It's the Most Wonderful Time of The Year

December 14, 2023

A multi coloured festive floral background with the Steep Hill logo centered at top and a green rectangle with text that reads, May You Be Surrounded by Good Food & Great People this Holiday Season.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… and the Board of Directors and Staff of the Steep Hill Food Co-operative would like to take this opportunity to wish all of you the very best of the holiday season. May your homes be filled with the warmth and comfortable familiarity of family and friends and the spicy scents of holiday baking and meal preparation. This is a time for reflection and for assessing progress made toward goals and targets set earlier in the year. How far have you come in achieving what you set out to accomplish? It is also a time to consider what you would like to achieve in the coming year. What new year’s resolutions will you set for yourself?

At your favourite food co-operative, we are thrilled about everything that has been accomplished since the April 24th Special Membership Meeting. The Board of Directors is pleased that so many of the goals set at that meeting have already been realized. So much good member feedback certainly shaped these goals, and much of what was shared went into our priority planning. Highlights include installation of a new Point of Sale system, which has greatly modernized inventory control and staff efficiencies. We added “A Little Extra” to our shelves, providing some basic non-organic items that are intended to meet customer needs and ensure you don’t have to travel to a larger store to purchase items of this nature. Upgrades to the cooler systems, lighting, shelving and bathrooms were absolutely necessary and long overdue – all of which will save the Co-operative operating funds.

Our amazing staff complement has grown over the past year. Scott and Sammy, of course, have been with Steep Hill through this transition and earlier. They never stopped believing in the potential of our little store with the big heart, and have worked with, accommodated, and trusted the Board of Directors to implement the vision that would turn Steep Hill around. If it wasn’t for the two of them, we aren’t sure we could have done what we needed to do to get to where we are today. So thank you guys, honestly. You rock! Over summer, we hired a third staff person – Zain – who has become just as indispensable and a big part of the Steep Hill family. More recently, we have added Amielle as Senior Clerk to lead the staff, and we have to say the team that takes care of our shoppers now is almost unbeatable! We couldn’t be more thrilled to have them with us, nor more grateful for the hours they spend, and the dedication and loyalty that they have shown to Steep Hill.

We thank you, our members, for making Steep Hill Co-operative part of your past and future new year’s priorities. Keep watching for more improvements, and rest assured that you are in good hands from the moment you walk through the doors. That is our new year’s pledge to you.

A Few More Turkeys

In case you missed the ordering deadline, Amielle ordered five additional approximately 15 pound turkeys. Birds are local, never frozen, antibiotic free, and cost $12/kg. They will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Just stop in at the store to reserve one for your holiday meal, or contact the us by phone at 306-664-4455.

Celebrating 45 years of Steep Hill!

November 14 was the day we celebrated Steep Hill’s 45th Anniversary with a big party at Amigos Cantina. And what a celebration it was!

Establishing Steep Hill in 1978 was a huge accomplishment. Keeping our little store going, building our membership, putting in volunteer time, and making sure that our members and larger community have had access to organic, local, fair trade, healthy food for all these years is something to be proud of!

We had lots of fun sharing stories, food, and laughs. One of the highlights was being able to present a lovely memento to each of the long-time members who were able to attend – including Val Veillard, who was on the original Steep Hill board, and Mildred Kerr, who was a founding member.

A long perspective view of a table full of delicious foods with people in the background dancing and talking at the Steep Hill's 45th Anniversary celebration hosted at Amigos Cantina.

True to our co-operative spirit and love of good food, long tables overflowed with an abundance of delicious pot-luck finger-food snacks. Steep Hill suppliers Kevin and Donna Beach of 2B Organic donated sausages and organic beef for the meatballs and came to celebrate with us. Merek Wigness of Wigness Bison brought a donation of bison meatballs and came to the party with his family, and Don Friesen of Carmen Corner also came to partake in the celebration.

Pam smiling as she holds a photo album next to a table full of history and memorabilia on display at the Steep Hill's 45th Anniversary celebration hosted at Amigos Cantina.

A history and memorabilia display generated more story sharing, as people paged through the photo albums, notebooks from the first year of operation, and binders with newspaper clippings collected over the years.

A band playing music while fellow Steep Hill members socialize at the Steep Hill's 45th Anniversary celebration hosted at Amigos Cantina.

Old friends and new visited and share stories while enjoying live music played.

Val Veillard is presented a small gift from the Steep Hill board at the Steep Hill's 45th Anniversary celebration.

Val Veillard, a founding board member, receives a small gift from today’s board. The other Steep Hill founding board members were Gerri Yakimoski, Verna Piedt, Keith Grey, Don Mullord, and Bill Hutchinson.

Many thanks to the members who brought pot-luck dishes, 2B Organic Beef and Wigness Bison for supplying sausages and meatballs, musicians Chris Lindgren, Don Kossick and Friends, and Dave Greenfield for their music, Saskatoon Public Library for their assistance with our memorabilia collection, Amigos for offering their space free of charge, and to all members who joined in the celebrations.

It was an amazing opportunity to reconnect with old friends and make new ones, share stories, sample some amazing food, and dance the night away in excellent company. A great turnout and a warm and friendly venue added to what was a memorable evening!

Our 45th Anniversary Celebration was organized by Steep Hill’s Partnership and Engagement Committee – Karen Skarsgard, JoAnn Jaffe, Victor Andrucson, Louise Ranger, Christina McRorie, and chaired by Gillian Edlund. If you like organizing community events or would like to get involved with building relationships between Steep Hill and other organizations to promote our co-op, increase member engagement and build community, you are most welcome to join this committee. Contact Gillian at to find out how to get involved.

