PT Food Co-op

The Food Co-op, 414 Kearney Street, Port Townsend, 98368
Port Townsend
Phone: (360) 385-2883

General Manager’s Blog

by Kenna S. Eaton

Each month, I report to the board on how we are progressing on our long-term goals, which we call our Ends. These Ends reflect our aspirations—what we hope to accomplish—and they are what makes us different from a regular grocery store. We thought we would start publishing these reports as a blog, to keep our member-owners up to date on what we are doing.

The reports are organized by our five Ends, although not all are discussed in every report. Our Ends say that, as a result of all we do—

  • We will be the market of choice for our community to access local, organic, and non-GMO products.
  • A vibrant local and regional food system will provide our community with a year-round supply of food sold at prices that are fair to both consumers and producers.
  • We will have an engaged staff and board that use their expanding knowledge and skills to create a thriving workplace.
  • Our operations will be environmentally sustainable for the benefit of our members, community, and the planet.
  • Our members will be knowledgeable about the products they consume, the connection between food choices and personal health, and environmentally sustainable practices.

July 2017 GM Report

Market of Choice

Last chance for La Riojana olive oil until next year! We will soon be out of bottles from the 2016 pressing. Don’t worry, we’ll be preordering soon for the next pressing from our fellow cooperative. When we get in the 2017 oil, we plan to do an in-store taste test of our various olive oils, which should be fun and informative, so keep an eye on our website for info.

Food System Development

In early June, following our annual members meeting, we held an exploratory meeting for a possible “Eat Local First” campaign. We invited Sara Southerland from Sustainable Connections in Bellingham to join us and a group of interested local food advocates to discuss the possibility of launching our own campaign in 2018. Based on the positive response from attendees, a second meeting, hosted and led by the Co-op, will be scheduled for later, although with the store remodel and expansion taking up most of our time, we may not move forward with this idea until early next year.

The LandWorks Collaborative—of which the Co-op is a member—has set priorities for upcoming work, and the top two are business succession planning education (as many local business owners near retirement) and planning a second Pitch Night for the fall, to help local entrepreneurs find support for their ideas.

Local and regional product update:  New in June, we have local Finn River plum wine and a new Island Thyme lotion from Orcas Island. We are also arranging with two new vendors to bring in products—Fiddlehead Creamery, which makes frozen non-dairy treats in Port Townsend, and San Juan Island Sea Salt, which sends us salt and honey from San Juan Island. And Co-op staff who buy local products for the store will be meeting again August 1 to review progress made so far and to share tips for cultivating vendor relationships.

Collaboration among vendors:  In addition to delivering our orders for Wildtime Foods, Hummingbird Wholesale is now also bringing us our Sweet Creek products. (Sweet Creek is a family business in Elmira, Oregon.)

Also, as a part of Glorybee’s “Save the Bee” campaign, in late June we ran a promotion for Pollinator Week. The product we chose was Grizzlies “The Bee’s Knees” granola, produced in Oregon by Wildtime, and distributed and promoted by Glorybee. We’ll keep promoting this product for a few more weeks to ensure it gets good exposure.

Environmental Sustainability

For the third year in a row, the Co-op had the lowest emissions rate in 2016 of any of the EPA Green Chill partners. And as a part of our 2016 sustainability report, I noted that our consumption of propane decreased 28% last year, as it did in 2015. Given the similarity and consistency in numbers, we are crediting the new HVAC units installed in each of those years with creating this positive impact on our carbon footprint.

Advocacy, Education, and Outreach  

The marketing crew has been working hard—and having fun—keeping up with all our activities.

  • All communications regarding the member dividend were deployed in a timely manner and members are happily using their shares at the store, either for groceries or donating it to our Twin Pines Community Fund.
  • The summer edition of The Commons was finalized on time, published, and inserted in The Leader as usual. Cashier Liam and Produce Manager Laura both wrote pieces for us this issue.
  • Cooking classes and in-store demos are continuing through the summer months with Italy in June, Greece in July, and Mexico in August. Attendance at classes is steady with an average of 12 attendees per class, a big increase over a year or two ago.
  • The Food Co-op is sponsoring both Jefferson Land Trust’s “Forest Festfundraiser on August 24 (https://saveland.org/join-us-forestfest/) and the 2017 Farm Tour on September 16 and 17 (http://extension.wsu.edu/jefferson/agriculture/farm-tour/).

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