Organic Primer by the USDA

In a series called Organic 101, the USDA has blogged about the meaning of the USDA Organic label. Miles McEvoy, National Organic Program Director, has written the series, which provides a helpful primer on just what organic means, in terms of USDA involvement. Here are the installments you’ll find on their blog, along with just one or two examples of the kinds of information contained in each segment:

Part 1: What Organic Farming (and Processing) Doesn’t Allow. When it comes to dairy and meat products, for example, the USDA organic label insures that the animals were raised in living conditions “that accommodated their natural behaviors, without being administered hormones or antibiotics, and while grazing on pasture grown on healthy soil.”

Part 2: Allowed and Prohibited Substances. In this installment, you’ll learn that while organic agriculture allows natural substances and prohibits synthetic, vaccines are considered an important part in maintaining animal health.

Part 3:  What the USDA Organic Label Means. No foods labeled with the USDA Organic label can be grown or handled using genetically modified organisms. And packaged products that indicate they are “made with organic something” must contain at least 70 percent organically produced ingredients.

To learn more about the USDA Organic Label, read the blog at USDA Blog.

This article also appeared in our Frontier Member News, the monthly enewsletter for our co-op members.

Here’s how you can become a co-op member.

A Visit With Nikki and David Goldbeck – and a book giveaway!

The Wall Street Journal called The Supermarket Handbook the “manifesto” for a food revolution “that may be in the wind” back in 1973. And Nikki and David Goldbeck’s 1973 best-seller did help revolutionize America’s diet. The Goldbecks were early proponents for a broader acceptance of healthful foods and better food labeling, now mainstream ideas.

Over 30 years and many books later, David and Nikki still believe experiencing the joys of real food is the best incentive for people to do something about what is happening to our food supply.

It’s a full circle moment when we can stop and compare notes with our fellow organic food pioneers. We’re lucky to have become acquainted with the Goldbecks in their current hometown of Woodstock, New York, where they agreed to chat with us.

Nikki and David Goldbeck. Photo courtesy Hudson Valley Life.

How does it make you feel to see that the mainstream has come around to your way of thinking about food? Did you think that would happen?

Of course, it feels great. At the same time it’s amusing and at times frustrating to hear people telling us about these “new” ideas. But this isn’t the first time we’ve been there ahead of the crowd. David’s book, The Smart Kitchen, pioneered green kitchen design. We wrote Choose to Reuse, a book on reuse in 1995, when reusable shopping bags were still a novelty, and we published Clean & Green, a book on nontoxic cleaning, before the stores were stocked with more benign cleaning products. We are glad to see all of our concepts are finally catching on.

How did you get started with eating a wholefoods cuisine? Can you take us back to the beginning? What led you down this path?

In the late 1960s, we were living in NYC, where David was practicing law in legal services and Nikki was working on Madison Ave. doing food PR and recipe development. Influenced by friends and the times, we became aware of how meat was “manufactured” and decided on New Year’s Eve to go vegetarian for a week. After a week, we never looked back. This “experiment” led us not only to experience the joys of meat-free cooking, but began an awareness about food additives, food processing, chemical farming and the like — that launched us on our way.

We have always advocated a diet focused on wholefoods, a term we coined in American Wholefoods Cuisine, and define as “fresh and unfragmented foods that are as close to nature as possible.” Our “Wholefoods Philosophy,” which expands on this concept and is explained in more depth in that book, has remained essentially unchanged since we began this journey some 40 years ago.

What’s the easiest way for people to change their eating habits, if they feel they should?

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to eating. What is of utmost importance in staying with any diet is enjoyment. Whether you are one person or a family, hate to cook or love it, there are choices you can make that are simple, healthy and fun. One of the ways we think about food is to “dine each day as if you were in a different foreign country.” That way you get both variety and pleasure.

How can people use spices to make simple foods more interesting? Do you have a go-to spice that you find yourself using on lots of dishes?

