Coop Scoop The Evolve Issue Spring 2021

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ISSUE #437



Let Go and Evolve

Release What Holds You Captive

Rethink Aging

Review and Renew Your Values

See What’s New at HWFC Check Out the Library and Garden

be challenging to square all this with the prospect of a brighter future. But there is much that can sustain us, even beckon us to evolve, in the articles in this issue. There are the concrete examples of art, creativity, and growth that grace our store in the form of our new paintings, garden beds, and Little Free Library, as well as the ways we can contribute to the “right growth” of others, such as the Mayan Hands Cooperative. There’s Ayurvedic wisdom for care of our bodies during seasonal changes. There’s the fascinating mycelial development—a local mushroom grower’s “crops” becoming a fresh new meat substitute—as well as the timeless gifts of Maple trees, whether in sweet syrup or life lessons. There are musings about our place in the universe, our status as organisms, even about our capacity to form supergroups, or be part of superorganisms! Finally, there is the reminder that we can learn from the aging process, as well as from earlier ages in our history, to glean new understandings of ourselves and more evolved ways of relating to our world. I invite you to walk this greening path with us!

If we can find symbols of hope and examples of positive change, our optimism can also carry us forward with more courage. We may take more creative risks, and fear failure less, if we can consciously cultivate a personal “growth mindset”—one that assumes we can continue to evolve on all levels—instead of a “fixed mindset” that consigns us to being stuck the way we are. (See Carol Dweck’s mindset research.) We may be grieving the losses brought by a winter of sickness. We may be reeling from the changes to our workplaces, communities, homes, and lives wrought by the pandemic. It may



























You don’t have to Be a member to shop!



100 Watervliet Avenue, Albany, NY 12206 (518) 482-2667 [COOP]



Emerging from a northeastern winter is a gradual process, no matter how ready we may be for the next phase. While the spring equinox falls on Saturday, March 21, we may all have personal metrics for when we feel a new season has commenced. Eager gardeners for example, may mark their calendars by the estimated date for the last frost, which is May 2 in my zip code. For others, Easter means spring, or even Earth Day. The paths we’ve all been treading through winter’s darkness and dormancy may differ from each other’s, or from our own in any previous year. This year’s circumstances may mean our plans for spring and summer are still up in the air. But, oh, the sense of possibility that arises with the changing light, and the first emerging leaves and buds!


Ruth Ann Smalley


Letter from An editor

Our theme for this issue is Evolve, a fitting concept for this time of great transition. Regardless of whether we are experiencing cyclical change, life-stage changes, or an evolutionary shift or adaptation, how we perceive ourselves can make a significant difference. If we feel supported by a strong connection to our community, we may face change with less fear, nurtured by our family or social network, the way trees are within a mycelial network (an underground mat of beneficial fungal fibers).


8am TO 9pm EVERY DAY

Honest Weight Food Co-op is a memberowned and -operated consumer cooperative that is committed to providing the community with affordable, high quality natural foods and products for healthy living. Our mission is to promote more equitable, participatory, and

Ecologically sustainable ways of living. Honest weight is open to the public, seven days a week. The Coop Scoop is produced bimonthly by our Education Department and offered free of charge as part of our mission. To view online, Please visit

Contributors EDITORS:

Rebecca Angel, has been a part of Honest Weight for eighteen years, and is

Managing Editor of the Coop Scoop. When not at the co-op, Rebecca is a teacher, musician, and writer, currently working on a memoir about her experience with Cushing’s Syndrome. Email her at Holley Davis, our Layout Designer, lives in Troy and works in communications. When she’s not at the Troy Farmers Market or trying new recipes, you can find her running a half marathon in every state. Carol Reid, our Assistant Editor, is a retired cataloger at the New York State Library, where she worked for over 35 years. She wrote a 10-year blog called “Typo of the Day for Librarians” and has been a Co-op member since the 1980s. Ruth Ann Smalley, Ph.D., is an educator and writer, with a 4-digit Co-op member number from the early 90s. She’s currently at work on a children’s permaculture adventure series, and offers wellness, writing, and creativity coaching through her practice at or

• contests and giveaways • Sales flyers • exclusive promotions • special event notices


Mecca Andrades, Rebecca Angel, Deanna Beyer, Blaise Farina, Ben Goldberg, Melanie Pores, Joann Ryan, Pat Sahr, and Ruth Ann Smalley.

Additional Visuals:

Mathew Bradley is Honest Weight’s Lead Graphic Designer. Sarah Goldberg is a young adult living in the Capital Region.


ADVERTISE WITH US! Contact: Kim Morton (518) 330-3262 Printed with soy ink on recycled paper in Albany, NY

Interested in Contributing TO THE COOP SCOOP? Contact: ISSN 2473-6155 (print) ISSN 2473-6163 (online) The Coop Scoop is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing medical or health advice. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider. We are not responsible for errors or omissions. Honest Weight is not responsible for, and does not necessarily agree with, our guest writers’ articles.

Cover photo by Nina Luong on Unsplash








Ruth Ann Smalley


Blaise Farina











Ruth Ann Smalley


Ben Goldberg Joann Ryan

Mecca Andrades

Pat Sahr





Ben Goldberg


Melanie Pores






Deanna Beyer

Rebecca Angel



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Discover all the different ways to save money while shopping at your favorite local grocery store! Whether it’s buying in Bulk, shopping for Everyday Low Prices with our over 450 Co+ops Basics items, or checking out our great budget-friendly recipe ideas, we’ve got you covered!

For more information about Eating Good on the Cheap check out our website:

What’s Fresh at Honest Weight We’re always keeping our eyes and ears open for products and companies that would be a good addition to the shelves and bins at Honest Weight. That means products that fit our strict buying policies, with none of the ingredients on our Banned List. Priority goes to local or regional businesses, mission-based businesses and cooperatives, and those who follow socially and environmentally conscious practices in their work. Here are some new Honest Weight products to check out!

Essence of Nature Candle Boutique Who couldn’t use a little more relaxation at home? Illuminate your home and soothe your soul with one of these unique, handpoured soy candles. Using only premium quality, natural ingredients, these beautifully scented candles are crafted in small batches in Niskayuna, NY. You can enjoy the ambiance and beauty of their glow, knowing that all of the fragrances are phthalate-free and non-toxic.

