Thursday, December 24, 2015

Happy Holiday Season from Winter Goddess Foods!



Over the last weekend, Terry, Mary Ellen and I finished our final show for 2015, at Jaimie Myer’s three day Winter Solstice event.  With our activities complete for the year, this gives us an opportunity to reflect on 2015, and look with anticipation to 2016.  While we have had a few disappointments this year, and have dealt with a number of health related issues, the positives far outweighed the negative.  We have added a few new retail partners, showed up on the radar of a sustainable food association, and caught the eye of our neighborhood business association, who has declared our company, “the best kept secret in the Twin Cities.”  We’ve also learned how much you folks out there love our company through your votes and well wishes during the Mission Main Street Grants competition.  In addition, we were able to raise a goodly amount of money through the generosity of our local Peeps for our local food shelf Second Harvest Heartland, and feed thousands of people in the Twin Cities.

Looking forward, in 2016 Winter Goddess Foods will be working closely with the Neighborhood Development Center to identify and implement strategies to make our business better than ever.  We are considering the development of a few new products to add to our growing catalogue, and we are also looking to add more retail partners to our Winter Goddess family.  2015 was a great year for us, and we expect that 2016 will be even better!

Terry and I would like to thank you for your continued support of Winter Goddess Foods.  We ask that not only during this season but throughout this year and into next, that you consider doing something good for those who are less fortunate.  Everyone needs to be shown that they matter, and by doing good for others, you shine as a light of hope for humanity, and as a positive example of how we should be with each other.  Here’s wishing all goodness, blessings and prosperity to you and yours, our dear Peeps, from the bottom of our hearts.

Blessings,

Nehemiah and Terry

Friday, August 21, 2015

Our Farmers Market Love Letter

Midtown Farmers Market

Our Farmers Markets are in full swing now, and of course, Winter Goddess Foods is in the thick of the season.  But why go through all that hard work and aggravation, not to mention getting up at curse-word dark thirty to get everything ready and loaded into the car?  Why battle the threat of bad weather, or the competition from scheduled events drawing customers away?  Why go through the hassle?  Well that explanation requires a short trip back to memory lane for an answer.

 With all the growth that we have experienced over the course of time, it's hard to believe that just 6 years ago we started selling at our first market - the Midtown Farmers Market in South Minneapolis. Back then, market management relegated us to the Tuesday Market day, since we were an unknown with no experience or following, reserving the more financially lucrative Saturday Market for the more experience, and bigger name growers and artisans.  Undaunted, through hard work, and at some points sheer force of will, Terry and I survived and thrived on Tuesdays.  Like a phenom minor league prospect in baseball, eventually we received "the call," and took our spot in the Saturday market, where we have been ever since.


Through those years, we have tried and failed with a number of ideas for products that seemed like a good idea in theory at the time, only to fall flat in practice. (Frank's Oh-so Crispees, I will never forget you *sob*)  At times our desire to create clean food items directly clashed with the realities of food preparation and preservation.  No matter how green you want to be, some foods do require some sort of preservative, even a natural one, to allow for a decent shelf life and to retard spoilage.   Finances also played a big part in what we could do as a Mom and Pop Shop compared to the big boys.  Still, we did what we could while remaining true to our ideals, and to the trust that folks show for our products.
 
Having never operated a business before, Terry and I had a steep learning curve to overcome.  We learned that not all packaging suited our product needs; especially for durability. We struggled through horrible, uninformed and incompetent suggestions for branding, labeling, printing and marketing, throwing tons of money away in the process.  Our biggest lesson learned was that not everyone has YOUR best interest at heart.  We found out that there are those out there who will talk a good game while doing whatever they can to siphon away your hard earned dollars, or your time and effort, based on promises they could not or would not keep.  To those folks we say, thank you for being our teachers.  Now, we know you.

Prior Lake Farmers Market
Why mention our struggles?  Quite frankly it was the Farmers Markets and our love for them that kept us going even through the dark times.  We love the Midtown community and the drive of the people here to make something worthwhile, sustainable and just plain fun for everyone in the area.  Changes in Market management have improved the mindset and follow-through to new heights, sparking positive changes, ideas and innovation, and we are so proud to be an active participant.  The wonderful communities of Prior Lake and Elk River are also near and dear to our hearts, and we are happy to serve and educate our friendly market attendees.  Their kindness and openness make us feel like honorary members of those communities as well.