Spices are the foundation of every good cuisine. Remember our advice to eat each day as if you were dining in a different foreign country? What distinguishes all of these cuisines is the way in which they take basic foodstuffs and flavor them to create the world’s great culinary delights. Oddly, the spice we turn to quite often is cumin – it seems to work with so many different cuisines … Arab, Israeli, South American, Indian, African, and more.

Let’s get back to your books. What was your first book? How did you write it? Did you test the recipes yourself?

The first book was Nikki’s cookbook, Cooking What Comes Naturally, A Month of Vegetarian Menus. Following the “trial” vegetarian week, and constant questions from family and friends about what we were eating, David began writing down what we had for dinner on a calendar. After 30 days, we realized we had eaten more interesting and varied meals than ever before.

As a result, Nikki began to refine the recipes, David served as the #1 food taster, and a book was born. As luck, or timing, would have it, Nikki made friends with a woman on the bus going to work who told her that Doubleday, where she worked, was considering a vegetarian cookbook. And as they say…the rest is history.

Did you go on a book tour then?

We went on a small tour. But what stands out is our appearance on the Donahue show, which was just ending its run in Dayton, Ohio and about to move into the big time in Chicago.

Tell us about your visits on Donahue. (For our younger readers, Phil Donahue’s show was the precursor to Oprah)

Over the next few decades we appeared three more times on Donahue, filling the entire hour talking about each of our subsequent books, starting with The Supermarket Handbook and then American Wholefoods Cuisine. He was a terrific host (even though he did wave around tofu and compare it to wallboard!) And it was quite a challenge, since there was no TV kitchen. We still laugh about the time we were holed up in the Drake Hotel in Chicago cooking on improvised equipment in preparation for the show where we introduced vegetarian wholefoods cooking to America.

Nikki & David cook with Phil Donahue.
Donahue turned over four one-hour shows
(c1974, 1977, 1979, 1983) to the Goldbecks to present their
approach to wholefoods shopping, cooking and nutrition.

You’ve also written a restaurant guide, Healthy Highways, to help people “avoid the fast-food lane” when dining away from home. Do you see this as a new direction in your work?

Healthy Highways is the next logical step in our food writing as we see it. We have written about how to shop for wholefoods, how to cook them, how to choose a healthy diet, and how to set up an environmentally-friendly kitchen.

But the missing piece was how to eat healthfully away from home. In Healthy Highways, we “travel” state-by-state, city-by-city, letting people know where they can find a natural foods store or restaurant that features vegetarian and vegan meals.

Our goal is three-fold: to help people eat well away from home; to bring customers to natural food stores and vegetarian and vegan restaurants; and, to encourage restaurants everywhere to pay more attention to people looking for meatless meals and healthier options. We are happy to say that there are more eateries around the country offering real (and creative) choices – not simply a plate of vegetables or salad.

Thanks so much, David and Nikki! It’s been great to connect with you and to see you’re still stirring things up in the food world.

Now in its second edition,  American Wholefoods Cuisine contains more than 1300 recipes and has been hailed as “the new Joy of Cooking.” Admired by M.F.K Fisher and nominated for the prestigious Tastemaker Award, this book is a culinary triumph of vegetarian cuisine and foreshadowed today’s emphasis on wholesome foods.

And the Goldbecks have given some of the delicious, practical and healthy recipes you’ll find in the book to our website.

Check out the simple goodness of such dishes as White Bean Paté, Potatoes Nicoise, Stuffed Clam Shells Areganata, Hot Open-Face Tempeh Sandwiches and African Bean Soup in our recipe collection.

We think this book belongs on every cook’s shelf. And Nikki and David want to give a copy of American Wholefoods Cuisine to a lucky fan on their Facebook page! Their page is a handy resource for recipes, tips and articles about a natural vegan diet.

Just visit their page, click “Like” and leave a comment telling them why you’d like a copy of the book, between now and March 6. 

