Giving Thanks

Around the world, in most cultures, the harvest of principle crops is celebrated with some sort of feast, celebration or ceremony of thanksgiving.  As we approach our own cultural holiday of this nature, we would like to give thanks for all the wonderful farmers who supply us with fresh, local produce all year long! We also want to thank our customers who keep coming back and telling us how much they value healthy, organic, nutritious food choices. We are deeply grateful for our talented staff and for their patience as we struggle to grow as a business, both physically (Greenwood Location coming so soon!) and mentally (as we continue to ponder how to be the most sustainable business that we can be.)

Sometimes, the holidays can be challenging when family members and friends have different dietary needs. To help offer some solutions for delicious, vegan holiday recipes (including gluten free and raw options), we are launching our first (we hope of many) Cookbook Pamphlet. Look for it at both our locations. It will be filled with recipes for all the upcoming winter holidays, including Chaco favorites such as Tamales, Ginger Pear Cranberry Pie and Tomatillo Chili.

And from our family to yours – thank you for your support, friendship and good company!


Chaco CanyonGiving Thanks
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Pre/Post Workout Food, Is It A Thing?

Have you ever thought about what you should eat before a workout or something strenuous like a hike? Or when? There is infinite knowledge around this subject, however, everyone acknowledges your body uses the food you eat as fuel and to repair itself. To get the most out of your activity, you should be eating the right nutrient-dense foods at the right time. Giving your body the nourishment it requires can be as easy or as refined as you want. Someone who is a national-caliber athlete may be more specific with their diet than someone who likes to get their primary exercise doing hikes or running errands around town on their bike. Or not. You’d be surprised how similar they are. Whether you want to get in shape or are training for competition, your mind and body will benefit from practicing the basics.

Food as Fuel

It’s always best to eat at least an hour before exercise, but you’ll be fine if you eat a little sooner. Your body needs some time to break down the food to convert the sugars for fuel. For workouts lasting 30-60mins, eat a light, carbohydrate-specific meal. – Peanut butter and jelly sandwich on sourdough,

– Cup of yogurt and fresh fruit
– Chia pudding with nuts
– Small serving of oat meal with maple syrup or fresh fruitAll of these serve as a perfect pre-workout fuel. For workouts lasting 60 minutes or longer, focus on getting in more calories. A larger portion of the above mentioned foods, or my favorite, eating brown carbs instead of white will suffice. Your body takes longer to turn them into sugar so they can be stored for the fuel you need in 90+ minutes. – PB&J on whole grain wheat
– Steel-cut oats with peanut butter and molasses/maple syrup
– Banana-nut pancakes (I’ll touch more on the benefits of pancakes next time).It’s quite common to experience that dizzying, fatigued feeling during prolonged strenuous activity (60+ minutes). That’s your body telling you that it’s eaten all the sugar available, so you’re going need to replenish or pass out (then replenish when you come to). Fueling properly before and during activity can help you avoid this. Conveniently there are endless “energy” bars/gels out there that can deliver enough calories, quickly, to keep you focused and feeling fresh. In the end, they are all forms of easy-to-digest sugar. Personally, I like to eat bananas or trail mix. Be aware, everyone’s stomach tolerance is different so something fibrous like a Clif Bar might not agree with you as well as fresh fruit like a peach, apple or banana. Personally, I prefer trail mix and bananas. Though I have been known to have a small sweetened beverage.