Elk River Farmers Market

Our desire to serve and to be a part of such a wonderful family (The Farmers Market Community), as well as our desire to be good citizens in the world helped us to endure the adversity that molded and shaped us into who we are as a company today, and it will continue to shape our business in the future. We took our lumps, and while we were knocked down, we were never knocked out.  At each challenge, we rose to the occasion and not only succeeded, but improved as a business.  Each market day brings a smile to our faces in anticipation of seeing and serving our "Peeps," educating the public about healthy food choices and sustainability, and combating the misinformation or confusion about organic produce and products.  Terry and I would often say that even if we were to hit the Lottery, we would still do the Markets because we love them so much!  This is where we live, this is where we dance, and we are so very glad to be here.  Thank you, Farmers Markets!


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Grant Opportunity Update



Voting wrap up: Folks, we received our required 250 votes by the fifth day of voting. By Friday June 19th, our final vote tally came to 270 votes! That is truly amazing! You guys have boosted us into the judging or "panel review process" phase. Between now and September, the panel from Chase, and Mission Main Street Grants will review the qualifying applicants, narrow them down, and choose their favorites. While there is no doubt that there are other businesses who have generated more votes for their own campaigns, we believe that to be irrelevant. Terry and I feel that our process in creating our organic products, our work acumen, our desire to act globally by acting locally, and our community involvement along with our unique story, provides us with a good enough cause for the panel to choose Winter Goddess Foods as one of the twenty recipients of a $100,000 business grant. However, we would have never arrive at this point if it weren't for you.

Seeing so much outpouring of Love and support from our community of "Peep" is truly humbling. (And especially those of you voting from around the world!) Terry and I not only shared tears of joy when we reached our goal, but we both marvelled as we watched some of you go on campaigns of your own, mobilizing your family, friends and co-workers to vote for us. Some of you went beyond that point and encouraged folks they didn't know to vote. To think that folks care enough for us and our business to go so far to help us succeed speaks volumes as to how rich we truly are. If Terry and I have learned anything at all from this entire process, it is that we are Loved. Thank you, each and every one of you who joined with us in this endeavor to help grow our business. You are the reason we do what we do; to make available good healthy chemical free products at an affordable price, that are "Made with Love for your Well-being." We are in your debt, and we Love you right back!

Thank you! ~ Nehemiah and Terry

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Voting update


As you know, we are currently vying for a chance at a $100,000 business grant from Chase and Mission Main Street Grants.  In order for our company to move into the next step of the judging phase, we must first gain 250 votes on their special voting page before June 19th, 2015.  So far, you have responded resoundingly!  As of June 9th at 8am, we have received 189 votes!  Terry and I are humbled by your amazing show of support.  If you have voted, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.  If you haven't voted yet, we ask that you do so now.

Voting is so easy breezy!  Follow the link below which leads right to our special voting page and click on the voting button on the right.  That's all there is to it.  If you are a fan our business, a satisfied customer, enjoy our blog, resonate with our organic/sustainability practices, or are just excited about our future prospects, we ask that you vote for us below.

https://www.missionmainstreetgrants.com/b/71889

Stay tuned for further updates.

Thank you, and Blessings to you all!

Nehemiah

Friday, June 5, 2015

Call to Action! Winter Goddess Foods needs your Votes!



Peeps, THIS IS HUGE!  This opportunity changes everything! Terry and I have entered our business in a contest sponsored by Mission Main Street Grants and Chase, who are giving away $2 MILLION in grants to 20 up and coming businesses. Each winning business will receive a grant of $100,000 to expand their company. As I'm sure you already know, this would be a powerful game changer for our business, and allow us to secure our own commercial kitchen and equipment, which has been our dream for a long time!

