Hosted tastings noon to 3 pm:
Downtown store on Saturday;
Cordata store on Sunday.
A lot of words may jump out at you when you walk down the coffee aisle at the Co-op—shade-grown, fair trade, organic, local, and more. But what do they mean in this context? What makes shade-grown coffee desirable? What exactly does “fair trade” require of companies? These are exactly the kinds of questions we want to answer, so you can shop with more confidence.
To understand why shade-grown coffee is so important, we have to remember that coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the world. Its history spans centuries, continents, and cultures. As Businesswire explains, the global coffee industry was valued at USD 102.15 billion in 2019 and is set to grow a record 6.2% in the next six years. Ensuring that there are 75 million cups of coffee to be consumed around the world each day is a big business and it has dramatic effects on the developing and emerging countries where coffee grows most abundantly.
There are two kinds of coffee beans, robusta and arabica, and two main coffee cultivation systems, sun-grown and shade-grown. Arabica loves the shade and robusta needs the sun. That means that if you are drinking coffee made from arabica beans, you are most likely drinking shade-grown coffee—whether it is advertised that way or not.
Coffee plants naturally grow under the shade of a full forest canopy. Until the 1970s, cultivators largely let coffee grow as part of this larger ecosystem.
Out of the desire to decrease growing times and increase yields and profits, coffee producers began clearcutting for coffee plantations and growing coffee plants in neat rows in direct sun. In this quest, the sun-grown coffee industry deforested 2.5 million acres in Central America. Many organisms experience habitat loss due to widespread deforestation (especially migratory birds), but deforestation also contaminates waterways and expedites natural soil erosion.
Absent the natural protection of the canopy and the diversity of life teeming underneath, farmers must introduce chemical pesticides and fertilizers to ward off plant disease and create growing conditions. Relying on these chemicals damages the soil, contaminates the groundwater, and causes illness in exposed humans and animals. The robusta beans that are cultivated in this way are also lower quality than their shade-grown, arabica counterparts. Exposure to full sun stresses these already vulnerable monocrops, and the faster growing times that makes robusta beans easier to produce is a double-edged sword. Because the beans grow faster in the sun, they also don’t develop the density and complexity that characterize arabica beans, which grow more slowly at higher elevations and in cooler temperatures.
Increasingly farmers are returning to traditional, shade-grown farming methods, because beans cultivated in that manner can be sold for higher prices to more discerning buyers. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that coffee plantations are a thing of the past. Of the coffee sold in stores in the US, 75% is still made from sun-grown beans, and the US leads the world in global coffee consumption.
One of the most important choices you can make as a conscious consumer in the coffee aisle is to select brands that only roast shade-grown beans. By doing so, you are protecting the people and the planet that make your coffee possible and you’re getting a tastier cup of coffee along the way.
In addition to looking for signs that your coffee is shade-grown, you should also scope out fair trade certified products when you shop. Corporate greenwashing trends have made it really hard for consumers to trust “fair trade” labels. At the Co-op, we take out the guesswork. You can expect to see this logo on coffee packaging:
The fair trade certified seal means that the coffee producer was held to the most rigorous social, environmental, and economic standards. The coffee you are about to drink was cultivated under safe working conditions that protected the environment and the beans were sold for a fair price that allows their farmer to sustain a livelihood.
Not all fair trade certified products are organic and neither are all shade-grown beans. To ensure that the coffee you drink is the best possible for your body, the environment, and the workers who cultivated the beans, you should choose a coffee that is organic as well as shade-grown and fair trade certified.
At the Co-op, you can expect to see the USDA Organic seal all around our store, including on our coffee. The United States Department of Agriculture sets the national standard for organics and conducts thorough inspections of all the products it certifies. USDA certified organic coffee beans cannot be grown with the aid of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, or genetic engineering or in soil that has been contaminated by chemicals in the last three years. USDA Organic is the gold standard certification, in part, because the USDA has strict regulations that govern the whole life cycle of the bean. There are rules for how beans must be transported, roasted, and packaged to prevent contamination from certain cleaners and conventional products.
Want to go the extra mile for sustainability? Choose coffee from a local roaster. Buying locally means that you can support your neighbors, keep more of your shopping dollars in the local economy, and reduce the carbon footprint of the products you buy. What’s not to love?
Ready to shop? Browse our selection of shade-grown, fair trade, organic, and local coffees online here.
Cordata store: 11 am to 2 pm
Downtown store: 3 to 6 pm
Meet a citrus farmer. Samples galore. Screaming deals. Live music in the Downtown store.
Organic mangoes are 5/$5! (Both stores, while supplies last.)
