Beat the Heat with cooling Mint

I have been pondering so many ideas for this blog lately. I wanted something I haven’t previously written about and it is always helpful if the subject matter is meaningful to me as well. Mining for ideas, I cruised through the Deli Department today at the Co-op and shouted out, “Name a culinary delight that makes you think of summer!” There was a tiny moment of silence followed by three people as if on cue yelling “MINT” at the exact same time. So there you have it, an idea was born and so very meaningful it is as our mint at home is going crazy right now and my daughter Stella just last night informed me that she was the Mint Fairy. The history of mint goes back centuries; it is mentioned in the bible and is part of the stories of Greek mythology. Mint has been used as money, to whiten teeth, scent the body, to treat numerous medical ailments, to keep milk from spoiling (pre refrigeration) and of course as a culinary delight. Following the history of the plant brings us the Pilgrims as the most likely candidates to have brought the mint plant to the New World, where it has continued to thrive and grow and even become invasive in some areas. But today we speak of mint as the perfect cool and refreshing complement to hot summer days, and I will share some of my favorite ideas and recipes so that when someone asks you to name something that makes you think of summer, your first reaction will be to yell “MINT!” For starters, mint is excellent added to water, which as you know we should all be drinking a lot of, so throw in a sprig and freshen up your H2O. I always throw a handful of minced mint into my fruit salads; it is exactly what is needed to bring the flavors of 4-8 different fruits together. For an icy refreshing cooler of sorts, that is absolutely one of Stella’s favorite summertime treats, get out your blender and blend together ice, a handful of mint, some lime juice and agave or sweetener of your choice and get ready to have your hot sweaty socks knocked off! For a grown up version of this, I highly recommend adding some rum to the blender and see what that does for you! Mint is great added to whipped cream, especially to top chocolate desserts, and need I even mention its usefulness as a garnish? But now for few recipes that will freshen up your table and add some cooling deliciousness to these hot summer days. Enjoy!

Quinoa Tabouli

This is a light and wheat free version of a classic, perfect for a potluck or a picnic as the flavors only get better as it sits.

  • 1 1/3 cups dry quinoa, soaked and/or rinsed very well
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup seeded, diced cucumbers
  • 2 cups diced tomatoes
  • ¼ cup diced green onion
  • 1 cup finely minced parsley
  • ½ cup or more finely minced mint
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • ½ T minced garlic
  • Sea salt to taste

If you have time, soak the quinoa for at least 15 minutes and up to an hour to remove saponins, and then rinse 2-3 times through a fine mesh sieve. If you do not have time to soak your quinoa, make sure to rinse it well.

Add the quinoa to 1 ¾ cup of water (I like to cook my quinoa in less water for a longer period of time because I find that it turns out fluffier that way, but feel free to cook your quinoa in whatever manner makes you the most comfortable) bring to a simmer and then cook on the lowest heat for 30 minutes covered, when done, leave covered for an additional 5 minutes and then fluff with a fork. Cool the quinoa in the refrigerator, when cool add all remaining ingredients and season to taste.

Beets with Mint

I would never imagine that beets and mint would be such great friends in a salad, but they are! The lightness of the mint pairs well with the heavy earthiness that beets bring to the table.

  • 5 lbs beets, whole
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • ½ T minced garlic
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup minced mint
  • Sea salt to taste

Boil whole beets until soft, cool under cold running water and peel. The skins should come right off. Wedge or dice beets, whichever you prefer. In a blender add garlic, apple cider vinegar, salt and half the mint, blend well. Slowly add olive oil to emulsify the dressing.

Pour dressing over the beets, add the remaining mint and season to taste.

Cucumber Salad with Peanuts and Mint

Last but not least, my favorite cucumber salad EVER!

  • 4 large cucumbers, seeded and sliced into half moons
  • 1 red onion, sliced thin in rounds
  • ¼ cup brown rice vinegar or whatever vinegar you have on hand
  • ½ T rice syrup, or agave
  • 1 ½ T mirin
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • ½ cup peanuts
  • 1/8 cup minced cilantro
  • ¼ cup minced mint
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Mix vinegar, rice syrup, mirin, crushed red peppers, and salt and toss over cucumbers. Add onions, peanuts, cilantro and mint. Mix well and season to taste!

Michelle, Deli Manager

More Co-op News

Riding off into the Sunset


By Annie Hoy, Retiring Marketing Manager

Since I was born and raised in far West Texas, I cannot help but use some imagery from what is so familiar to me.

Staff Picks: Summer Hikes and Trail Snacks

Our staff loves to head outside and enjoy the gorgeous Oregon outdoors. Here's a few of their favorite trails and the Co-op snacks they like to take with them.



Be a Zero Waste Hero in Four Easy Steps

By Stephanie Koerella, Education Coordinator

Reducing our waste has continued to be of greater concern for Rogue Valley residents, especially since January, when options for recycling became even more limited. While the Ashland Food Co-op is ramping up our efforts to reduce waste as a business, there is a lot that our community can do at home to help the cause.

Staff Picks: Earth Friendly Products

In celebration of Sustainability Month in April, we asked our Sustainability Committee to share their favorite eco-friendly product.

2018 Kids Summer Camps

We’ve teamed up with Rogue Valley Farm to School to offer three different camps this summer. Each week campers will dive into food production, preparation and exploration, with a mix of farm and kitchen experiences that delight the senses and inspire the soul. Join Rogue Valley Farm to School staff as they cultivate the ability to grow and cook delicious, healthy, seasonal meals. Monday - Wednesday at the Co-op Community Classroom, Thursday & Friday at the Farm at SOU.

Update on our Strategic Initiatives

By Ed Claassen, Board President

Your Board and Management Team invested a significant amount of time in 2014 developing a set of strategic initiatives that we believe are vital in shaping the future of our business and furthering our mission. We formed a Strategic Planning Steering Committee consisting of 3 Board members and 3 Management Team members to guide the implementation of these initiatives.

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:

Co+op Basics: High Integrity, Low Price

Looking to stretch your grocery budget? So are we! We've lowered the price on over three hundred items to create a set of high integrity staples for every shopper. Welcome to Co+op Basics.

Co+op Basics includes over 300 pantry and household staples. From beef to milk to cereal, we’ve lowered the margin and price on all those items to make organic, healthy food accessible to every shopper.

Proposals Sought for the 2018 Community Grants

The funding cycle for the 2018 Co-op Community Grants for nonprofit organizations is now open.

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.