This is where we need your help. As part of the process, each business in the running for a grant must secure at least 250 votes within the next 14 days to qualify for consideration in the next round. We humbly ask that if you love our blog, love what we do, and enjoy our tasty organic products, that you take ten seconds and cast a vote for Winter Goddess Foods. You can find the direct link at the top of our navigation page on the website, next to the "Contact us" link, or you can click this link:

https://www.missionmainstreetgrants.com/vote/businesses

Enter Winter Goddess Foods in the search window. When our listing comes up, click the VOTE button on the right hand side. That's all there is to it! The voting must be done via Facebook which means you must have a Facebook account in order to vote.

To all our friends in the Farmers Market Community, Renn Fest Community, Tech and Geek Communities, Shamanic Community, and everyone else far and

wide, this is a call to action, and we are in need your support!  Help us to make our dream of expanding our business a reality.  Thank you so much for your consideration in advance! 

Blessings,

Nehemiah and Terry

Winter Goddess Foods gives back to the community



Prior to the start of the 2015 Farmers Market season, Terry and I had decided to up our game on our community giving. We believe that there is no excuse for people to go hungry in this world, and especially not children. Over the years, we gravitated toward supporting Second Harvest Heartland; the primary food shelf in the Twin Cities. Sure, when we shopped for groceries at the local supermarket, we always rounded up at the register so that the extra change could go to charity. We've even purchased bags of food for the needy outright, and then placed them in the collection area for later distribution. Still, we thought that there was more that we could do.

Starting with the first Midtown Farmers Market at the beginning of May, We have made the commitment to give 100% of all tip monies and contributions directly to Second Harvest. Each market day until the last event in October, we will be collecting to assist Second Harvest in feeding our hungry neighbors in the community. We have also published our collection results weekly on our Facebook page and on the Midtown Farmers Market Facebook page, in order to lend true transparency to our efforts. Once a month, we plan to submit the monthly total as a check delivered directly to Second Harvest.

The great thing about this wonderful organization, is that through their extensive contacts, they can leverage $1 into 3 complete meals, or $8 in buying power for bagged groceries. We think that is phenomenal! Their dedication toward serving the hungry people in our community makes it very easy for us to honor their efforts with our support.

This past Tuesday, Terry and I gave our first official donation check to Second Harvest Heartland. We met up with Julie who was happy to share a photo-op with us as we presented her with our grand total collected for the month of May - $135. While this amount may be considered trivial by some, it is very much appreciated by Second Harvest. While they will accept actual food and supply donations, cash works the best since they are able to do more with it. As a result of the liberality of our Farmers Market patrons, 405 meals will be provided to needy folks in the Twin Cities area.

To our generous fans, Terry and I say THANK YOU so much for your contributions, and for your giving hearts. We will be continuing this effort throughout the entire Market season. If you are so led, we ask that you please help us with our initiative to make even more meals available in the coming months!

We are humbled to be a small part of giving back to our communities, and assisting our less fortunate neighbors. It's just the right thing to do.

Blessings to you all!

Nehemiah

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Mailbag - A little unfinished business


Hello again, my Peeps!

I am very happy that you are enjoying my blog, and gleaning useful information from it.  All I have ever wanted to do since I was a child, was to help people in some way, so if I have benefitted you, am I humbled and blessed!

I am hearing from folks all over the world, and I would like to share some of their comments on my articles, and perhaps answer a question or two.  Keep in mind, I am in no way a medical practitioner, herbalist or crystal guru.  I am just a human being on my own path, just like you, who enjoys sharing information that I find potentially useful and beneficial.  I am definitely not infallible!  Please do your own research, and talk to your own medical practitioner before implementing anything I say. Your milage may vary, and what I do for me, may not be suitable for you.

Now that the disclaimer is outta the way, on with the show...


shamsher khan on 5/5/15 writes:
Good post....thanks for sharing.. very useful for me i will bookmark this for my future needs. Thanks.
From: Feeling Stronger Everyday - Repurposing of Durable Medical Equipment

Dear Shamsher,

Thank you so much for your kind words!  I am so happy that you found benefit from my post.  That was a very interesting and painful time in my life, and once I started healing in earnest, the thought of what to do with the DME we acquired came to mind.  As we dug deeper, a whole new world was opened to us to eliminate waste as well as to benefit other people going through physical difficulties.  While the Durable Medical Equipment companies and insurance companies may not like to lose money from sales (over charging), recycling your used items for the benefit of others is really the way to go.  Helping others: Isn't that what life's all about?

