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Making Connections with Connections

The Granary is teaming up with Connections to help support this important Lanark County Program that helps at-risk families raise healthy children.

Connections is a community-based project whose goal is to support families in the healthy growth and development of young children through cooperative efforts involving families, services, and communities. This is accomplished by:

  • Operating several community programs: Birth Companion, Good Food for a Healthy Baby, Home Visiting and Parent & Children’s Groups.
  • Helping parents improve their capacity to raise healthy children.
  • Increasing the participation of vulnerable families in the community.
  • Promoting partnerships and collaboration among service providers to improve access and quality of service to vulnerable families.

We at The Granary, like at Connections, believe in the right of all people to have conditions and resources for good health, including peace, shelter, education, food, income, access to health care, a stable ecosystem, sustainable resources, social justice, equity and social inclusion. We would like to help them achieve their goals and missions.

For the month of May, we will be asking our customers to donate to this local worthy cause.  All proceeds stay in our community.  We are also embarking on a longer fundraiser with our Supplier Assured Naturals.

Assured Naturals has agreed to donate $1.00 from the sale of the following products to Connections. Customers get to purchase top quality effective products while supporting an important, underfunded community program.


Make sure to get your ticket for the upcoming fundraiser event with Arlene Quinn. Happening Friday, June 14th at The Town Hall.  Tickets and more information are available in store.

For more information on Connections or to access their programs please visit



Cocoa Powder and Dark Chocolate on old wooden table

3rd Annual Chocolate Party – Dec 3

Its that time of year again.  Time for our annual Chocolate Party on Saturday Dec 3.  This yearly event is quickly becoming a favourite for staff and customers alike – and how could it not!  A fun filled day of chocolate.  Stop by to sample some of our best  – ranging from a 45% milk chocolate all the way to a 100% heirloom cacao.  Learn what makes good chocolate oh so good, ranging from the living conditions of the third world cacao farmer to the health benefits of the consumer. Sip liquid chocolate while you browse our ever growing selection – this year we are excited to announce the award winning Hummingbird chocolate will be available!

This is a great event to stock up on all your chocolate needs for the holidays.  Gifts, stocking stuffers and baking chocolate – Great deals to be had on everything chocolate.

This year we will even be sampling chocolate fish oil and protein!

See you there.


Fairly Traded Chocolate – The right choice.

First discovered by the Mayans in 250 A.D., Europeans developed a taste for cocoa after the Spanish conquistadors brought it to Spain in the 16th century. Cocoa crops were introduced to West Africa at the end of the 19th century. Today, 67% of cocoa production comes from West Africa, with 43% from the country of Côte d’Ivoire alone.

Close to 14 million people, in over 30 countries, depend on cocoa production. The crop is grown mainly in the tropical regions of the global South.

Around 90% of the world’s cocoa supply is grown and harvested on family-owned farms with plot sizes of 12 acres or less. Smaller family farms produce an average of 350 pounds of cocoa per acre in a year’s harvest, generating an average annual income of US$30-100 per household member.

Bitter Chocolate

Unfortunately, cocoa has a dark side. The production and trading conditions in the cocoa market make it very difficult for producers to earn a living.

Cocoa farmers are often forced to negotiate with intermediaries who pay only a fraction of the actual value of their crop. As a result, farmers are often paid prices which don’t begin to cover the costs of production.

Producers also have limited access to information about what is going on in the market or how much their crops are worth, and many cannot get affordable credit.

The difficulty in making a living from cocoa farming has led to an increase in child labour, and even slave labour, in the cocoa trade. In 2001, the International Labour Organization and others reported child slavery on many cocoa farms in the Ivory Coast.

