Homeopathy at Home: Homeopathy for Common Illnesses

Tuesday, May 9, 7-830pm


RSVP by emailing manager@karmacoop.org or calling 416-534-1470

Join Laura Coramai, registered Homeopath of 10 years, to learn about the use of home remedy kits for yourself, family and pets.  Learn about preventative measures and treatments to common problems. You’ll learn the basics you should have in a homeopathic remedy kit for your home or on the go.

Dilly Garlic Popcorn

Adapted from Thug Kitchen Recipe Book (appeared in the summer 2016 The Chronicle)

I am a huge fan of potato chip type snacks but never seem to have a bag around just when I need them most. This popcorn recipe can be whipped up faster than I can run out to grab something, and is probably more delicious than anything I could have gotten. Plus it is extremely cheap, organic, and there is no chip bag garbage. Why? Because all the ingredients can be bought in bulk from Karma!

This summer snack goes well with other fun and cheap/free things such as watching outdoor summer movies or a baseball game at Christie Pits. Movies play every Sunday night this summer from June 26 to August 28 and are PWYC (for more info go to www.christiepitsff.com) and the Intercounty Baseball League Team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, have home games every Sunday at 2:00 pm from May 22 to July 31 for free (for more info go to mapleleafsbaseball.com).

Herb topping

Makes 10-15 popcorn batches. Make ahead of time and keep in a jar with your spices.

1/2 cup nutritional yeast (~ $0.40)

1/4 cup each of dried dill, basil, and garlic powder (~ $2.25)

2 tsp. salt


Makes about 7 cups. Make per serving or keep in a container for a few days.

1 1/2 tbsp sunflower oil (~ $0.20)

1/2 popcorn kernels (~ $0.40)

1 1/2 tbsp olive oil (~ $0.40)

Total cost for each batch is ~ $1.25

• Heat sunflower oil and add kernels when hot (you can put a few kernels in at the beginning; when they pop, it is ready!)

by Morgan Johnson

Karma’s plant exchange

Saturday, May 27, 11 AM to 3 PM


Karma’s popular tradition of sharing plants, seedlings, seeds and gardening information.

You do not have to bring to take.

Hosted by the Social Events Committee

Fairtrade Market

Saturday, June 10


Come meet and talk to the suppliers of Fairtrade products carried at Karma. You’ll also have a chance to taste their quality goods.

Karma’s New e-Newsletter and Blog

We’re joining forces! Over the past several months, members of our co-op’s board and Chronicle Committee have been working on combining our member e-newsletter with the great content from our printed newsletter, The Chronicle. What you’ve received today is the result of this work: a monthly e-newsletter called the “e-Chronicle.” The e-Chronicle merges the monthly content you’re used to receiving from the board with the more in-depth features and articles found in The Chronicle.

What this means is fewer emails coming to your inbox (combining content means we’ve been able to eliminate emails about the quarterly Chronicle newsletter). It also means more timely access to the content fellow members are researching and writing. We’re embracing digital communications in more ways than one.

As part of this launch, we’re excited to share Karma Co-op’s new blogging section with you. All of the articles in the e-newsletter will also appear on Karma’s website. Content will be posted as soon as it’s ready and will be promoted via the co-op’s social media sites.

Our e-newsletter is meant to be accessible to the public and will be managed by the Chronicle Committee. If you have a story for the e-Chronicle, blog, and/or print Chronicle, you can send it to chronicle@karmacoop.org. Guidelines for submissions are available on our website.

We hope you enjoy the updates and encourage you to share your feedback with the Chronicle Committee.

Kate Rusnak, on behalf of the Karma Co-op Board of Directors

Karma’s 45th Anniversary Celebration!

Saturday, June 24 2-6pm


We are partnering with the Laneway Project to transform Karma’s parking lot and Karma Lane into a celebratory space filled with activities, food and drink for our 45th birthday!  We will be serving up co-operatively brewed beer from TWB Co-operative Brewing, organic and biodynamic wine from Southbrook Vineyards, and tasty food from our suppliers and members.  We are planning some fun activities for everyone including bike tuneups from Urbane Cyclist and laneway bowling!