Honest WeightBranded Merchandise You asked and we heard you! Now you can show your love for your favorite homegrown grocery store, with all sorts of Honest We i g ht b r a n d e d merchandise! We’re super excited to be offering hoodies, beanies, Miir water bottles and hot drink tumblers, and bumper stickers. Watch for lots more cool swag, coming this year. Quantities are limited, and member discounts DO apply, so get yours while supplies last! SPRING 2021

Not Your Mama’s Flour If you’ve been looking for a great gluten-free (GF) flour without success, look no further than our Bulk Department. An incredible GF flour blend that can be subbed for all-purpose flour 1:1 in any of your favorite recipes, this is definitely Not Your Mama’s Flour! What makes it so special is the blend of GF flours—including grains, nuts, and starches—which captures all the best qualities each has to offer. Enjoy baked goods that won’t sacrifice taste and will win the approval of your gluten-loving family and friends.

Barrel & Brine Fermented foods can help with digestion and immunity—both excellent reasons for adding them to your diet! Focusing on local farms and their brilliant produce, Barrel & Brine offers a variety of naturally fermented, tangy, raw, and probiotic krauts and kimchi. Each small batch is hand-cut and fermented using traditional methods in Buffalo, NY. Find them now in our refrigerated Fermented Foods case! 7

A Wall for the Ages: The Co-op’s Inclusionary Aesthetic by Blaise Farina images by Lexi Hannah (L) and Alex Mytelka (R)

Visual art may be as vital for our spiritual wellness as nutrition is for our physiological healthiness. Last autumn, as the coronavirus pa ndem ic su r ge d g loba l ly, Albany-born artist Lexi Hannah, sporting many a mask, painted a mural in plein air style at the Honest Weight Food Co-op— a mural bound to alter the aesthetic experience of patrons and visitors alike.

Lexi Hannah’s mural is ambitious and charming. Ambitious, not so much because of its size (approximately 60 by 132 inches), but much more so because its surface is the Coop’s plastic-covered entrance wall. A plastic wall marked by thick-and-thin vertical grooves, which Hannah approached with ingenuity, considering it a “really interesting challenge.” The mural’s charm is unmistakable. It is at 8

This mural is bound to alter the aesthetic experience of patrons and visitors alike once realistic and unrealistic. Its texture is detailed and dramatic. Its range and juxtaposition of colors are striking. Hannah’s deft hand directs our perspective west wa rd f rom a sta nd ing position, somewhere in southern Rensselaer County. What we see, in acrylic, is part of Albany’s Empire State Plaza in the distant middle-ground. It is enclosed and subsumed by a foreground of lush rural landscape, against the background of a Helderberg mountainside. The Escarpment is cast in gradational shadows by an orange sunset, tingeing underbellies of clouds adrift in a wavy blue sky. The mu r a l’s defining characteristic—displayed in its foreground of locally produced fo o d s a nd t h r ou g hout it s framework—pulses and glows in

its multilingual message for social wellness and justice.

Painting the Co-op mural is not Hannah’s artistic debut. She earned a baccalaureate in Art History in 2014, from SUNY Geneseo. Before graduation, Hannah undertook opportunities not just to paint athletic figurines on Geneseo’s campus, but also to study art history, studio art, and opera abroad at Italy’s Florence University of the Arts. There she consummated the experience by painting a f loral mural in nearby Marradi, at the foot of the Apennine Mountains. College degree in hand, Hannah embarked on painting pursuits in Ecuador; in Boulder, CO; and in Albany, NY. These have offered her fresh occasions to develop her artistic f lair and portfolio. Her artwork is informed by the “Impressionist” tradition and the “Open Impressionist” movement. The former emerged in the 19th century, featuring outdoor COOP SCOOP

landscapes and transitory effects of light, often by applying short, thin brushstrokes. The latter, which is voguish, depicts a lush nature, often by employing heavy brushstrokes for colorful, mosaiclike effect. But if Hannah’s art reflects Impressionist and Open Impressionist techniques, it is hardly pastiche. Her paintings are creative expressions inspired by her ac adem ic t ra i n i ng, and conditioned mutually by her propensity to apply doses of rat iona l it y, i mag i nat ive whimsy, and social feedback (see and

Undeterred by pandemic, weather conditions, or daylight variations, Hannah worked on the mural 30 times, in order to bring it to satisfying fruition. She did not go it alone. Her work was collaborative: Lexi’s suitor, Bill—masked, rangy, and techno-savvy—prepared the wall by cleaning and priming it, and emplaced Lexi’s assorted brushes and electronic equipment used to produce video for social media presentation. Bill also painted the heavy purple band meandering t h r o u g h o u t t h e m u r a l ’s foreground. Honest Weight’s SPRING 2021

marketing director, Alex Mytelka, recommended Lexi use readymade iconography such as the Empire State Plaza. “I really like taking other people’s ideas into account to help make the piece as enjoyable and relevant to the Co-op community as possible,” she told me. When she asked me for feedback, I was, like, “Oh, my gosh, I am clueless, Lexi, except to encourage you to just keep doing whatever you’re doing!” During the waning months of 2020, when social interaction was fraught, if not out of the question, it felt especially miraculous to witness the comings and goings of masked Co-op patrons enthusiastically v iew ing the mural. When the project was inchoate, one could hear observant patrons “ah”-ing and “oh”-ing. By mid-November, patrons stood rapt and contemplative before the scene, as the diminutive Hannah painted, standing on a laminate folding table, clutching her palette of earthy tones, and applying her energetic, painterly brushstrokes.

Before long, voices came alive. “Oh, wow, that’s very beautiful,” remarked a woman, snapping a photo. “You are very talented, young lady,” remarked one fellow, walking briskly, pausing, then

continuing into the Co-op. “Da smotret,” (“yes, look,”) said a young woman in Russian, cradling a child who pointed persistently toward the mural. Hannah’s painting rhythm never appeared to be interrupted, though she acknowledged folks who stopped, again and again, to point out where they lived on the mural’s landscape. My only personal dissatisfaction was partial proof of the mural’s impending success: I felt some anxiety because I could not experience more of the exciting process as the piece was evolving. Marveling at the mural just before Thanksgiving, I asked Co-op security guard K. Irving for his opinion. He replied: “This is some serious piece of work!”