Under the umbrella of Fairtrade International (FLO), farmers who produce Fairtrade certified cocoa are organized democratically and receive a minimum price which covers the costs of sustainable production. They also receive a Fairtrade Premium to invest in social and economic initiatives in their communities. And there’s more…

The international standards for Fairtrade certified cocoa are:

Producers are small family farms organized in co-operatives (or associations), which they own and govern.
The minimum guaranteed price is paid directly to the producer co-op. The minimum floor price is currently set at US$2000/metric ton (MT) for conventional cocoa beans and US$2300/MT for organic cocoa beans. When the world market price is higher than Fair Trade, the market price, plus the premium, is paid to producers.
A Fairtrade Premium of US$200/MT is included in the purchase price. This premium is used by cooperatives for social and economic investments such as education, health services, processing equipment, and loans to members.
Environmental standards restrict the use of agrochemicals and encourage sustainability.
Pre-harvest lines of credit, of up to 60% of the purchase price, are given to cooperatives if requested.
No forced labour of any kind, including child labour, is permitted.


Cocoa trees develop slowly, taking up to 10 years to achieve maximum yield. Cocoa pods are about the size of footballs and contain pulp and moist white cocoa beans which are fermented, dried, and roasted.

The beans often go through alkalization to improve colouring and flavour, and are then reduced to a cocoa liquor. This liquor can can be pressed to make cocoa butter, cocoa powder, or mixed with other ingredients to become chocolate. Fairtrade certified cocoa today is used in a wide variety of products including chocolate milk, frozen desserts, hot chocolate, baked goods and, of course, chocolate bars!


Canadians consume an average of 5.5 kg of chocolate per person each year.
Fairtrade certified cocoa was first sold in Canada in 2002.

Fairtrade certified cocoa sold in the Canadian market is mainly grown by 16 certified cocoa producer organizations, which represents over 70,000 cocoa growers in 11 countries.

For the complete article and more information of fair trade chocolate go to

Granary Lil' Sprouts are Healthy Sprouts

Lil’ Sprouts

The deadline to apply for The Granary’s Lil’ Sprouts Grant Program is quickly approaching. This is a chance for any local school or community group to get $500 towards helping us connect kids with the food they eat.  For applications, ideas and criteria check out our Lil’ Sprouts Page.  Applications are due by November 30, 2016.

Customer Appreciation Week Oct 31 – Nov 5

Once again The Granary will be celebrating you – the customers that make it all happen.  Join us during the first week of November for a full week of prizes, samples, savings and more.  Events are being planned for each day. Let us pamper you with big savings, free samples and new products.  Its our way of saying Thank you. Thank you for letting us be your local source for natural health.


Understanding the meaning and value of Non-GMO Project Verification

You have the right to know what’s in the food you’re eating and feeding your family. Most governments agree—nearly 50 countries around the world, including Japan, Australia, Russia, China and all of the EU member states, have either banned genetically modified organisms (GMOs) completely, or require that food containing them be clearly labeled. The experimental technology of genetic engineering forces DNA from one species into a different species. The resulting GMOs are unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacterial and viral genes that cannot occur in nature or in traditional breeding. GMOs have not been adequately tested, and have not been proven safe for human consumption.
In Canada, we do not have mandatory GMO labeling, and the
Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) does not require safety assessments of GMO foods or even review all of the GMO products hitting the market. Meanwhile, close to 75% of our conventional packaged foods now contain GMOs. In response to this dire situation the Non-GMO Project was founded, with a mission of protecting consumer choice and preserving and rebuilding our non-GMO food supply. By offering North America’s only third party standard and labeling for non-GMO products, the Project helps fill the information gap for the increasing number of Americans who are concerned about the health risks and environmental pollution associated with GMOs. This October is the third annual Non-GMO Month – an event created by the Non-GMO Project to help raise awareness about the GMO issue and celebrate Non-GMO Project Verified choices. As part of our participation in Non-GMO Month, we are sharing this article to help you understand what Non-GMO Project Verification is all about.

