PT Food Co-op

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

Archive for the ‘Port Townsend Food Co-op’ Category

Annual Meeting 2018 Recap

June 26th, 2018 by Andrea Stafford

It’s the Time of the Season

It’s that time of year again! Yes, the sun is shining more often, the rains are receding, and The Co-op has just had its Annual General Meeting. And what a meeting it was. If you missed it, let me fill you in.

For starters, we had five of our local vendors (Alpenfire Cider, Mountain Spirit, Bunny’s Bath, Cape Cleare, and Lamb Farm Kitchen) show up to help us play a game of “fun facts that you may not know” about each one of them as part of the drawing for two wonderful gift baskets chock full of goodies for our members in attendance.

Owen Rowe, our newest President of the Board of Directors, initiated the business part of the meeting and introduced the other members of the Board, as well as thanking our out-going President of two years, Monica le Roux, for her outstanding service to our organization. Yours truly retired from the Board as a Regular Member, to inaugurate a newly created Board position: The Emeritus Board Member.

Next, our General Manager, Kenna Eaton gave us a report on the record-breaking year we had in 2017. If you are interested in the details, please see the Annual Report here. Kenna also reported on the Patronage Dividends we will be receiving as a result of that banner year, and on what we can expect as a result of the store expansion construction project. Both of those are made possible by your support and purchases, so thank you, and keep up the good work.

After Kenna, Monica talked about the periodic update of our Strategic Plan, found here, which we worked very hard on, and I am very proud of. It will provide us clear direction moving forward into the future until we update it again in 2022. I think you will find again that it reflects our values, mission, and principles quite well, while covering a broad range of issues and areas that are critically important to what we do.

Finally, I was very happy to introduce five of our local food system “superstars” to the stage to tell us all about the amazing work they are doing to help build a strong, resilient, and local food system that will allow us to weather both natural and economic disruptions, as well as enhance our health and local economy. Those superstars are Judy Alexander, with the Jefferson County Local Food Systems Council; Amanda Milholland, working on the “Eat Local First” Campaign; Alison Hero of the Silverwater Café, working on getting local food into our local restaurants through the Farm Chef Expo; Stacey Larsen, the Director of Food Services for the Port Townsend School District; and Dave Seabrook, with the Food Bank Farm and Gardens. Should you meet any one of these great people, please give them a hearty “Thank You” for making our community the best it can be!

Well, that’s all I have to report for now. If you were not able to attend the Annual General Meeting this year, please consider coming next year. Oh, I almost forgot the most important part. There was plenty of really tasty, healthy food for everyone in attendance after all that talking was done (except that the talking continued while we were eating!)!

Thanks for reading!

You humble servant, David Wayne Johnson.

June 18th, 2018 by Andrea Stafford

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.

 

Celebrating the Past – Planning the Future

June 14th, 2018 by Andrea Stafford

Celebrating the Past – Planning the Future

Each year, the board and staff gather all of the amazing things we did and compile it into what’s known as the Annual Report. We had an amazing year in 2017 and we hope you enjoy seeing all of the progress our Co-op has accomplished. In addition to the annual report, our board and staff have also been working on our NEW revised strategic plan to help guide us into the next five years. Our Strategic Plan guides all our operational activities, laying out Ends (those things which we seek to achieve as a result of all we do) and the strategies we believe will best accomplish those Ends.
You can find both documents below.
Read, Enjoy, and remember, we are Stronger Together.
Thanks so much for being a part of our AMAZING Co-op!

General Manager’s Blog – May 2018

May 25th, 2018 by Andrea Stafford

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 publish 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.

May 2018 GM Report

Market of Choice

This month, it’s all about EXPANSION. Our ground breaking the week of April 16 went well. While a large portion of the parking lot was closed for the excavation crew that week, we quickly reopened much of that area for parking and began the actual construction work. We will continue posting updates to staff, the board, and our members as often as we can.

This month I asked the managers to share any stories they have about our expansion. Jacqui, our Wellness manager, said, “Last week a customer was concerned about the remodel of Wellness. She stated, ‘Being so close to the food is not a good idea.’ She also added that smells, especially lavender, give her headaches. I was able to show her the projected floor plan posted in the Alcove and explained that personal care will be placed in the former entrance (South Door). Our customer was so thrilled that personal care would not be adjacent to the center of the store and produce. She left happy and heard.”

Tracy, our kitchen manager, told me: “The digging in is exciting to staff and customers. During the initial start-up, I noticed everyone trying to get a glimpse of the machine at work. We have stayed steady with sales and, hopefully, this will continue once the construction starts on the inside as well.”

David, our Front End manager, passed this on: “Over the past week, several of the staff in the Front End-Member Services Desk area have had customers ask informed questions about the remodel. People seem excited, curious, and a little nervous—just like all of us. The big positive is that they are asking questions based off the informational materials we have put out. To us, this shows great success, and something we need to make sure we keep up with.”

