5 Edible Plants to Start in Your Garden Now

Spring is most definitely upon us, and we are lucky enough to live in Southern Oregon where the weather during this time is usually (ahem) co-operative enough to let us get some plants in the ground in between the hail storms and rainbows.  There are actually many plants that do quite well in this time of transition, as they prefer the cooler temperatures that we get here this time of year, before the real heat sets in.  Here are a few that we have right now at the Co-op, direct from local, organic farms.  Plant these in your garden now for best results!

Lettuce Mixes
Grow your own salad with all kinds of different lettuce mixes! These plants are super easy to grow, and it’s so rewarding to go out to the garden and harvest your very own salad right before dinner. The Co-op has all different varieties of lettuce starts, from romaine to spinach to salad blends.

Kale and Other Dark Greens
Kale is probably one of the most popular vegetables at the co-op, and for good reason. It is full of many healthy vitamins and minerals, just like most dark leafy greens are. They are also super easy to grow and should do really well in an early spring garden. We have several different varieties of kale, as well as collard greens, swiss chard, and mustard greens for sale as starts. Come and get them!

Peas are the quintessential spring vegetable, and they are really easy to grow.  They do usually need something to climb on, but other than that their requirements are pretty minimal.  At the Co-op we carry a variety called Oregon Sugar Pod, which are totally adapted for our region.  How cool is that?

Beets are two vegetables in one, as both the root and the greens are not only edible, but totally delicious. They are also very easy to grow, and they especially like these cool temperatures that we have during springtime.  Pulling root vegetables out of the ground, once they are ready to eat, is probably one of the coolest feelings that one can have. I suggest that you give it a try this year with beets!

Fresh Herbs
Many fresh herbs like to get their start in early spring. What a treat it is to go out to your herb garden to snip a little here and there for your next meal. We have several different herb starts at the Co-op, including chives, mint, dill, fennel, cilantro and parsley. All of these do well in early spring, and most will persist throughout the summer.

Growing your own food is one of the most rewarding things that you can do, and this is the time to get started!  The Co-op has you covered with many different veggie starts, and the varieties will change as the seasons change.  Soon we will have tomatoes and peppers and squash, but for right now, get your spring planting on!


Colleen Codekas, AFC Cashier and Blogger at Grow Forage Cook Ferment

Besides being a cashier at the Co-op, Colleen lives a double life as a blogger at Grow Forage Cook Ferment. She loves all kinds of real food endeavors, including fermenting, homebrewing, wildcrafting, mushroom hunting, cooking from scratch, and growing her own food in an urban permaculture garden. She is also a self taught herbalist, and makes her own handmade herbal products that she sells in her Etsy shop, Coco’s Herbals.

More Co-op News

2018 Electronic Coupon Schedule

To further our sustainability efforts and to serve you better, we began offering Electronic Owner Coupons in January 2017 at the register.

No more forgetting to bring your owner coupons. No more waiting for your newsletter to arrive. Cashiers simply ask if you want to use your owner coupons when you check out.

As we enter our second year of Electronic Coupons we wanted to share a couple of friendly reminders and the 2018 month by month schedule.

Please note:

What Does Democracy Have to Do with Cooperatives?

By Annie Hoy, Marketing Manager

We often refer to cooperatives as “democratic enterprises.” But what does that really mean? The Ashland Food Co-op, like all other co-ops in most economic sectors, is owned and controlled by the people who use its services.

Proposals Sought for the 2018 Community Grants

The funding cycle for the 2018 Co-op Community Grants for nonprofit organizations begins in February.

Every spring, for more than 20 years, we’ve been donating to area nonprofits through our Community Grant program. We are committed to creating healthy, sustainable communities and this program helps us fulfill that commitment by supporting the amazing work of local nonprofits. The Community Grant program is also the highlight of Cooperative Principle 7, Concern for Community, and is something we take to heart.

From the General Manager’s Desk

By Emile Amarotico

As we commence our lap around the sun in 2018, I wish to recognize the longstanding contributions of an amazing group of professionals. We are blessed with the dedication of eleven department managers expertly coordinating the daily flow of people, products and services that breath life into our Co-op!