This is a rain or shine event! Please note, Karma’s parking lot will be closed during the event. One hour street parking is available on all side streets surrounding Karma including Barton, Markham, Follis and Palmerston Avenues. Should you need assistance, we are happy to help you carry your groceries to your vehicle.

If you are interested in helping with this event or would like more information, please contact Talia McGuire manager@karmacoop.org or Natalie Brown (natalie.laurel.brown@gmail.com).

From the GM – May 2017

Dear Karma Members,

It has begun! The local spring produce is starting to roll in. Wild leeks have arrived and we are getting more phone calls from farmers with the first of the season’s harvest. A lot of fresh greens at this point, but we can expect more and more variety from here on out!

If you are a home canner, Karma will have lots of options for you this spring. We are happy to take pre-orders for any crop you want to preserve: asparagus, wild leeks, fiddleheads, or strawberries! It’s going to happen fast, so we want to make sure you can plan ahead for your canning needs and source your produce from Karma.

May is Fairtrade Month, and Karma will be showcasing Fairtrade certified items and offering great deals throughout the month. Fairtrade is more than fairly compensating producers for their goods. Fairtrade has strict standards for worker’s rights, gender equality, protection of the environment and prohibiting child labour. In addition to the usual Fairtrade items of chocolate, coffee, and tea, Karma also carries Fairtrade tamari, spices, soda, and tahini! If there’s a Fairtrade item you would like to see on our shelves, let us know! We’re always happy to expand our selection of Fairtrade items. To help support suppliers of Fairtrade certified items, Karma will be hosting a Fairtrade Market on Saturday, June 10. Here you will have the opportunity to talk to the suppliers of, and taste Fairtrade products carried at Karma.

Happy Birthday Karma! May 16 is Karma’s official 45th anniversary! We will be having a very special day to celebrate our achievement of 45 years as a non profit, member owned and operated food store! Please help us celebrate

Yours co-operatively,

Talia McGuire

General Manager

Karma Co-op


Sourdough banana muffins

Last fall, I attended one of Burns Wattie’s sourdough workshops at Karma, a terrific introduction to this ancient practice. Sadly, I waited too long to start baking and lost the starter (sorry, Burns!), but happily, someone on the Chronicle Committee shared her starter with me so I could try again (thanks, Morgan!).

I’ll be honest, it’s been a bumpy path. Apparently I’m not very good at following instructions – I haven’t managed to produce wonderful loaves of bread consistently, and the timing of the different steps keeps tripping me up. But the more I read about the human microbiome, fermented foods, and concerns with modern wheat flour, the more determined I am to master this skill.

If you have sourdough starter, you know you have to feed it regularly to keep it alive, tripling the volume each time. That means using it up by baking regularly or discarding quantities of starter. Fortunately, I found this muffin recipe online at Cultures for Health; it uses a cup of starter at a time and I find it much simpler and faster than making bread. Even better, my patient family members, who loyally eat the bread, love these muffins!

(This recipe is from www.culturesforhealth.com, except for my asterisked comment.)

1 cup sourdough starter

1 cup flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup mashed bananas*

1 egg

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. cinnamon

*I liberally substitute ingredients in everything I cook… feel free to use a cup of yogurt, sour cream, or sour milk (or fresh milk with a splash of apple cider vinegar) if you don’t have bananas. You can also add up to a cup of berries, rhubarb, diced apple or pear, or practically any fruits, seeds, or nuts – be creative!


At least 12 hours before you wish to bake them, combine sourdough starter and flour. It will make a very thick dough, so do not be alarmed. Cover and place in a warm spot to culture for 12 – 24 hours.

After 12 – 24 hours, preheat oven to 375°F. Combine sugar, banana, and egg in a small bowl. In another small bowl, combine salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon.

