—by Monica Rojas

As of Friday, October 18 2013, Kari Neathery, general manager, is no longer an employee of Hampden Park Co-op. The Board has begun a search to identify a new general manager who will continue to lead us in a positive direction.

HPC is an associate member of the National Cooperative Grocers Association. As an associate member we are not yet participating in the Co-op Deals or the joint buying program. However, we have already seen many benefits. Our store's name is included on the grocery bags and other promotional materials used by NCGA member co-ops, and we will no longer be missed when media are doing stories about Twin Cities co-ops. NCGA offers a $1500 stipend for our co-op staff to take advantage of NCGA training opportunities; several staff members have already participated in their web-based training. The organization also provides a variety of tools and support for co-op management, which we are using to assist us in our goal of a more efficiently-operating store.

—by Monica Rojas

Wasabi is a member of the Brassicaceae family (some other examples in this family are cabbages, horseradish, and mustard). It is sometimes referred to as Japanese horseradish. Its root is now used most frequently as a condiment because of its extremely strong flavor. Its hotness, less like a pepper’s hotness, produces vapors that stimulate the nasal passages over the tongue.

—by Stacie RobinsonBowl of farro soup

Thinking of a Mediterranean meal to accompany a glass of vino for a balmy late summer supper on the patio? Feel like a rustic Tuscan treat, but think you need to break out of your pasta rut? Think farro!

Farro (pronounced FAHR-oh), also referred to as emmer wheat, is a grain in the same genus of plants as common wheat and spelt (Triticum). You can think of farro as the ultimate heirloom variety.

—by Kathryn Tempasbutternut squash

I plant a variety of winter squash in my garden, and in late September/early October I begin harvesting these jewels of fall and winter. Squash stores well and is an excellent source of vitamin A. You’ll find local squash at a good price, and here are a few tempting recipes to get you started. These recipes use butternut squash, which is somewhat shaped like a bowling pin. I find it easiest to peel if you cut off the bottom to make it level.

—by Roxanne Bergeron

I have a problem with death.

—by Nicole Infinity

We recently threw ourselves a wedding. With 60 folks, we managed to keep to our $500 budget, and produce just a handful of garbage. Included in this article are most of the things we did to keep the cost and waste low. Use these ideas as jumping off points and remember that the things you want to do or have at your wedding can probably be created using reused, borrowed, or thrift store items. If you don’t have crafty skills, ask for help from a friend or relative who does. Some of the best wedding presents you receive will be the time of the folks you care about. Even using a few of these suggestions will reduce costs and waste.

Invitations and thank yous

—by Jesse Winsell

As we look forward to the annual meeting on October 27, I am thinking about two seemingly different things that are connected by a common theme: customer engagement.

The first is the power of social media. The second is store equipment upgrades. The co-op must engage in both in order to stay relevant and to create value for members.

Social media

During the summer, I sat in the co-op entryway one Saturday morning and talked to people about plans for the annual meeting and anything else early morning shoppers wanted to discuss.

—by Naomi Jackson, Membership Coordinator

Annual meeting survey

Thank you to everyone who filled out the annual meeting survey in August and September. Your responses were very helpful in the planning process, and will affect how we run our annual meetings in the future.

Everyone who provided us with contact information was entered in a drawing for co-op gift certificates. Congratulations to Nancy Sogabe-Engelmayer and Bonita Steppa, whose names were drawn at the October 27 annual meeting.

Volunteers, pick up your 2014 wallet cards!