 They’ll choose a winner at random after March 6 and send that lucky fan a copy of American Wholefoods Cuisine. 

REMEMBER — don’t leave your comment to win the book here, please leave it on the Goldbeck’s Facebook page – link above.

2012: The International Year of the Co-op Contest

2012 has been recognized as the International Year of Co-operatives by the United Nations.

This is an acknowledgement that co-operatives drive the economy, respond to social change and are resilient to the global economic crisis. They’re vital and successful businesses creating jobs in all sectors.

We’d like to give you a chance to support and contribute to the growth of the co-op movement. Simply post a photo on Frontier Facebook page between February 5 and February 18 that best represents the strength and vitality of your co-op. (The co-op needs to be an actual bricks and mortar storefront, so buying clubs and websites are not eligible.)

Here’s an example:

Moscow Food Co-op, Moscow, Idaho - Fair Trade Event

Then launch your own campaign to get your friends to vote for your photo on our page!

The owner of the photo with the most votes between February 19 and 25 will be rewarded with a prize of a $150 shopping spree at your favorite co-op.

And for every vote received, we’ll donate 25¢ to the Cooperative Development Foundation.

The CDF is instrumental in assisting start-up co-ops as well as providing support and training for existing co-ops. CDF has been around for over 65 years, supporting cooperative enterprise worldwide.  From tsunami recovery efforts to cooperative home care, CDF is making a difference in people’s lives.

Here are the details and official rules.

Don’t forget to snap that photo next time you go shopping!

Coconut Rum Truffles

Now that we have your attention, let’s pause and think about holiday desserts.

Close your eyes and anticipate the sights, the sounds, and the aromas of the winter holiday season. How far did you get before food entered the scene? Were you baking sugar cookies with the kids, or serving cranberry bars to the carolers? Did you attend a community potluck, with its high dessert ratio, or an open house rich with the aroma of gingerbread?

There’s good reason we center much of our celebrating around food—especially lavish, almost sinfully indulgent desserts. Holiday baking warms our hearts along with our kitchens, heightens our senses, and encourages the spirit of sharing and celebration. It’s a perfect opportunity to express the festive extravagance that marks the season.

And oh my…here’s a little extravagance now. As if chocolate, rum and heavy cream aren’t enough, we’ve added some coconut to put these over the top, decadence-wise. These truffles can be packed in a beautiful tin as a gift to someone you love that much! Hello, adult dessert.

COCONUT RUM TRUFFLES
Ingredients
3 tablespoons butter
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
3 tablespoons dark rum
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1  egg yolk
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/2 cups shredded, sweetened coconut, divided
Directions

In a small, heavy saucepan (or double boiler), melt butter and chocolate together until smooth. Remove from heat.

Add rum, cream, egg yolk, sugar, almond extract, and 1/2 cup of the coconut. Whisk until well blended. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Roll into one-inch balls, then roll the balls in the remaining 1 cup coconut. Set on waxed paper to harden. Store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, or in the freezer for up to one month.

(Good luck with that one month thing…)

Please let us know what treats you like to bake and give for the holidays!

Homemade Salad Dressings

Today’s post is from Luann Alemao, a chef and health/wellness speaker we’ve worked with over the years. Luann hosts a TV show titled Get Fit, operates several Kids Culinary Camps and offers presentations to corporations on healthy eating.

Here, Luann offers a quick tutorial on making your own simple oil and vinegar dressings. 

Oil and vinegar don’t mix. I had heard that phrase while growing up, but as I attended food and nutrition courses and did my own experimentation in the kitchen, I recognized they are compatible on the salad plate.

When making basic vinaigrette keep in mind that it’s 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar.

From that point, the type of oil, the kind of vinegar and the choice of seasonings or add-ins are up to you.

Here are some basics.

EVOO, Virgin, Pure or Seasoned– these are referring most of the time to olive oils in recipes. Other oils, such as soy, almond, and avocado will make great vinaigrettes too and will offer a distinction of their own originality in your vinaigrette.