Food System Development

Our produce manager, Laura, gave an update on the Eat Local First (ELF) campaign task force. They’ve written a mission statement: “The Eat Local First campaign strengthens Olympic Peninsula farms and producers by engaging the community through education, promotion, and access to build a diverse and vibrant local food economy.” Laura said the next steps for ELF are expanding upon the mission, reaching out to folks to be on the steering committee, and developing an overall timeline for the campaign.

The produce department at the Co-op has started carrying compostable bags (by the half-price section). Staff and volunteer members are conducting some home research to see whether or not they really do compost in home compost piles. As these bags cost us five times as much as regular plastic, to commit to using them throughout the store without knowing how well they compost seems premature. Stay tuned for updates.

Local sales have started on their yearly upswing. In addition, sales data shows that we didn’t dip as low this winter! Deb, our inventory manager, explained that the weather was better this year, so we had local greens available most of the time. Plus, in the past month, we brought in six new local items, all extensions of existing lines. How about some Mystery Bay lemon rosemary chevre on Bell St. sun dried tomato bread? We brought in nine new regional items, including Callahan’s hot sauces, and two additional gluten-free Stark Raving pizzas, made in Everett. The deli purchased 10+ cases of Nash’s purple sprouting broccoli (PSB) during February and March. We featured PSB in the deli case and the hot bar at different times during the month. We also hosted a demo (thanks to our board member Lisa and Organic Seed Alliance board member Amy), showing shoppers how tasty and easy to prepare PSB is.

We featured 27 bulk cereal and granolas on sale for 10% off during the weekend of April 6-8. Both quantity purchased and sales were up by 60% compared to the previous week.

Sustainability

We held a “Lunch and Learn” workshop in mid-April on how to reduce the use of plastics in the home. Eighteen people signed up and even more attended—28 people—this free class taught by members of the Local 20/20 Beyond Waste crew.

Education, Outreach, and Advocacy

Olympic Cooperative Network update: Worker Co-op Bootcamp classes started Tuesday, April 24, at Chimacum Grange and will run through June 26 for ten weeks. We ended up with about five groups: marine trade, Port Angles Food Coop, herb growers, and two housing groups. Eighteen people attended the first session. We’re super excited to help grow cooperatives in our region and we look forward to seeing similar workshops in the future.

Make Your Own Adobo Spice Blend

May 21st, 2018 by Andrea Stafford

Adobo – Latin American Spice Blend
Makes 1 cup

I’m keeping this one right next to my stove to put on eggs, beans, with veggies, fish or chicken….It’s versatile with a herbal sweet heat. Nice.

Toast the cumin and cool. Blend all of the spices and grind into a powder. Keep the spices in a glass jar right where you will use them. The blend will keeps for a month or two, but it’ll be gone by then.

¼ cup dried minced garlic
¼ cup dried minced onion
3 tablespoons freshly dried oregano
2 tablespoons cumin seed toasted
2 tablespoons coarse sea salt
1 ½ tablespoons white peppercorns
2 tablespoons freshly dried orange zest

2 tablespoons freshly dried lemon zest

Sido maroon – a blue dot kitchen

 

2018 Board Election Results

May 17th, 2018 by Sharon Dauenhauer

Online and paper ballots were counted Tuesday, May 15th, following the close of the election period. 371 valid ballots were cast in the election.

In 2018 two candidates ran for two available seats on the board. The two seats are for full, three-year terms. The following candidates have been elected to The Food Co-op’s Board of Directors.

Dylan Carter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3-year term (330 votes)

Juri Jennings  . . . . . . . . . . . . .  3-year term (314 votes)

 Congratulations Dylan and Juri!

2018 Candidate Profiles

The candidates were asked to respond to the following questions in their candidate statements: 1) What skills and experience will you bring to the board of The Food Co-op? 2) How would you introduce and explain The Co-op to someone else? 3) What issues and/or opportunities would you like to see The Co-op board address over the next three years?

Dylan Carter

What skills and experience will you bring to the board of The Food Co-op?
I was appointed to the board at the beginning of 2018 and have enjoyed my time immensely so far.  As an employee working for The Co-op as a point of sale technician, I want to bring my experiences from inside the organization to help improve our internal workings and learn more about how to bolster our co-op further in the long term.  I work in a wonderful atmosphere and I would like to share that with as many people as possible while simultaneously molding it to attract new members and visitors.

In my time as an interim board member, I have been serving on the governance committee, which helps the board keep functioning smoothly by writing and revising policies and procedures.  As someone who always tries to find the devil in the details, focusing on refining our principles and finding any sticky wickets in the process has led me to great satisfaction in better shaping our co-op.  With our changing world, it is important that we continue to grow, evolve and adapt to best serve our community.

