Frigid temperatures, frozen ground, frosty breath. It’s nearly inconceivable that eating locally-grown produce during Minnesotan winters is possible. Local hydroponic, aeroponic and aquaponic farmers have proved otherwise. Producers like Living Waters in Wells, Minn. (hydroponic tomatoes), Living Greens Farm in Faribault, Minn. (aeroponic salad greens and microgreens), and Urban Organics in Saint Paul, Minn. (aquaponic salad greens) provide Mississippi Market Co-op shoppers with an abundance of locally grown food not only during our cold winter months, but also throughout the year. Living Waters grows over 7,000 tomato plants a year, Living Greens produces over 1 million heads of lettuce annually, and Urban Organics currently harvests up to 15,000 pounds of salad greens a month.
Throughout history, grassroots activism has played a key role in addressing racial and socioeconomic oppression, exploitation, and segregation. The cooperative movement formed in direct opposition to corrupt business practices to address food and social justice issues, economic independence, product quality standards, labor conditions, and methods of ownership. Oftentimes, the consumer co-op story begins in mid-19th-century England with the founding of the Rochdale Equitable Pioneers Society. This group of 28 British citizens is regarded as having successfully opened the first truly cooperative grocery business. At the time, this was a radical departure from exploitative practices they faced at company grocery stores provided by their textile factory employers.
The consumer co-op scene in Minnesota grew from the roots of formal cooperative business efforts taken by the Rochdale Pioneers and 19th-century Finnish and Scandinavian immigrants in Northern Minnesota. These British citizens and European immigrants made impressive contributions to the co-op movement. However, if we stop there, the story remains incomplete and inaccurate. To truly understand the power of cooperatives, we must recognize, share, and celebrate contributions to the movement by a multitude of races and cultures, especially those that have been historically marginalized.
Many people associate the growth of local grocery co-ops with the 1960–1975 period, during which many of our region’s existing stores began. A notable exception to the 1960s local food co-op movement was the Credjafawn Co-op Store, which briefly served the Rondo community in the years immediately following World War II. Its freestanding building at 678 Rondo Avenue, at what was then the corner of Rondo Avenue and St. Albans Street, lay roughly four blocks northwest of Mississippi Market’s Selby store.
Lively photographs of Credjafawn Co-op from 1948 document a tidy, well-equipped corner store with white-painted porcelain cases, a two-tiered air-conditioned produce display backed by tall mirrors, and grocery carts small enough to thread their way through narrow aisles packed with fresh food for sale. The Co-op’s two large street-facing windows were partly papered with posters featuring the familiar twin-pines logo of the National Cooperative Business Association, which also served as Mississippi Market ‘s logo for a short period of time.
Taking Stock Co-founders Maddy Kaudy and Molly Clark
Support your Health with Whole-food Broths
As the New Year begins and resolutions are made, take stock of your personal health with delicious, locally-sourced broths. Co-founded in January 2015 by Mississippi Market member-owner Molly Clark and her good friend Maddy Kaudy, Taking Stock Foods produces three kinds of nourishing bone broths made with organic chicken and a hearty vegan broth full of robust flavors imparted by oyster mushrooms and ginger. Molly and Maddy’s culinary backgrounds in cooking at local restaurants, as well as their partnership with a registered dietitian and nutrition advisor, helped inform Taking Stock’s slow-cooked recipes. An extended 12-hour-long cooking time allows for the extraction of tasty flavors, beneficial minerals, collagen, and amino acids into the broths from bones and vegetables.
Searching for the perfect gifts for the foodie on your holiday list? We’ve got a great selection for lovers of unique, quality-crafted foods. Try our Foodie Faves below – they’re sure to please!
DEER CREEK CHEESES
We love these amazing, locally-made, handcrafted artisan cheeses from Wisconsin! We recommend The Fawn, a sweet and nutty mellow cheddar.
