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!

Hello Editor,
I am a member of Willy Street Co-op and always enjoy reading the Willy Street Reader. For the past twenty-nine years I have also been a member of Pine River Food Co-op in Richland Center, Wisconsin, where I live, and I’d like to correct the Pine River Food Co-op (Pine River Market and Cafe) information provided in your article entitled 2012 Wisconsin Grocery Co-op Compendium. 

The Pine River Food Co-op is not “a relatively new co-op.”  We incorporated in 1983 and have been operating as a food co-op for 29 years. We did, however, move to a new location several doors down from our old location in Downtown Richland Center in 2007.

I should also mention that our store’s hours are 9–6 Monday through Friday, and 9–5 Saturday. As you pointed out in your description, we do have over 250 co-op members, and we don’t have a surcharge for nonmember customers.  Our co-op also has a small cafe with soup, sandwiches, and baked goods.

Thank you for the compendium. I enjoyed reading about the various co-ops in the Wisconsin area and hope to visit them all in my travels throughout our great state. -Mary Bard, Richland Center

Almond butter blues
Q: I miss the almond butter-grinding machine—that was the best tasting almond butter I’ve tried.

A: Thanks for your comment. I miss it as well. We have not written off the option for bulk almond butter entirely. However, we have been having numerous issues with the quality of almonds and butter produced. For example, given the quality of almonds, we had to clean the grinder upwards of eight or ten times a day due to grinding issues. Each cleaning requires complete dismantling of the grinder and usually takes 30 minutes or more. It adds up quick! But like I said, we’ve not given up, just trying to explore options. Thanks again for writing. -Patrick Humiston, Grocery Manager–East

freaky falafel
Q: I was surprised that the Fantastic Foods Falafel mix has trans fats (partially hydrogenated veg. oil) in it. I would like the Co-op to commit to not carrying anything with trans fats.

A: Thank you for your comment. I must say that I too am surprised to learn about the ingredients in the Falafel mix. We will work to see about getting an alternative without trans fat. In regards to committing to not carrying trans fat products, we try to offer the “cleanest” products that we can. However, as a cooperative our mission is to serve the desires and needs (sometimes dietary, sometimes economic) of everyone we serve in our community. Thanks again for your comment. -Patrick Humiston, Grocery Manager–East

Grinder trouble
Q: I was happy to read in the recent newsletter that the whole-wheat flour in the bulk bins is from a local supplier. I do a lot of baking and have generally been pleased with the quality of this flour but do have one request. The texture of the bulk whole-wheat flour resembles tiny pebbles and gives my muffins and breads a slightly gritty texture. In the past the texture was almost like flat flakes of wheat and my baked goods had a smoother texture. Is there any way the Co-op could pass along this feedback to the supplier and see if the milling process can be altered to produce a smoother or “flatter” texture? Thanks much!

A: Thank you for bringing this to our attention. I spoke with the miller at Lonesome Stone Mill. It turns out they had a problem with their mill. The problem has been resolved. Please give it another try. If it doesn’t work out, we will be happy to give you a refund, and to work with you to find a solution! Thank you! -Jim Green, Bulk Buyer–East

questions answered
Q: Today my daughter and I came in with questions about the Co-op Advantage gift cards. The ladies at Customer Service were very helpful and friendly. It was a great experience, and our questions were answered. Thank you so much!

A: Thank you for taking the time to write. It’s not always that we hear about the positive experiences our Owners have, so hearing your perspective is refreshing. I will make
sure to share your comment with the Front End staff. Thanks again. -Jesse Thurber, Assistant Front End Manager–East

peanut problems
Q: I understand the Co-op is unable to get organic peanuts at this time. Conventional peanuts are fine, but is it possible to get conventional nuts without salt? Thank you.

A: Thank you for your suggestion. Unfortunately the peanut shortage is affecting both organic and conventional availabilities. We just tried to order an unsalted conventional peanut with no luck. We are trying as many options as we can. There just aren’t many sources of peanuts, conventional or organic, out there right now. We’ll keep trying though. Thanks again for your comment. -Patrick Humiston, Grocer Manager–East

Store Closing Early
Q: Please post store hours or store is closed when it is different than our regular hours. I did not know store was closed on New Year’s (Did not read the newsletter).

A: I’m sorry you missed our postings. Perhaps in the future we’ll use a sandwich board outside. This holiday season we had signs in the foyer a few weeks in advance. We also posted our hours online, published them in the Reader, and broadcast them on the social networks (Facebook, et. al.) we participate in. All that said, it’s clearly still easy to miss this very important announcement. Our apologies. This month, we’re closing early at 7:30pm on March 11th for our Annual Staff Party. -Dan Frost, Store Manager–East

Real good
Q: If you ask me about my experience today, I’d say it was “real good.” And here is why:

  • Peaceful atmosphere (despite loud kids).
  • Delicious food.
  • Ample selection.
  • An adequate—but not excessive—amount of hippies.
  • My waiflike friend and her stupid Oliver Twist hat were treated with undeserved dignity and respect—well played.
  • Most importantly, the cashier was smokin’ hot. I’m trying to find the words to describe her without being disrespectful.
  • Lastly, it got the putrid taste of [another coffee shop] out of my mouth.

A; Thanks for the kind words.
-Dan Frost, Store Manager–East

Q: Please have more vegetarian lunches! Most days there are 3 or 4 meat dishes and then some sad rice and beans for the vegetarians. Thanks.

A: I will take your request into consideration; however, it sounds like you were in our store on an off day. When looking back at our previous menus, at least half of our hot case is vegetarian and more than half of our cold case is vegetarian. Thanks. -Gina Jimenez-Lalor, Deli Manager–East

Q: WI-FI access please.

A: Wi-Fi has been a hotly debated subject here because seating in our Commons is so limited, we tend to have to set a two-hour limit for guests—so we’re afraid that adding Wi-Fi would only amplify this problem when folks want to stay even longer. Thanks for letting us know your wants. -Dawn Matlak, Cooperative Services Assistant–West

Bunny love
Q: Dear Produce Dept., thank you for all the free produce from your compost for our bunny. Rita the rabbit recently passed away but she enjoyed endless healthy organic meals from the Co-op’s compost. They were the highlight of her day and all the produce staff members were cheerful and generous whenever we asked! Thank you for enriching our bunny’s life!

A: Good food for all!! Very sorry about your bunny. Glad she was able to enjoy the compost. -Andy Johnston, Produce Manager–East

Tenney Nursery & Parent Center

Eastside Veterinary Clinic

CranioSacral Therapy & SomatoEmotional Release

Attorney at Law - Debra A. Stroik

Family Dharma Classes