Love Local with the Local Guy

Throughout September, we will be celebrating all things local. And no one loves local or is more local than our Temporary Demo Coordinator, Brighton Litjens. He was basically raised at the Co-op, has a strong passion for local farmers and producers and loves delighting shoppers with delicious samples and great deals. Who better to tell us about loving local than the "Local Guy" himself?

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Happy day! My name is Brighton Summer Litjens. Lots of light in that name huh? Yes, it’s a lot to live up to. I was born at home and sustainably pasture raised here in eccentric Ashlandia. I am 20 years old yet my friends joke that I live like a 58 year old. I am very involved in the local community doing as much as I can to learn, grow and have an absolute blast! I work three different jobs that keep me nice and busy and with all of them I get to educate and share nourishing food with the best people. Joni Mitchell is my favorite artist. (See I AM 58)
 

Rumor has it you're what they call a "co-op baby." Can you tell us more about that and if it's true?

Well I’m currently not a baby anymore but yes! The Co-op is my stomping ground. It’s my church, community center, education center, and the place where I end up being part of an Om circle around some loose chickens in the courtyard... I have been coming to the Co-op everyday since I was in my BabyBjorn. It was (and is) the only store my mom shopped when I was a kid and instead of going to the park we would come to the Co-op and I would eat yummy snacks, play and be incredibly entertained. My parents actually met here! My dad had a room for rent and posted it on the flyer board; my mom saw it and they met at the juice bar and supposedly “fell in love”. So cute! I am passionate about healthy foods and I thank the Co-op for offering such an abundance of nurturing products. We are so so lucky to have access to amazing produce, wellness items and herbs that better our lives.
 

In your position, you work a lot with local producers and vendors. What's your favorite part about about working with them?

I absolutely adore working with all of our amazing local vendors in the area. It is such a pleasant experience every time I see and talk with the owners. It is so special to hear their stories and learn about what they create. It’s their art and passion. My favorite part is helping them get their product known and exposed. A lot of the time we are their first account and it’s so rewarding for them to demo their product and interact with customers in the store. Creating, sustaining and nourishing our community is something that we strongly believe in here at the Co-op. It all comes together here.

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Tell us about what the Co-op and the Demo Department have planned for Love Local Month in September.

When you come in the store, you can look forward to tasting the local products you love. Come and meet our region's awesome vendors. We put a good amount of local products on a super sale all month long! Here’s some product tastings we have lined up throughout the month: Rogue Creamery, Wilderness Poets, Quady North, Caldera, Dagoba Chocolate, local body care/soap companies and wellness brands as well as wonderful local produce samples happening every week.

If you were stranded on a desert island and could only take three local products/foods with you, what would they be and why?

Oh goodness, that’s a tough one. I would choose the crispy and perfect Barking Moon carrots that we just got in, Blue Lotus Chai Golden Masala tea and Pickled Planet’s I-Boost Sauerkraut. Mmmm… throw me on that dang island, I want to start eating these great treats!

 

More Co-op News

Earth Day Bulk Sale! April 17-21

Save money while working towards a more sustainable shopping experience! The Co-op bulk department is a great "first stop" for your grocery lists - everything from hummus mix to local honey to pet food is available. Plus there's less waste, all the way from shipping to ended up in your shopping cart. 

Check out a quick tour below:

Film festival giveaway

Enter your name and email below to be entered to win two film vouchers for the 2019 Ashland Independent Film Festival.

No purchase necessary. Giveaway is not endorsed or sponsored by AIFF. US residents only. Entry will be closed at 5pm PT on Monday, April 15.


The state of plastics

Many Co-op owners and shoppers have shared their interest in reducing plastic usage in the store. From bioplastics, to compostable plastics to recycling options, the Ashland Food Co-op continues to research what works best as we move towards our goal of being a zero waste store. Here is where we stand.

Food waste at the Co-op

By Rianna Koppel, Sustainability Coordinator

How many times in the past month have you reached back in the fridge to snack on some fresh strawberries only to discover… mold?! In the United States, 40% of food is wasted every year. Luckily, how we address food waste can have a major impact. According to Paul Hawkin’s Drawdown, reducing food waste is #3 on the list of best ways to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. At the Co-op, we use the EPA’s Food Recovery Hierarchy as a guide to bettering our own practices.

Wellness Secret Weapons

There are still plenty of colds and viruses making their rounds, and we want to help you better defend against them!

In January, we asked on social media what kind of secret weapons you use in the winter to stay healthy. We had a lot of responses, so we'll start with the All-Stars.

With your initial recommendations, our Wellness team reviewed the suggestions and picked the products with the highest quality standards and best feedback. Check those out below.

 

Mushrooms for wellness

You may have heard about the fascinating discovery that trees can communicate with each other. What’s the secret? The mycelia - tiny strands of fungus - in the soil form a vast underground network through which trees send chemical signals to their neighbors.

The mycelia differs from the fruiting body of the mushroom, which is the reproductive component that contains spores and is thought to be higher in Beta Glucans.

What to do with all this citrus?!

So you grabbed a few too many extra oranges and grapefruits and lemons (and some finger limes, and some satsumas…), and rather than watch them go bad, we want to provide you with some ideas on how to reduce waste. You’ll also get to enjoy citrus in a lot of new ways!

There are many guides and recipes across the internet (like this one by our friends at Grow Forage Cook Ferment), so here are a few ideas to get your creative and citrus juices flowing.

Update from the General Manager: "Food for Paradise" campaign

Ashland Food Co-op's General Manager, Emile Amarotico, ends 2018 on a very uplifting note with a report back on the "Food for Paradise" donation campaign. Watch the video below, or read on for an extended written update.

Hello, this is Emile Amarotico, the general manager of Ashland Food Co-op with an update on the Co-op’s Food for Paradise initiative.

5 Fresh Ways to Save at the Co-op

We’ve all been there: your bank account is looking thin after a month of celebrations, but you’ve made a New Year’s resolution to save up for a big purchase later in the year

Now’s the time to make some changes to your spending - but that doesn’t mean you have to skimp on quality goods at the Ashland Food Co-op.

These are some lesser known ways to save at the Co-op. Think of them like ordering off the secret menu. 

Savings Level: $

4 Ways to Reduce Your Food Waste

It’s the New Year, our favorite time for goal-setting, making positive resolutions, and shifting our impact. One of the Co-op’s goals is to become a Zero Waste facility. Our staff works to divert as much food waste as we can - and we hope our member-owners will join us in this goal too.