In January, Lexi Hannah, still masked, and now wearing both tuque and barn-coat, put the last brushstrokes on the Co-op mural. I don’t believe this endearing Coop mural exists within a fixed, static spatial-frame, however. It bids us to grasp it for more than aesthetic enjoyment. Until we begin to forget, we w ill have been reminded that the Co-op wall was painted amid a miserable pandemic, whose overriding paradox has been the coexistence of reasonability of social distancing and the reality of humankind’s oneness. Anyone who grasps the pandemic’s reality may comprehend the Co-op mural’s exhilarating, multilingual message for us and for posterity: “All Are Welcome Here.” Blaise Farina has enjoyed shopping at Honest Weight Food Co-op for over 30 years.


Evolving: Things Worth Retrieving by Ruth Ann Smalley images by Ruth Ann Smalley

Foods wrapped in foods - A perfect retrieval activity! What does your internal calendar look like? Like a day planner, months laid out in grids, one per page? Is it linear, scroll-like, unfolding endlessly into the future, and conveyor-belting away behind you, into the past? Or do you imagine something more cyclical, circular, like a wheel of seasons—perhaps spiraling ever larger as life becomes more complex and busy? Do you cross off days on your wall calendar as they pass, or are you a “tear off a date from the daily desk stack” person? Or, perhaps your calendars are now in virtual space, on your device?

How does this influence how you move through time? Discussing time with my brother once, I realized my mind is so “analog” that time represented as digital, rather than as a clockface, simply doesn’t mean that much. The circle of the clockface also applies to my concept of the year. My sense of time is closely coupled to the feeling of circling the sun. For most of my life as a professor, I “chunked’’ my calendar into September through May, and June through August. My brother, a visual artist, admitted he’d been influenced by, of all things, a dish towel calendar from our childhood kitchen. “It was laid out

We can be evolving, adapting, and growing, not just by taking up what’s “new,” but by opening the storehouses of history 10

in 4 rows of three,” he told me. “I still think of the year as January-February-March, then April-MayJune, etc.”

Perceptions: Time, How We “Spend” It, Who We Are Becoming I share these thoughts because we are all guided, consciously or not, by how we imagine our passage through time. Our frames of reference can limit or enrich our views of our lives. Being aware and flexible about them can empower us. In modern times, our increasingly urban lives have largely “freed” us from seasonal, agricultural cycles of time. But freed into what? What are our “To Do Lists” now based on? By what are we judging our accomplishments, our personal growth, our own “evolution”?

Generally, we define “evolving” as developing and improving over time. But what scales of time? Darwin posited that evolutionary changes occur over vast epochs, but even his famous finches appear, recently, to be evolving rapidly, in response to climate conditions. Here’s a bit more food for thought: Darwin’s theories were published almost exactly one hundred years after the Industrial Revolution began. Is it any wonder that Darwin, whose culture experienced a rapid shift from agricultural to mechanical labor, was drawn to studying adaptation and survival? Society was confronting COOP SCOOP

activities to retrieve I’ve listed a few retrieval-oriented activities that connect us with ourselves as human organisms. What else can you retrieve? • Walking. Rhythmic movement, outdoor air, natural sights and sounds can all ground and invigorate us. • Gardening. Planning gardens and planting seeds, including indoor microgreens. • Preparing foods, especially those wrapped in other foods. These span time and cultures. Think dumplings, tamales, sushi, calzones, pies. • Cu lt i vat i ng s o m et hi ng . S o u r d o u g h , kombucha, yogurt, kefir, kraut, and kimchi allow you to participate in an age-old process that brings out the best in your ingredients. • Reflection. Looking at old photographs, and revisiting those times with distanced friends/ relatives. This links us with our ancient storytellers and tribal historians. • Napping. Not just for toddlers anymore! • Mending. Respecting your clothes by restoring them and extending their useful lives as our ancestors did can be surprisingly rewarding. • Keeping a journal. Haphazard and informal, or daily and ritualized, journaling helps you take stock, place yourself in time, and capture important moments. critical questions about how to manage resulting displacements—and the loss of ancient lifeways— as factory work drew masses of country people into overcrowded, squalid conditions in towns.

Progress, or Rat Race Towards Planetary Overshoot? Since Darwin, popular notions of evolving have become associated with “progress,” and linked, commercially, with “new.” Our economy, consumer habits, educational paths, and career prospects are driven by pressure to be adaptable, competitive. The race to keep pace with accelerating, commercedriven change, even on trivial levels (such as the marketing shift from 4 fashion seasons to 52), SPRING 2021

promotes participation in a dangerous modern myth: infinite growth on a finite planet. This puts us at risk on an individual and species level. I once talked to a therapist about frustration over my uneven productivity level. Her response was revolutionary, and evolutionary, for me. “That sounds like you are... an organism,” she replied. “You aren’t a machine, cranked up to produce the same amount every day.” I hadn’t realized how fully I had bought into the industrial model.

My adaptive response has turned out to be less about “progress,” and more about “retrieval” These past months, our calendars have been turned inside out by a visitation from an ancient organism— itself a little machine that exists to be productive. It evolves rapidly, as suits its survival. It makes us aware of just how much we’re organisms, too.

