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 want to accomplish—and they are what makes us different from a regular grocery store. We publish these reports as a blog, to keep our member-owners up to date on what we are doing. This spring, the board finished reviewing and revising our Ends, with the help and suggestions of our staff and our members.

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

  • Our community is well-served by a strong cooperative grocery store, integral to the lives of our customers, our farmers, and our producers.
  • Our community has a resilient local and regional food economy, supported by our Co-op and our community partners.
  • Our staff and board have the knowledge, skills, and passion to make our cooperative thrive.
  • Our members and customers are proud to shop at a local cooperative grocery that is working to reduce its impact on the environment.
  • Our community is informed, engaged, and empowered to join us in making a difference.

June 2018 GM Report

Market Relevance

This month it’s still all about EXPANSION. Progress is being made on the site, and as we enter our second month of construction, we’ll see more physical changes. Internally, we are still hot on planning for all eight phases of work inside the store—we’ll be revamping each department in a sort of sweeping arc—and submitting our application for the relevant Health Department permits. We will continue posting updates to staff, the board, and our members as often as we can. And good news: we have secured financing for the construction portion of the work from Kitsap Bank.

We continue to collaborate with other regional co-ops and the Organically Grown Company in order to offer selection of produce as part of Co+op Basics; coming up next, annual prices. Here is the list of items we will offer:

  • Garnet Yams $1.99#
  • Bananas $.99#
  • Baby Carrots 1# bag $1.49 ea.
  • Cremini Mushrooms $3.99#

Food System Development

Last year we lent $5,000 to each of two local growers—Midori Farms and Dharma Ridge—to build hoop houses to extend their growing seasons. The fruits of that investment are now being sold in our store, with fresh, scrumptious lettuce two weeks earlier than in 2017 and carrots expected later this week.

New this month—strawberries picked and packed commercially in recyclable cardboard boxes! We are super excited to have this new option from our supplier, OGC. The only downside is that these open containers don’t keep strawberries quite as long, so it means more work for our staff (& customers), who’ll need to keep a more vigilant eye on them.

In late May, the produce team and other staff, including our local cultivators, travelled out to Sequim for a field trip to the Dungeness River Lamb Farm. Staff was very impressed by the organization and the cleanliness of operations as well as by the fact that the farm grows food primarily for the Co-op. Owner Colleen Lamb was very welcoming, showing our staff where everything is processed and explaining how they adhere to organic standards. We carry a wide selection of DRLF products—granola and cookies, jams and chutneys, berries and other produce, and eggs.

During the last month, we brought in eight new local items, several from Oystercatcher Bakery on Whidbey Island. Their loaves are hearty and larger than most of the other breads that we stock, great for a gathering, and the Ebey’s Reserve loaf is made with grains grown on Whidbey Island. Key City Fish is picking up the bread on Whidbey and delivering to us. We also brought in 20 new regional items, more than half of those items are a line extension of Island Thyme personal care products from Orcas Island.

LandWorks partners, including the Food Co-op, will participate with Jefferson Land Trust in reviewing lease proposals from farmers interested in growing for local markets. The property to be leased, known as Chimacum Commons, is owned by JLT.  A decision will be made in early July.

Thriving Workplace

Sadly, we have accepted the resignation of Morgan Carrico, our grocery manager, as he and his family are relocating for personal reasons. His last day will be June 30th. We have already begun the process of posting this position and hope that the gap between managers will not last too long. Morgan has done much excellent work in preparing us for the future, even as he took care of us in the present, and we will sorely miss him.

Outreach

Olympic Cooperative Network – Co-op Bootcamp (where five groups are learning how to start their own cooperatives, ranging from worker to housing co-ops) is wrapping up and the OCN will be meeting in late June to have a robust conversation about our future. We will be reporting back to the board after that meeting.

June 1st through August 31st, we will be raising funds for the PT school district lunch program. A co-op member has graciously offered to donate $10,000 to this program and has challenged us to double the impact by asking our members to help. Anyone can donate any amount (in $1-$5 increments) at the register and receive a fruit or veggie drawing to put their name on, which will then be posted on the wall behind MSD. Marketing staff will update our carrot thermometer weekly to track our progress towards our goal of raising an extra $10k for new kitchen equipment, local ingredients, and cooking education classes.

Speaking of which, our classes have been going very well. The “Wild Edibles” walk was full, as have been Sidonie Wilson’s cooking classes as well as the non-toxic kitchen classes, which is co-sponsored with the PT Marine Science Center.

Recently, we noticed that several existing product lines within our grocery department were suddenly labeled as being GE. At their most recent meeting, our Product Research Committee reviewed those items, which are newly labelled as “partially produced with genetic engineering.” The PRC is in the process of contacting the manufacturers, asking if they plan to have those products non-GMO verified or not.  The good news is that they have heard that Tazo is planning to have their tea bags all non-GMO verified soon. Near East could not confirm which of their products would become non-GMO verified; however, they did say that more products will be submitted for verification.

 

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