—by Katharine Holden, HPC Member

Hampden Park Co-op is packed with products you may not have tried before. Here's one:

These concentrated squeezable tube products are invaluable when you are making hors-d’oeuvres for a crowd. Get yourself some good crackers, spread them out on a chop plate, and squeeze out a large dot of the hot pepper or Italian garlic paste on each cracker. The hot pepper paste (peppers, olive oil, soya oil, salt) can add oomph to stews, soups, and spaghetti sauces. The garlic paste (garlic, olive oil, salt) is fantastic on homemade pizza. Or for a quick side dish: Boil pasta until al dente, drain, add a dash of olive oil and a large squeeze of the Amore® garlic paste, and mix lightly.

—by Katharine Holden, HPC Member

Hampden Park Co-op is packed with products you may not have tried before. Here's one:

These tiny bottles of distilled flower water made in France have several uses. A drop or two will add aroma to cocktails such as the gin fizz. Or dab it around the rim of iced tea glasses just before you serve. Recipes for elegant tea cookies call for orange flower water, as does the recipe for authentic French chocolate mousse. For a subtle and affordable perfume, dab rose flower water on the pressure points of your neck and between your breasts. To use as a skin tonic, fill a spray bottle with mineral water and two dashes of flower water.

—by Katharine Holden, HPC Member

Hampden Park Co-op is packed with products you may not have tried before. Here's one:

[Editor’s note: Previous profiles have featured board member Kjersti Hanneman interviewing other board members. In this profile, Jay Dregni chose to writeabout his participation at Hampden Park Co-op.]

—by Piyali Nath Dalal, HPC Member

On November 11, 2006, I attended an evening with Stacy Mitchell, where she discussed the importance of shopping at locally owned businesses. Mitchell, a Macalester alum, is currently on a book tour promoting her new book, Big Box Swindle: The True Cost of Mega-Retailers and the Fight for America’s Independent Businesses, in which she outlines the social and economic impact of bringing big retailers into communities.

Mitchell is an excellent speaker and can articulate complicated issues well. She shared the struggles that locally owned businesses face when big box retailers move into communities and strip their customer base. Mitchell also explained the fascinating efforts of citizens throughout the country who are working to stop big box retailers from taking over their local economies. She also challenged the audience to not just view WalMart as the only evil institution in the big box landscape but also to see that even our local favorite, Target, is a culprit when it comes to tax abatement, unfair labor practices, and more.

Stacy Mitchell works for the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR), a nonprofit with offices in Minneapolis and Washington, DC. The ILSR, along with the Metro Independent Business Alliance, a coalition of locally owned businesses in the metro area, are finding ways to create a better landscape for independent businesses through public awareness campaigns and policy initiatives.

The minute I saw the Bronner name, I expected the package to be printed all over with All-One! All-One! All-One! But no, this is the new generation of Dr. Bronner’s products. Gertrude, the hemp product queen, and Dr. Bronner have teamed up to provide this tasty line of snack bars. My favorite is the one with cranberries. They are free of dairy, wheat, and gluten. The package says that all profits go to hemp advocacy work. For more about hemp nut (that’s not a pejorative; it’s a high-quality protein source), read Gero Leson's article . You’ll find these snack bars near the other protein bars on the far left of the vegetable cooler.

HPC carries all the products you need to package your food items and clean your house.

History, Nostalgia, and So Much More

—by Emma Onawa, HPC Member

Getting that gardening itch, now that the holidays are over and winter is soon to wane? Just imagine: purple, yellow, green, and orange cherry tomatoes, white eggplant, deep green watermelon with star- and moon-shaped speckles, black-eyed susans and petunias that grow on long vines, beans with purplegreen leaves and rose-colored pods, ribbed and striped slicing tomatoes, white sunflowers, and bushy, globe-shaped basil. With heirlooms you can add beautiful, interesting, and tasty varieties to your garden, preserve old and rare cultivars of plants, and fight agribusiness and corporate greed and control—all at the same time.

Interest in heirlooms and their preservation is increasing as gardeners become more aware of their value, politics, and availability. A relatively small variety of seeds have come to dominate the world seed market, particularly with the development of hybrids in the last 50 or so years. For example, in the early 1900s there were approximately 7000 varieties of apples in the United States; now there are fewer than 1000. A handful of large agricultural and chemical companies has taken control of the world’s seed supplies, to everyone’s detriment. These companies control our food supply by forcing farmers to abandon ancient practices of saving their own seeds from year to year, in favor of buying mass-produced hybrids every year. The stakes are enormous.

—by Kate Wagner, HPC Member

The consumption of fish and seafood increases dramatically in February and March, as many Christians observe the season of Lent. This is a good time to educate ourselves about how to buy, store, prepare, and cook fish safely, as well as how much fish is safe to eat.

Buy the Best

Fish tastes “fishy” when it hasn’t been handled properly. To avoid “fishy” fish, use your senses when making your purchase. Fish should have a fresh and mild odor. It should be firm to the touch and “spring back” into place after you remove your finger. If you can see your finger print after you touch it, or if it has a strong odor, it's not fresh.

Don’t buy cooked seafood, such as shrimp, crab, or smoked fish, that is displayed in the same case as raw fish. Juices from the raw fish can transfer bacteria onto the cooked or ready-toeat fish. For frozen seafood, avoid frost or ice crystals. These are signs that the fish has been stored for a long time, or thawed and refrozen.


Because of its high protein content, fish spoils quickly. Spoilage begins as soon as the fish dies. Ice is the key to fresh-tasting fish. One pound of ice for each 2 pounds of fresh fish is a good rule of thumb.

Freeze fish at 0° F or lower. Fish stored at 15° F for as little as 2 weeks will show a significant loss of quality. Freeze for no more than 4-6 months. Never refreeze fish.

Almondina offers several flavors but Gingerspice is my favorite. These days, many cookies with ginger in the name actually contain no ginger. It’s the same with ginger ale. Big box manufacturers use food coloring and/or molasses to simulate the color ginger adds to recipes. No worries about faking the ginger component with Almondina ginger cookies. They are dotted with chewy bits of real ginger. They’re made in the United States and were first produced in 1929. Visit this site for more info. (See recipe in side bar.)