Retrieving Valuable Human Treasures Because of this, our internal calendars are full of holes, where “things that were supposed to happen,” have not. But has unexpected new growth appeared, as well? My adaptive response has turned out to be less about “progress,” and more about “retrieval.” As goals and schedules were scaled back, I found myself retrieving things that had gotten lost in the dust while trying to keep pace with 21st-century life. Some retrievals were interests, or unfinished business from earlier in my life. Some were internal resources I just hadn’t fully tapped into yet. Others involved skills I had to acquire, that were common to earlier generations. I bet you’ve retrieved things, too. Yours may look different from mine, but all potentially link us with humanity in a deeper sense, even while the pandemic temporarily disconnects us from others. We can be evolving, adapting, and growing, not just by taking up what’s “new,” but by opening the storehouses of history. For more about how humans conceptualize time, see this fascinating article about how different languages indicate divergent ways of perceiving it: 11


An MJQ primer When jazz gets “Bached up” and Bach gets “jazzed up,” the results can be evolutionarily magical! The Modern Jazz Quartet (MJQ) was a unique and celebrated “supergroup” of brilliant instrumentalists and composers who played together for a total of 45 years. During this period MJQ produced almost 60 albums, compilations, and film scores, and they were the subject of 3 separate film documentaries. MJQ expanded the aura and repertoire of jazz by embracing a wide sensibility and language, not only from the various “schools” of jazz (e.g., blues, bebop, cool jazz), but also the clear influence of classical forms, particularly Baroque counterpoint frameworks (see Third Stream Music).

the group operated as a cooperative with each member sharing responsibilities and earnings Although John Lewis and Milt “Bags” Jackson had played together since the 1940s, and there were a few other players involved at various times, the heart and soul of MJQ consisted of musical/artistic director, John Lewis, on piano and harpsichord, Milt Jackson on vibraharp, Percy Heath on double bass, and

For an introduction to MJQ (as recommended by NPR’s Kevin Whitehead), listeners may want to try: • No Sun in Venice (1958 ), soundtrack for the film of the same name • Pyramid (1960), which includes both original tunes and covers of standards • Fontessa (1956), ditto For those more ready to take the deeper plunge, some compilations: • A Proper Introduction to the Modern Jazz Quartet: La Ronde (2002) • The Complete Modern Jazz Quartet Prestige & Pablo Recordings (2003) 4-CD box A couple of my personal favorites include: • Blues on Bach (1973) • Modern Jazz Quartet Plays George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess (1965) • Collaboration (1964) Recorded live with Brazilian jazz/classical guitarist/composer Laurindo Almeida. It includes some MJQ tunes, a J.S. Bach fugue, a few bossa nova tunes, and the Concierto de Aranjuez, a (now) well-known work by Joaquín Rodrigo

the group’s music was grounded in the blues and included masterful, if short, improvisational solos - a “litmus test” for jazz Connie Kay on drums. Each member of the group had established “jazz cred” before the formation of MJQ, and the group operated as a cooperative with each member sharing responsibilities and earnings.

MJQ broadened the listening audience by capturing classical devotees. They changed the image of jazz music and musicians by their venue preferences, their presentation— wearing tuxedos or stylish matching suits and ties— and their group demeanor, which was low-key and group-focused. MJQ presented well-practiced and structured musical programs, rather than sets of unconnected tunes that showcased soloists. The group could swing hard and the players could improvise brilliantly, but the solos were tight, short, and strategically placed rather than freewheeling.

MJQ was not a party or dance band. While they did play in clubs, they preferred to play in concert halls. MJQ was wed to a concert framework, and John Lewis has even noted in interviews that occasionally, if the audience didn’t settle down to listen, the group would leave the stage until they did. MJQ “chamber jazz” music was and remains elegant, nuanced, even delicate, sophisticated and complex. While some critics may have considered them “stuffy,” rather than elegant, the group’s music was grounded in the blues and included masterful, if short, improvisational solos—a “litmus test” for jazz. In addition to their albums consisting mostly of original compositions, MJQ also recorded with other jazz all-stars, Third Stream vocal groups, chamber ensembles, and orchestras the world over. Enjoy! Ben Goldberg lives and celebrates in Albany. SPRING 2021


Lessons from the Trees by Joann Ryan image by Sarah Goldberg

The trees surrounding my small urban lot burst forth in a blaze of warm golds, lemon curd yellows, and milk-chocolate browns this year. From midOctober through late November, I chased leaves into small piles to cart away on warm days. After Thanksgiving, the winds swept the trees bare. The golden leaves swirled and danced, and floated downward, carpeting the ground. I watched them pile against the ground level window, only to be blown away into another corner of the garden.

In summer, the trees around my home keep it cool, dark, and shady. In late autumn, it is the opposite: the rooms fill with light. The daylight’s angle gives the leaves a painterly look. The city is replacing street lights with LEDs; at night, the trees’ warm golden leaves take on a cooler glow. The refinements in the branching structures are visible at the twiggy ends, far away from the trunk. Like the tree, I branch out, learning new skills, meeting people and testing myself in the winds of change.

Like the tree, I branch out, learning new skills, meeting people and testing myself in the winds of change. As much as I enjoy the spring-green, tiny, hazy, emerging leaves, the full fat summer growth, and the color splash in autumn, it is the raw structure of the maple tree clinging to the hillside, along the east property line, that enchants my eye. 14

The structure of the trunk and branches reveals how the tree has evolved from seedling to sapling to full height, after decades of growth. The maple has survived three lightning strikes. The scars from one lightning strike run vertically from mid-trunk upward, across the first branch on the east side of the tree. I marvel that the strike did not crack at the crotch and drop the branch to the ground. The bark healed around the open wood, framing the path of the strike. A similar mark follows the tree to the ground on the west.

Who we are evolves, season by season The third strike hit the upper branches, opening from the crotch to broken ends. There is no life in the outer limbs. Chunks of dead wood break off and fall silently into the scruffy understory at the base of the hill. The living branches sway, in contrast to no movement where the lightning struck. I’ve endured life strikes. Nothing in the dark times is left behind. I own the growth that comes with loss of trust. Growth will emerge, leading to new opportunities in personal and professional activities. The tree’s bark is irregular in size and shape. The rainwater follows its meandering patterns to the ground. The water is distributed and slowed, so that it soaks into the ground without eroding it. The tree

We are buffeted daily, much the same as the tree COOP SCOOP

roots have time to absorb nutrients, without the rains washing away the soil supporting the tree.

Do we take time to wash away the minutia in our lives? Can we evolve and let go of whatever holds us captive? I look forward and backward, knowing I am standing still, while time moves onward. Even when the tree pours its energy into strange patterns, I think it is procrastinating. It has produced several dinner-plate sized fungi. I watched them grow from a button-sized, pale ivory, to a toast-brown, toggle shape, and turn inky black. The life cycle of the tree’s fungi is brief. So too, are my spells of lassitude.