You can make fine vinaigrette in just a pint jar or a salad cruet; you just need a vessel to shake up the ingredients and create an emulsifier for a short duration anyway.

So let’s get started:

1) Olive oil is the typical choice of taste and rightly so, as it has a fresh taste and natural fruitiness. My second favorite is soy oil as it is clean and light and doesn’t add an oily taste to vinaigrettes.

Light and extra light refer to the color of the oil and not the caloric content – don’t be misled. Fats do have calories and so does olive oil at 120 calories per tablespoon. Experiment with different regional oils and you will notice the differences.

2) Next is the acid or the vinegar.  Balsamic vinegar is my favorite, with its sweeter aroma and sweeter taste. It is rich in color, has undergone a special aging process and may be cured 12-25 years. Vinegar, because of its strong acidic makeup, does not require refrigeration. Other vinegars such as flavored vinegars, apple cider or rice wine vinegar are great culinary choices as well. White distilled is too harsh and best used for cleaning purposes afterward.

3) The add-ins: The combinations you can create are endless. Some dried mustard or Dijon adds a savory flavor.  Don’t forget the garlic and seasonings. Beyond the salt and pepper you can flavor with basil, Italian herbs, ginger, cilantro or tarragon.

Use the zest from limes, oranges and lemons. They add a citrusy blend that is clean and fresh.

Don’t have vinegar? A lemon will work just as well. I personally use a lemon along with the balsamic vinegar as I like the aroma and the pungent taste it offers. Make sure you use some of the zest (the outside peel) for more flavor and aroma.

Making your own salad dressing is cheaper too. It costs just pennies per tablespoon and to buy will be 4-5 times more. Save and FLAV! What more could you want?

Here are some recipes for delicious vinaigrettes:

BERRY-GINGER VINAIGRETTE

½ cup of oil

4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 squirt or 1 teaspoon of lemon juice from a real lemon

1 tablespoon berry preserves

2 Frontier crystallized ginger pieces

Shake in a tight container and serve over greens.

**********

HERBED SALAD VINAIGRETTE

6 tablespoons oil

2 tablespoons vinegar

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon Frontier dry mustard

1-2 cloves crushed garlic

1 tablespoon of Frontier Italian Seasoning or Herbes de Provence

Fresh ground pepper

Shake in a tight container, let sit for about a ½ hour for flavors to macerate and pour over dark greens.

How do you use oils to make dressings?

Gumbo File Seasoning

A signature ingredient in gumbo and other Creole dishes, file powder, or Gumbo File, is used for its delicate but distinct flavor and thickening characteristics.

File was introduced by the Choctaw Nation in Louisiana. File is a sassafras leaf — we added thyme to give it our own deep, distinctive flavor.

LOUISIANA VEGETABLE GUMBO

Gumbo is one of the great comfort foods to come out of Louisiana. This spicy, rich concoction is actually more of a stew than a soup, but it is really in a class by itself. The word “gumbo” means “okra,” and there is plenty of it in this recipe. The amount of rice served with the gumbo should be dictated by personal preference. File powder is made from ground sassafras leaves.

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1  large onion, diced
1  medium-size green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups vegetable stock or water
1 can (14.5-ounce) diced tomatoes, with their juices
1 1/2 cups sliced fresh or frozen okra
1  small zucchini, ends trimmed and sliced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon file powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Tabasco sauce
2 to 3 cups hot cooked long grain rice
Directions:
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic, cover, and cook, stirring a few times, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the stock, tomatoes, okra, zucchini, thyme, file powder, salt, pepper, and Tabasco to taste. Simmer, partially covered, over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 30 to 40 minutes. Taste to adjust the seasonings.To serve, spoon about 1/2 cup of the cooked rice into each soup bowl and ladle the hot gumbo over the top.