Kholifatul Istikhomah
on 5/5/15 writes:  Obesity can be overcome by implementing diet. Basically, the diet only focus on two things, namely sports and nutrition, rest berketut at the break. Well, for olahraga mengecilkan perut, you can try from the easiest, such as running and walking. Perform routine, then you will see changes.
From: Sunflower Seeds: Major League Nutrition

Dear Kholifatul,

I appreciate your comment, and I can see that you want to help others.  While I agree with you in principle, that what you eat and being active helps in weight loss, losing weight should not the end all and be all goal for someone who is fat. There are a myriad of factors that affect weight gain, and not just what you put in your mouth.  I believe that it is more important to be healthy than to be skinny.  In other words, eating good clean food and beneficial herbs, and eliminating processed and GMO
laden foods from the diet, coupled with regular activity and movement according to your ability and physical condition, goes a long way towards making a healthier and happier you.  The goal should not necessarily be losing pounds and inches, but rather to feel better physically, and to feel good about oneself emotionally. When you feel good about yourself, it affects everything about you including your physical health and your weight.


Diane Cain
on 3/19/15 writes: Hi, what do you do when you get sick?
From: Mosquito Control on Natural protection from Mosquitoes Part 2

Dear Diane,

Wow!  That's a good question.  I suppose it would depend on what I am sick with at the time.  Making a list per ailment would necessitate a long and boring answer. To spare you from this, I'll make this as brief as I can.

When I start to feel poorly, I first assess whether or not I have been drinking enough water.  Then I access what I have been eating lately, in case it may hold a clue to why I am sick.  After that, I go through this basic three pronged formula:

1)Eat a light diet.  I generally avoid eating anything heavy, foods that are complex

in their use of spices, and foods that increase the production of mucous including dairy, which although I love it, has a tendency to make me feel worse.  I go for soups and whatever vegetables I enjoy. (I HATE the word "Veggies."  Just say the whole word!)  They help increase the amount of fluid in the system, and assist in "keeping body and soul together" when I don't feel like eating anything. Any type of fresh juicy fruit helps as well, like grapes and melon, although I prefer them at room temperature rather than refrigerated.  Don't juice it though. Unless your stomach simply cannot process pulp or skin, eat the real thing.



2)Switch out coffee for tea.   I don't just like coffee, I LOVE MY COFFEE!  However, when I feel poorly, the buzz of caffeine is not my friend.  Neither are its diuretic properties which forcefully eliminates the water in my system, or (depending on the brand of coffee) the bitterness.  The smooth nature of most teas make them comforting to drink, and soothing to a sore throat.  Couple that with the beneficial properties of whatever tea I am drinking (my personal favorite is Ceylon, but I enjoy Green Tea as well) along with good clean water, makes it a no brainer anytime, not just when you are sick.  Drink liberally and flush those toxins out of your system.


3)Add beneficial herbs to your diet.   The internet is full of various herbal
preparations for use whether you are sick or not.  Search until you find the most reputable sites, and give them a go.  Keep in mind that some herbs do have risk factors associated with their use for some people.  It's always a good idea to consult your health care practitioner first before you try them.  Used correctly, herbs can be a true boon to getting your body back on track and helping you to feel better.  I personally use cayenne pepper added to soup, as my cold/flu remedy, and a combo of Turmeric, Ginger and Honey (and a small amount of warm milk to help it go down) for joint inflammation.  Hope this helps.

And finally,

JoJo the Clown on 10/17/14 writes:
Can you use polished shungite stones for the water? I bought a half pound for this purpose, but all the photos of shungite water look like they have shards in the bottom. I hope I can use my stones.
From Shungite + Water = Healing? Believe it!