Recovery Foods
To start the recovery process so your body can meet the demands of your goals, there are a couple of steps that must happen.1) Eat immediately (within the hour, the sooner the better).
2) Hydrate
3) Relax
Was your 30-60 minute workout intense?
– No? You burned mostly fat. Have a recovery smoothie, soup or salad with fruit/veggies. You didn’t burn enough calories to require extra protein so don’t fret that. All of these will hydrate and give your body maximum nutrients with maximum fiber. Winning combination for a healthy body.
– Yes? You burned mostly carbohydrate and some fat. CONGRATULATIONS! YOUR EARNED A COOKIE OR CUPCAKE! Also, have a recovery smoothie, soup with brown carbohydrate like rice or quinoa, or salad with anti-inflammatory foods like yams or kale/collards and Vitamin-C. You still didn’t burn enough calories to go into a protein deficit so you’ll absorb what you need out of those foods.
Was your 75-90+ minute workout intense?
– No? You burned mostly fat, some carbohydrates and some protein. Have a recovery smoothie with some added protein, soup with brown carbohydrates, a sandwich, pasta with a small serving of your favorite protein, or a salad with some fruit, a little added protein and anti-inflammatory foods like yams or kale/collards and Vitamin-C.
– Yes? You burned a little fat, a lot of carbohydrate and some protein. CONGRATULATIONS! YOU UNLOCKED A COOKIE OR CUPCAKE AND A SWEET BEVERAGE! Have a recovery smoothie with added protein, soup and sandwich, large salad with a protein, some pizza, a burrito (yes, the big one) with anti-inflammatory foods like yams or kale/collards and Vitamin-C.
No matter your fitness level, the body will inevitably begin to use protein as a last resort fuel source after 75-90+ minutes of continuous activity. It’s very important to replenish this protein for muscle repair. Don’t forget: There’s protein in all foods, a little here and there adds up. Carbohydrates give your blood the fuel it needs to repair muscle tissue, so if you’re getting enough carbs, you’re likely getting enough protein.
My name is Eric Cockrell. I’m a category-2 road racer for Herriott Sports Performance based in Seattle, Wa. My training regiment varies greatly between short weekly gym sessions, 6 hour endurance bike rides (25+ hrs/week), 1 hour all-out effort rides, 100 mile road races and/or kicking my feet up with a pizza in one hand and a beer in the other. I’m vegan (10 years in 2015!) and currently ranked 8th overall in the Washington State and Northern Idaho Best All-around Road Racer (BARR) Competition. The information provided works wonders for me and friends I’ve shared with. I am NOT a certified coach or nutritionist. I am more than happy to answer any questions or cover new topics in future posts. Check back for a post on how pancakes have made me one of the fastest nerds in town on a bike and how they can help you achieve your fitness goals!
Chaco CanyonPre/Post Workout Food, Is It A Thing?
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November Specials and Farms

The chilly month of November marks the beginning of the holiday season and we have started celebrating early. Look for festive classics like Butternut Tamales, Chai Bars and Gingerbread Scones. We’re also bringing back our hearty Caesar salad, made with seasonal braising greens and topped with our addictive dehydrated onion rings.

We’re keeping some of the favorites which have seen you through the storms and changing leaves of October: our daal bowl is too popular to keep for only one month and the chocolate-pumpkin and ginger-orange tarts will stick around as well.

We’re sourcing from a couple of local farms for all these goodies: Tonnemaker’s is providing us with Butternut and other Winter Squash. They grow than 400 varieties of certified organic fruit and vegetables on a 126-acre orchard located Royal City, Washington. They seek to provide fresh, tasty fruit and produce grown in a sustainable way and sold at affordable prices.

The braising greens for our salad are coming from Mother Nature’s Farm, which is a small, independent, local woman owned and run farm in Snohomish County.  They believe in growing food that helps rather than harm at every stage of the life-cycle and is beneficial for both people and the planet.  Though they are not certified organic, they guarantee not to use chemicals, GMOs. They were founded on the principle belief that together we can create a new, more sustainable future. One of their primary means of distribution is a thriving CSA program.

The delicious fresh produce from these farms and others, prove that even as the weather turns cold, local, sustainable fruits and veggies can make our celebrations even more special. Come and honor the harvest, the community and the bounty of our lands with us and raise a Coconut Nog Latte to the last months of 2014.

Chaco CanyonNovember Specials and Farms
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Cooking Beans!

As the weather gets colder hearty soups, stews and curries are appealing to drive off the cold. A wonderful way to add vegetarian protein to these is to use dried beans and peas. While there are plenty of pre-cooked beans available, why not trying to cook your own: dry beans are inexpensive and you don’t need more than a pot and some time to prepare them.

