Summer’s bounty: Kohlrabi

23 Jul

In this installment of our summer series about enjoying in-season organic produce, learn simple tips for highlighting kohlrabi in fresh, well-spiced meals.

FR WEB Cayenne Room - Kohlrabi

By Tom Havran

What if you took the flavor of the sweetest cabbage and put it in a crisp, juicy, round shape? That’s what kohlrabi is. Kohl-rabi, German for cabbage-turnip, is like kale and Brussel’s sprouts in that it is a specially selected variety of the common cabbage, bred for its succulent, tender stem, which can be eaten raw or cooked. The dark green leaves of kohlrabi also are edible with a taste similar to mild, sweet kale.

How to prepare it: Select firm, freshly harvested stems, preferably with leaves still attached. Slice away the base (root) and top (leaf) ends. Wash the stem and leaves in cold water. Peel the green (sometimes purple) stem to expose the cream-colored inner flesh. Slice it into rounds, sticks or cubes to eat raw with salt and pepper or add it to salads and slaw for sweetness and crunch. Alternatively, the stem can be quartered and boiled until fork-tender and use like potatoes. Use the leaves as you would kale. Continue reading

Community giving: Doing a world of good

15 Jul

By Alan Miles

Dennis Knock knows how to lend a hand to communities — whether it’s providing much-needed processing equipment for a farmer co-op in South Africa or rescue equipment for a volunteer fire department in a town just down the road from Frontier Co-op’s headquarters in rural Iowa.

Frontier Co-op in Bulgaria

Dennis (left) visiting our lavender supplier in Bulgaria. This field is located near the villages where Frontier Co-op is building soccer fields and establishing other outreach programs for underprivileged youth.

As a commodity manager for Frontier Co-op’s Global Sourcing team, Dennis travels the world to meet with the growers who supply Frontier’s high quality herbs and spices — often poor farmers with very small individual plots of land who form co-ops to work together. The growers’ communities (commonly small villages) often lack some of the basics we take for granted, like medical care, education, water and electricity. Through our Well Earth® Sustainable Sourcing Program, Frontier Co-op helps these communities with projects like digging wells in Madagascar. One project Dennis has been instrumental in coordinating this year involves building soccer fields and establishing other youth outreach programs in underprivileged villages in Bulgaria.

When he’s home, Dennis travels to nearby towns in Iowa to lend a similar helping hand. As head of Frontier Co-op’s Community Giving Program, Dennis gives $10,000 to our employees’ communities each year. The funds are allocated by an employee committee, going to organizations, charities, events and causes in local communities.

I asked Dennis what it’s like being on the front line of our company’s community donations both at home and around the world.

“I love being able to see the expressions of gratitude for the people, communities and events we help support,” he said. “It’s an honor to work for a company that recognizes the needs that exist both locally and globally — and then walks the walk when it comes to taking an active role in meeting those needs.” Continue reading

Summer’s Bounty: Strawberries

9 Jul

In this installment of our summer series about enjoying in-season organic produce, learn simple tips for highlighting strawberries in fresh, well-spiced meals.

Summer's Bounty: Strawberries

Like the flowers that produce them, fruits are sweet-scented —  and perhaps no fruit is more so than strawberries, whose Latin name Fragaria, means fragrant. Just thinking about fresh, summer strawberries conjures a sense of their aromatic essence and unique, luscious flavor. Don’t miss the brief season when locally grown strawberries appear fresh at your market; they won’t taste as good any other time of the year.

