The Green Grocer: All I ever needed to know I learned at the co-op



Amid the back-to-school buzz, it occurred to me that all I ever needed to know I learned at the co-op.

• Eat well. Our buyer’s guide emphasizes local, organic food with minimal ingredients and processing.

• Be kind to your neighbors. Roughly 30 percent of our sales are to local products, which means we’re helping to support our neighbors and strengthen Winona’s economy.

• Take care of your home. We work with farmers who are using sustainable, regenerative agricultural practices, and we recently hired a sustainability coordinator to examine the store’s practices and spearhead changes that benefit our shared home.

• Be fair. When you purchase products you love, such as coffee and chocolate, through companies that prioritize fair trade, you’re helping the folks who make those products to earn a fair wage for their hard labor. You get great products and they get paid fairly!

• Know your numbers! You count the eggs before you put them into your egg carton. You record the tare weight on your bulk container. You calculate just how much you saved on the more recent flash sale (and then you check your math because you can’t believe you saved that much!). 

To continue with the education theme, I’m sharing with you a technique that everyone should know. It’s for roasting peppers. Roasting peppers is easy enough and adding roasted peppers takes many dishes to the next level! 

Adapted slightly from

1. Place the oven rack in the topmost position and preheat your oven to 450 degrees F. 

2. Cut the peppers in half and remove the stems, seeds and membranes.

3. Lay the peppers on a foil-lined baking sheet, cut side down. Roast the red peppers for 15-20 minutes or until the skins are charred and have collapsed. (There is no need to rotate or turn the peppers.) Once the skins are blackened remove the peppers from the oven and let them rest until cool enough to handle. 

4. Remove the skins from the peppers.

5. Stored in the fridge in an airtight container, the peppers will keep for about a week. You can also store them in an airtight container in the freezer.

6. Add to salads, soups, pastas, pizzas, sauces, relishes, and more!


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