New Year's Salutations

January 26, 2024

From the Staff and Board of Directors of the Steep Hill Co-operative, your “little store with the big heart” on Broadway. We hope that your holiday season was a time of rest and relaxation, community and connection, peace and joy. Winter solstice, the day with the least light and most darkness, also viewed as the symbolic death and rebirth of the sun, is behind us. We can look forward with anticipation to the re-awakening of the earth and all the exciting and wonderful opportunities that a new year can bring. The Staff and Board of the Steep Hill Co-op are also looking forward to 2024 with hope and optimism. This year will be another pivotal one for the Co-operative, with plans for new supplier partnerships and educational opportunities, as well as continuing store improvements. We will progress toward our goal (and yours) of ensuring that Steep Hill remains a well-managed and financially stable, responsive to members, socially and ethically responsible alternative to big retailers, as well as a crucial asset to the Broadway and area district. Read on for news of some of these plans and stay tuned for upcoming bulletins and newsletters that will share this information as it becomes available.

Your Board works hard to ensure that these goals become a reality, but none of this could be achieved without the dedication and hard work of our core staff - Amielle, Sammy, Zain, Scott and our newest Steep Hill family member, Sarah, and without the assistance of a devoted group of working members. Your commitment to the well-being and longevity of Steep Hill is apparent every day, and you have our gratitude.

Wonderful, Delicious, Nutritious and Economical - Lentils!

Lentils, along with beans and peas, are part of the legume family, which all produce dry, edible seeds in pods. Lentil crops were first grown in Western Canada in 1970 after the large green lentil variety “Laird” was created by the Crop Development Centre right here in Saskatoon. Legumes have a symbiotic relationship with soil bacteria which allows them to convert atmospheric nitrogen into ammonium nitrogen which is then released into the soil. This makes lentils the ideal organic crop as they grow very well without the application of synthetic nitrogen fertilizer.

Different Types of Lentils: Brown, green and red (reddish orange-yellow) are the most common and often interchangeable lentils. They cook relatively quickly (20-30 minutes) and tend to split when cooking, thickening and lending an earthy flavour to soups and stews including Indian daal and curries. They also are excellent in puréed dips and spreads.

A fork leans on the side of the plate full of brown lentils garnished with two slices of lemons, sour cream and spinach.
An overview of two bowls sitting side by side each with a spoon with parsley on top. One bowl contains red lentils and the other has green lentils.

Black Beluga is the most flavourful lentils, small, nearly spherical, dark brown with a thicker skin. Cook them for 30 minutes for al dente use in salads (dressed up with oil, vinegar, a little crumbly cheese and some salt and pepper), and side dishes, or 40 minutes for a mushy consistency for use in soups, stews or curries.

A bowl of black beluga lentils garnished with peppermint and a spoon partially pushed in on its side into the lentils.

Super nutritious! Lentils are high in fibre and complex carbohydrates and low in fat and calories. Their high protein content (25%) makes lentils a perfect option to boost your protein intake. They are naturally gluten-free, making them a delicious and versatile staple in a gluten-free kitchen. Lentils are packed with B vitamins, magnesium, zinc and potassium, and a great source of iron, a mineral sometimes lacking in vegetarian diets. Lentils also contain a broad range of beneficial plant compounds called phytochemical, many of which protect against chronic diseases such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Where can you buy these amazing legumes? Steep Hill partners with Saskatoon’s Greenline Distributors to bring you some of the best quality, organic lentils. The folks at Greenline pride themselves on their strict adherence to CFIA food safety regulations to prevent cross-contamination of their diverse offerings. Greenline is an organic facility certified by Pro-Cert Organic.

Why Organic? When shopping, remember that choosing organic helps you avoid pesticide exposure, keeps genetically engineered organisms (GMOs) out of your food, supports a healthier farm lifestyle and communities, helps fight climate change and promotes biodiversity.

Want to learn more about preparing this nourishing and economical food? Sign up for the second “Cooking with Lentils” offered by Steep Hill Co-operative in partnership with the good folks at Grace Westminster United Church, where you will learn to cook a variety of delicious recipes using green, black and red lentils. For full details and how to register please read Cooking with Lentils, but hurry! The class is limited to 24 participants and the first class offered in early January sold out almost immediately!

Bon Appétit!

Cooking with Lentil Classes

Steep Hill Food Coop collaborated with Grace Westminster Church to bring more education around cooking with lentils and to bring people together in fellowship. The class sold out a week before the event! The 24 people who were able to participate worked together in teams of six to cook Mulligatawny soup with green lentils, Beluga Lentil Salad, and Red Lentil Brownies.

Eight people in a kitchen at various stages of cooking lentils.
Cooking is Underway!
Four chefs stand in front of table displaying the delicious feast they have made.
Proud (and likely hungry) Cooks Display Their Dishes

The entire event was a buzz of activity, laughter, and conversation. All dishes turned out well for everyone and all got the opportunity to feast together. Casita Foods provided gluten-free bread for participants to dip into their soup which was appreciated by everyone.

