Suggestion Book

Norman Weiss, Weavers Way Purchasing Manager

Greetings and thanks for writing. As usual, suggestions and responses may have been edited for brevity, clarity and/or comedy. In addition, no idea, concept, issue, remark, phrase, description of event, word or word string should be taken seriously. This also applies to the previous sentence.

Co-op managers go to lots of meetings. Recently I was at a meeting regarding our proposed expansion to Ambler: Six people around a table looking at documents that reflect a financially and legally complex project with millions of dollars in play, not to mention the future of Weavers Way. As I looked around, what struck me was even though most participants had their cell phones out (primarily using calculator apps), and one person was using a laptop, everyone was making handwritten notes on the papers in front of them. Despite all the tech available to most of us, handwriting on paper is still is one of our go-to technologies.

Paper appears to have been invented in 105 AD in China. Handwriting and paper and writing implements and written language comprise what I would consider a pretty sustainable form of communications technology, second only to our voices and ears. The production of paper was (and is) a pretty big deal, and it’s interesting that the Shuttle as print media is still going strong when other print newspapers have faded. Perhaps it’s because of the Co-op’s proximity to Rittenhousetown, the first paper mill in British North America, started around 1690 by William Rittenhouse. (Interesting that “Rittenhouse” is pronounced same as “written.”) Paper is still a high-use commodity; you might have thought that with all the emails and texts and Web pages flying around, paper use would have declined, but I read paper use has increased over 100 percent in the last 20 years. Also interesting is a statistic I found that 45 percent of paper printed in offices is trashed by the end of the day it was printed. And most of it still ends up in landfill. 

Fortunately, we know the Shuttle never ends up in landfill, as most Weavers Way members keep their own personal permanent collections of the Shuttle which are then passed on to to future generations as valuable family heirlooms, adding to the clutter in basements and attics all through the Northwest. Plus the extras go to the compost factory at Henry Got Crops Farm at Saul High School. Thus the Shuttle has a sustainable presence.

Unrelated to the Shuttle, but still related to sustainability, is that the broker for Blue Diamond Almond Milk recently emailed this statement regarding a class-action lawsuit claiming Blue Diamond Almond Milk only contained about 2 percent almonds by weight, which the plaintiffs found deceptive:

“At Blue Diamond, we’re proud to deliver Almond Breeze to a very loyal and growing base of customers seeking alternatives to dairy and soymilk. Almond Breeze is made from an average of 50 almonds per half gallon. The balance of our recipe is water and other quality ingredients. (Specifics regarding our formulation and processing techniques are proprietary but we list all our ingredients and nutritional information on our product label.) Water is the most common and highest volume ingredient in nearly all popular beverages including coffee, tea, soda, juice and sports drinks. Cow’s milk is 85 percent to 95 percent water and the same can be said for most soy and almond milks which is why our brand is not alone in responding to recent lawsuit claims.”

Without getting into the pros and cons of almond-milk manufacture and consumption, the sentence about nearly all beverages being mostly water tells a much larger story about our unhealthy food system. In addition to all the bottled water being produced, packaged and transported, the reality is, most beverages sold in stores are mostly water. In addition, most beverages are sold in glass or plastic bottles or aluminum cans or a some kind of laminated or coated paper carton. All of these present sustainability issues. Glass is heavy to ship and the market for recycled glass is vanishing. Plastic, although light, is also questionably recyclable and is a petroleum product. Aluminum is light and very recyclable but initial production is extremely resource-intensive. Paper cartons may be the winner here, as they are light, made from a renewable resource (although papermaking is also resource-intensive) and are fairly recyclable. 

The main point, though, as Blue Diamond points out, is that all of these resources are being spent on products that are mostly water, which is already available in our homes for under one cent a gallon. As we all know, many municipal water systems are in trouble — aging pipes and lack of maintenance result in costly repairs and, in places like Flint, MI, a poisoned populace. Seems like a misappropriation of resources to spend so much on packaged water while letting our municipal water systems crumble. 

Good thing we all live near the Wissahickon and Monoshone and the other creeks in Philly. Might have to drink out of them one day. Bring your own canteen.

suggestions and responses:

s: “I hope we get back the ginger flavored Green & Black’s chocolate bars! They’re the best!”

r: (Kathryn MA) We still have them! They may have been out of stock. Sorry they weren’t available when you came in.

s: “Love the Uncle Jerry’s Whole Wheat pretzels, but lately they look — and taste — like they have some mold on them, especially around the sesame seeds on the low-salt ones. Maybe they should not be kept by window? Just a thought.”

r: (Kathryn) Thanks for letting us know. I hope you returned them for a refund. It may take us a while to discover the extent and source of the problem, so please let me know if it happens again (

s: “Regarding your reply about non-stimulant coffee- or chocolate-containing Coconut Bliss flavors. They do make a caramel gingersnap and a mixed berry swirl.”

r: (Kathryn MA) Thanks for the suggestion! I don’t have enough space to add flavors right now, but I’ll keep these in mind.

s: “Can you carry Edensoy Original Unsweetened in either Mt. Airy or Chestnut Hill?  None of the other Edensoy varieties in the store are unsweetened.”

r: Kathryn MA) Thanks for the suggestion. Lots of shoppers prefer unsweetened items, so it is an oversight on our part that we don’t carry it yet. I”ll bring it into the Mt. Airy store soon.

s: “I’m trying to gain weight but my diet consists of mostly cucumbers because I crave the juiciness and the crunch. Is there a GMO cucumber that has more calories and maybe some more protein?”

r: You are in luck, Monsanto has created a cucumber that includes the genes that make oil in olives and the protein in whey, called the Oi’Whay Cuke, (short for “oy, what you’ll weigh)” and we’ll be growing them on our farms as soon as we sign the contract with Monsanto, specifying Monsanto has ownership interest in all new parts of our body created by the the consumption of protein and calories in their Oi’Whay cucumbers.