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Weekly Newsletter – 6/23/10

HUNTED AND GATHERED IN OREGON: I got off the ferry and put the loot in the co-op right away:

Honey from a very old man with 20 hives near Coos Bay.

Items packed in glass from Sweet Creek Foods, a family packing enterprise run by some shamelessly happy former commune-living, back-to-earth visionary types out in the boonies northwest of Eugene http://www.sweetcreekfoods.com/

A box of Barcelona hazelnuts grown a bit south of Portland which I’ll bag up tomorrow; I got them from one of two huge cavernous sheds full of unimaginable millions of nuts and only two difficult to locate workers in a windowless room, eternally shelling and sorting. As I drove away I saw actual Filbert orchards http://www.nwhazelnut.com/

I conned a Bandon cranberry farmer into bringing a couple jugs of his new cranberry juice product for you to try at the annual meeting. We made the exchange in the Fred Meyer parking lot in Coos Bay and I bought some paper cups inside the store. This juice is 63% cranberry and the rest water, none of the usual apple juice base that most products are made of, and it’s sweetened with agave; sounds like a good product and if you like it I’ll figure out how to get it up here: http://www.vincentcranberries.com/

MATURE CO-OPS: I visited one of the two Olympia Co-op stores as I drove south
http://www.olympiafood.coop/ and one of the two First Alternative Co-op stores in Corvallis http://www.firstalt.coop/ on the way home. Both are run by a combination of staff, working members, and volunteers. In Corvallis all communications are directed to “Owners” in preference to the “members” designation, which sends a clear message about the relationship expected of all participants. Both of these co-ops are forty years old, and both serve communities eight to ten times as large as ours, but as we envision our future their business models can offer us good things to think about. Interestingly, both co-ops somehow owned their own little buildings very early on, making me think that while properties are cheap, maybe we should begin to plan for a place of our own too.

ALL’S WELL: Our teensy tinsy co-op looks just as it did when I left. I see that half a dozen people have expressed a desire for a piece of the big parmesan lump. Now one of those people needs to take the sign away and call the others and arrange to divvy it up.

SALUMI: I tried to get us more Salumi to pick up when Anna and I go abroad on Thursday, but sadly John DeGloria overlooked my order so it’s arriving in Edison next week. Is anyone going in that direction who would be willing to pick up fifteen “sticks” for our co-op?

See you at the Earthbox Conference Center at 6 o’clock!