A good way to cook many types of beans is to soak them first. This reduces the cooking time and some folks say it reduces the chemicals that cause gas when you eat them. There is a ton of information out there about whether to soak beans or not and we have done it both ways. Soaking does reduce the cooking time, it helps them hold their shape and then some of the time spent to prepare them can be taken care of overnight or while you’re off doing other things.

Some Beans and how to cook them:

Black Beans – the most commonly used bean in our café to top our grain bowls. Soak them over night, drain and bring to a boil covered in fresh water (3 cups of water to 1 cup of beans). Cook for about 45 to 60 minutes or until tender. Use for chilies, soups, grain bowls, tacos or try with cilantro, red onion, tomato, and pepper in a lime vinaigrette for a south-west inspired salad.

Chickpeas – used in the café to make hummus, curry and stews. Soak them over night, drain and bring to a boil covered in fresh water (3 cups of water to 1 cup of beans). Simmer for 90 to 120 minutes (1.5 to 2 hours). Add to curries, vegetable stews, marinate in salad dressing to top green salads.

Kidney Beans – try in minestrone, baked beans, chili or marinated for salads. Soak them over night, drain and bring to a boil covered in fresh water (3 cups of water to 1 cup of beans). Simmer for 90 to 120 minutes (1.5 to 2 hours).

Quick Cookers: If you want beans in a hurry try lentils or split peas which we don’t soak and cook much faster. Split peas make delicious soup or curry, while lentils can be used for everything from daal to soup to Shepherd’s Pie.


Chaco CanyonCooking Beans!
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October Specials

Autumn has arrived and brought its bounty of squash, apples, root vegetables and brightly colored leaves. With the cooler weather, warm, comforting foods are much appreciated. Our delicious Grilled Portobello stuffed with Artichoke Rice fits the bill: the rich, autumnal flavor of mushroom with a hearty creamy blend of rice, veggies, herbs, spices and a splash of wine. And as a last lingering wave to summer it’s topped with a drizzle of bright basil pesto. Or if you are looking for something with more heat, our hearty Lentil Daal is spicy with ginger, mustard seed and chili pepper flakes. Served over a bed of rice with fresh vegetables, it will warm you to your toes.

Enjoy the first apples of the season with our Braising Greens Salad – for an extra flavor boost, it uses Finnriver’s signature Black Current Cider in the dressing. Pair the salad with a cup of our ever-popular Cheesy Potato Soup for a hearty lunch or dinner.

Our dessert case is bursting with fall flavors: Pumpkin Chocolate Swirl Tart, raw Ginger Orange Tart, sweet and spicy Cinnamon Chip Scones and special for Halloween, a gluten free treat with the flavors of a peanut butter cup: Chocolate Peanut Butter Filled Cupcakes.

We’re changing our regular menu around a little too. Instead of our Walnut Raisin Granola, look for our new Toasted Buckwheat Cereal. This unique, crunchy treat is naturally gluten free and has a subtle sweet-spicy flavor. It’s tossed with all manner of “tasty bits” too: raisins, dried cranberries, walnuts and coconut ribbons. Some of our summer favorites are going away: Iced Teas, Thumbprint Cookies, and the Sea Goddess Sandwich. Look for new pocket flavors including Potato Kale with Field Roast and a little later in the fall a new Tofu Scramble Pocket. Also, Gingerbread Cookies will be making an appearance soon!



This post was created by Laura Wilson

Chaco CanyonOctober Specials
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Food Hubs: Connecting Farm & Cafe

One of the challenges for any small producer, craftsperson or farmer is figuring out how to get your product or produce to potential customers. Say you have a little organic farm growing delicious salad greens – how can you let cafes and restaurants around your area know you have those greens available and how do you get the greens to them?