Perhaps this cycle is meant to signal a new direction, or another path? The tree’s branching provides a transportation pathway system for the squirrels, nesting nearby in a dying chestnut tree, to move safely overhead to other yards and birdfeeders. In the summer, the leafy skyway system is invisible. In winter, the squirrels travel along telephone and cable lines crisscrossing the neighborhood. They have evolved to avoid predators roaming below. I am in that age bracket that scammers target. My friends share the endless robocalls and pitches with me; a simple survival skill in urban living, avoiding predators. Being aware of internet storms keeps us connected and, oddly, entertained. We are buffeted daily, much the same as the tree. We weather attacks, storms, illnesses, and the death of beloved people. Would that we could learn to wear our emotional scars and bruises as openly as the maple. The maple’s colors are fixed. In contrast, we choose the color and texture in our lives. In a quiet moment, look around, glimpse backwards to see what was, and what to change. Who we are evolves, season by season. The maple reminds me that as we evolve, it will be an uneven process, an adventure in finding strengths and resources within, to stretch and evolve, again. Joann Ryan is an Urban Planner very much at home in downtown Albany where she lives and works and gardens. Her interests include art and architecture, and our region has an abundance of both to enjoy.


by Mecca Andrades image by Sarah Goldberg

If Evolve were an acronym... To Evolve as we have so Eloquently as a species is to grow and Emit a light that penetrates and transcends galaxies and generations. Cell structures and DNA multiplying in Volumes, allowing us to expand our image for all the world to see. In trying times, such as the One we live in today, it means to remain Open to new Opportunities, possibilities, and ways of life on an Opulent path, which assists with the expansion of our minds to higher levels. To understand what it is to Love and be Loved—is a Life Lesson best learned through experience. As we find Value in our daily routines, goals, and Virtuous relationships, we also encounter Vagueness as to the outcomes, due to living in the moment. In the End, our Explorations and creations leave legacies that Enable our continuing Evolution. Mecca “Majick” Andrades is a mother, grandmother, nurse, and small business owner. Her hobbies include swimming, reading, and of course writing. She enjoys writing for Coop Scoop, as well as on her blog at www. She can be located as via social media at

Producer Profile by Pat Sahr

We truly value the small businesses and dedicated individuals who work hard to create the exceptional goods and products we carry here at Honest Weight Food Co-op. We think these inspirational stories demonstrate the importance of supporting local, and why we’re so committed to it!


A lthough adoption of a vegetarian diet is on the rise all over the world, most people still want to eat meat. This creates a demand for animal husbandry on a massive scale, which in turn negatively impacts the climate and strains the earth’s resources. A team of entrepreneurs and food specialists have created a meat alternative to help reduce the burden of animal agriculture. Their mission is to “bring you delicious, planet-friendly foods, rooted in nature.”

Instead of raising pigs in pastures, MyEats tends to mushrooms in vertical farms, saving land and resources. Mycelium (the vegetative part of a mushroom, consisting of a network of fine white filaments) 16

is the special ingredient needed for creation of a unique type of plant-based “meat.” Mycelium fibers grow together in a way that resembles the network of muscle tissues in animals. MyEats, the world’s first whole-cut, meatless, protein food brand, has used mycelium to create its flagship product, MyBacon.

Word from the Meat Department: “The flavor and texture are spot on. It is crushingly popular!” MyBacon is made by slicing—not pressing or grinding—slabs of mycelium and marinating the strips in a special brine of allnatural ingredients. This gives MyBacon its delicious flavor. It can be pan-fried just like pork bacon and enjoyed in a BLT,

added as a complement to eggs, or served as a topping on salads. The company declares, “Instead of raising pigs in pastures, we tend to mushrooms in vertical farms, saving land and resources.” These mushrooms are grown locally, in Green Island, NY. MyBacon is now available at the Co-op, so you can try it as an alternative to pork or turkey bacon. Word from the Meat Department: “The f lavor and texture are spot on. It is crushingly popular!” Visit the follow ing website for more information about this company and its product and practices at Pat Sahr has been a member of the Co-op

since 2005. She contributes to the Coop Scoop as the writer of the Producer Profiles. Sahr says, “It’s a pleasure being part of the Honest Weight family, and I’ve especially enjoyed communicating with the various producers whose products are sold at the Co-op!” COOP SCOOP



images by Danielle Huffaker and Mark Van Wormer

Honest Weight is the source of many beautiful and unique items that make wonderful gifts. Outstanding among them are the baskets, felted products, and textiles from Mayan Hands, a nonprofit, fair trade organization with headquarters right here in the Capital District.

Mayan weavers are recognized the world over for their exquisite handwoven textiles Mayan Hands works with 200 Mayan women, organized into 14 different cooperative groups, who live in small villages in the highlands of Guatemala. Though Mayan weavers are recognized the world over for their exquisite handwoven textiles, they live in conditions of poverty and marginalization, with very few opportunities to earn a living. Mayan Hands was born in 1990 with the idea of bringing their fine textiles to the global marketplace and enabling the women to count on a regular income to support their families. From the very beginning, Mayan Hands adhered to the principles of fair trade ( and was among the founding members of the Fair Trade Federation in 1994. In its thirty years of work, Mayan Hands has seen a sea change in the lives of the women who have worked hard to create and develop unique, quality products that have assured their success in the marketplace. Not only do they receive a consistent income to provide for their families and send their children to school, they have also become SPRING 2021

self-assured and gained a voice in their households and their communities. How has this come about? In addition to consistent work and fair compensation, essential conditions for women’s rise, Mayan Hands artisan partners have access to programs that help them reach their potential as artists, businesswomen, and community leaders. They learn new skills to enhance their possibilities in the marketplace, and participate in programs to raise awareness about health and safety, ethnic and gender discrimination, and democratic governance. Though education of their children is the women’s highest priority, far too often poverty means families choose to send only boys to school. Because of the transformative power of girls’ education, Mayan Hands invests in the next generation of women by offering scholarships to the daughters of its artisan partners.