Try this delicious mango salsa recipe from Downtown Produce Assistant Manager Russ!
Flash sales are a member-owner benefit. Not an owner yet? Join today!
by Kathleen Tanm, REBBL Marketing Coordinator
Each time you choose Reishi Chocolate, Turmeric Golden Milk, Maca Cold Brew, or any other REBBL elixir, you make a choice to delight your taste buds, nourish your body, and support the Botanical Revolution for Good.
Photos courtesy of REBBL
Whole Ingredients and Herbs
When you see REBBL Elixirs on the shelf at your local co-op, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Maybe it’s the array of decadently delicious flavor profiles that remind you a bit of your childhood. Each elixir is soulfully crafted to be creamy and indulgent. What you taste is what you get—the whole ingredients and herbs—that’s it. No gums, natural flavors, or thickeners, there’s no taste bud trickery. Just pure, honest, sensory delight.
organically grown for your health and well-being, and for the health and well-being of the farmers, the soil, and the water used in its cultivation
Every super herb is used at levels that correspond to traditional levels. If we can’t use a super herb at meaningful, efficacious levels, then we won’t use it at all. Every. Single. Ingredient. we use is organically grown for your health and well-being, and for the health and well-being of the farmers, the soil, and the water used in its cultivation. We support fairly-traded ingredients whenever they are available and sourced from indigenous communities, empowering them to thrive.
Whether you start your day with a mouth-watering Matcha Latte or you unwind with the bright flavors and adaptogenic herbs in 3 Roots Mango Spice, you can’t go wrong. While this is all essential to the ethos of REBBL, what is equally important is our purpose-driven existence.
Green tea cultivator in the Nishio, Aichi region of Japan.
REBBLs With a Cause
We are REBBLs with a cause: a band of revolutionaries for the greater good. We were born out of a conscious collaboration between global thought-leaders, whose “soul” purpose was to address the malfunctioning global food system through a regenerative business model that would respect, uplift, and delight the world.
modern day botanical treasure-hunters grounded in ancient herbal wisdom
As modern day botanical treasure-hunters grounded in ancient herbal wisdom, our expertise is identifying and gathering the very best the Plant Queendom has to offer. We curate these diverse, ethically sourced whole Roots, Extracts, Berries, Barks, and Leaves (REBBL) into delicious beverages with vibrant flavors that deliver your daily dose of exceptional goodness.
Brazil nut harvester in the Madre de Dios rainforest region of Peru.
Ethical Sourcing Practices
A core part of our mission is to create positive social and environmental impact through our super herb elixirs. We source ingredients from suppliers who exemplify our values: whether that means working with generations of family farmers, indigenous peoples who wild harvest from the land and care for the land, or women’s collectives that create economic stability.
We carefully source over 70 organic ingredients from 29 countries, and each ingredient has an impact.
Through ethical, impact sourcing practices we develop community, prevent worker exploitation and work to ensure farmers receive fair wages, access to health care, water, nourishing food and education as well as protection of basic human rights.
Turmeric farmer in the Idukki district of Kerala in Southern India.
Creating a Future Without Human Trafficking
Moreover, at REBBL we are committed to creating a future without human trafficking in partnership with Not For Sale.
Not For Sale is an international nonprofit organization that works to prevent the root causes of human trafficking through innovative and sustainable business solutions with a goal of, ultimately, ending exploitation.
REBBL donates 2.5 percent of net sales to support Not For Sale
REBBL donates 2.5 percent of net sales to support Not For Sale in providing shelter, education, healthcare, legal services, and job training for survivors of exploitation. We support our valued partners to thrive and build self-sustaining, resilient communities all over the world.
Be a REBBL With a Cause!
When you reach for REBBL, you join the Botanical Revolution for Good and become a REBBL with a cause. That’s the secret ingredient to why REBBL super herb elixirs taste so good and make you feel so good. That, and—of course—all the super herbs and adaptogens packed in each delicious sip!
Addressing Climate Change
In the fight against Climate Change, REBBL is actively working with farmers and suppliers to mitigate the effects of global warming, addressing it at the root causes. That’s why REBBL developed a Code of Conduct for its suppliers to drive eco-social improvements for each of the 70+ raw materials from around the world that are used in REBBL products. Learn more at the REBBL blog.
The Co-op bakery team makes every recipe by hand—cracking every egg, decorating every item, and packaging every dessert to make each treat as beautiful as it is delicious.
Like all our housemade sweets and savories, every syrup, frosting, ganache, and embellishment is 100% free of artificial colors, flavors, and GMOs.
Valentine's Day bakery orders accepted through Monday, February 11.