Sprinkle the dry ingredients over the cultured dough. Gradually add the liquid ingredients, stirring just to combine.Spoon batter into muffin tin, filling 3/4 full. Bake at 375°F for 18 – 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

by Amy Stein

First published in the The Chronicle (Summer 2016 )

Pfenning’s and the business of organic growing

Farming is a strange business these days. Steeped in tradition and rooted in love of the land, vegetable growing now involves layers of regulations, packaging and brand development, processing infrastructure, logistics, accounting, and supply chain relationships.

We consumers demand vegetables year-round, while southern Ontario fields yield fresh produce for about half that time. And we want clean, crisp, unblemished product, necessitating a mix of washing, packaging, refrigeration, efficient transport, and much product discarded. Hours spent by farmers on the business of selling product is time away from growing and harvesting it.

For over 50 small ecological farmers, one solution is to sell their vegetables to Pfenning’s Organic Farms. Pfenning’s has emerged as a major packer and distributor of organic produce in southwestern Ontario, as well as growing carrots, corn, and peas on 700 acres in New Hamburg, west of Kitchener.

I spoke to Jenn Pfenning, whose parents-in-law, Wilhelm and Barnhild, founded the business. She told me that they immigrated to Canada in 1981, after the fields that Wilhelm’s family had farmed for generations in Germany were expropriated for a new highway overpass. Slowly they formed sales relationships with Ontario’s pioneering health food stores of the time, including Karma.

In the 1990s, their sons Wolfgang and Ekk (Jenn’s husband) took over the farm but shifted from direct sales to a distributor. That distributor did not have a strong connection to the local farm community, so Ontario growers were forced to compete with low-cost California imports even in peak season. Meanwhile, retailers were calling Pfenning’s for local vegetables that distributors didn’t offer.

In 2004, Pfenning’s returned to direct sales, offering their own produce and a little imported product to fill the gaps. The business evolved as other farmers started offering their product at wholesale to sell. Pfenning’s has the infrastructure to store, wash, and pack produce, and sell it under their brand—all operations that require scale.

Pfenning’s does not require contracts or acreage commitments, nor do they set yield expectations for their growing partners. Pfenning’s asks only that their partners record time and materials inputs for fair pricing. They also sell other farmers’ brands, such as HOPE Eco-Farm, so those farmers can minimize their own accounting and logistics work.

Jenn explained that Pfenning’s has a range of import relationships with small family farms and like-minded distributors in California, Florida, and Georgia, but maintains an absolute dedication to local first. The provenance of their vegetables fluctuates, but the bulk are Ontario-grown and over half are from their own fields.

Each summer Pfenning’s hires 25 men from Jamaica (20 per cent of their peak season workforce), under Canada’s seasonal agricultural worker program. Jenn advocates for human rights and better treatment of migrant workers as an integral part of sustainable agriculture.

I visited the centre of operations at Pfenning’s, a huge old barn converted into an industrial-looking packing facility, with warm spacious timber-framed offices taking up much of the second floor. A river of beets and rainbow carrots covered the two conveyor belts that morning as three-person teams sorted and packed them into bags. Bins of brightly coloured vegetables were moved by forklift. Upstairs, there was a quiet buzz from people on phones and computers. Two dogs greeted office visitors. Barnhild, now in her 80s, occupied a recliner near Ekk’s standing desk.

In winter, 40 or so people are employed in the office and warehouse, on packing lines, and driving trucks. Wolfgang and his wife, Regina, live in the house next to the barn, while Ekk and Jenn live across the road. Some of their young adult children work with them. Ekk is the logistics mastermind; he manages import licences and trucking contracts, and arranges deliveries to approximately 100 retailers. It’s a long way from the family’s fields outside of the medieval-era German village where Wilhelm started farming—and not just in a geographical sense.

Amy Stein is writing a series of articles about Karma’s farm-based suppliers.

Read more articles from the spring 2017 issue of Karma’s printed newsletter, The Chronicle.