiar with the high standards we seek for our very dedicated and knowledgeable deli and kitchen staff. In the meantime, I hope you will give the hot and cold bar options another try, and when you do not find something you like, try one of our sandwiches with a gluten-free bread option and see if that suits your tastes. I’m sure you will find our sandwiches go very well with our potato salad. –Kirsten Moore, Director of Cooperative Services

Bus bench or shelter
Q: Your customers who use the Metro bus to shop at your store would really appreciate a bench or shelter near the sidewalk next to University Ave. where the bus stop is. Especially because Middleton bus service is only once an hour during the Monday through Friday and once ever two hours on Saturday.

A: Thanks for writing. I’ve spoken with a representative from Madison Metro about the correct steps to take in pursuing your suggestion. The property owner and City of Middleton have the decision on whether there would be a shelter or a bench at this bus stop. I will forward your suggestion and the information I learned from the representative that I spoke to on to our landlord. –Wynston Estis, Operations Manager

Toxic plants
Q: On the patio border, there are three tall “common mullein” plants (small yellow flowers at top of spike). These are toxic to most humans and cause a severe skin burn if touched. Maybe consider removing these, so no one (a small child) gets an inadvertent skin burn.

A: Thank you for informing us of this issue! We had no idea these plants were toxic. I had a member of the maintenance/custodial team pull them up. Please let me know if you see any more. –Jim Jirous, Maintenance Manager–East

Thanks, foodie
Q: Dominic made my Saturday night by sharing his love of morels and ramps. Even told me an easy way how to prepare them. Best meal of the week! Thanks for hiring such “foodies.” Makes me smile!

A: Thank you for your comment. We appreciate hearing about your great experiences at the Co-op. Dominic is definitely someone who goes the extra mile to give customers what they need. I will be sure to acknowledge him for his efforts. –Mike Schmidt, Interim Grocery Manager–West

KOMBUCHA
Q: Hello! I have a question about Kombucha that I thought you might be able to help me decipher. I shared my culture with my mom who made a batch. However, she then visited the WebMD website and read the following (see side effects tab). What are your thoughts on this? Do you have any other resources about the health benefits of kombucha? www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-538-KOMBUCHA%20TEA.aspx?activeIngredientId=538&activeIngredientName=KOMBUCHA%20TEA

A: This is a great question, and it’s the kind of question many do-it-yourselfers like me consider when making home-fermented products. Whenever products containing live cultures or probiotics are produced in the home setting, it is always important to maintain as clean an environment as possible for cultivating foods via microbial cultures to avoid contamination. It is also a good idea for an individual with specific health concerns to proceed wisely, do her research, and trust her best instincts when deciding whether or not to include certain foods in her diet. It sounds like your mom is ahead of the curve in this regard.

Kombucha has a history of debate with many claims made for and against its health properties. As for the specific link you sent us for review, it is true that some individuals may not be able to digest kombucha due to allergies or other health considerations, and it is true kombucha does include small amounts of alcohol and some kombucha may contain caffeine. However, these concerns are not shared by all kombucha producers, enthusiasts, consumers, or food and health providers. In general, it is important to note, as Collette Castellanos from our Wellness Staff did in the March 2013 Reader, “all probiotic strains have a different effect on each person.” S. boulardii and lactobacillus, the prominent probiotics in kombucha are considered by some beneficial to digestion and detoxification.

Whether kombucha is the right product for you or your mom, and whether you decide to make it at home will ultimately depend on your personal health concerns and whether you are comfortable with the space where you will grow your SCOBY. If you or your mom is interested in reading more about fermenting kombucha and investigating the health benefits, I highly recommend grabbing a copy of The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz, available in our Health and Wellness Department. If you are not convinced you should be producing kombucha yourself but still see a benefit to kombucha products, stop by the store and we would be happy to show you some of the commercially produced kombucha available. –Kirsten Moore, Director of Cooperative Services

Mark E. Saunders CFPDebra A. StroikReliable Renovations LLC

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