Welcome to the Dill Pickle
Your neighborhood grocery store, open to all!
>> Sharon Hoyer, General Manager
After weeks of interviewing fantastic, like-minded architecture firms, we're excited to introduce you to the Dill Pickle expansion design team! Together, our architect and store designer will take the co-op's dreams (seating, community room, more produce and bulk, a deli, juice bar, owner services counter, meeting and office space) and show us ways to bring them to life in the spaces we're pursuing…with attention to sustainable and beautiful design, of course!
It may sound odd to hire an architect before a lease is signed, but it's actually quite important for us to have our designers involved in the early stages of the project; they'll create equipment lists and construction drawings that put real numbers to our projected budget. Lenders need to see how money will be spent on the new co-op. And we've picked the design team to show them just how exciting the Dill Pickle will be! So, without further ado I give you:
Architect: Matt Nardella of Moss Design, AIA, LEED-AP Architect / Founder / Bike Warrior. And Dill Pickle member-owner!
After graduating from the NewSchool of Architecture and spending nearly a decade designing sustainable architecture in San Diego, Matt returned to the character building climate of his native Chicago to found moss. His work is known for utilizing site orientation, creative use of green building techniques, and sustainable building materials. Matt understands the urban environment and how to sustain it as a community for all living things, and volunteers for the 47th Ward Green Council, Openlands Project where he is a volunteer Treekeeper, and as a guest laborer at Peasant’s Plot Farm. He has lectured on sustainable architecture and urban design nationwide. Matt enjoys The New York Times, cooking, wood working, and hydrology. He is not a fan of golf or flaxseed.
Store designer: Nicole Klimek of CDS Consulting Co-op
Nicole Klimek has always loved co-ops going back to when she was a child shopping with her mom at Valley Natural Foods in Burnsville, Minn. Throughout the years she has channeled this passion for community and cooperation and merged it with her expertise in development and design. Nicole specializes in food co-op store design in her work with CDS Consulting Co-op.
She is interested in how communities are created through good design, and sees food co-ops as a big part of what makes a place livable. Nicole’s grocery store plans incorporate green practices, including LEED certification, efficient operations, and comfortable shopping experiences. “Co-ops are focused on their communities and they want to bring good things to them when they do a project. I do too. I believe in respecting the environment and knowing where things come from—whether it’s food, clothes, or building materials,” she said.
Join us down the street at Cafe Mustache for an evening of merrymaking hosted by our fabulously talented HOOs, the Haines Sisters and Sima Cunningham. The co-op staff will quite possibly make a choreographed appearance. It's gonna be a doozy! If you can sing, dance, jest, slam, juggle, jam, or otherwise dazzle a crowd, this is your chance to gain co-op wide fame... ANNNND win a pair of 3-day passes to Pitchfork in July, now SOLD OUT!
Telling Our Story
>> Sharon Hoyer, General Manager.
Later this week, Board Director Gajus Miknaitis and I will visit Lombard to tell the Dill Pickle story to the energetic, fast-growing group organizing Prairie Food Co-op. The staff and board of the Dill Pickle are called on to tell our story quite a lot: to prospective owners in the store every day, to emerging co-ops in other parts of the city and suburbs, to schools and community groups (e.g. the outreach committee's recent visit to Ames school's Elev8 program), to leaders in the community helping us with expansion, and now to a whole new audience: institutional lenders.
To tell a story well, it helps to know your audience; what are they most interested in? What are their values? The lenders we're talking with--a community loan fund, a cooperative bank, business improvement funds--share our vision for what makes a healthy community, environment and economy. For that part of our story we have rapt attention. But there's another important part to tell, the part about our future success. We need to demonstrate that we run a financially sound business now and will do so on a much larger scale for a decade to come. I wish I had a couple bankers grocery shopping with me yesterday, when I had to wait in line to make my way through the produce section. It was our top sales day to date, the first time we broke 5-digit sales in a single day.
We need to tell this story in narrative and numbers to lenders and to our greater neighborhood. You'll soon see a call for Hands-On Owners to join the finance committee, ownership drive committee and owner loan committee. If you enjoy telling the story of the scrappy start up you own, the one that reintroduced Chicago to retail food co-ops, I hope you'll consider joining a team.
The Produce Corner is a collaborative column by farmer and Dill Pickle owner Rob Montalbano and Dill Pickle's Produce Lead Buyer, Kristen Martinek. Here Rob shares info on some of his favorite in-season veggies including history, cooking ideas and storage tips. Rob lives and works with his wife Christina on their farm in Sandwich, IL. Kristen provides additional information including nutritional value and recipes. In addition to working as Produce Lead at the Dill Pickle, Kristen shares her passion for nutrition and natural living on her website “Enjoy This Organic Life”.
This is a weird one. Celeriac. Even the name is kinda funny, reminding me of a Dan Ankroyd skit on Saturday Night Live. But don’t let the name, or the knobby, nutty shell fool you. A cool season crop in the carrot family, the white-fleshed Celeriac is delicious and hardy. What we eat is actually a bulb-like stem of the plant, although most other parts of the plant are edible too.
In the kitchen, celeriac is versatile. Use it raw, boiled or roasted. The only work that you absolutely have to do is to remove the peel (but even that can be added to soup stock!). Shred it raw on salads for a nutty, celery-like kick. Chop and boil 1-2” pieces alongside your favorite potatoes and then smash everything together to make the finest mashed potatoes your family ever had. To roast celeriac, peel and chop into bite-sized pieces. Bake with a little oil at 425°F for about 20 minutes. Then add some chopped carrots (or turnips or beets or potatoes), more olive oil, and an herb like rosemary or thyme. Bake for another 20-30 minutes, or until tender.
Choose a firm plant that looks in good shape. Celeriac stores very well in a cool, damp place like the crisper section of your refrigerator. It will last for several weeks. Low in fat, without any cholesterol, and lots of fiber make celeriac something you should try today. -Rob
I agree with Rob in that celeriac is a weird one - but I always equate weird with good - so fear not! As Rob mentioned, celeriac contains a lot of fiber which helps keep your digestive tract healthy and moving right along. Celeriac is also a great source of vitamins B6,C and K, as well as phosphorus and potassium. As the most prominent vitamin in celeriac, vitamin K plays an important role in keeping your blood and bones healthy, so eat up! And with celeriac's availablilty throughout the fall and winter, it's vitamin C can't hurt keeping your immune system kickin' and warding off winter illness.
Also referred to as celery root (although it is not the root of the celery stalk), celeriac is a great alternative for oven-baked fries! And who doesn't like fries!? Linked here (and pictured above) is a delicious recipe for celeriac fries with fresh herbs and a touch of peppery heat. Serve alongside your favorite ketchup, mustard, or curried tahini dip. Get ready to be wowed!
The Co-op currently has organic and local celeriac in stock from Genesis Growers and will continue until their storage runs out! Get 'em while they last! -Kristen