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Weekly Newsletter- 7/7/10

UNFI DELIVERY: Last Wednesday the ferry bearing our order on the UNFI truck was late, so instead of 11:30, Michelle didn’t get to F.H. till 3. As you know, in America the time clock is up at eight hours according to union rules, so she had to park the truck over by the Orca Inn where she always overnights before returning to Auburn. The truck is so computerized that if she even releases the handbrake on the truck an email is promptly sent to her boss, whereupon she has to fill out paperwork to justify her behavior; there was no way she could “cheat” and deliver to us. Anna and Danielle and Paul and I assembled in the parking lot exactly at 3 and we unloaded the pallet into my car and Paul’s truck and drove our order to the co-op where we unloaded again. Even more help showed up to stock the store and sort wholesale orders—lots of help—mingled with a crowd of shoppers trying to step over and around us to get their supper fixings. The whole thing took less than an hour and a half. Once again, many hands make light work!

BERRIES: Nootka Rose Farm has beautiful, delicious raspberries and loganberries for special order at $35 per flat (12 pint cups). If you’d like to order a flat of berries, please call or email the farm before noon the day before a Tuesday or Thursday delivery to the co-op. You can call 360-588-2455 or email nootkarosefarm@gmail.com; be sure to leave your name and phone number so they can call if they need to clarify anything and they can designate the flat for pickup. By the way, Steve and Linnea would like to recycle the flats and the berry cups and lids, so if you bring them back to the co-op they can be stored on top of the bulk storage racks beyond the freezer for retrieval.

JAM: If you’re going to make jam or jelly, the co-op has Pomona’s pectin on an upper shelf with the baking supplies. You can make low-sugar or no sugar preserves with it.

ARRIVALS: Anna swung by Slough Foods in Edison to pick up our order of yummy salami which are in our fridge (actually the deli was closed yesterday, but the “sticks” had been stored in the Bread Farm’s walk-in so it worked). They are going fast! On Thursday a generous person is going to bring our Oregon cranberry juice and some apple juice sweetened dried cranberries—I’m excited!

ORGANIC: You probably noticed some of our price tags are slowly turning green; it actually means something. When we’re done, the idea is that items with green tags are organic. We want to add other colors indicating other categories, like “local” (meaning San Juan Islands), “regional” (meaning 12 counties around Puget Sound) and “Northwest.” It gets complicated for items manufactured locally but using non-local ingredients—like cinnamon. I don’t know how to solve that one (so maybe I won’t).

CANDY TAX: When we figure it all out we plan to but a star on taxable items so the State gets its share. That would be household and personal care products (everything on the rack behind the door), fizzy beverages, and now candy, defined as a sweet that’s not made with flour and not requiring refrigeration. We don’t know if that includes baking chocolate and chocolate chips. Our yogurt raisins would be taxable. One of our bulk gorps has chocolate drops in it; does that make it taxable? Do you know???

CHECK OR CURRENCY: Every day people come to shop and find themselves with huge bills that can’t be changed at the co-op. Please make a habit of carrying a check or appropriate small currency to pay for your purchases. Someday we’ll have a staffed store with a cash register—especially if someone gets the idea that it’s more important to accommodate shoppers without change than to perpetuate our clever little system. But when that day comes we will operate during normal business hours which will cost us our wonderful 24/7 access. Let’s make it work while we have it!

EXPANSION: As Arvid explained in his third expansion update, the planned vote was postponed at the Annual Meeting because the information on the space offered at the Bakery San Juan building changed. If you’d like to look at the space on the north end of the building which would require much less costly construction than the one we had been offered at first, you can call Mark at the bakery after 10:30 Tuesday through Friday to arrange a time.

BOARD MEETING: The meeting is at 5 o’clock this evening and everyone’s welcome. Check our website or the notice in the back of the co-op for location. Among other things, we will discuss the two expansion options that are before us at this time: remain in Surina at one of two possible larger units or move to the Bakery building. Everyone’s eager to go forward with the vote so we can set things in motion to increase our square footage and have room for both people and inventory. Imagine how much better we will be able to do what we’re doing when the aisles are wide enough for people to pass (maybe even while carrying a handy shopping basket to put things in), when there’s a big enough desk to work on, when there’s space for stored items and we don’t run out before the next delivery, when there are more shelves for more groceries, when there are enough coolers for interesting items beyond staples (well, maybe Salumi isn’t exactly a staple).

LOCAL VALUE-ADDED PRODUCTS: With more space I see the possibility of stocking more locally made value-added items in our future; maybe ideas for local production of specialty foods to sell will emerge. We already have spicy sauce, ice cream, goat cheese, cookies, bread, salsa and hummus, crackers, granola, herbal teas, tinctures, and salves, coffee from local roasters, and more. I’ve long thought it would be appropriate to have Mexican specialties made by those in our community who know how to do it right and jams and jellies made from our abundant wild blackberries. We could have local sauerkraut and kimchi. How cool would it be if someone local knows how to make salami, jerky, and cured items out of our local meat! (Venison jerky anyone?)

That’s all for now….

– e.