AUG
04

Sourcing Locally Since Before Local Was Cool

There’s no doubt local food is #trending.

For many shoppers, the farmers’ market is as much a place to see and be seen as it is a place to buy vegetables. Community-supported agriculture is becoming increasingly popular, and more and more restaurants are catching on to the locavore movement.

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Local is trendy for good reason. Not only does local food come with the environmental benefits of reduced emissions for transport, local food comes with economic and social benefits as well. Sourcing local builds a sense community, bolsters local economies, and gets people excited about where they live.  

To Sunset, local is not a passing fad, nor is it anything new. Sunset has been sourcing locally for our entire 80-year history—long before anyone coined the term “locavore”. Supporting local vendors is part of our DNA. After all, Sunset’s a locally owned business, too.

Rick Didier In 2017, we still carry many of the same local vendors that we carried in 1937. For example, back in the 1930s, the original Cortesi clan forged a relationship with John Link—the original owner of Didier Farm in Lincolnshire, IL. Because the farm is less than 10 miles from Sunset, the Cortesis saw Didier Farm as the obvious choice to bring Sunset customers the freshest vegetables. To this day, we still carry peppers, squashes, beets, cabbage, kale, green beans, chard, cucumbers, and many other crops grown by Didier Farm. Shop our stores between late-July and mid-September, and you’ll find Didier populating our produce departments.

As the local food landscape evolves, we’re evolving with it, bringing in new local vendors as they enter the local marketplace. For many local vendors, Sunset was the first retailer to carry their product. For example, Meyer Farm Herbs, Carol’s Cookies, Hungry Monkey Baking Company, Hole in the Wall pasta sauce, and many others looked to Sunset to help launch their businesses.

If you see the value in understanding where your food came from, attend our Midwest Local Foods event on Saturday, August 12th, from 10am-2pm, at our Highland Park and Libertyville stores. Expand your locavore diet beyond just produce and sample the best the Midwest has to offer from all departments of our store. Shop small and fill your fridge, pantry, and freezer with food produced close to home.

Midwest Local Food event flyer

 

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AUG
01

Cook County Soda Tax Affects Northbrook Sunset

After a hold-up in the courts, a new Cook County soda tax will go into effect tomorrow, August 2nd. The tax will collect $0.01 per ounce of sweetened beverages. This works out to $1.44 for a 12-pack of soda. The tax is expected to generate over $200 million dollars for Cook County each year. 

While soda taxes are controversial, I encourage shoppers to drink less soda. A robust amount of evidence links sugary drinks with a host of detrimental outcomes, such as obesity, type II diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, liver disease, and dental disease. While sugary drinks are certainly not the only place you’ll find sugar in the diet, Americans do drink most of their sugar.

However, the Cook County tax is unique from most other soda taxes in that it includes artificially sweetened, or “diet”, beverages as well. The scientific evidence of harm from diet drinks is less certain than that of sugar-sweetened drinks.

And the policy doesn’t stop there. Here’s what's being taxed:

  • All beverages sweetened with sugar or a sugar-derivative (like high-fructose corn syrup). This includes soda, sports drinks, flavored water, fountain drinks, energy drinks, pre-made sweetened coffee or tea, and fruit-ades like lemonade.
    Note: It doesn’t matter how much sugar is in the drink —even if it only has 1g, it’s still taxed. When reading labels, remember that sugar goes by many names.
  • Low-calorie or calorie-free drinks that are sweetened with artificial sweeteners like Aspartame or Splenda.
  • Low-calorie or calorie-free drinks that are sweetened with natural, non-caloric sweeteners like stevia or monkfruit.
    Note: this means that even brands that are healthy alternatives to soda, like Bai, Hint, and Vitamin Water, are taxed.

Here’s what’s not being taxed:

  • 100% natural fruit or vegetables juice with no added sweetener (e.g. 100% orange juice).
  • Any drink in which the main (more than 50%) ingredient is milk. This includes soy milk, rice milk, and other milk substitutes.
  • Drinks for medical use (e.g. Ensure or Boost).
  • Meal replacement drinks (e.g. Slim Fast).
  • “Drinks” in syrup or powder form that the consumer combines with water to create a beverage.
  • Infant formula

Switching to an unsweetened beverage has always been good for your health. Now, it’s good for your wallet, too. If it’s time to make a swap, I recommend La Croix or Perrier. Both products are calorie-free, sugar-free, carbonated, and come in many tasty, natural flavors. Neither are included in the tax.

Cal Croix and Perrier products

A final note: if you can’t stomach the tax on your favorite drinks, our Highland Park, Lake Forest, Libertyville, and Long Grove stores do not tax sweetened beverages. 

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