Enter a Food Hub – a resource for aggregation, distribution and marketing that bring together local farmers and ranchers with businesses and institutions. Chaco Canyon utilizes the Puget Sound Food Hub to order from many different small, sustainable family operations. At present we are getting lovely greens from Ralph’s Greenhouse and our fresh sprouts come from Happy Valley Sprouts. We’ve also ordered from Mother Nature Organics, Hedlin Farms , High Water Farms, Osprey Hill Farm, Willowwood Farm and Bow Hill Blueberries. With one order, we can support many local farmers and bring you the freshest local fruits and vegetables.

While Farmer’s Markets, CSA programs, and even grocery stores connect individuals with fresh, local produce, Food Hubs provide that critical link between those in the business of growing food and those in the business serving preparing and serving it. They demonstrate that when we come together we can have a powerful impact on our local economy, the quality of our lives and the health of our lands and people.


This post was created by Laura Wilson.

Chaco CanyonFood Hubs: Connecting Farm & Cafe
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Full Cycle: From Compost to Cabbage

As you may know, at Chaco Canyon we are passionate about finding better ways to reduce our waste and recycle and reuse it as much as possible. We maintain two types of compost in our kitchen – the first, which goes to the city composting program, allows us to compost the to-go containers, cups and paper napkins which come back in our dishpans.

The second compost is high quality vegetable and other edible leftovers – carrot tops and parsley stems, bits of sweet bread ends and dribbles of soup. This compost is picked up by local farmers and used to feed their animals. In turn we purchase organic kale and cabbage from the very farmers who pick up our compost, closing the circle for the transformation of our kitchen scraps into our delicious food.






This Post was Created by Laura Wilson

Chaco CanyonFull Cycle: From Compost to Cabbage
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Red Haven Peaches from Rama Farms

What is more summery then a sweet, juicy peach ripe from the tree? Rama Farms in Bridgeport, WA grows a variety of organic peaches (as well as nectarines, apricots and grapes) and their delicious, Red Haven Peaches are just coming into season.

Red Haven peaches are used as a measure for other peaches and are one of the most well known and loved varieties. The trees are heavy producers and the peaches have sweet yellow flesh.

They are also free stone peaches, which mean that the pit comes out easily. This makes them great for grilling and slicing – as well as eating right out of the hand.

Some years past we have offered Peach Parfaits as a celebration of this luscious, summer treat. To make your own try mixing sliced peaches and a little chopped mint with a touch of fresh lemon juice and your choice of sweetener. (We use organic sugar.) Place the peaches in the bottom of a cup or bowl and top your favorite creamy topping, vanilla pudding or – for a real heat beater – try a scoop of vanilla or caramel ice cream.

Or stop into the cafe and cool off with our Peachy Keen smoothie made with Red Havens from Rama and our own house made hemp milk. Delicious!

Rama’s peaches can be found in the University District Farmer’s Market (Saturdays 9-2) this month, so come on over and visit us at Chaco and then head home with a bag full of peaches!


Red Haven Peach

Chaco Canyon Cafe Catering
This post was created by Laura Wilson.
Chaco CanyonPeaches!
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August Specials

August Specials!

Welcome to August – month of summer sun and bounteous fresh summer produce. This month to beat the heat we are offering a cold Gazpacho with local, heirloom tomatoes and a refreshing Cucumber Sea-Vegetable salad.

Or for a hearty meal, full of summer flavor, try our BBQ Tempeh Bowl with our housemade BBQ sauce and a crispy topping of kale/cabbage slaw.

Summer vegetables shine in our Savory Crapes (Gluten Free no less) as well as a Sweet Pepper and Onion Quiche with fresh oregano.

Our bakery case is filled with tempting desserts – our Triple Chocolate Cupcake is packed full of rich organic chocolate and our Berry Cobbler Pie is bursting with local berries – strawberries, blueberries and blackberries.

This month we are featuring salads made of mixed greens from Mother Nature’s Organics. They go above and beyond the requirements of organic farming and produce wonderful local greens, and we love their produce! They are not officially certified organic, so we have to label their produce conventional, even though they are committed to organic farming and their food is free of chemicals and GMOs.

