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Customer Comments

Cat germs
Q: Research Food Supply Issue? Article Sunday Jan. 11, 2015 in Wis. St. Journal regarding wandering outdoor cats (back of sports sect) left me concerned about a parasite that gets into the ground, plants +animals through food chain progression—parasite called toxoplasmosis giordi (sp) —potentially getting into human food chain both produce + animal meats. Seems cats are pivotal in the gestation of the parasite which gets dumped into the ground in the billions. Cats run outdoors on farms - what protections/safeguards exist for the consumer? Thought it a very interesting issue.

A: Thanks for writing! I apologize for not responding sooner. Cats are not the only animals that can carry the parasite (though they are the definitive host), most domestic and wild mammals and birds can serve as intermediate hosts. The US Department of Health & Human Services Food Safety Website says “The toxoplasma parasite lives in the flesh of many animals, from mice to cattle, and infects other animals that eat them, like cats and humans. The parasite is killed by cooking and pasteurization.” Things you can do to protect yourself include avoiding eating meat or making sure meat is properly cooked. If you come into contact with raw meat, make sure utensils and cutting boards are cleaned thoroughly. Washing produce well is another basic safeguard (you may cook them for extra measure, if you like). Frequent hand washing, especially for gardeners, is helpful. On farms, adhering to biosecurity best practices and soil testing are measures that can be taken.  www.foodsafety.gov/poisoning/causes/parasites/toxoplasmosis/ -Kirsten Moore, Director of Cooperative Services

Thank you
Q: Thank you Willy Street Co-op. I love the store. We found it several years ago when my daughter wasapplying to UW and visit every time we are in town. It reminds me of home and shopping at our local co-op in Vermont. I was surprised and excited when checking out the first time that you also honored my membership at my local co op. Very generous and something that my co op does not reciprocate, I wish they did.

I was motivated to write because when I received the latest issue of The Reader, I was sad to see letters full of complaints and threats to shop elsewhere. Customers have such a great resource in the Willy Street Co-op and the responses to the complaints were handled in a very kind, informative and professional manner. Looking forward to visiting when we are back in Madison.

A: Thank you for your kind and thoughtful words. We’re glad to hear you enjoy visiting us and we look forward to seeing you in the store again soon. -Kirsten Moore, Director of Cooperative Services

Financial Assistance
Q: I am a long time member but recently have come into financial challenges due to failing health and am no longer able to work full time. My health and dietary requirements make shopping for organic and fresh foods not optional but costs are high. I recently was put on a very minimal assistance from the food share program. Do you accept the quest cards from the Wisconsin food share program? Thanks for your time I love my coop it has allowed me to stay operational this long keep up the quality and selection of fresh local organics!

A; We do accept FoodShare. We also have an Access Discount Program for those Owners who participate in a variety of different programs such as FoodShare or can prove their income is at or below 130% of the Federal Poverty Guideline. If you are using FoodShare, stop by Customer Service at either location to register for the program with your FoodShare card. We’ll run it to see if there is an active balance and then you will begin to receive 10% off the majority of your purchases. You will also receive a coupon to take one of our classes free of charge. Your enrollment in Access will be good through March 31st, and can be renewed annually if you are still eligible.

Please let me know if I may assist you further. We appreciate your kind words and look forward to seeing you in the store again soon. -Kirsten Moore, Director of Cooperative Services

RECipe CORRECTION
Q: Hi! I am making the Cherry Cornmeal Upside-Down Cake and the list of ingredients does not include flour, but the directions mention whisking it together with the cornmeal. I’m not sure if you intended to omit the flour all together or missed the ingredient. I referred to the Epicurious recipe and will adjust, but thought I’d mention this in case you may want to make a correction. Thanks.

A: We’re very sorry for the confusion. Here is the full list of ingredients for that recipe:

  • 3/4 c. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
  • 1/4 c. (packed) dark brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 3 c. whole pitted fresh Bing cherries or other dark sweet cherries (about 21 ounces whole unpitted cherries)
  • 1 1/4 c. all purpose flour
  • 1/4 c. yellow cornmeal (preferably stone-ground medium grind)
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c. whole milk
  • 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar

-Liz Wermcrantz, Editor

Volunteering
Q: Hi! I’m wondering if you have use for a volunteer. I am on disability and looking to work a little bit to get back into things I am also wondering if you do donate a percentage of profits on one day a month or some kind of alliance with a nonprofit organization doing development work in India and cultural diversity activities in Wisconsin. The organization is Shama, Inc. and has been working for the last 28 years through UW Stevens Point and has its annual event on September 26th this year. Thanks for your input. Looking forward to hearing from you.

A: Thanks for reaching out to us. We do not have a volunteer program. If you are interested in applying for a job, please visit jobs.willystreet.coop, as we do hire at entry level for part-time employment. You may also wish to contact Community Shares of Wisconsin, the benefactor of the Community CHIP program at our registers. They are an umbrella for about 70 nonprofits and they may have leads on groups that need volunteers. We also provide food to four food pantries that may benefit from your volunteerism: Lussier Community Education Center, Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center, Goodman Community Center, and Middleton Outreach Ministry. Those are just a few ideas.

We do not have a percentage-of-profits day. We budget for and distribute donations by request. Please visit www.willystreet.coop/submit/donation-request to review our donation request form and the link to our Donations Policy. If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to ask. Thanks again! -Kirsten Moore, Director of Cooperative Services

Sugar issues
Q: As the evidence continues to roll in (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/28/upshot/the-evidence-supports-artificia...) it is increasingly apparent that sugar in any introduced form in sodas is not good. The Coop appears to have taken all artificially-sweetened pop off the shelf and replaced it with “pure cane sugar” beverages. Well, the scientific studies are now showing that consumption of added sugar drinks contributes to type 2 diabetes as well as obesity. And, artificial sweeteners like saccharin and their offspring are not correlated with carcinoma or any other bad stuff. It is frustrating indeed to shop at the cooperative and find virtually only sugar infused soft drinks constituting the sweetened products. While the original rationale behind the Coop’s removing all sugarless artificially sweetened drinks apparently was based on best medical evidence, that evidence is now gone. Moreover, the science has now flipped and suggests the Coop’s merchandising policy is currently and ironically supporting unhealthy life style. While the issue will continue to be examined in the laboratory the store should in the mean time acknowledge the evidence and (1) educate its members and (2) diversify the soft drink offerings to include sugar free drinks.

A: Thanks for writing! I appreciate your concern about sugar sweetened soda. We do carry a limited selection of natural and organic sodas that are sweetened with cane sugar, however, we also have a selection of sodas that are sugar free. We’re currently carrying several flavors of the following:

  • Zevia: a zero-calorie soda sweetened with Stevia
  • Blue Sky Free: Popular natural soda brand’s line of zero calorie sodas, also sweetened with Stevia and Erythritol.

Beyond that, we carry a nice selection of spritzers that are sweetened with fruit juice and also sparkling waters that are not sweetened at all. I certainly appreciate that many folks want to avoid the added sugar, however we also have many Owners who prefer to buy soda made with cane sugar over mass market sodas that utilize corn syrup, so we try to carry a good mix of products to suit all of our owners needs.

I hope that helps answer your question. Thanks!! –Megan Minnick, Director of Purchasing

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