Mayan Hands invests in the next generation of women by offering scholarships to the daughters of its artisan partners. Stop in at the Co-op and see the display of beautiful handwoven textile products, felted animals, and decorative, but functional, baskets created by these exceptionally gifted women, and support them with your purchases. More information about Mayan Hands can be found at 17

Aging as Evolving by Ben Goldberg image by Sarah Goldberg

Aging - a blessing, a curse, or just “what happens”? “Golden Years,” as some have called them, or “a massacre,” as Roth described them? Aging can be all of that and more. Five years ago, at the age of 70 and after a challenging, satisfying, 43-year career in behavioral health care, I retired. I had not realized, however, the extent to which my self-image and self-esteem were tied to my chosen work, but also to “work” in general.

“I learn from the land. Some day / like a field I may take the next thing / so well that whatever is will be me.” -William Stafford, Believing What I Know Growing up in a working-class family, I had been working since I was 13 years old—57 years with virtually no interludes. Additionally, following my retirement—which had not been prompted by any medical concerns—I had a series of medical issues that highlighted my vulnerability. I almost began to flounder emotionally. 18

Impermanence is a common theme in philosophy and religion, and an issue for us at every stage of life I felt that I was no longer “productive,” was not “who I had been” for so long. Well-meaning friends joked that I was having a “midlife crisis in old age.” Having a loving family and being connected to the Honest Weight community helped. Gardening and volunteering helped. Exercise and meditation helped a lot. Gradually, I became more aware of the gift that being older was offering. What had felt for a while like a black hole was in fact space and time in which I could do whatever I wanted to do—or not do, for that matter. That was liberating, and my sense of self and my perspective on the world expanded. Impermanence, the constancy of change unfolding behind the illusion of stability, is a common theme in both eastern and western philosophies and religions, and an issue for us at every stage of life. Meanwhile, science has confirmed that virtually nothing—animate or inanimate—is permanent or stable. Our bodies are constantly replacing cells and transforming. The universe itself is in a constant state of flux. COOP SCOOP

Still, we live with the culturally shared illusion that life, our world, and our identities are stable and permanent. In some respects this fantasy is necessary for us to go about the daily business of living with some semblance of sanity. We make plans, have relationships, families, and careers, save for retirement, plant trees, etc.

“Old age is not a battle. Old age is a massacre.” -Philip Roth, Everyman However, this illusion is inevitably challenged by the very nature of life and a host of circumstances. Think: serious accidents, acute illnesses, pandemics, climate change, horrific natural disasters. Think: aging. The illusion of constancy is pointedly challenged by aging because we live the change and know what end is inevitable. For most of us, advanced age seems to arrive unexpectedly, and at least for some of us, that arrival can be stunning, if not filled with denial or dread. In some cultures, when a person reached a certain age, they began to withdraw from worldly activities and responsibilities in order to engage in more spiritual pursuits, seeking depth, wisdom, and “liberation.” This enabled people to have a more meaningful old age and death. This formal preparation for aging and death would be inconsistent with our current culture, which worships youth and clings to denial about death. Medical science may offer longer lives, but extended well-being—a full and meaningful life—is not assured. Many developmental psychologists (e.g., Maslow and Erikson) have explored the last stage of life as a time ripe for greater understanding, meaning, and even some forms of wisdom or higher consciousness. But, sadly, many of us are unable or unwilling to take advantage of the opportunities for growth, exploration, and discovery that aging may provide.

“Who were you before you were born?” -Variation of a Zen koan SPRING 2021

Advanced age can provide us with the chance to refresh our perspective, to review and renew our values and how we see ourselves, particularly with regard to our place in the universe. No doubt, aging certainly is a complex, challenging set of circumstances and experiences that are colored by a variety of variables. But every stage of life presents unique circumstances, possibilities, and options. Some of us may encounter traumatic circumstances such that any semblance of joy, gratitude, or contemplation may not be possible. With luck, most of us will not. Hopefully, we can choose to try to make the most of what life hands us, or we can choose not to. How we deal with these complex variables and circumstances matters.

“Your job is to find what the world is trying to be.” William Stafford, Vocation Of course, old age is the final stage. For most of us old age includes —if we live long enough—deterioration and death. How formidable! How grim! Yet, research shows that most of us are relatively happy in old age, even more satisfied or content than the younger among us. In old age our ingrained sense of identity may be more productively relaxed, and our self-centered ego may become more flexible and compassionate, offering a greater awareness— grounded in experience and clarity—of the interconnectedness of all things.

The autumn and winter of life can be a time for “spiritual” (by which I mean a unique sense of purpose and meaning) exploration and contemplative practice. In looking back with generosity, empathy, and appreciation for the absurd and ridiculous, we can try to make meaning of our lives, past and present. This may enable us to participate in whatever time we have left graciously, experiencing empathy for ourselves and for all forms of life, transient as we all are, along with reverence and gratitude. 19

Recipe Corner by Melanie Pores

Ayurveda and Evolving into Springtime According to Ayurveda, the 5,000-year-old “Science of Life” and sister science of yoga from India, the year is divided into three seasons. Ayurveda posits that it is important to nourish our bodies by eating seasonally appropriate foods, and also by making adaptations to our lifestyle in order to maintain balance.

During the winter season, our bodies naturally slow down and “hibernate” During the winter season, our bodies naturally slow down and “hibernate” and we tend to eat heavier foods to help our bodies stay warm. Over time, this slower winter lifestyle, accompanied by the consumption of heavier “comfort” foods, may lead to sluggish digestion and the accumulation of toxins, which Ayurveda refers to as ama.

