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!
Q: New Year’s resolution—we’re paying cash. We average $100/week. How will this affect the coop? How will this affect the price we pay for groceries (in the future)? What kind of critical mass would it take to significantly impact the price of groceries at the coop? Thank you for your continued awesomeness.
A: Great resolution! Avoiding the use of credit cards when possible can substantially reduce operating costs for the businesses that you frequent. Last year I wrote an article on this topic that explains the fees associated with the various types of tenders (http://www.willystreet.coop/article/739). The savings from a critical mass of Co-op Owners avoiding credit cards when possible could be returned to Owners via lower prices or via patronage refunds. Patronage refunds will be issued by the Co-op following our next profitable fiscal year. It is a way to return profits to the Ownership proportionate to each Owner’s patronage. We look forward to getting more info to our owners about patronage refunds. Cheers and thanks again for such a helpful New Year’s resolution! -David Waisman, Director of Finance
Q: I’m a sometimes-vegetarian who is interested in making a commitment to using only locally and responsibly grown meats when/if I have to use them. This is easier to do during the farmers’ market months, but I’m struggling now in the winter. I’ve combed over your website, and have been in the Co-op (not recently, admittedly), and I’m wondering if all of the meats you stock (excluding deli meats) come from local producers. Any assistance you might have would be welcomed! Thank you in advance!
A: Thanks for your questions! I am also extremely dedicated to only eating meats that are produced locally and humanely, so I completely understand your concern.
Most of our meats, with a few exceptions, are local. My favorites are our Willow Creek Farm pork products, the beef from Black Earth Meats, and also the lamb from Pinn-Oak Farm.
You’ll find Willow Creek pork in the freezer case. It’s from Loganville, Wisconsin, is humanely raised on pasture, and is some of the tastiest pork I’ve ever had. They have an excellent web site that has pictures and more information about their farm: www.willowcreekpork.com. I especially recommend the bacon!
Black Earth Meats is a group of farmers from the Black Earth area. They have some extremely delicious organic and grass-fed beef products, as well as hams. Their website also has a lot of great information: www.blackearthmeats.com.
Pinn-Oak Ridge Farms in Delevan, WI produces our fresh lamb products. They make an amazing Cajun sausage! www.wisconsinlamb.com.
Chicken is a little tougher to find. There’s no one locally who can produce the volume that we need, so we get the majority of our supply from Bell & Evans, an all-natural chicken producer in Pennsylvania. We do however have whole organic frozen chickens from Roesler Farms in Coon Valley, Wisconsin.
The biggest non-local meats to look out for are the Bell & Evan’s chicken, all the Applegate meat products, and also the meat from Stoddard’s Meat Market. Stoddard’s is packaged locally, so it can be a bit deceiving.
In the Deli, you’ll find local sliced roast beef and also sliced ham from Willow Creek Farm.
I hope that helps. Feel free to give us a call or write back if you have any more questions! -Megan Blodgett, Deli Manager
Q: I would love to see something green in the deli—like kale or broccoli (w/o cheese or buttermilk) vegan. It seems to be all starches or very heavy on starches and dairy.
A: Thanks for the comment! We have a few salads this month (January) on our rotating menu which should fit your needs: our broccoli cashew salad is vegan, also the savory sweet potato salad is vegan and has lots of kale in it. We try to stay as seasonal as possible with our menu, so you will find that we have lots of roots, tubers, and brassicas in the winter. Look for lots more fresh summer vegetable salads in the spring and summer. Thanks again! -Megan Blodgett, Deli Manager
Q: The not allowed to shop using your cloth grocery bag policy seems like a hassle. One more thing to keep track of... a cart or basket. With the stiff bags given us at the membership meeting (thank you) I like to keep mine unfolded so it holds its shape.
A: I’m sorry to hear our request that you use a Willy Street Co-op basket when shopping is an imposition. Staff really appreciate this new protocol, though. Saving your canvas bag until you’re ready to bag your groceries to take home also expedites checkout at the registers since your canvas bag is available to bag into at the start of the transaction. -Wynston Estis, Assistant Store Manager–Operations
Q: Help traffic flow—To customers. If you are heading in the store, why not take in a cart for someone who just loaded his or her car? This will help open up parking spaces and brighten someone’s day especially the parents with small children.
A: This is a wonderful suggestion. I know when I brought people’s carts in they’ve always been appreciative. Thanks for sharing your idea. -Wynston Estis, Assistant Store Manager–Operations
Q: I miss the delicious vegan fig bars that used to sold alongside the yummy vegan grasshopper brownies. Will they be coming back?
A: Thanks for the comment. We discontinued the fig bars because they were a poor seller and were so crumbly that they tended to fall apart very easily. Our bakery is currently working to develop another vegan fig recipe that won’t fall apart so easily. Thanks again! -Megan Blodgett, Deli Manager
Q: How about making up some organic broccoli slaw from stems so I can use in making broccoli slaw salads? Thanks!
A: Thanks for the idea! We certainly have plenty of broccoli stems that we could make use of. I’ll pass the idea on to our Production Kitchen. -Megan Blodgett, Deli Manager
Q: Seems that the deli folks have decided not to wear gloves when serving from the hot case. Strikes me as a bad idea, especially during flu season. Can you look into it? Thanks!
A: Thanks for the comment! It has always been our policy to use gloves when we handle food directly with our hands (making sandwiches, serving deli meats, prepping veggies for the salad bar, etc.) but when we use utensils to serve food we do not since we’re not coming into direct contact with the food. This is not a decision that has been made recently, but has been standard procedure for quite some time. Thanks again! -Megan Blodgett, Deli Manager
Q: The turkey chili with navy and black beans was the best thing I’ve ever tasted! Could you please ask the chef to have the turkey chili replace all other soups at all times? Thanks!
A: Wow! You don’t often hear praise this unconditional and emphatic! I have passed along this feedback to Julia Eggers, the cook who came up with the recipe. Thanks! -Josh Perkins, Kitchen Manager
Q: Sugar is not a substitute for butter! I would love to have a vegan bakery option that is not so terribly sweet. Vegan bakery is way sweeter than the regular. I would think the majority of vegans would have some heath consciousness. It puts me in a sugar coma—bad. Love the Nothing Muffins
A: I’m sorry you find some of our vegan bakery items too sweet. Most of the vegan items have equal or less sugar than their non-vegan counterparts. If you like the Nothing Muffins perhaps you’d like some of the either non-cane sugar-sweetened vegan items like the Cowgirl cookies, Maple Fruit and Nut Bars, Almond Thumbprints and Morning Muffins. Thanks for your comment! -Andy Giamber, Bakery Coordinator