Q: The vegan pan pizza has been out of rotation at the Willy East hot bar for at least three weeks. It's a fantastic, tasty, savory pizza and I miss it dearly. Thanks!
A: Thanks for reaching out about the vegan pizza on the hot bar. I'm super glad that you enjoyed the pizza enough to request it. It's true that we took a little break from pizza for the winter, the good news is it's returning this week. Our plan is to have it on the hot bar every Friday for lunch until we sell out :) Let me know if you have any more questions! -Dustin Skelley, Deli Manager—East
Q: Hi—I noticed you don't have the Giovanni conditioner in bulk at Willy North any more. Will it be coming back? Do East or West carry it? No worries if not, I just wanted to see. I like the idea of bulk for things like this.
A: Thanks for asking about our bulk Giovanni Conditioner! Our East and West stores have the conditioner in stock currently. Unfortunately, our bulk body care has pretty low sales, so we are reducing our options and looking more at packaging-free options like bar shampoos/conditioners. Watch for those in the coming months!
We will of course be able to special order a gallon of the Giovanni Conditioner if you prefer.
Thank you again! -Angela Pohlman, Wellness Category Manager
Q: Hi there! I have a question about a couple of products you have stocked in the past or at other locations but that I haven't seen at East in a long time. Mary's Gone Crackers Thins are the best whole grain thin crackers (much better taste than Kashi 7-grain) and there don't seem to be many more options in this category. I also love the almond coconut Perfect bar (so filling and no added sugar and so tasty, hard to find this combo in other bars). I think it is the only vegan one and would love to see it again. Of course recognizing that there may be factors outside of your control or reasons stocking these doesn't make sense. :) Thanks for your work. Take care!
A: Good afternoon, I hope this message finds you well. We did a little digging and found that Perfect bar no longer makes the almond coconut bar and so we do not have access to it anymore. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. As for Mary's Gone Cracker thins, we will not be bringing that into the East store but our North side location has 2 flavors. They have the original and the garlic flavor on their shelves.
So you have some options. If you are on that side of town you can grab it, or we can transfer the product to the East side store for you. Your third option is we can do a special order for you, which would entail you ordering a case. Which is 6 boxes to the case. Let me know how you would like to proceed. Have a beautiful day! -Amanda Ikens, Owner
Q: Thank you for the notice on the California organic avocados. I would like to take this opportunity to let those at Willy Street Coop know what I think of the Coop. In all my 76 years I have never been notified about a food recall by a grocery store, and there have been many. To me this just points to the incredible integrity of the Willy Street Coop operation. You folks are the most considerate and conscientious group I have ever had the pleasure of dealing with. If you do not have something I want, I can contact someone and see about special orders. Also, often the items are added to the shelves if space is available. You have more organic choices than anywhere I have ever been, and many of them are small local organic operations. As we know, contamination of the USDA organic label by Big Food corporations is growing rapidly and the small local producers are consistently the most reliable. That brings me to another favorable characteristic of the Coop; I can ask someone who almost always knows where anything in the store comes from and find out in a few minutes. I really appreciate this kind of conscientious purchasing of products.
You guys at Willy street do everything right from my perspective, and if something can be improved you are open to it.
A: Thank you so much for your thoughtful and positive words! They made my day and I will be sharing them with our other employees who are working hard to respond to this recall and the questions we are receiving. Have a great afternoon!
–Kirsten Moore, Cooperative Services Director
Q: I ordered an apple jack juice this morning and asked for easy ginger. I grabbed my drink when it was done and left. I got to work and I took a swig and WOW - then noticed a label on side of cup that said extra ginger. I'm hoping I can get a do over on my drink as I wasn't able to drink it that strong. The staff is great, no qualms there and if I had only seen that side of my cup when I grabbed my drink I could have caught it and remedied it there.
A: Sorry about the misunderstanding with your applejack! I have a gift card waiting at the customer service desk at East for $6.50 so you can get another juice. Please let me know if you have any other questions or concerns! Cheers, Dustin Skelley, Deli Manager—East
Q: Message: I am a homebrewer and inquiring about bulk (5 gallon container) distilled or RO water —does your store have a dispenser for filling containers with Dist/RO water? Thank you.
A; Yes! We have RO water filling stations at all three store locations and you can purchase and/or refill 5 gallon containers. If you need assistance when you visit the store with using the stations or if you have questions about containers, please do not hesitate to ask an employee or to stop by Customer Service. Thanks for thinking of us, and happy brewing! -Kirsten Moore, Cooperative Services Director
Q: I just read the Composting article. I am interested in composting and was wondering if there is a way I can drop off my compost at Willy Street. In the article I wasn't quite sure if this was an option.