Split mung beans that have been soaked are some of the easiest legumes to digest, aiding in the detoxification process. Cooking with digestive herbs such as ginger, cumin, and cardamom increases the beans’ digestibility. Barley is a fiber-rich grain that is easily digested and filling. Lime juice, raw green pumpkin seeds, and collard greens, all alkalize and naturally cleanse the body. Spring is a time of evolution and a traditional time for detoxing, or cleansing the ama that has accumulated in our bodies over the course of the winter. With that in mind, I would like to share my recipe for Kitchari Burgers with you as a tasty way to detox and assist the body as it evolves into springtime (recipe adapted from

Melanie’s Kitchari burgers

Yields: Makes 8 large burgers or 16 medium-size burgers

Ingredients kitchari (Makes 4 cups)

● Soak each the following in 2 cups of cold water, for 2 hours, and then rinse them: ◊ 1/2 cup yellow mung dahl split mung beans ◊ 1/2 cup hulled barley ● 1 Tbsp coconut oil ● 1 tsp fresh minced ginger ● 2 tsp ground cumin ● ¼ tsp ground cardamom 20

● ● ● ● ● ● ●

¼ tsp fresh black pepper ¼ tsp pink Himalayan salt 1 clove garlic, finely minced 1 medium onion, finely diced 1 large stalk celery, finely diced 1 medium carrot, finely diced 2 Tbsp pitted or rolled dates, soaked in 1/4 cup warm water for 1 hour ● 2 tsp lime juice ● 2 Tbsp pumpkin seeds, finely ground

● ½ cup collard greens, coarsely chopped ● 1 cube low sodium garden veggie bouillon mixed with 4 cups water, or 1 32-oz carton low-sodium vegetable stock


● ½ cup milled flaxseed ● ¼ cup or more, if needed, coconut flour (sweeter flavor) or chickpea flour (savory flavor) ● Additional coconut oil for sautéing COOP SCOOP

called it that) was accomplished Dill Yogurt Sauce without sneakers, or a ● ½ cuplycra, plain yogurt treadmill. Rooted in place, next to ● 2 Tbsp avocado mayonnaise her dresser for support if needed, ● 1 Tbsp maple syrup Mom exercised in private. ● 1 tsp fresh dill weed ● ½ tsp ground fennel Roots, Part 2 ● ¼ tsp onion powder What the word root or roots ● ⅛ does tsp garlic powder mean to you? I put this question to people that I work with, and others Directions that I’ve met along the way. When Ikitchari asked a medical office technician about her response was 1. In roots, a stockpot, add 1 Tbsp a question. She asked, “Are you coconut oil and sauté the spices walking or driving?” took until fragrant. Add the It chopped me veggies, a few seconds to realize she except for the greens. heard route, not root. I repeated, Sauté vegetable and spice mixture spelling it out, and her response for 5-10 minutes. was instantaneous. “I’ve 2. Now add the greens andbeen lowuprooted by this pandemic.” Her sodium vegetable stock, dates, hands hairmixture. and as andflew lime into juiceher to the she Sauté pulledthe it, her eyes teared up. mixture for a few “It is so hardminutes. not to worry about additional my children and my paycheck. I 3. Add the split mung beans and am sorry to unload on you, really hulled barley, bring to a boil, sorry. My world has turned upside reduce the heat, and simmer, down. I cannot catch a break.” I covered, for a minimum of 45 sat with her and listened. minutes, stirring occasionally. Add water if needed.

What does the word root or roots mean to you?

4. Mix in milled f laxseed and refrigerate overnight.


I made a brief business trip in late 1. Spread coconut f lour on the May to southern Pennsylvania. surface of a large plate or platter. I stayed at the Ragged Edge, a bed and breakfast inn near Chambersburg. As I enjoyed 

a classic breakfast of in oatmeal, Melt the coconut oil a small blueberries, and medium brown sugar, saucepan over heat. I asked my 1/8 hostofwhat roots meant to 2. Scoop the kitchari-flaxseed her.mixture She flunginto herthe arms open palm ofwide, your smiled, and said: “Faith, family, hand and flatten it into a patty. andCoat friends keep mepatty rooted. both sides of the with Ourthe strength in each other coconut flour. Repeatgives with us staying power through this the remaining 7 burgers. worrisome time of pandemics.” 3. To ensure there is enough room She had emigrated from Russia in the saucepan to be able to flip as a child and her speech still burgers, I recommend sautéing 4 had a slight accent. Fluent in four burgers at a time. Sauté the first languages and an accomplished 4 burgers, f lipping them over pianist, she lamented that her once they have browned on the accent was sometimes a hindrance first side, and then sauté them on in business. I wondered why the other side, until browned on something like an accent might both sides and warmed through, unsettle or “uproot” others. about 3-4 minutes. Remove the first 4 burgers from the saucepan and place them on a paper-towellined plate. Repeat the process with the remaining 4 burgers.

Our strength in each other gives us staying power through worrisome 4. Serve withthis Dill Yogurt Sauce. time of pandemics Dill sauce

1. dear Mix all ingredients combine. A friend retiredtofrom the Enjoy! state government, to care for her 92-year-old mother at home. “Root?” she asked me. “Root, root, Melanie Pores is presently retired after root for the team. Any as team, all having served a 30+ year career a bilingual teacher, teacher-trainer, resource specialist, the teams. They need cheering school board member, adjunct professor, up and cheering onward.” Caring educational researcher, and policy analyst. for home eases her She her has mother facilitatedatthe Co-op’s Spanish Conversation Group home for the past 5 years. She heart. Nursing quarantines has presently switched to facilitating the group and possible death paths she as a Zoom Group on Fridayare mornings from 10 am-12 noon. hopes to avoid. I was surprised to hear her upbeat reply to my question about roots. Her world,

like so many of us, has shrunk to property lines. My house cleaner responded to

Are our social and emotional roots strong and well-nourished? my question about roots with a long tale about a root canal. The story was not that funny, and at the same time, it was, because as she spoke, her emotions flitted across her face so rapidly that I was spellbound. Her root canal experience was a cause for celebration. I asked, “What did you do to celebrate?” She said she slept the better part of a day and night. She chose a wonderful way to heal her roots. Are we all well-grounded in bleak times such as now? Are our social and emotional roots strong and well-nourished? We, like the trees and plants around us, share a cyclical rhythm for growth and change. Take time to care for yourself and stay warm and wellrooted this winter! Joann Ryan is an urban planner living and working in downtown Albany. She enjoys walking and gardening. Her Zen garden is mostly hardscape with specimen rocks acquired in travels. It is also where she grows and trains Bonsai. Bonsai means tree in tray and the miniature trees balance the ruggedness of the rocks nicely.