The Family Dinner, by Laurie David…and YOU

We’ve just returned from the Natural Products Expo East in Baltimore. One of the featured guests at the show was activist Laurie David.

Laurie’s new book, The Family Dinner, draws on one of Laurie’s passions: creating more awareness about the importance of the family dinner to the health and well-being of both children and parents.

We’re all for this crusade, and also appreciate her tips to help make it easier for you all to start, keep, and pass on this tradition in your homes.

We have a Cooking with Kids article on our website offering you ideas for ways you can creatively engage your kids in the kitchen. We’ve found that involving them in the process makes them want to share the meal afterwards all that much more.

And while sharing the responsibilities of cooking with the younger people in your life, introduce them to the fun of using spices. It’s a great way for them to use their creativity and curiosity to dream up new and interesting dishes, which in turn keeps them coming back for more fun and sharing.

This recipe dresses up peas with spices and pasta. It’s a good way to integrate farmer’s market goodies into the lessons in the kitchen, too.

Give it a try and let us know what happens!

Picnic Peas & Pasta Salad

You can add any garden-fresh veggies (like cukes, peppers, green beans, tomatoes) to this salad staple.

Ingredients:
4 cups cooked pasta (bowties work well)
1 cup cooked and cooled green peas
1/4 cup shredded carrot
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon thyme leaf
1 to 2 teaspoons tarragon leaf
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon mustard powder
freshly ground black pepper to taste
Directions:
Combine pasta, peas and carrots together in a serving dish.In a small bowl or jar, whisk together remaining ingredients (except pepper). Pour dressing over pasta combo and mix well. Sprinkle with pepper.

Please share your family meal ideas with us. Did you grow up in a house where this was a priority? How do you make sure you all sit down together in your house? Do you see the benefits?

Sustainable Lodging at Inn by the Sea: Cape Elizabeth, Maine

We’ve been on a little travel break from blogging! One was a personal vacation trip and one was a business trip.

We’d like to share some links today about a place we came across that impressed us with their commitment to some of the same principles that guide us at Frontier.

We traveled to Maine for a relaxing weekend at a beautiful place called Inn by the Sea, on Cape Elizabeth along the southern coast near Portland.

The Inn is a designated wildlife habitat, one of the first hotels certified by Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection as a “Green Lodging.”

They successfully blend luxury and service with sustainability, minimizing the impact of hotel operations with of eco friendly initiatives and an appreciation of all things local.

Guests are surrounded by an indigenous garden which provides food and habitat for wildlife, and rooms are cleaned with non-toxic products. Room amenities are natural, in recycled bottles and displayed on recycled glass trays. The sheet and towel program helps protect the endangered monarch butterfly. They recycle and use post consumer paper products. The cardio room has recycled rubber floors, the spa has recycled sheet rock walls and bamboo towels, and the  Inn is heated with biofuel and the pool with solar panels. The Inn also recognizes the value of the community by supporting local charities.

The Inn offers classes to guests to pass on the eco-friendly message. Weekly seminars and garden tours are offered on the Inn’s 5 acres of indigenous seaside gardens, teaching guests how to plant for wildlife. The Inn helps environmentally-conscious couples plan unique White weddings in green and, for the corporate traveler, responsible green meetings. You can read more about the Inn by the Sea’s green initiatives here.

At the hotel’s restaurant, Sea Glass, Chef Mitchell Kaldrovich specializes in creating dishes featuring Maine’s local bounty – both seafood and seasonal produce sourced from local farms.

Here’s one of his favorite recipes using local ingredients that you’re sure to find nearby as well.

RED WINE & OLIVE BUTTER COMPOUND

2 c red wine

2 ea peeled shallots, minced

4 ea fresh thyme sprigs

2 ea fresh bay leaves

4 lbs unsalted butter at room temperature

1/2 c balsamic vinegar

1 c pitted Kalamata olives (reserve brine)

Combine red wine, minced shallots, thyme and bay Leaves in a large sauce pan.  Reduce to half and discard the herbs.  Put butter in a stand mixer with paddle attachment and add the red wine reduction.  Whip until combined.