Our perennial Valentine’s Day (or any day) favorite. Moist, scratch-baked chocolate cake filled with our housemade raspberry sauce made with local berries, enrobed in vegan housemade chocolate ganache, and finished with a chocolate drizzle.
It is sure to capture you or your valentine’s heart.
Like all the housemade sweets and savories from our bakery, every syrup, frosting, ganache, and embellishment is 100% free of artificial colors, flavors, and GMOs.
Local raspberries and fair trade chocolate are the perfect combo.
It's vegan. Really. We swear.
Two Hearts Cheesecake
An adorable rich and creamy vanilla mini cheesecake decorated with two raspberry sauce hearts.
Beware! Due to extreme deliciousness you may want to buy two to ensure sharing.
This gluten-free cheesecake features local dairy and eggs. The raspberries are from Barbie's Berries in Ferndale!
To maximize flavor and freshness, we make our delicious gluten-free graham crust in house from scratch.
I Heart You & Chocolate Cake
A perfect dessert for sharing with a valentine.
Our unabashedly delicious chocolate cake is covered with our decadent housemade chocolate ganache and beautifully decorated for a love-inspired day.
Colored icings are created in-house using plant-based, all-natural products that are 100% free of corn syrup and synthetic dyes.
Made with fair trade chocolate and organic flour, sugar, and eggs.
Storm Cloud Cake & Cosmic Cupcakes
Storm Cloud Cake has irresistible layers of gluten-free chocolate cake with raspberry filling and vanilla whipped cream.
Cosmic Cupcakes are dreamy vegan and gluten-free delights colorfully adorned by the Co-op bakery team to suit every season.
Raspberry Vanilla Cheesecake & Chocolate Pot de Crème
Our New York style cheesecake—kissed with hints of vanilla and raspberry—when paired with Chocolate Pot de Crème is dessert perfection!
Both irresistible treats are gluten-free.
What is chocolate pot de crème? It’s not mousse, it’s not cake, it’s a melt-in-your-mouth chocolate dream come true!
The bakery team is skilled at hand-decorating and can fulfill nearly any heart's desire with a custom order.
by Megan Stilp, Cordata Produce
Locally grown organic garden starts available now at your co-op!
Nick Guilford tending plant starts in Sunseed Farm’s eight greenhouses. After the germination chamber, the small starts move into this warm greenhouse to grow before being hardened off for outdoor planting in the cooler greenhouses.
Nestled in the valley of the south fork of the Nooksack River sits Sunseed Farm. Nick Guilford, proprietor, has been using organic growing methods since starting the business in 1997 and obtained organic certification in 2001. On the farm you’ll find organic garden starts, many destined for sale at the Co-op, growing right alongside the plants that go into Sunseed’s fields for vegetable and herb production.
This makes for less transplant shock, and an earlier, more abundant yield.
Most plant starts sold in our area are chemically raised, which can make for a hard transition into a garden where they aren't being fed a nutrient solution every day. According to Sunseed’s website, “Our organic starts not only come with a longer lasting nutrient base in the pot, but the plants are also in a more natural, nutrient foraging relationship with the soil. This makes for less transplant shock, and an earlier, more abundant yield.” Additionally, over a 20-year career as a market farmer, Nick has selected varieties of crops that have been proven to thrive in our climate. All of these factors can help produce a successful home gardening experience when using starts from Sunseed Farm.
You can find their organic garden starts at both Community Food Co-op locations from about mid-March through the end of our often unpredictable local planting season. You can also find Sunseed Farm at the Saturday Bellingham Farmers Market.
Dedicated to your gardening success, Sunseed’s website is a great resource for the home gardener, with planting tips and schedules, articles on season extension, and even a selection of their favorite gardening tools and books available for purchase.
Margaret Gerard and Nick Guilford at Sunseed Farm get your garden starts growing with the best soil, optimal growing conditions, and lots of love.
by Laura Steiger, Outreach Team
Nelida Martinez (at right) and her daughter hold armloads of organic produce grown on her farm in the Skagit Valley.
“Me gusta mucho crecer las plantas, producir buena alimentación, para alguien más. Me gusta mucho, este trabajo es mi pasión!” says Nelida, owner of Pure Nelida Organic Produce.
Translation: I like to grow plants and provide nourishment for everyone. I like it a lot, this work is my passion!
Photo courtesy of Pure Nelida.
Pure Nelida: A 2019 Next Step Grant and Loan Recipient
The story of Pure Nelida began 30 years ago when Nelida Martinez learned to cultivate fruits and vegetables in the fields of California.
For many years, she and her family worked and lived under the hot sun while being exposed to pesticides.