How to prepare it: Conventional commercially grown strawberries are a heavily sprayed crop, so opt for organic strawberries whenever possible. Strawberries don’t ripen after they’re picked so select completely red, firm, shiny, just-picked berries at your local market, or seek out a pick-your-own farm. Rinse the strawberries gently to avoid bruising them, dry on a kitchen towel, remove stems and sepals, and enjoy. Continue reading

4th of July recipe roundup: 6 undeniably American ways to celebrate

1 Jul

By Katie Staab

The 4th of July holiday is about honoring long-standing traditions and celebrating what we love about America. This holds true for the food — the centerpiece of any holiday party. While burgers, hotdogs and potato salads hold dominant places as traditional Independence Day fare, the recipes below are undeniably American for their own reasons:

Red, White and Blue Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

Red, White and Blue Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Simply Organic Vanilla

How it celebrates America: The world has Americans to thank for the cupcake’s rise in popularity, and this one is decorated in a fresh, flag-inspired fashion.

Grilled Blackened Shrimp Skewers

Grilled Shrimp Skewers with Frontier Co-op Organic Blackened Seafood Seasoning

How it celebrates America: When you season your shrimp with Frontier Co-op’s Organic Blackened Seafood Seasoning, you’re helping restore America’s wetlands. One percent of sales from the seasoning line is donated to wetland restoration projects. Continue reading

Tea tree: There is more to you than people know

27 Jun

By Tim Blakley

I once swam in a lake that was such a dark red color that I couldn’t see my arms or legs. While striking, the reason for the color was perfectly natural – the lake was surrounded by trees with roots that reached into the water and released tannins that produced the distinct color. Often called Tea Tree Lake (it’s actual name is Lake Ainsworth), this unique body of water is located in eastern Australia, where tea tree plants grow wild.

Tea tree essential oil has been popular for several decades here in North America, and even longer in Australia. The best-known species, Melaleuca alternifolia, became popular in part because it grows abundantly in the populated areas of eastern Australia.

lemon tea tree

Tim with lemon tea tree.

Although most consumers are aware of just the one species, Melaleuca alternifolia, there are 300 species of tea tree that grow throughout Australia and New Zealand. At least a dozen of these are in commercial use today, and several more are on their way to the marketplace. My two “new” favorites are Aura Cacia Lavender Tea Tree, Melaleuca ericifolia, and Aura Cacia Lemon Tea Tree, Leptospermum petersonii. When I first “discovered” the plants used to make these oils while visiting one of our farmers in Australia, I immediately fell in love with them for their unique qualities and great potential.

What’s to love about lavender tea tree

Standing less than 10 feet tall, lavender tea tree, sometimes called Rosalina, is a smaller plant than Melaleuca alternifolia and is presently cultivated on a fairly small scale. The aroma of traditional tea tree doesn’t appeal to everyone, so lavender tea tree is a much better-smelling alternative! While this oil contains similar constituents you’d find in Aura Cacia Lavender and Aura Cacia Tea Tree, it is a single-botanical oil with unique constituents that you won’t find in a blend.  Continue reading

Summer’s bounty: Greens

25 Jun

In this installment of our summer series about enjoying in-season organic produce, learn simple tips for highlighting greens in fresh, well-spiced meals this summer!

FR WEB Cayenne Room Greens 06-14

By Tom Havran

There’s no more immediate and dazzling gustatory experience of fresh summer produce than a big bowl of tossed, succulent, summer-fresh greens. The perfect salad has come a long way from the cellophane-wrapped and watery supermarket iceberg lettuce dressed with great globs of bottled ranch. Greens are now a feast of colors and flavors from green, red and purple to sweet, bitter, sour and spicy.

How to prepare them: Immerse fresh-picked greens in cool water and give them a gentle swish. Invest in a mechanical salad spinner or spin the greens in a dishtowel to remove all water, then immediately dress, toss and devour them for the most intense flavor and greatest nutrient uptake. How you dress greens is a matter of preference and the food that you’re serving the salad with, but it’s virtually impossible to go wrong with a classic, made-from-scratch vinaigrette. For the best flavors choose a blend of greens that awaken all the taste buds:

  • Sweet: lettuces, beet greens, mache, purslane
  • Bitter: escarole, radicchio, endive, dandelion
  • Sour: sorrels (garden, French, sheep)
  • Spicy: mustard greens, arugula

Continue reading

Homemade pizza dough for Father’s Day

13 Jun

By Alan Miles

I consider myself a good father — at least where pizza is concerned.

homemade pizza dough

Oiling the pizza stone is a lot like finger painting.