In the meantime, use a food processor to puree the Kalamata olives and balsamic vinegar using some of the olive bring.  Once pureed, add to the whipped butter in the stand mixer and whip until the liquids are combined into the soft butter.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Let us know what seasonal produce is making an appearance on your table right now!

New Twists on Everyday Spices

As we seek healthier eating habits while dealing with tighter budgets, cooking and eating at home is more attractive than ever. If you’re an at-home cook looking for an easy way to expand your culinary horizons, you might try creating some new taste sensations in familiar dishes by using new versions of your favorite spices to liven up family favorites.

Here are some to consider:

Cinnamon is an especially popular spice that comes from the bark of an evergreen tree. For an even sweeter seasoning, try Vietnamese cinnamon. Compared to the more familiar Indonesian types, Vietnamese cinnamon has a distinctly sweet flavor and exceptionally high volatile oil content, the key flavor component. Gourmet cooks rate it as the highest-quality cinnamon in the world. Try using it in everything from oatmeal and baked goods to desserts, beverages and savory dishes.

If you love heat in your food, you’ve probably learned the ways of cayenne. Cayenne adds color and flavor to Southwestern salsas, Indian chutneys, Thai curries, Mexican enchiladas, Chinese stir-fries, Texan chili con carne, Cajun hot sauce and many other recipes. But for a smokier flavor, try chipotle peppers, which are actually dried, smoked jalapeno peppers. Their smoky-sweet flavor is often used in Southwestern and Mexican dishes. Add a dash to liven up everything from chili to barbequed fare.

Freshly ground black pepper is popular in a wide variety of foods, works well in combination with other herbs and spices and is commonly found in spice blends. To change things up, try using Sichuan (Szechuan) pepper instead of black pepper to add an exotic twist to recipes. Gourmet Sichuan pepper is grown in China and offers an unusual, pungent flavor that begins as warm and lemon-like with woodsy overtones and finishes with a more intense bite. It intensifies the flavor of fish, poultry, cheese, and vegetables.

You’ve probably been using vanilla extract to flavor all kinds of desserts, beverages and other dishes. One way to ramp up the flavor is to switch to vanilla beans instead of using the liquid extract. Simply substitute one vanilla bean for each teaspoon of extract, cooking it with the liquid used in the recipe and then removing it. The most common type of vanilla, Bourbon vanilla beans, are grown in Madagascar and are very aromatic with a full, rich taste. But to bump up the flavor, try Papua New Guinea vanilla beans, cultivated in the lowlands of the Pacific Basin. They have a fruitier taste than that of the Bourbon beans, with some notes of cherry that add a deep, longlasting flavor to ice creams, frosting, and many beverages.

Nutmeg is the dried seed of the fruit of an evergreen, which most often comes in ground form. However, nutmeg, like many spices, loses both flavor and aroma after it’s ground. Instead, buy whole nutmeg and grind it yourself using a special nutmeg grater or a fine grater. Grinding it fresh produces a much more robust and fresher flavor. Warm and sweet, nutmeg adds depth to desserts, cheeses, savory dishes and a variety of vegetables. Don’t forget to sprinkle it on eggnog, mulled wines and punches. Mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes are delicious with a light dusting of nutmeg, too.

With just a few simple substitutions like these, you can go beyond the everyday with your spices and create a whole new meal experience. You’ll be amazed at the difference small changes like these can make — and you’ll have fun bringing new, creative flavors into your cooking.

Don’t forget, it’s easy to try these spices by buying from the bulk section, because you only buy the amount you need.

Here’s an easy recipe that allows you to experiment with some varieties of the spices above.