Since late 2009, the Project has verified over 5,000 products to its rigorous standards for GMO avoidance, and this number increases daily. Companies enroll in the “Non-GMO Project”: for many reasons. For some, it is part of their company’s mission. For other companies, verification is driven by the demands of retailers and consumers. Doug Foreman, the founder and chairman of Beanitos says, “We were totally unaware of what GMOs were until a health food store questioned us on whether we were verified Non-GMO. This was an eye-opening moment for us. We found an abundance of evidence revealing possible problems with genetic modification in our food supply and immediately began the process of verification.”
More and more people are looking for the Non-GMO Project Verified label, and asking their favorite brands to participate, but what does that really mean? The butterfly on the “Verified” seal is a real eye-catcher, but many people are still curious about what it takes for a food producer to earn that lovely lepidopteran. When you see the Non-GMO Project Verified seal on a product it indicates that the product is compliant with the Non-GMO Project’s Standard – a transparent document requiring producers to meet strict requirements for GMO testing, segregation, and traceability. The butterfly’s cute, but it represents a tremendous level of commitment on the part of the brands that have earned it.
Here’s an overview of what it takes to become Non-GMO Project Verified…
First, an interested manufacturer, farmer, or restaurateur reaches out. The Project answers basic questions and helps them understand what to expect. The company shares basic information, such as product names, ingredients and number of production facilities. All this info helps the Project’s technical advisors to pinpoint high-GMO risk ingredients and facilities, sketch out a rough idea of what any individual verification will entail, and figure out what the verification process will cost.
As a mission-driven Non-Profit organization, the “Non-GMO Project”: works to keep the cost of verification as low as possible – after all, the more Non-GMO options, the merrier! For the many brands that do decide to pursue Verification, contracts are signed ensuring that confidential product information stays confidential, and that products only get to use the Verification Mark once they’ve completed Verification. It’s all legalese to many of us, but it’s an important step in making sure that shoppers can trust any product bearing the butterfly seal.
Even more important is the Verification process itself. Companies provide hard data about the products they are enrolling: ingredient lists, production facility information, test results from approved laboratories, etc. Once the data upload is complete an evaluator with FoodChain, the Project’s technical advisor, begins the review process – and what a process it is!
To quote Brian Ray of Garden of Life,
Our Multi-Vitamins, for example, can contain 50 to 60 different food based ingredients.[…] It’s a staggering amount of work to evaluate each product. And the Non GMO Project auditors are extremely thorough. Even though we collect certifications from every supplier verifying that each ingredient is GMO-free, the auditors work tirelessly UP the food chain, challenging each statement and requiring that suppliers prove through adequate agricultural controls and regular DNA testing protocols that GMOs are not unintentionally introduced.
For companies with low risk ingredients the process can be quite a bit simpler. In describing their verification, Doug Foreman of Beanitos says:
The process itself took just a few months to complete. The longest part was waiting for our supplier’s 3rd party lab tests proving their commitment to sourcing Non-GMO ingredients. One of our seasoning suppliers couldn’t guarantee that the milk in our cheddar was sourced from hormone free cows. We subsequently moved to a supplier that is just as dedicated to Non-GMO as we are.
If a product contains only low-risk ingredients, with no GMO varieties on the market, testing is not required, but FoodChain conducts a thorough review of ingredient specification sheets for an in-depth assurance that there is no risk of GMO presence.
For companies with major high-risk ingredients in their products, the Non-GMO Project standard requires ongoing testing of those risk ingredients. High-risk ingredients are any derived from crops grown commercially in GMO form–from corn and canola to the occasional summer squash. After testing, ingredients must remain segregated from other GMO risk factors, and traceable from that point on. This ensures ingredient integrity through to the finished product. To ensure that everything’s being produced properly, manufacturers must pass onsite inspections of any facility that uses high-risk ingredients.
Upon successful completion of the verification process, the manufacturer receives a certificate of compliance, and can start using the Verified seal on their packaging. Even at this point, manufacturers who have committed to Verification aren’t off the hook – they must continue testing every single batch of their high-risk ingredients, and complete an annual audit process to remain verified.

As you walk through The Granary this October, then, keep an eye out for the many Verified products we sell. Supporting manufacturers who have committed to “Non-GMO Project”: Verification sends a powerful message about what you want on your family’s table, and helps support some of this country’s best farmers.
In this day and age, it can take a lot of extra energy to provide reliable Non-GMO products, but as Doug Foreman says, “Being verified by the Non GMO Project has been a 100% positive for us. Consumers want to eat food that is safe, and being Verified is a big part of making sure that happens.”

