—by Emma Onawa

Sugar! Admit it, we all love it, even though it can wreak havoc on our bodies. Sugar sweetens our lives in many ways, but there’s an aspect to sugar that’s not so sweet. The U.S. agricultural policy on sugar is anachronistic and expensive, yet surprisingly resistant to reform.

The U.S. produces sugar from two primary sources: cane and beets. Cane and beet sugar are essentially indistinguishable. Sugar cane is produced primarily in four southern states, as well as Hawaii, with Florida the leader in sugar cane production. Beet sugar is grown in 11 states, with Minnesota the leader in production.

—by Roxy Bergeron

—by Nicole Infinity

After being volunteering members of the co-op for a couple of years now, we still find new foods in every section. Over the past year, we have made an increased effort to reduce our amount of recycling and garbage by buying fewer foods with packages. Also known as, bulk is fantastic.

Now, I am not talking about the Costco/Sam’s Club version of bulk with processed foods in packages within packages within packages. I am talking about the lovely corner in the co-op full of happiness and food to put into jars and other containers of your choosing.

HPC is again offering garden seeds from Seed Savers Exchange, which is located in Decorah, Iowa. SSE is committed to preserving agricultural diversity by growing and sharing heirloom seeds.

This year we will be carrying over 100 varieties of SSE vegetable, flower, prairie, and herb seeds. If you want to start your plants indoors, we have tomatoes, cabbage, peppers, broccoli, eggplant, and more.

Visitors are encouraged at Seed Savers Exchange. Their Lillian Goldman Visitors Center is open March through December and hosts workshops and food-related events. For more information, visit their website at

—by Stacie Robinson

Wild rice is a staple of Minnesota’s natural nutrition as well as cultural heritage. The waving stands of grass are part of the picturesque vision of Minnesota’s lake country. According to Anishinaabe lore, those rice-rich lakes, “food that grows upon the water,” were the signal that early tribes had found the right land to settle. The abundant grains fed native communities and nourished waterfowl and other wetland wildlife populations. Today wild rice is still a keystone of Minnesota lake ecosystems, and a delicious and popular wild crop.

—by Jesse Winsell, Chair of Hampden Park Co-op Board of Directors

I recently had a breakthrough moment that made me realize why mission/vision is important for an organization. Before this, I must admit that I did not see a need for an organization to have a mission. “Mission Shmission,” I would think to myself.

To me, it mattered more that the co-op was doing a good job attracting customers and serving its member-owners. This stuff matters, of course, but my personal breakthrough helped me realize that having a mission is critical to defining what a “good job” means, and how the organization should be “serving” its members and the community.

—by Roxy Bergeron

—by Stacie Robinson

In Chinese philosophy, persimmons are seen as symbolic of the passage from youth to maturity—the transformation from rigidity and bitterness, yielding to sweetness and tenderness with age. This is more than just a proverb, it’s important epicurean advice. When unripe, the flesh of a persimmon is firm and unyielding, high tannin levels lead to a bitter flavor, and thick skin has a chalky flavor. Bleh! But as the fruit ripens, it softens as cells break down a bit, releasing sugars, and leading to a delicate, almost creamy texture and rich sweetness. Mmmm!