Pumpkin Parfait

Ingredients:

1/2 cup pumpkin purée
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons milk
2 teaspoons sugar
6 ounces lowfat vanilla yogurt
1/4 cup granola with raisins

Directions:

In a small bowl, stir together pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, milk, and sugar. In 2 small bowls or ramekins, layer the pumpkin mixture and yogurt. Sprinkle with granola.

Layer in a parfait glass for a fun visual treat.

A Timeline of Frontier’s History

We’ve had some fans ask us about our start…here’s a timeline with some brief highlights about milestones in our history — and we look forward to many more!

FRONTIER TIMELINE

1976

Frontier begins as two-person operation.
Frontier started out offering difficult-to-find herbs, spices and botanicals to local co-ops.

1978

Establish $1/hr childcare subsidy and employee lunch program.
These two early employee benefits set the tone for three decades of family-friendly and innovative benefits for Frontier workers. We believe a company that creates, produces, and markets wholesome, natural foods and personal care products should also focus on workplace policies and practices that promote personal well-being.

Add first organic products to line.
Frontier was an early leader in promoting organic products and the environmental and social benefits of organic agriculture. We have held that position of leadership throughout our 30-year history. We were the first to offer organic herbs and spices and first to be certified as an organic processor. We have provided ongoing support of the organic industry and organic agriculture worldwide with programs like the donation of 1% of Simply Organic sales to organic farming causes.

Buy 5,200 sq. ft. grocery store in Fairfax, Iowa, and convert into operations facility.

Begin bottling essential oils in response to store requests.

1979

Begin selling other manufacturer’s products in response to store requests.

Incorporate as cooperative owned by customers.

1980

Return first patronage refund.
As a co-op, Frontier returns profits to its member/owners in the form of patronage refunds. Since the first check was sent out in March 1980, Frontier has returned almost $7 million dollars to members.

Implement computerized order systems.

1981

Elect Frontier’s first Board of Directors.

1982

Purchase 10 acres near Norway, Iowa and build 22,152 sq. ft. facility.

1983

Frontier listed 78th on Inc. magazine’s list of “America’s Fastest Growing Companies.”

Establish subsidized on-site childcare and cafeteria.

Produce 135-page Herb & Spice handbook.

1984

Expand Norway facilities to 31,992 sq. ft.

Change by-laws to allow non-co-operative stores to be Frontier members.

1985

Purchase first personal computers.

1986

Become first herb and spice manufacturer with certified organic processing.

1988

Introduce line of packaged spices in response to consumer demand.

Purchase additional 46 acres adjoining Norway site and expand facilities to 37,824 sq. ft.

1989

Introduce CO2 fumigation.
Frontier was the first in the Natural Products Industry to use a natural CO2 process to control infestation in herbs and spices. This natural process allows us to avoid the use of chemical fumigants and provide greater purity in our products.

Expand Norway facilities to 57,360 sq. ft.

1990

Start Frontier Research Farm for testing and developing methods of organic agriculture.

Launch line of bottled spices.

1991

Introduce line of herbal extracts.

Introduce Frontier Coffee, a line of gourmet, 100% organic coffee.

1992

Re-establish tall grass prairie on 21 acres of Norway site.

Introduce cryogenic grinding to preserve product quality in processing.

Begin selling Frontier products through natural food distributors.

Host first Herbfest.
Frontier hosted 13 HerbFest conferences. HerbFest was the country’s largest annual conference on herbs and sustainable living, drawing as many as 1,425 participants each August to the Frontier site in Norway, Iowa. Recognized experts from around the country and the world led hundreds of seminars on natural living that were attended by people from all over the United States.

Frontier CEO Rick Stewart receives Iowa Small Business Person of the Year Award.

1993

Create botanical garden at Norway site.

Working Mother magazine picks Frontier as one of the “100 Best Companies in America for Working Mothers.”

Introduce organic Frontier beer.

Expand Norway facilities to 86,076 sq. ft.

1994

Working Mother magazine again picks Frontier as one of the “100 Best Companies in America for Working Mothers.”