Rancho Vignola

We are proud to showcase and welcome Rancho Vignola to the fine complement of Steep Hill suppliers. Company founders, Richard and Sue Vignola started out running a natural food store in Vernon, BC and eventually found their niche in natural food wholesales which led them to create a seasonal business that would allow customers to buy large quantities of the freshest, new crop nuts and dried fruit on the market.

Steep Hill is proud to offer a wide array of scrumptious products from Rancho Vignola for your snacking and baking pleasure. Come into the store to shop the staggering selection of delicious chocolate-covered fruits, nuts, and ginger, sumptuous white and dark chocolate almond bark, chocolate toffee and English caramels, and a wide selection of the highest quality dried fruit. Perfect treats for Christmas-giving, stocking stuffing, treat bag and gift basket manufacturing, mounding in candy dishes, spoiling the grandkids with, or just having some of these delectable treats for yourself!

Quinoa Salad with Apricots and Roasted Almonds

A white bowl with an inner decorative blue trim that has a colourful Quinoa Salad with Apricots and Roasted Almonds.

Try this recipe courtesy of Rancho Vignola, which calls for a host of Rancho Vignola ingredients, and other ingredients readily available at Steep Hill. This easy recipe is colourful, delicious and nutritious, and fancy enough to serve at your Christmas dinner table.


For the Salad:

For the Mild Moroccan Spiced Dressing:


For the Salad:

  1. Bring the water to a boil and add the quinoa.
  2. Cook for about 15 minutes, remove from heat and leave covered for 10 minutes.
  3. Chop almonds coarsely and roast them, being careful not to burn them.
  4. In a large bowl, mix together cooked quinoa, apricots, tomatoes, onion, and almonds. Add Moroccan dressing.

For the Mild Moroccan Spiced Dressing:

  1. Whisk together all the ingredients except oil.
  2. When they are well mixed, slowly whisk in oil to a smooth creamy consistency.

Did You Know? All Organic Products are Non-GMO!

The Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN) newspaper issue cover for 2023/2024, published on October 20, 2023 focuses on investigating genetic engineering.

Genetically engineered products (GMOs) are prohibited in organic production. This means an organic farmer can’t plant GMO seeds, an organic cow can’t eat GMO alfalfa or corn and an organic manufacturer can’t use any GMO ingredients. Organic farmers and processors must show that they aren’t using GMOs and that they are protecting their products from contact with prohibited substances - all the way from farm to table.

The Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN) has published a newspaper edition “Investigating Genetic Engineering” to provide updates for Canadians. It includes a list of current genetically engineered foods on the market and reports on a range of issues and developments including regulatory changes in Canada. You can pick up your own copy of the CBAN newspaper at Steep Hill next time you’re in the store.

To learn more about CBAN’s work visit

Reducing and Managing Waste at Steep Hill

Steep Hill’s commitment to supporting an ecological lifestyle involves the whole life-cycle of our products. That means doing our best to minimize food waste, even though it is not possible to eliminate it entirely because exactly how much of each product shoppers buy varies from week to week. Our new Point of Sale system is already allowing us to match our ordering to purchasing patterns. Another way we reduce waste is through partnerships with the Riversdale Community Fridge, Food not Bombs and the Indian and Metis Friendship Center – community organizations who are able to quickly use perishable food that would otherwise not be sold.

Improvements to our coolers help prevent spoilage, but when this does happen, Working Members pick it up for composting. They can home-compost good pesticide-free organic matter for their own gardens or put it in their green bins to reduce garbage volume at the landfill.

We also do our best avoid excessive packaging. The new bulk bins make this even easier than before! However, products are shipped in boxes and bags, and these materials must be recycled if possible. Working Members take the recyclables to the appropriate facilities.

Being part of the team looking after composting and recycling is one way for you to be a Working Member. If you would like to contribute to Steep Hill this way, you will get 6% off your groceries in return for completing a monthly work commitment. To find out more, talk to a staff person when you’re in the store, or contact board member Louise Ranger, Chair of the Store Operations Committee at

Good Things to Remember…

Holiday store hours flyer with the Steep Hill logo above the hours and a decorated evergreen tree in the background.

Holiday Hours

We are looking forward to helping you with your holiday shopping needs. Come on into the store, say hi, and pick up some favourite holiday treats and supplies!

Memberships are Cheap!

Student Memberships are only $15/year (with Student Card), and save you 6% on membership purchase/renewal day and 3% on all purchases the rest of the year!

Regular Memberships are only $25/year, and save you 6% on membership purchase renewal day and 3% on all purchases the rest of the year!

Working Memberships are only $25/year, and save you 6% on all purchases the entire year!

It pays to get involved in your food co-operative! A big THANK YOU to all of our dedicated working members! Steep Hill thrives because of your dedication.

Closing Thoughts

And Finally, it has been an amazing and gratifying year. Together, we have accomplished what many said couldn’t be done, but there is still much to do. We are a growing community of friends, co-workers and neighbours who value ethical and co-operative business practices; certified organic products that support our health and the planet’s; a market for farmers supplying products local to our bioregion; nourishing food, fair trade and non-GMO products; and access to healthy food items in the Nutana area. All these reasons, and more, are why we are involved in the resurgence of the Steep Hill Food Co-operative!

Have a very happy holiday! Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Solstice, Happy Kwanzaa and Festivus! Whatever this holiday season means to you, we wish you peace and joy.