A: Thanks for asking! We do not accept compost drop-offs. We do have composting available for people dining in our commons to compost what they purchased and consumed on-site, but we do not have the capacity to collect residential compost.
The City of Madison lists a few companies that may be able to accept your compost for a fee here: www.cityofmadison.com/streets/organics.
Please let us know if you have any other questions. Enjoy the day! -Kirsten Moore, Cooperative Services Director
Q: I really like the buttermilk dressing you use for garlic lover’s pasta salad. A few days ago sampled a new salad, maybe portobello mushroom and pasta? This was at north. I recognized the dressing flavor (and my taste sense isn’t, as it has aged, what it was). I checked the label on a package of the salad to verify the dressing.
So, since I understand you create the dressing, and since it is distinctively good, could you, (well yes!), would you please consider selling it in modest amounts. I presume shelf life might be somewhat limited, but I surely would purchase it if I could get it in 4 - 8 oz. amounts. I’ve tried to replicate it and found an acceptable recipe, but I’d rather buy and use yours as my go-to dressing. Thanks for considering!
A: Thanks so much for your comment. Glad to hear that you enjoy our buttermilk dressing so much!
I have a partial solution for you, for now—we will very soon be selling the dressing on our Salad Bars instead of offering dressings from Briana's. You could absolutely pour some into a to-go container and take it home with you! I project that it would cost about $4-$5 for 8oz. -Patrick Schroeder, Prepared Foods Category Manager
Q: Looking for further understanding of any pesticides / chemicals including organic ones that are used on your lemongrass source. Your stores are one of the few places in town that have organic & this will be used for patient education.
A: Thanks for writing. I wish I had a better answer for you, but I'm afraid I don't have access to the information you are looking for. We purchase USDA Certified Organic lemongrass from several produce distributors, and the sourcing is variable, so I can't tell you with certainty what the exact growing practices are for specific lemongrass you would purchase from us.
I can tell you that the lemongrass is Certified Organic, and meets the standards inherent in that certification. Beyond that, I'm hesitant to give you specific information since I really can't be sure what our sourcing is on a daily basis.
I'm sorry, I wish I had a better more precise answer! Best, Megan Minnick, Purchasing Director
Q: Thanks for getting back into bulk soap liquids. However, those of us who travel far to shop need real bulk. That is, in terms of soap, quite a bit. We love the clothes washer soap but it would take all day to fill up a large bottle with that silly hand pump. It fell apart while pumping so much and the staff couldn't get it working again so we had to leave with very little in our bottle. Can you get a pour spout for that container? Thanks for the consideration.
A: Thanks for writing us about your struggles with the liquid soap in bulk. We too have been struggling with this issue, first with finding a product that fits our need and second, with finding a functional way to sell it. I spoke with our bulk buyer today and he says that he's aware that the pump is not the best option, nor is it what we'd like to be our long term solution. It is what we've got for right now, but we definitely hear what you're saying and would also love to find a better solution. I hope your next endeavor to buy bulk soap is more successful, the pumps should be in good working order and our staff is always happy to help how we can. Let me know if you have any other questions or if there is anything else I can help you with! -Liz Munoz, Assistant Grocery Manager—East
Q: I was at the Willy Street location yesterday and saw some "eco grass" for Easter baskets being sold in plastic. I think it's a nice idea, but counterproductive to any green movement that the Co-op is trying to get behind. Wouldn't it make more sense to support a company that uses recycled paper in packaging too?
I also noticed that there were a lot of Field Day products, but saw that they have BPA lining in some of their products according to the Environmental Working Group: www.ewg.org/research/bpa-canned-food You have other options for products, but just wanted to point that out. I love your stores; I just wanted to share.
A: Thanks for sharing your thoughts and for your praise of our stores!
We reached out to Eco Grass to pass on your thoughts. Their response is pasted below. I totally understand that it may not be a good solution for everyone, but I found it helpful to know more about their thought process when developing this product.
“Eco grass is made with all natural dyes and put through a very clean shredding process to keep it clean. It does not have the powdery soot-like coating that grass shredded in China tends to have on it. To encourage people to use it year after year we put it in a resealable bag. We have tried a recyclable plastic but the material tore and split easily and customers said it was too "noisy." That type of plastic tends to be very crinkly, for lack of a better term. Paper packaging also tended to tear and didn't last, defeating the purpose of keeping the grass clean.
Our hope is that people will reuse the resealable package year after year to keep their grass as clean as it was when they bought it."
Regarding the Field Day cans that use BPA, I was aware of this. Many Owners choose to purchase the Field Day product because if offers a great price for organic beans, but as you mention, we also carry other brands for those who are looking to eliminate BPA.
Thanks again for reaching out! Best, Megan Minnick, Purchasing Director