August 2019 Newsletter

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Catching You Up on The Co-op

We’re stocked with the best of summer produce right now, from heirloom tomatoes, peppers and eggplant to plums and donut peaches! Come see what’s in the store.

Ever wondered how decisions get made at the Co-op? Check out this month’s Good Question!

We don’t just toss the Co-op’s food waste — we partner with the amazing local organization BK ROT to turn it into compost. Read on to learn more about their fossil fuel-free, community-centered approach.

Don’t feel like turning on the stove in this hot weather? Try this simple, cooling recipe for cucumber and wakame (seaweed) salad, courtesy of member-owner Marina Weiss.

We care a lot about where our food comes from and how it’s grown. Member-owner Pam Turczyn interviewed Pennsylvania-based Mother Earth Organic Mushrooms to learn about the mushrooms we sell at the Co-op.

Good Question!

How does the Co-op make decisions?

The Co-op is non-hierarchical, which means that everyone has the same amount of authority. It is owned equally by all of our members, who have each made an investment and commit to working 2.5 hours every four weeks, either in the store or with one of our committees. 

Many day-to-day decisions are made on the spot by member-owners working together. Our General Manager helps facilitate this process with members who work in regular shifts in the store.

The Co-op has eight committees (Finance, Governance, Information Technology, Marketing, Membership, Merchandising, Operations and Outreach) that are made up of members, have a chairperson, and work cooperatively. Each committee is considered to be fairly autonomous, but all committees are accountable to Co-op members.

We have a five-member board of directors which discusses larger decisions with substantial input from members. Any member in good standing can nominate themselves to be a board member and the Co-op community votes on board members in elections every fall at our annual meeting. 

When making decisions, we stick to our guiding principles and bylaws (which are posted in the store and on our website) as well as our common sense and best practices. The benefits of working this way are huge. 

You can learn more about how the Co-op operates on the Greene Hill website.

Meet Our Composting Partner: BK ROT

By Marina Weiss

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Have you ever wondered where Greene Hill Food Co-op’s organic waste goes? Since March, we’ve been partnering with BK ROT, a rad, bike-powered, sustainable, anti-racist educational and political composting nonprofit. They collect food waste from dozens of small local businesses, provide pick-up services for home food scraps, and sell the 100% locally-sourced, handmade compost they produce. For more on their work, read the full article HERE!

Recipe: Cucumber Wakame Salad 

Recipe by Pam Turczyn

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Welcome to the dog days of summer! When the weather is hot and humid, our appetites and energy levels are often low. We may not feel like cooking anything complicated or eating heavy food. Originating from the land of mushi-atsui (hot-humid) summers, this creative take on a Japanese recipe is cooling and simple to make from just a few nutritious ingredients--all of which are available at the Co-op!

Product Spotlight: Mother Earth Organic Mushrooms

By Pam Turczyn

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Most of the mushrooms sold at the Co-op are sourced from Mother Earth Organic Mushrooms. Located in Landenberg, Pennsylvania, this fifth generation family-run farm takes the science of mushroom growing very seriously. At every step, temperature, air quality and moisture are precisely monitored and controlled. In fact, packages of mushrooms have barcodes that can be scanned to retrace their entire life history. If you are curious to learn more about the farm and how mushrooms are grown, check out their virtual tour video

Mother Earth’s marketing coordinator, Joanna Parrett, graciously answered some of my questions:

Mother Earth was originally a dairy farm. Why did the Yeatman family chose to get into the mushroom business? 

JP: The farm was originally purchased for dairy operations and the Yeatman family did both dairy and mushrooms until the late ‘50s when mushrooms began to explode in popularity. At that time, the third-generation family members decided to try something new, and focused solely on growing mushrooms.

What’s the difference between the organic methods used by Mother Earth versus conventional methods of growing mushrooms?

JP: The main difference in growing organically is our method of pest control. We use no chemical pesticides or insecticides in our houses. To help with this issue we rely on natural resources such as peppermint oil, climate control and neem tree oil. 

White button, cremini and portobello are all the same species, agaricus bisporus. Why do they look and taste so different from each other?

The different varieties of mushrooms are achieved by cultivating different strains of spores. The spores must be collected in the nearly sterile environment of a laboratory and then used to inoculate grains or seeds to produce a product called spawn. Spawn is basically our equivalent of seed. White button and crimini mushrooms come from two different types of spores, while a portabella is actually just a mature crimini mushroom!

What would you like Greene Hill Food Co-op members to know about Mother Earth and its mushrooms?

JP: Mother Earth Organic Mushrooms is a fifth-generation family-owned business. We have recently reached Centennial Farm status (meaning a working farm that has been owned by the same family for at least 100 years) and are celebrating 30 years of organic production! We value our history and we are committed to continue growing delicious organic mushrooms. 

What is your personal favorite mushroom dish? 

JP: We have a simple sautéed mushroom recipe we find delicious!


  • Mother Earth Organic Mushrooms, sliced

  • Olive oil

  • Fresh garlic cloves, minced

  • Salt, pepper, any of your favorite seasonings


Heat olive oil in sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add minced garlic and sauté until it starts to take on color. Add sliced mushrooms, stir to coat, and continue cooking until most of the liquid has evaporated. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and seasonings of your choice.

Et cetera

Photo credits: Strawberry photo from Stick & Stone Farm, Meow Meow Tweet sunscreen photo from the company, carrot top pesto photo by Emily Nachazel, pic of Johaina Zouki courtesy of herself.

The Greene Hill Food Co-op Monthly is edited and published by the following member-owners (in alphabetical order): Liz Baker, Carola Burroughs, DK Holland, Alexandra (Aly) Miller, Lindsey Matheis, Emily Nachazel, Pam Turczyn, Sophia Van Dyk and Gitta Zomorodi. Contact with any feedback.