EXCLUSIVE RIOJANA EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
Exclusive to co-op shoppers, this cold-pressed, fair trade olive oil is made from a blend of certified organic Arauco and Manzanilla olives and cooperatively produced by family farms in Argentina.
VELVET BEES GOURMET HONEY BUTTER
A luscious blend of honey, butter, cream, sugar, and vanilla results in a velvety smooth spread that serves as the perfect complement to toast, pancakes, and desserts.
EQUAL EXCHANGE HOT COCOA
Nothing says winter quite like a warm, steeping mug of hot cocoa. We steer towards Equal Exchange’s fair trade organic hot cocoa mix since its ingredients contain cocoa and sugar grown by small co-operative farmers and milk produced by Organic Valley, a Wisconsin-based dairy cooperative.
THE BEEZ KNEEZ MUSTARD AND HONEY
Based in Minneapolis, The Beez Kneez promotes sustainable urban beekeeping and utilizes their bees to make incredibly flavorful small batch raw honey and mustard. The honey imparts these unique flavors as a result of the bees foraging for these types of natural pollen. Did you know? Mississippi Market is an urban apiary partner of Beez Kneez, hosting honey bee hives on the rooftop of our West 7th store!
BARE HONEY FLAVORED HONEY
Another local favorite, Bare Honey produces and distributes chemical free, antibiotic free, Treatment Free honey. Along with raising their own bees, they operate as a distribution outlet for sustainable Minnesota beekeepers. Flavors include raw wildflower, vanilla bean honey spread, and cinnamon honey.
RUSH CREEK RESERVE
Local Rush Creek Reserve farmstead cheese from Uplands Cheese Co. in southern Wisconsin is one of the best cheeses of the year. Rush Creek Reserve is only made in the autumn as the cows move from summer pasture to winter hay, which produces a richer milk. It is a soft ripened cheese wrapped in a strip of spruce bark that imparts a sweet, woodsy flavor. Pair it with one of Wood from the Hood’s charcuterie boards for an extra special gift.
ISABEL STREET HEAT AND NUCLEAR NECTAR HOT SAUCES
If the foodies on your holiday gift list enjoy spicy foods and promoting local businesses, then these two aromatic hot sauces should fit the bill. Isabel Street heat located in St. Paul and Nuclear Nectar located in Minneapolis craft beautiful products that’ll add a kick to omelets, eggs, quesadillas, pizzas, and soups. We carry Nuclear Nectar ‘Nero Red, a habanero hot sauce, as well as a range of Isabel Street Heat sauces including Chipotle, Habanero, Jalapeno, Thai Chili, Serrano, and Ghost Pepper.
Gifts Under $20
Searching for the perfect gift for that special someone? You’re sure to find one at the co-op that’s beautiful and reflective of your personal values. This holiday season, give the gift of honesty — fairly-produced food and goods made with reverence for the people and places where they’re crafted.
Local Raw Honey Tasting Pack
This single-source honey tasting pack offers a diverse combination of flavor profiles for the discerning palate. Gift receivers will experience the joy of five best-selling varieties from Ames Farm. Packages vary and contain honey made from the pollen of local basswood, sweet clover, prairie flowers, alfalfa, and more.
Local, Organic Maple Syrups
Gift receivers are sure to enjoy the earthy flavors of organic maple syrups from Maple Valley Cooperative and Wild Country. Harvested from woodlands in the Great Lakes region and Sawtooth Mountains near Lake Superior, these 100-percent-pure maple syrups are produced with the greatest care given to sustainable harvesting methods and social responsibility.
Organic Fair-trade Coffee
An array of organic fair-trade coffee blends is available at the co-op from Just Coffee Co-op, Kickapoo Coffee, Peace Coffee, and Equal Exchange Co-op. These locally-roasted blends are full of robust flavors and ethically sourced from farmers who are paid fair wages for their work and goods.