    

    

  


  



21 13

New Growth: The Marketing Team at Honest Weight by Deanna Beyer

Throughout most of 2020, our marketing team was busy helping with store operations. But behind the scenes, we were looking for ways to connect, reach out, and help our community. We spent a lot of time envisioning and planning for a future that remains to be seen. What we did know was that we wanted to bring more color, more vibrancy, more life to the areas around the store. As the weather breaks this spring, we invite you to notice some welcome additions to the grounds here at Honest Weight.

some for others to do the same. Our hope is that any excess food grown will help supplement our twice-weekly contributions to Free Food Fridge Albany.

At the heart of it all, Honest Weight has always been about food. We believe that everyone should have access to healthy food. Unfortunately, good food is becoming more expensive every week. In a year of record-high unemployment, remote education for our children, and grocery shortages, 2020 underscored the need to actively address food insecurity. This is just one of the reasons we are so pleased that 2021 will be the year the first seeds of our Edible Garden will be sown.

We are excited to be part of what has become the world’s largest book-sharing movement! Deepest gratitude to ADK Rustica, for donating materials and time to design, build, and install the library, complete with donated books from their own homes. Please browse the selection, and/ or add books you’d like to share.

Hand-constructed by our talented friends at ADK Rustica, our new garden beds are the first step toward creating an edible landscape, where people can pick and enjoy what they wish, leaving 22

And then there’s food for thought! Have you noticed the adorable model of Honest Weight’s Quail Street storefront at the Watervliet Avenue entrance to the parking lot? It houses our own Little Free Library! This ingenious concept was born as a way of building community, inspiring readers, and expanding book access for all.

Make sure you also check out the bold artwork on the bike lockers, located on the western side of the store. In collaboration with Albany Center Gallery, local artistin-residence Hannah Williams spent a few days beautifying these plain steel structures. She has created a fantastic public art piece with her colorful, handpainted vegetables, honeycomb, and sunshine graphics.

Creating a more inclusive and w e lc om i ng e x p e r ie nc e for shoppers is an ongoing effort here at Honest Weight. Whether it’s helping someone find an unusual item, explaining PLUs, or introducing a newcomer to the Bulk Department, our staff and member-owners try to make customers feel like part of the community. Thanks to local artist Lexi Hannah, ever yone who enters the store will be welcomed by an exquisite landscape mural. It captures the magic of Honest Weight, and completely changes the industrial aesthetic of the store’s exterior. You can read more about the mural, and Lexi’s artwork, in Blaise Farina’s article in this issue. While much remains uncertain, we know that people still need to eat, still enjoy seeing beautiful art, and learning and/or escaping through the written word. We hope that you enjoy our efforts to bring a little more color and vibrancy to our community, and to the world. There’s much more to come! Deanna Beyer is the Education & Engagement Coordinator at Honest Weight and has worked in and around health and wellness for over 20 years. A long-time teacher and practitioner of yoga, meditation, and mindfulness, she focuses on helping to make these practices accessible to all kinds of people in all kinds of situations--practicing the yoga of life. She can be reached at COOP SCOOP

Secrets of the Bulk Department: Maple Syrup! by Rebecca Angel

images by Lilianna Maxwell

When I was a child, I never wanted syrup on my pancakes; the f lavor was weird and it was overly sweet. It wasn’t until I was an adult and at a friend’s house for breakfast, Dairy-free that I politely tried their maple syrup. WHAT WAS THIS (Adapted from a recipe at AMAZING CONCOCTION?! My mouth was filled with that rich, complex, dark flavor swirling around with a just-right sweetness. It turns out that I had never had true maple syrup before. All my life I had only been offered maple-flavored corn syrup. Sacrilege! ● 4 large eggs

Maple Tahini Chocolate Muffins


From then on I was a maple syrup addict: the cotton candy, those leaf-shaped treats, maple popcorn. I have even enjoyed maple water! The sap flows in the spring, and that means it’s sugaring time. The unique climate of northeast America allows for the production of maple syrup. Even in similar latitudes around the globe that have maple trees, this is the place for that special treat. What a wonderful way to support our local farmers.

● 2 large egg yolks ● ⅓ cup tahini paste ● ⅔ cup pure maple syrup ● ½ Tbsp pure vanilla extract ● ½ cup almond flour ● ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

● ¼ tsp salt Recently I needed to give up refined sugar for my health. I looked to maple syrup and honey as my replacements for baking. ● ½ Tbsp baking powder Although maple syrup can replace any kind of sweetener, recipes that call for brown sugar or molasses work best. The Bulk Department at the Honest Weight Food Co-op has several ● Preheat your oven to 375°F and line a muffin kinds of maple syrup. Baking uses much more syrup than most tin with parchment paper liners. people are used to, so shopping bulk saves money. I highly ● In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg recommend investing in a large glass container. yolks, tahini, maple syrup, and vanilla extract.


substituting maple syrup for sugar It is not a one-to-one substitution, especially since the dry/ wet ratio changes, but here are some baking tips to help: 1. For every cup of regular white sugar, replace with ¾ cup of maple syrup. 2. Reduce the wet ratio of your recipe by 3 Tablespoons. 3. Use Grade B for a stronger flavor, Grade A for just sweet.

● Add flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder and whisk until smooth. ● Let the batter sit for a couple of minutes. ● Fill each muffin liner 3/4 of the way full. ● Bake 16-18 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. ● Let cool in the pan five minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Enjoy!

This is one of my all-time favorite recipes using maple Rebecca Angel has been a part of Honest Weight for eighteen syrup. For those who used to attend my Secrets of the years, and is Managing Editor of the Coop Scoop. When not at Bulk Department cooking classes, this was in one of my the Co-op, Rebecca is a teacher, musician, and writer, currently on a memoir about her experience with Cushing’s very first classes! It has never failed and has an incredible working Syndrome. You can write to her at spongy texture. SPRING 2021




Locally Made



Always Organic, Always Fresh.

Keepin’ It Real

Find our delicious products in the bulk and pre-packaged departments.

2,370 MILES

TIERRA FARM -22 MI mt everest 7,399 M IL E S

Yellowstone Park



OS 3,137mi G A P A L GA S


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