Nelida’s personal interest in organic food comes from her son’s diagnosis of leukemia and her suspicion that the disease arose due to the many years the family spent working in the pesticide-ridden fields of California. Despite a long battle, Nelida ultimately lost her son to the disease.
After moving to Washington, Nelida enrolled in bilingual sustainable farming courses, developed a business plan for an organic farm, and gained experience with organic farming with the assistance of Viva Farms in Skagit County, Washington state’s first bilingual farm business incubator.
Nelida’s passion as a farm owner has her always thinking of ways to improve her farming methods and expand her farm. She is currently farming on nine acres and plans to lease five additional acres.
(from left) Alex Perez from Northwest Agriculture Business Center, Nelida Martinez from Pure Nelida, and Jean Rogers from the Co-op’s Farm Fund, gather to present Next Step grant and loan funds to Nelida.
The funds will be used to purchase and construct a large durable greenhouse that will help Nelida expand her business and increase efficiency on the farm
Unfortunately, this past winter windstorms destroyed the greenhouse she used to start her plants. Next Step grant and loan funds will be used to purchase and construct a large durable greenhouse that will help Nelida expand her business and increase efficiency on the farm.
Pure Nelida currently sells produce to the Puget Sound Food Hub, which delivers fresh produce to our stores. Nelida is also working to expand into more wholesale markets. Among other products, the farm sells berries, tomatillos, kale, chard, onions, corn, potatoes, and jalapeño, chili, and bell peppers.
Edited and reprinted with permission of Pure Nelida Organic Produce and Viva Farms.
by Jean Rogers, Farm Fund Administrator
Remember September? We can't stop reminiscing about the fun we had together!
To kick off Eat Local Month, the Co-op and Sustainable Connections hosted the Hootenanny to Benefit the Co-op’s Farm Fund at Boundary Bay Brewery.
All ages gathered together to celebrate community, dance, enjoy a delicious meal with ingredients specifically sourced from local farms, and to present the Local Farmer Awards.
We are thrilled to present the 2018 Local Farmer Award winners and tell you a little about each one.
As the late harvest season winds down it’s a perfect time to highlight the winners of the Local Farmer Awards, announced at the Farm Fund Hootenanny in September.
All the farmers who were nominated were fantastic, and selecting the recipients was a tough decision. As one nominator said, “pretty much all around classy group of people no matter where you turn.”
Congratulations to everyone who was nominated by their fellow farmers and local eaters.
2018 BRIGHT SPOT FARMER AWARD
Sumas River Farm
Some wonderful local farmers that add spark to our local food system were nominated, so we created a new award.
It is an honor to announce Helen, owner of Sumas River Farm as the recipient of the first Bright Spot Farmer Award.
Helen's many contributions run the gamut: delicious and unique produce and berries, participation and support for many food and farming events, sharing the history of Whatcom County farming, dedication to social justice, and the all-around warmth she brings to the work she does. Helen has worked tirelessly on her beautiful farm in Sumas, and brings dedication and positive energy to every project she is involved in. Well deserved, Helen, we appreciate you!
2018 NEW FARMER AWARD
Jen Finch & Colin Fischer,
If you’ve been to Wanderwood Farm’s booth at the Bellingham Farmers Market, you’ve probably seen or tasted their delicious produce and enjoyed a warm reception from these friendly folks.
Wanderwood got a big thumbs up from fellow farmers who nominated them for the New Farmer Award. One person said, “Jen has long been a part of the farmer and farmers market scene. They are a great addition to the farming community: active in the Bellingham Farmers Market board, and really have their act together.” Congratulations, Colin and Jen, and here’s to a great future for Wanderwood Farm!
2018 INNOVATOR FARMER AWARD
Griffin has brought a unique, ambitious, and valuable new endeavor to our local food system and is bringing new products to the marketplace.
Specializing in apples and grapes, Sauk Farm just received its organic certification, which makes it one of the only organic apple growers on this side of the mountains. Griffin has also put a lot of effort into the infrastructure of Sauk Farm. The processing facility has a cider press and a certified organic dehydrator, which Griffin generously shares with other farms. Look for Sauk Farm ciders and dried and fresh apples (available seasonally) at the Co-op. Welcome, Griffin, and thanks for your creativity in bringing local, organic apples and grapes to our plates and glasses!