Young barley grass. Detox superfood.

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Granary Lil’ Sprouts

We were happy to hear about the progress made by this years winner of the Granary Lil’ Sprouts Program. Caldwell School was the successful applicant that received $500 from The Granary to help connect kids with food.  What a great job they did!  Teaming up with the Caldwell Garden Club and garnering support from students, staff and parents, the Lil’ Sprout team brought in 3 special guests on different occasions to talk to the children about the importance of bees, eating vegetables, and garden layout. Students had the opportunity to plant seeds for the school garden and to take home.  They have also started the process of installing permeant raised garden beds at the school.  Thank you to all the parents, teachers, volunteers and students who made this program a success.

If your school or community group is interested in connecting kids with food fill out an application and get it to us today!

Yoga is for everyone

Joint Health: Top Foods and Nutrients

A little joint wear and tear can be expected as we age, but what we eat makes a big difference to joint health throughout life. We need a good intake of specific nutrients to build and repair healthy connective tissue and bone while other nutrients help support joint function.

The following foods and nutrients may help to support bone health, healthy joint lubrication, and connective tissue health and immune function:

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Starting with one of the most rigorously researched nutrients out there, omega-3, it’s not hard to find evidence that this type of unsaturated fatty acid offers significant support for overall health, especially to help reduce the pain of rheumatoid arthritis in adults in conjunction with conventional therapy.

To experience the health benefits of omega-3, make sure your diet includes plenty of flax and chia seeds, walnuts and algal oil. Omega-3 is also found in fish and fish oil supplements.


Members of the family Zingiberaceae, including turmeric, have been traditionally used in herbal medicine as an anti-inflammatory to help relieve joint pain.

Dietary amounts  of turmeric are considered safe, so try adding ground turmeric into savoury baked goods or hot meals.

Vitamin D

During summer increased sun exposure boosts our synthesis of vitamin D, a nutrient that is needed to support the development and maintenance of bones, as well as a range of other essential bodily processes.

Besides oily fish, there are few natural sources of vitamin D, although plenty of fortified foods are available. A 20-minute walk in the sun can help top up levels too!

Brightly Coloured Vegetables and Fruits!

Ok, so this is a bit of a catch-all, but brightly coloured vegetables and fruits typically contain high levels of beneficial fibre, as well as antioxidants such as vitamin C, beta-carotene and other carotenoids including beta-cryptoxanthin.

A healthy diet for overall health should include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, legumes, healthy fats from olive oil and seeds, and healthy whole grains. It’s also important to know what to avoid eating and drinking to help protect the body, such as limiting or avoiding simple sugars, animal-derived products such as meat and dairy and other sources of saturated fat.

So, to promote your healthy joint function try including these foods and nutrients for joint health into your diet and put a spring back in your step!

Shop for these great products and more Joint Care and Pain Relief at – or hit the shop button located in the sidebar!

* These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. They are not intended to treat, cure, or prevent any diseases.


5 Hydrating Plant Waters A new twist on H2O

Extracted from fruit, squeezed from leaves, and tapped from tree trunks, trendy plant waters are making a big splash across North America. You might have noticed them cropping up everywhere from yoga studios to natural health store shelves. These waters are not only hydrating, but they’re also bursting with healthy compounds such as antioxidants and electrolytes.

Coconut water

Not to be confused with coconut milk, coconut water is the pleasantly sweet, slightly nutty liquid found inside young green coconuts. As coconuts mature, this liquid solidifies into the white flesh from which coconut milk is derived.

Why drink it

Touted as nature’s sports drink, coconut water may be best known for the electrolytes it contains—most prominently potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Electrolytes are minerals in the blood that carry electrical impulses to and from the heart, muscles, and nerve cells. Essential for proper muscle function, electrolytes regulate both the amount of water in the body and the amount of acid in the blood.