We are sourcing zucchini and yellow squash and sweet peppers for our specials and regular menu items from Alvarez Organic Farm. You may have enjoyed their roasted peppers at a local farmer’s market.  Located in eastern Washington, Don Hilario Alvarez started the farm from very humble beginnings.  Today, Alvarez and his family own 120 acres of farmland, one of the largest organic vegetable farms in eastern Washington.

The tomatoes in our gazpacho come from Kittitas Valley Greenhouse and Tonnemaker Family Orchards. Kittitas Valley’s spring fed greenhouses sit under the Manastash Ridge. Their multi-generation family farm is a good neighbor to the L.T. Murray Wildlife Area and is cared for with sustainability in mind. Fantastic, flavorful fruit and vegetables are their goal. KVG has booths at many farmers markets throughout Washington, where they sell their pesticide-free, heirloom tomatoes.

Besides tomatoes and sweet peppers, Tonnemaker Family Orchards sells delicious stone fruit so be sure to pick up some peaches, nectarines or pluots at a farmer’s market near you. Tonnemaker believes that healthy, organic food should be priced within the reach of consumers and that it is important to use our resources are used in such a way that the land can continue to produce healthy food for generations to come.

So come on by and enjoy an iced toddy or tea with one of our summery specials and know that you are feeding yourself, the local community and the health of our planet! Happy August!

Thank you,

Have a great August!


This post was created by Laura Wilson.



Chaco CanyonAugust Specials
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Farm Tour

Recently members of the cafe were invited by Charlie’s Produce to participate in a Farm Tour scheduled to look at the operations of a few local farms. Schols Organic Farm, located near Olympia in the Nisqually River Valley, was the first on our agenda and, to me, the most exciting!

Schols Organic Farm is a certified organic 40 acre farm run by John Schols and his crew. John specializes in growing chards, kales and leaf lettuce. John, a shy, gentle man graciously walked us through the growing process of his crops from start to finish, starting with the seeding process.

Located in the rustically beautiful antique outbuildings of his family’s former dairy operation, John’s seeding process begins. He uses metal seeding trays and clay coated seeds to help somewhat streamline the time consuming and meticulous process of accurately planting 200 cell trays measuring about 2 feet in length by 1 foot in width. Peat based soil is used to nurture these seedlings into forming strong and healthy root systems

Once seeded, the cell trays are then transferred into the open greenhouse where these seeds become plant starts. Watering becomes a full time job in the sprouting process. Cell trays are placed on water absorbent felt mats, helping keep each cell hydrated. A close eye must be kept on the plant watering system at all times because conditions have a potential to change many times throughout the day. Over watering can lead to rot while under watering can lead to burned plants. Fertilizing is also challenging to manage in this growing stage because organic fertilizers tend to be more dry matter-based, requiring more time to activate than conventional, fast-acting water-based fertilizers.

After about 6-8 weeks of nurturing, these plants are ready to be transplanting out into the black loamy soil fields. John fertilizes the land every other year, waiting 120 days after fertilization to plant his first crop. From there it takes about 6 weeks for the plant starts to grow into full heads. Cabbage root maggot is one of the main predators to watch out for in the fields. This fly larva feeds off of the root system of the plants and is devastating to crops.  John uses Integrated Pest Management strategies as opposed to pesticides to combat this predator by simply avoiding these pests during the peak of their life cycle and planting a little later. Once fully grown these greens can be clipped and harvested until the plants go to seed, thus ending its productivity. From there the plants are uprooted and turned into compost, the soil is churned and the process starts all over again.

John Schols provided great insight into the mind of a farmer. It was very apparent just how much time, thought and intuition is needed to battle all of the ongoing changes in the lifecycle of these organic plants, just so they can be brought to our dinner table. Next time you eat a salad or sauté some braising greens, I recommend spending a moment appreciating the time and energy spent nurturing those beautiful, nutrient rich greens.


This post was contributed to by Heather M & Lois R.

Chaco CanyonFarm Tour
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