An overview of four dishes sitting on display of Beluga Lentil Salad, Red Lentil Brownies, and Green Lentil Mulligatawny Soup.
Clockwise from left: Beluga Lentil Salad, Red Lentil Brownies, and Green Lentil Mulligatawny Soup
A room full of people sitting at tables eating.
Sharing a Meal and New Knowledge
A closeup of one table of five people enjoying the food and fellowship.
Food, Fellowship, and Fun!

There was so much interest in the class that Steep Hill and Grace Westminster will be running the same cooking class again on February 11 from 1-4pm. If you haven’t already thought about Valentine’s Day for that special someone, this is your sign to register and make it a date! A little love and lentils!

Volunteer Shift Scheduling

The work of in-store volunteers has always been a vital part of Steep Hill’s community and continued vitality – we appreciate everything you do!

Around fifteen two-hour shifts per month are available for sign up. These shift times have been selected by the staff based on when volunteer assistance is most convenient and necessary. There may be a bit of flexibility in hours, but since the schedule has been created around which times work best for the store, maintaining that schedule as much as possible is preferred. You can sign up for a shift on the schedule posted on the store bulletin board, or call 306-664-4455 or email at to request a shift. In the next few months, signing up online may become an option as well.

View February 2024 Volunteer Schedule

What Do Volunteers Do?

Volunteers take on necessary jobs that the staff may not have time to complete. Most shifts primarily involve packaging, labeling, and shelving products (spices, nuts, candy, dried fruit, etc.). These are important tasks for ensuring that Steep Hill’s shelves are well-stocked, but the staff are often too busy to do this work as often as needed. Volunteers may also do a bit of light housekeeping (wiping down and tidying surfaces or shelves, sweeping) or occasional stock replenishing. Amielle is working on a handy FAQ (frequently asked questions) guide for in-store volunteers, and staff are happy to answer any questions that come up during a shift.

Another way to volunteer is outside the store. For example, poster distribution may be needed for special events such as the 45th anniversary celebration and the Cooking with Lentils workshop series. Currently, further work is being done to create more outside volunteer opportunities in the coming weeks and months – stay tuned for more information in future newsletter editions.

Just 2 hours per month of in-store or outside volunteer work gives working member status for the next month, providing a 6% discount off the shelf price of store items. Besides the discount, volunteering enables you to get to know the store, staff, and customers better, as well as contribute to the continued well-being of an important part of Saskatoon’s foodscape. Sheila, a working member for 20 years, speaks for many when she says, “I continue to volunteer because I want to help out Steep Hill and the staff that work there. The store is very important to me.”

Our CEBA Loan is Paid Off!

The federal government’s Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) program offered $60,000 interest free loans to help small businesses survive loss of revenues due to the pandemic. Steep Hill applied for a CEBA loan in 2020, and it was a lifeline during that very difficult time! The Board is very happy to inform members that we repaid our loan in full ahead of the January 18th deadline. The money was repaid with funds your previous Board had wisely put away to ensure the co-op would be able to repay the loan without interest and keep the $20,000 forgivable portion of the loan. Your support and continued patronage has been critical to making this possible by keeping our little store open and looking to an even stronger future. Steep Hill could not have done this without you!

We Want to Hear From You!

For information about products and the store, email us at or call 306-664-4455.

To contact the Board of Directors with ideas, feedback, concerns or questions, send an email to or fill out a “How did we do today” card when you are in the store.

About Us

Steep Hill Food Cooperative was established in 1978 to purchase and distribute goods and services on behalf of its members and patrons on a non-profit, cooperative basis; to work toward providing high quality food and information about nutritious food; to encourage the development of ecological lifestyle using appropriate technology and the local production of food; and to work to develop and sustain a cooperative spirit in the community.

Become a Steep Hill Member

Everyone is welcome to shop at Steep Hill – membership is not required! We do encourage you to join if you are not already a member. A vibrant, active, committed membership is what makes co-operatives strong! Annual membership fees are $25.00, or $15.00 for students (with valid student ID). Steep Hill members get a 3% discount off shelf prices, and are also entitled to a 6% discount on case lot purchases, a 6% discount on special sale days, place bulk or special orders, vote at the AGM (annual general meeting) and run for election to the Board of Directors. After joining, you may want to become a Working Member. By volunteering a minimum of 2 hours per month, working members receive a 6% discount off shelf prices in the month following their work shift. Talk to one of our staff or Board members to learn more about working member opportunities.

Who Can You Introduce to Steep Hill?

Forward this newsletter to that friend you know would enjoy shopping at Steep Hill. Invite them to subscribe, so they get their own copy delivered to their in-box by signing up for the Newsletter. If you are on social media, “follow” Steep Hill, share our posts and tag friends when you see a post that would interest them.

Hours and Location
Shop at Steep Hill

Steep Hill Food Co-op it located at 730 Broadway Avenue, the corner of Broadway and 10th Street in Saskatoon’s Nutana neighbourhood.

Thanks to Jasmin Carlton, Brianne Davis, Gillian Edlund, Cathy Holtslander, JoAnn Jaffe, Maryann Scott, Karen Skarsgard, and Ann Smith for contributing to the Newsletter!