When my kids were growing up, my pizza-making was a fatherly skill that was universally appreciated. Dad’s pizza (featuring homemade pizza dough) was one of a handful of meals that all four kids agreed to like. And since more than a single pizza was required for our family of six, there could even be a degree of customization. (The one unchanging ingredient through the years has been eight ounces of tomato sauce per large pizza flavored with about 1/4 cup Frontier Pizza Seasoning and 1/4 teaspoon Frontier Garlic Powder.)

My oldest daughter decided she was “allergic” to onions in sixth grade — a condition that has persisted into adulthood — so onions were left off half a pizza. This opened the door to other special requests (within the constraints of what was in the refrigerator on pizza night, of course), and soon there was a section of pizza to suit every family member. Sliced tomatoes on top sprinkled liberally with basil always topped the list of requests. Continue reading

Summer’s bounty: Rhubarb

11 Jun

In this third installment of our summer series about enjoying in-season organic produce, learn simple tips for highlighting rhubarb!


By Tom Havran

How can you go wrong with a fresh summer produce item that’s nicknamed “the pie plant”? Just like the leaves of its lemony-tart botanical cousin, garden sorrel, the ruby-red and emerald-green stalks of rhubarb are also mouth-puckeringly sour, but this “fruit” also contains a remarkably luscious and unique essence that has lent its flavor to pies, crumbles, cakes, fools and cobblers for generations.

How to prepare it: Select firm, newly harvested stalks. Only the leaf stems or petioles of rhubarb are edible. Cut away the tip of each stalk an inch or two below the leaf end. Take a fresh slice off the bottom end of the stalk and wash clean in cold water. Cut the stalk up into ½- to 1-inch pieces and simply add the uncooked pieces to pies, cake batters and crisps as you would any other fruit. Alternatively, stew 1 cup of rhubarb with about 2 tablespoons of water and 1 cup of sugar until the pieces are tender and just falling apart. Use as jam on toast and scones, or as a sauce on ice cream, custards and puddings. Continue reading

My organic living “Aha!” moment: Discovering the power of good food

3 Jun

By Kailee Meskimen 

My organic living “Aha!” moment was when I lost 50 pounds.

organic living

Many things have altered my life, but none quite like food. Yes, food. As a young girl, raised on canned veggies, frozen meat and TV dinners, I never assumed food was the enemy or worried about what was in it. In college, my diet consisted of everyone’s favorites: Ramen noodles, cereal and frozen pizza. After all, food is food, right?

Although I remained fairly active and was somewhat health conscious throughout college, I noticed my clothes were becoming snug and my confidence was plummeting. A few years later, I got married. I knew no matter what I looked like, my husband would always, always love me, but I was at my highest weight ever. What had happened to me? Continue reading

Summer’s bounty: Radishes

28 May

The second installment of our summer series about enjoying in-season organic produce. Learn simple tips for highlighting summer’s bounty in fresh, well-spiced meals this summer!

By Tom Havran

The peppery, refreshing crunch of summer radishes belie this root vegetable’s relationship to spicy horseradish and mustard. All are members of the Cruciferae family, named for the cross-like shape of their four-petaled flowers. Radishes are some of the first spring-sown vegetables available in fresh markets, and the earlier you get them, the milder and more tender they are.


How to prepare it: Gently scrub radishes clean and trim away roots and tough leaves. An hour soak in fresh, iced water can improve the crunch and tame the overly peppery taste of particularly hot radishes. Radishes are best eaten fresh as crudités, sliced to adorn salads or onto sandwiches. A classic way to serve them is sliced onto soft, generously buttered bread, topped with flaky sea salt and freshly-cracked pepper. Continue reading


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