  • Lynne (35+ years’ tenure) our Grocery Manager oversees keeping the aisles abundant with shelf stable products and coolers full of fresh perishables.

The Role of the Board in Co-op Governance

By Gwyneth Bowman, Vice President

After serving on the AFC Board for fourteen years my passion for the Co-op model has strengthened my commitment to the Cooperative Principles and Values. Of special importance is how we work together as a governing body with one voice. We are the ultimate decision-makers of our Co-op and hold a trusteeship for the benefit of our owners and community.

Fall Favorites from the Co-op

Like it or not, the cool weather has arrived. Whether you are heading out for a hike or enjoying a good book by the fire, the Co-op Deli has what you need to fuel your favorite fall activity. Stay warm with these comfort food recommendations from the Co-op Deli.

From the General Manager's Desk

By Emile Amarotico

A recent visitor commented that our parking is totally inadequate to our business volume. What’s true is that we cannot create more parking due to space and municipal code constraints. Thus, the value of each available space is increasing over time. Assuming only half of Co-op shoppers use automobile parking, each space supports at least $200,000 in annual sales.

Meet Board of Director Julie O'Dwyer

When not working on Board of Director efforts, my profession is an Interior and Building Designer. I own the Ashland Design Studio, located in the Historic Railroad District, and have a design services studio there - JulieO Design. I have been in the architectural design business my whole life; from crawling around my father's architectural studio to traveling around the world working on buildings large and small to now having created my own niche in the local building community. I took a few years off this path to own and run Tease Restaurant here in Ashland.

5 Reasons to Love Co-ops

October is National Co-op Month, so what’s the big deal? Being a co-op is special. Yes, we know we are biased, but being a cooperative enterprise means we do business differently. We don’t have a single owner living on their private island drinking margaritas all day without a care in the world. We are owned and governed by you, our 10,000 members. We share the burden in hard times and share the benefits in the good times. We put people, the planet and our principles before profit.

From the General Manager's Desk

By Emile Armarotico

This spring, National Co-op Grocers recognized Ashland Food Co-op as a Co+efficient Sustainability Star for our excellent sustainability efforts.

Our Sustainability Vision aims at being carbon neutral by 2030. We’ve taken a great stride toward this by installing a 39 kilowatt solar electric system on our rooftop with the capacity to generate approximately 7% of our electricity usage. The cost was partially offset by a $27,000 REAP (Rural Energy for America Program) Grant.

Local Starts at the Co-op

When we say local, we mean local. We source our local goods from within 200 miles of the store. By purchasing goods from local producers, we aim to create and maintain a healthy local economy and support family farms. What could be better than helping your community by buying local goods?

With all the local products that we offer, it’s hard to pick a favorite. But that’s exactly what we asked our staff to do. Here are some of their go-to local eats.

Your Fruit. Your Cider.

How often can you browse the shelf at your neighborhood grocery store, see a bottle of hand crafted, local cider and say, “Hey, I help make that!” Well, at the Co-op you can.

Millions of Peaches, Peaches for Me

Many of us wait all year for this moment. We spend the winter months dreaming of a certain fuzzy stone fruit, its sweet juices dripping from our face and the buttery golden pie crust those yellow-orange slices will inhabit.

Good news! The wait is over. That local, sweet orb of sunshine has finally arrived. That’s right. Rolling Hills peaches are here!

2017 Board Election Results

The Ashland Food Co-op Board of Directors is pleased to announce the results of the 2017 Board Election. There were five excellent candidates running for three Board positions. In total, 733 votes were cast, representing 9% of owners. 
Congratulations to the following candidates who will serve three-year terms on the Ashland Food Co-op Board of Directors.

We're Sustainability Stars!

Deep in our hearts we've always known we were sustainability stars, but now we have an award to prove it.

We recently received a Co+efficient Sustainability Star award from National Co-op Grocers (NCG) recognizing our positive environmental and community impacts.

Co+efficient, NCG’s sustainability program, measures social, environmental and local economic impacts from participating food co-ops across the country.