Low electrolyte levels may cause the body to become dehydrated and may lead to fatigue and muscle cramps. Electrolytes lost through sweat need to be replaced by consuming fluids that contain them. Coconut water’s electrolyte profile has made it a popular option among active people looking to replenish these essential nutrients after a tough workout.

Maple water

Maple water is the pure, unprocessed sap that flows naturally out of maple trees each spring. Legend has it that maple water was first consumed centuries ago by Canada’s First Nations people, who were inspired to try the tree sap as a source of nourishment after observing a lively squirrel drinking it.

Maple syrup is the boiled down version of maple water. Unlike sugary maple syrup, which has a bold, distinctive taste, maple water is only slightly sweet and has just a hint of maple flavour.

Why drink it

Like coconut water, maple water may help replenish lost electrolytes, as it is a source of potassium, magnesium, and sodium. Also a good source of manganese, maple water contains about 30 percent of the recommended daily value of this essential trace mineral per 1 cup (250 mL) serving. Manganese plays an important role in helping the body to metabolize carbohydrates, amino acids, and cholesterol.

Another notable nutrient found in maple water is abscisic acid. Although more research is needed, early studies suggest abscisic acid may increase the body’s ability to metabolize sugar.

Birch water

Like maple water, birch water is unprocessed tree sap. It has a mild, almost undetectable, sweet taste. Birch water has been consumed as a health tonic for centuries in many parts of northern Europe and China.

Why drink it

Although research into its health benefits is limited, birch water has been used traditionally as a diuretic. It’s thought to support the liver and kidneys in flushing out unwanted substances from the body.

In addition to containing trace amounts of many vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, birch water is a source of saponins. Saponins are plant compounds known for their strong antioxidant properties. Preliminary research suggests saponins may aid the body in warding off disease by stimulating the immune system. Saponins may also support heart health by keeping blood cholesterol levels in check.

Cactus water

Made from the puréed fruit of the rough and tough prickly pear cactus (also known as the nopal cactus), cactus water is jam-packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It boasts a berry-esque taste.

Why drink it

Most notably, pure cactus water contains free radical-fighting vitamin C and energy-producing magnesium. It’s also a good source of taurine, an amino acid that helps regulate levels of water and minerals in the blood.

Plus, cactus water provides plenty of betalains. These phytochemicals are responsible for the reddish hue of the prickly pear cactus fruit. Early studies suggest betalains can promote optimal health by reducing inflammation and regulating blood sugar levels. Preliminary research has also found that betalains may inhibit the growth of certain cancer cells.

Aloe water

Aloe water, also known as aloe juice, is made from the clear, slightly sour pulp found inside leaves of the aloe vera plant.

Why drink it

While aloe pulp is best known for its skin-soothing properties when applied topically, emerging research suggests it may also be beneficial when ingested. Aloe pulp is thought to contain an array of healthy compounds, including vitamins, minerals, amino acids, blood sugar-regulating glucomannans, and cholesterol-lowering plant sterols.

Although research into aloe vera’s healing properties is limited, studies suggest the myriad of nutrients found in aloe vera pulp may work together to ward off risk factors associated with many chronic diseases. Plus, preliminary studies have found aloe vera pulp may stave off inflammation, aid in digestion, and promote healthy cholesterol levels. a

Buyer beware

As with any food or beverage, the best way to know exactly what you are consuming is to read the nutrition and ingredient label. Plant-derived waters are inherently hydrating, but unlike good old-fashioned H2O, they are not calorie free. Depending on how they are processed, plant waters may contain unwanted added sugars and artificial flavours.

Why is water so important?

Required by every cell, tissue, and organ in the body, water is essential for good health. Some of its functions include

  • delivering oxygen to cells
  • transporting nutrients to organs
  • aiding in digestion
  • regulating body temperature
  • supporting the body’s natural ability to rid itself of toxic invaders

When dehydrated, all the activities in the body slow down, blood becomes thick, and toxic substances can take hold.

WRITTEN BY Stephanie Raymond

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