Dear Jojo,

Your polished stones are just fine for making Shungite water.  What I have found out through my own research is that raw Shungite is better for your water than using tumbled stones by about 30%, but as my Grandma used to say, "A little bit of something is better than a whole lotta nothing!"  I myself am currently using tumbled stones until I can find a reputable supplier of raw stones.  The tumble stones still work, and I have experienced a benefit from using them. Now it's time to take a step up.

I also found out that the highest quality or "elite" Shungite is not recommended for use for the drinking water, but rather, is best used to remove electromagnetic smog and impurities from your environment by placing them in your living space near computers and other electronic devices, or carried on your person.   While I suppose some people will use them for water, thinking that if the stones are "elite" that they'll receive more of a benefit, I am not sold on this.  Why pay a premium price for the highest quality stones, when lesser raw stones make great healing water for a much lower cost?

One other note, in spite of what some people say, Shungite should still be cleaned and charged once a month. Crystals are living beings in their own right, even though their lives are much slower than ours.  Even healing stones need a rest from time to time in order to recharge.  Once a month, allow your Shungite water stones a chance to "come up for air."  Use a tiny amount of soap to cleanse away any impurities found on the stones, then rinse them liberally with clean running water, and allow them to recharge in the sun for a few days. Any other practices, including saging the stones or "communing" with them are acceptable, but optional.

Jojo, I wish you the best on your healing journey!

*****
Folks, thank you for your thoughts and comments.  Be well, and live well!

Blessings,

Nehemiah



Monday, May 18, 2015

Winter Goddess Products in two new locations!



Hello folks!  Here's what's been happening with Winter Goddess Foods over the winter:




Terry and I are happy to report that two new locations will be carrying our delicious organic products.  Neil, Ray, and our friends at Oxendale's Market have officially opened up a new location at 374 W. Bernard Street, West St. Paul Minnesota.  These wonderful community oriented grocers are carrying Terry's delicious Caramel Moments, and her Oh My Goddess! Butter Crunch Toffee located at the checkout counter of their store.  If you are looking for a grocery that prides itself in carrying the best of locally produced, organic, and vegan products, along with your favorite conventional items, Oxendale's is the place to go!  http://www.oxendalesmarket.com/home-2/





After a successful start at the giftshop of the Minnesota Historical Society at Split Rock, Winter Goddess Foods products have found their way to another Historical Society location.  We are privileged to also be at the Charles A. Lindbergh Historic Site, located at 1620 Lindbergh Drive S.Little Falls, MN.  Come visit this National Landmark, and see the tribute to the man who launched an aviation revolution. Tour his boyhood home, explore the visitor center exhibits, including a "Spirit of St. Louis" flight simulator, and don't forget to stop by the gift shop and look for our Winter Goddess Cranberry Walnut, Banana Walnut, and Sunflower Apple Raisin granolas as well as our sweet and savory Aww Nuts!
http://sites.mnhs.org/historic-sites/charles-lindbergh-historic-site 


We hope to have our products in other locations as well.  Stay tuned!

Blessings!

Nehemiah

Thanks for your Patience




Hello everyone!  The relatively mild winter, (In Minnesota standards that is) has passed away, and we are finally into our lovely but schizophrenic Spring.  Our business is growing steadily, thanks to you, our loyal customers.  With Farmers Market season upon us, Terry and I are excited and happy to share the bounty of the Winter Goddess with you and to make new fans as well.

I apologize for the lack of updates over the last several months.  Due to injuries suffered in an auto accident last year, writing has been difficult.  However, through the prayers and support from friends and family coupled with the mercies of the Great Spirit and my own hard work at Physical Therapy, I am emerging from the darkness into the light.  Terry's support has been invaluable during this time, and I couldn't wish for a better life and business partner!

I am also grateful to all of you loyal readers of our blog for hanging in there with me until my return.  It is very gratifying that folks are reading and re-reading our previous articles and finding benefit to them.  With today's post I plan on adding new articles of interest, information on healthy eating, beneficial plants and herbs and other subjects relating to sustainability, organic eating and wellbeing.  I appreciate your patience with me, and I hope you continue to enjoy reading the articles as much as I enjoy writing them.

Blessings to you!

Nehemiah