Cooperatively-Produced Winter Scarves
Terra Natural Designs’ winter scarves are cooperatively produced and artisan crafted. Handmade with sustainable, renewable fibers and naturally-sourced dyes, your purchase supports a social justice movement that empowers Indigenous female entrepreneurs to continually preserve, practice, and get paid for their South American crafts.
Essential Oil Holiday Blends
Veriditas essential oil blends offer an organic model for self-care and relaxation. During the hectic end-of-year season, provide your loved ones with the grounding, healing power of herbs and flowers. These comforting blends work well when added to a diffuser or homemade potpourri.
A favorite producer here at Mississippi Market, Rochdale Farms is locally and cooperatively owned. Rochdale Farms is the creation of Mary Bess Michaletz and Bentley Lein. It was created with the intention to foster the growth of small local dairy producers and create delicious, artisan cheeses, hand rolled butters, and cream-top yogurts. Rochdale sells all of their creative dairy products exclusively to Midwestern natural food cooperatives.
Most of the milk Rochdale uses comes from a network of over 325 small Amish family farms spread across Wisconsin and Minnesota. These family-run farms take an extraordinary amount of care to treat their animals and land with care. Each farm has a small single heard of cows or goats that is milked by hand each day. The extremely fresh milk is brought to K&K creamery, in traditional milk cans, overseen by Master cheese maker Tom Torkelson.
Rochdale makes affordable everyday cheese favorites such as organic Mild & Sharp Cheddar, Provolone, and String Cheese, in addition to a unique line of specialty aged cheeses including Cellar Aged Gouda, Cave-Aged Blue, Reserve Alpine Emmentaller, and Extra Aged Goat Cheddar. Their hand rolled butter is second-to-none and is available in both salted and unsalted varieties. Mississippi Market is excited to offer this line of cooperatively made dairy products for your enjoyment.
Pastures A Plenty is third generation family-owned-and-operated by the VanDerPols.
Pastures A Plenty in Kerkhoven, Minn., is decidedly different. This mutigenerational family-owned-and-operated farmstead takes a hands-on approach, focusing on attention to detail. For over three decades, the VanDerPol family has shown strong commitment to the environment, their community, and long-term farm sustainability. They raise Berkshire, Duroc, and Chester White heritage hog breeds that are primarily pasture-fed and never receive hormones or antibiotics to promote growth. These rugged, hardy breeds love to forage and roam outside and, as a result, produce premium, high-quality pork.
True wild rice is a native Minnesotan food, and we should celebrate the fact. Earthy and comforting, wild rice is highly nutritious, packed with B vitamins, fiber, and protein. There are two types of wild rice, native (manoomin), which is lighter in color and flavor and quicker to cook, and cultivated, which is darker and richer. Yes, it is pricier than its white or brown cousins, but wild rice swells up to 4 times its size, making it a good value; 1 cup of dried rice=6 servings. You can freeze any leftovers, and please save the “broth” it’s cooked in, since it is so delicious and can be added to soup as a base.
Featherstone Farm has been growing organic fruits and vegetables for over 20 years with a focus on personal, financial, and environmental sustainability. At their 250-acre certified organic farm in Rushford, Minn, Featherstone produces over 70 different crops annually for delivery to local food co-ops, natural food stores, farm-to-table restaurants, and wholesalers. They also operate a successful Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, which delivers fresh produce throughout the summer, fall and winter seasons directly to CSA customers in the Twin Cities, Rochester, and Winona.
The farm’s philosophy is rooted in the belief that the freshest, best-tasting, most nutritious fruits and vegetables come from holistic, sustainable production systems. As organic farmers, Featherstone possess a strong ethic of environmental stewardship. A 2,200 square foot, 38 kilowatt solar panel array that sits atop their machine shop serves as one example of their practical, long-term commitment to a clean, sustainable future. We particularly respect their dedication to building healthy soil, protecting natural resources, creating renewable energy, and serving as a regional food hub that connects our urban and rural communities. Their delicious organic carrots and butternut squash are amazing!