2018 MENTOR FARMER AWARD
Anna and Geoff have shared their expertise generously for many years with new farmers in Whatcom County. One nomination stated, “Anna is so generous with her time in supporting beginning farmers. Every season she teaches Cloud Mountain interns about the importance of business planning. Her passion for sharing her experience with young farmers is inspiring.” Anna has also been a mentor for Sustainable Connections’ Food to Bank On program for the last seven years, and is a participant and an original member of the Puget Sound Food Hub. Thanks, Anna and Geoff, for your stewardship of local farming!
by Meggan Simpson, Downtown Produce
Farmers Nick Spring and Sarah Robinson enjoy a quiet moment on their farm in Everson with farm dog Henry.
photo by TwoFish Photography
Here at the Co-op we realize that farming is hard work, seven days a week, and a pretty challenging way to make a living. It is also an integral part of our community and local food system, which is why the Co-op has created programs like the Farm Fund that offer resources to help small farms like Spring Time Farm make their dreams of bringing fresh, nutrient-dense food to their community a reality.
Sarah Robinson and Nick Spring took the next step, with the assistance of a Co-op Farm Fund Next Step grant, and purchased property for their expanding produce and flower farm.
Nick Spring and Sarah Robinson at Spring Time Farm recently received a Next Step Grant—a relatively new Farm Fund program designed to help small farms take the next step and scale up to provide the wholesale market—and we are so happy to help them expand to their very own property. After farming their first four years leasing land, sharing tools, and receiving mentorship from Dusty Williams at Broad Leaf Farm, they are now in the process of moving to their recently purchased 37-acre property where they plan to farm 5 to 7 acres at a time while rotating their crops to ensure soil fertility and health.
Sarah washing lettuce. Look for signs identifying their organic produce and flowers in our stores this summer and support these up-and-coming local farmers.
photo byTwoFish Photography
So where did it all begin for Spring Time Farm? Nick Spring is originally from Portland, Oregon, and was attending Western Washington University in 2012 while running a garden system in town called Bellingham Urban Growers Syndicate (BUGS). You may have seen him bicycling around between classes with rototillers, rakes, and shovels in his trailer, or perhaps you owned one of the 11 plots of land he grew veggies on throughout town. He didn’t grow up farming or gardening but it is in Nick’s genes.
The name Spring Time Farm was the name of the farm Nick’s grandfather ran until he was 90!
Not only was BUGS a transition to reconnecting Nick to his farming heritage and his realization that he wanted to make a career growing food for the community, but BUGS is also how Nick met his amazing and talented partner Sarah Robinson. Sarah grew up in Maryland, went to college in Boston, and spent many years bicycle touring the continent before coming to Bellingham. It was here with the already passionate vegetable-growing Nick that she discovered her love for farming. With the constant and diverse challenges of farming—keeping her mind and body engaged while allowing her to be outside connecting with nature— she was hooked!
Nick with an armfull of giant alliums. The farmers of Spring Time Farm found a natural division of labor with Nick Spring taking the lead on the vegetable side of things and Sarah Robinson using her decidedly green thumb as the lead farmer-florist. Of course, they both frequently work together across all areas of the farm.
photo by Sarah Robinson
Nick and Sarah have been farming together for four years now and the quality and abundance of fruits, veggies, and flowers they bring to the community makes me feel like they have been doing this for so much longer. He is “in charge” of the veggies and she is “in charge” of the flowers, and they have a wonderful employee named Josiah who has been there from the beginning and whose knowledge, hard work, and fresh perspective have been an integral part of their success.
Sarah, Nick, Josiah, and the rest of the crew at Spring Time Farm are always trying new things, looking for new ways to nurture their land and preserve their bodies so they can continue to farm for a very, very long time. And we hope they do!
Nick and Sarah are such a joy to be around, you can see and feel the genuine passion for what they do, and for life in general, shine through in even the smallest interactions with them. You may see them delivering sun-kissed boxes of produce or flowers to either
Co-op store or selling at the Bellingham Farmers Market on Saturdays. Either way, we hope you get a warm and happy feeling when you put something from their local farm into your reusable shopping bag.
Nick and Sarah's enthusiasm for organic farming is contagious. Here they are jumping for joy during the garlic harvest.
photo by Meaghan Flesch
We all benefit from the vibrant local organic farming community in Whatcom County. Maybe you have never grown a vegetable, or just didn’t have time to plant a garden this year, or perhaps all your greens have bolted—don’t fear! Spring Time, Broad Leaf, Terra Verde, Cascadia Mushrooms, Rabbit Fields, Viva Farms, Cedarville, Moondance, Spring Frog, and so many others deliver their
farm-fresh produce to the Co-op to make sure you have delicious and healthful local food to eat.
We know the hard work, dedication to sustainable farming, and connection to nature of these farmers is a large part of what makes the Co-op where you love to shop and Whatcom County such an amazing place to live, eat, and play. Thank you, Hamsters, for supporting your community and all the people who make it go round.