Establish Frontier Coffee social programs.

Build coffee roasting facility in Urbana, Iowa.

Buy Aura Cacia Aromatherapy brand.

1995

Launch first line of certified organic essential oils.
Another example of organic leadership, with Frontier using the expertise gained in sourcing organic herbs and spices to bring the first organic line of essential oils to the marketplace. Just as Frontier’s early promotion of organic botanicals helped create the market for organics, this cutting-edge move into organic essential oils set new standards and built support for organic growth in aromatherapy.

Launch first Frontier web site.

Distill basil essential oil in conjunction with Purdue University.

For the third consecutive year, Working Mother magazine picks Frontier as one of the “100 Best Companies in America for Working Mothers.”

1996

Establish Goldenseal Project.
The Goldenseal Project was created by Frontier to encourage the development of cultivated sources of goldenseal to counteract overharvesting of the plant’s native populations.

Aura Cacia begins in-house gas chromatography testing program.
The expansion of Frontier’s in-house quality testing program to include gas chromatography testing for all oils allowed us to achieve a new level of control and make a truly meaningful guarantee of quality and purity. Our industry-leading quality-testing program with GC allows us to determine the chemical composition of oils to a greater degree of accuracy than other methods allow.

1997

Move marketing office to Boulder, Colorado.

1998

Frontier given “Socially Responsible Business Award” by Natural Products Expo.

Create herb preserve and research farm in Meigs County, Ohio.
Frontier purchased 68 acres in the Appalachian region of Ohio and founded the National Center for the Preservation of Medicinal Herbs (NCPMH) to preserve native populations of at-risk herbs and research methods of cultivating them to counter the effects of over-harvesting.

1999

Founder and CEO Rick Stewart retires.

Expand Norway facilities to present total of 115,248 sq. ft.

2000

Hire Steve Hughes as CEO.

2001

Sell Frontier Coffee to Green Mountain Coffee.

2002

Donate NCPMH to Rural Action.

Organic certification regulations go into effect; Frontier already in full compliance.

Introduce Simply Organic, 100% organic line of spices, seasonings, flavors, mixes and boxed dinners.
The Simply Organic brand is Frontier’s most ambitious effort to date to increasing the reach of organics with affordable, convenient culinary products that fit the modern lifestyle.

Eliminate share money requirement for members.

CEO Steve Hughes resigns. Board creates committee to assume day-to-day operational control and rehires previous key managers. Return executive and management functions to Norway, Iowa.

2003

Hire Tony Bedard as CEO.Move Aura Cacia to former coffee facility in Urbana, Iowa.

Sell boxed dinner portion of Simply Organic to Annie’s.

2004

Adopt mission statement “To convert the world to natural and organic products.”

Begin offering Fair Trade teas.
Fair Trade certification ensures standards are met for wages, living conditions and working conditions for tea pickers.Establish Frontier wholesale web site with online ordering. As we steadily expand and enhance our online service, we expect it to grow in importance to our customers. Over $2 million of sales have been placed on the wholesale site since it went online in September 2004.

Achieve record sales and profitability.

2005

Establish Well Earth program to develop high quality and socially responsible suppliers around the world.
Frontier’s Well Earth program was created to proactively find and develop high-quality and socially responsible organic suppliers around the world and partner with them in producing products and implementing social programs. Our first Well Earth partner is an Indian vanilla supplier that offers workers unusually good job opportunities and pay and contributes to feeding disadvantaged schoolchildren throughout India. Well Earth is a valuable tool in providing our customers with products of the very highest quality and integrity.

Establish Aura Cacia’s Online Aromatherapy retailer training.

$43.4 million in sales leads to record year in sales and profitability.

Achieve new records in market share for aromatherapy and spice products.

2006

Celebrate 30th anniversary!

Today, after even more expansion and advancement, we’re dedicated to continuing our tradition of excellence in all we do.