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!

CALCIUM CRYSTALS
Q: Widmer’s 4-year cheddar has lots of white spots. I’ve heard this is sign of potentially unhealthy mold containing micotoxins.

A: Thanks for your question! Those white spots are actually calcium deposits that are formed by the salt brining that’s put around the cheese as it ages. It’s considered a desirable trait for aged cheddar to have—the older the cheese, the more calcium crystals you’ll find. Thanks again! -Megan Blodgett, Deli Manager

CHIPPING
Q: CHIP groups need funding more than ever right now but cashiers never ask anymore. When I bring up that I want to CHIP they try to round it down. It really shouldn’t be the cashier’s choice to deprive these groups of funding. I love everything else about Willy St. Coop but this is getting depressing. Thanks!!

A: Thanks for voicing your concerns. We don’t train cashiers to round down, however, we can remind them of your concerns. -Lynn Olson, Director of Cooperative Services

BORN YESTERDAY
Q: Do you think I was born yesterday? Well then please carry more nightshade vegetables on the salad bar!

A: I’m sorry that you don’t think we have enough nightshades on the salad bar. Cherry tomatoes are always there, and we often have a potato-based salad on the prepared salad side. We also always have green peppers on the salad bar. If you have any other veggies you’d like to see, please let me know. Thanks! -Megan Blodgett, Deli
Manager

GREENER CONTAINERS
Q: Thank you for all your efforts in seeking out “greener” containers to use in the Deli. I brought home Seitan Stroganoff in the large white square “box.” I think it is less ideal for hot food—the container had become all mushy and since it doesn’t seal well, I had stroganoff all over my groceries!

A: Thanks for your comment! As you know, the bagasse containers (made with sugar cane) are new to us, and I appreciate your feedback. We are finding that these containers work great for some folks, but they definitely need more careful handling than our old plastic containers. Like many green alternatives to plastic and Styrofoam, bagasse still has a way to go before it performs as well as the more unsustainable option. If you’d like something that holds up better, we still have the black plastic containers, or you could try the purple and orange soup cups. Thanks again! -Megan Blodgett, Deli Manager

ETHICAL PROBLEMS
Q: Although I appreciated the thoughtful customer comment about the “great potential” of animal agriculture in the June Reader, I think the writer missed the mark on a major point.

The writer cites Davis (2003) in the Journal of Environmental And Agricultural Ethics as estimating “under current crop production systems 1.8 billion animals per year would be killed to produce a vegan diet.” The thought is that vegans who are really interested in avoiding killing animals for food should counter-intuitively support modified omnivorous diets. However in the same journal the following issue, Gaverick Matheny writes a successful rebuttal to Davis, arguing that Davis makes a mathematical mistake and he doesn’t appreciate the harms that are a part of even the most enlightened commercial animal agriculture: burning to “brand,” punching holes in the ears to “tag,” castration, dehorning, and a potentially long cold drive to a conventional slaughterhouse (none of which happens to a field mouse caught in a harvester).

We are all responsible for harm in the world, and vegans/vegetarians are surely not free of it themselves, and the writer is right that meat consumption is a “complex issue.” However, I think it is fair to think there are fundamental ethical problems with the commercial raising and killing for food of creatures that are not terribly different than the cats and dogs we share our homes with (and are like you and me in important ways), when we can be healthy eating otherwise. This remains true if this is done locally or is environmentally “sustainable.”

A: Also well stated. Thank you! -Lynn Olson, Director of Cooperative Services

RUNNING ENGINES
Q: I’ve noticed customers waiting in their vehicles in the lot often leave their engine running (while they wait for someone shopping to come out, while they eat lunch, etc.). This happens even when it’s warm out; sometimes they’ll even have their windows open to enjoy the weather. Willy Street Coop has a great opportunity to educate folks here. How about some signs asking customers not to idle needlessly? I’d be HAPPY to help in any way on this (research, signs, etc.).

A: As far as I’m aware, there is only an ordinance against commercial vehicles idling but we can still request that folks do their best to limit this activity in our lot. I think possibly warmer weather, a few signs that remind people to refrain from idling and $3.00 a gallon gas prices may help to reduce this activity. Thanks for writing. -Wynston Estis, Assistant Store Manger–Operations

RISHI CHAI
Q: We tried Rishi’s pre-mixed chai at the Isthmus Green Day Expo and it was divine! We would love to see it on the shelves if at all possible.

A: Good news! We carry the Rishi Chai concentrate. It’s in aisle two with the other concentrated chai teas. Thanks! -Liz Hawley, Cooperative Services Assistant

YOU WHO THROW OR PUSH AWAY
Q: New cashiers! Please handle the stuff we are buying very cautiously! I don’t appreciate you who throw or push away.

A: My sincerest apologies on behalf of the Front End team. I will make sure to reiterate this very important aspect of good customer service to our new staff at our next meeting in a couple of weeks. Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention. We regret any inconvenience this has caused. -Jesse Thurber, Assistant Front End Manager

COCONUT JUICE
Q: Hi! How about some smoothies made with fresh coconut juice? Thank you!

A: Thanks for the request! We’ve been contemplating a smoothie with coconut juice. I think it’s a great idea! The biggest problem is the cost—such a smoothie would be more expensive than what we currently offer. I appreciate knowing that there is interest—I’ll talk to our Juice Bar Coordinator to see if we can work something out! Thanks again! -Megan Blodgett, Deli Manager

PRETTY DARN LUCKY
Q: I have been meaning for some time to write and tell the Co-op that quite frankly, WE LOVE YOU! In each Reader I laugh at the nitpicky negative comments that come through. I think to myself, if only these people realized how good they have it. We realized it even before we lost you! This last year we relocated to Chicagoland to be near my family. One of the most difficult parts of the transition has been finding a source (once the markets and our CSA ended) for local, organic food. It has been nearly impossible many months. Madison is pretty darn lucky to have the Co-op. You are an incredible grocery store but also a fantastic resource. Thank you to all who make it run. One local food that we recently discovered here is a new granola bar by Eat Green Foods. They make several flavors (we love the chocolate peanut butter and the chocolate cherry). They try to source as many of their ingredients as they can locally. We are now moving back to Madison this July and are wondering if the co-op could check these granola bars and try carrying them so we can continue enjoying them when we’re back! (They seem expensive at first glance but the bars are 3 times the size of the organic Kashi granola bars so they’re not that outrageous.) Thanks for considering.

A: Thank you so much for the positive feedback! It feels good to know that folks appreciate what we do here at the Co-op. I will look into the Eat Green Foods granola bars and see what we can do to bring them in here. Thank you for your comments and suggestion!! -Dean Kallas, Merchandising Manager