 How would you introduce and explain The Co-op to someone else?
The Food Co-op has always seemed to exist on its own separate magical plane of existence.  I remember my first time walking inside and being struck by the lively colors, the lush produce and the jovial atmosphere.  People know each other and know where their food comes from (or are even on a first name basis with whoever grows it) and if they don’t and are interested in learning, staff can help to inform them at the drop of a hat.  The Co-op is tightly knit community inside the tightly knit community of Port Townsend, bound together by shared values.  I want to continue to foster these ideals as much as I can within my power.

What issues and/or opportunities would you like to see The Co-op board address over the next three years?
In the coming term, I plan first and foremost to assist in streamlining The Co-op’s biggest project at the moment: the comping expansion.  In my capacity as a board member, a member of the safety committee, and an employee, I want to keep workflow and safety as high priorities through these big changes – the fewer surprises for staff and members, the better.  Additionally, I would like to focus on more outreach to local businesses and organizations – not just to bring in new desirable products, but for outreach partnerships that will benefit both entities.

If elected, I am interested in joining our board cultivation committee.  I am a serial networker by nature and would love nothing more than to spark passion in others.  Bringing everyone to contribute their best qualities to The Co-op, be that as a member, an employee or a future board member is a noble and necessary endeavor.  I truly believe that the more we all contribute, the more community we foster, the more cooperation we undertake the more we will all receive in the long run.

Juri Jennings

What skills and experience will you bring to the board of The Food Co-op?
Organizational skills (design and management of events), biculturalism (extended periods of time in both Japan and USA) and creativity/performance arts, all being my passion.

I am a current member of the sustainability committee at Fort Worden where I work as a Sales Manager, working to implement their first recycling program.  I have humbly been on The Co-op board for a year now and would like to continue to share my passions and representing a voice for all.

How would you introduce and explain The Co-op to someone else?
You cannot not notice the beautiful display of fruits/vegetables that are at the center of The Co-op.  There is an abundance of seasonal goods displayed with care and colors that make you happy. There is a product research committee that works to identify “unacceptable ingredients list” and the “dot list.”  And then there’s all the people who are really indescribable.  There is staff that has been working at The Co-op for 26 years and some of the incorporators from 1972 are still with us!  I think that speaks a lot about The Co-op culture and the passion.

What issues and/or opportunities would you like to see The Co-op board address over the next three years?
Traditions and inclusivity.  Driving our community so that healthy food is accessible to everyone and especially the children who steer our future.  I’m also inspired by our GM Kenna’s phrase “we want to be small but mighty.”  One of my teachers in Japan once told me that you want to be like a willow tree, so agile in the wind that no storm can take it down.  But first things first, I would like to see through the expansion and make sure The Co-op remains sustainable and thriving with all of the moving parts.

 

2018 Annual General Meeting

May 16th, 2018 by Sharon Dauenhauer

Think Local, Eat Local, Love Local!

Join us for our Annual Meeting and learn the latest news about our updated Strategic Plan, expansion, and annual report.

There will be presentations by local food superstars; stellar vendor booths; enjoyment of seasonal food; and good times guarantied.  Be sure to come on time because there will be prizes!

DATE: Sunday, June 10th

TIME: 3:00pm – 5:00pm

LOCATION: JFK Building at Fort Worden, 200 Battery Way, Port Townsend

GUEST SPEAKERS:

  • Judy Alexander, Jefferson County Local Food Systems Council
  • Amanda Milholland, Eat Local First
  • Alison Hero, Farm Chef EXPO
  • Stacey Larsen, Port Townsend School District
  • Dave Seabrook, Food Bank Farm and Gardens of Jefferson County

PARTICIPATING VENDORS:

  • Midori Farm
  • Red Dog Farm
  • Alpenfire Cider
  • Mountain Spirit Herbal Co.
  • Cape Cleare Fishery
  • Short’s Family Farm
  • Bunny’s Bath
  • Lamb Farm Kitchen

General Manager’s Blog -April

April 20th, 2018 by Andrea Stafford

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 publish 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.

April 2018 GM Report

Market of Choice

It’s a GO!! We’re breaking ground to grow our store! Communications with our stakeholders (staff, board, members, and community) began rolling out March 28, announcing our plan to break ground Monday, April 16. We expect to be under construction for approximately four months while the addition is built. After that is completed, we will roll into refreshing the store interior for the next 6-9 months, depending on how it all falls into place. Updates can be found on our website (www.foodcoop.coop/expansion), on social media, and in the alcove at the store. Everyone, thanks for your patience as we negotiated all the pesky details, permitting, and financing hurdles. We aren’t done yet—but I am so glad to have your support!

Thanks to an arrangement with OGC (Organic Grown Company), we are now able to offer produce as a regular part of Co+op Basics. Co+op Basics is a group of staple products we offer at a low price every day. The National Cooperative Grocer (NCG) has negotiated special pricing for us and other co-ops in grocery, bulk coffee, non-food, personal care, chill, frozen, and meat categories. Plus we have added some of our own Basics items in most categories, including bulk and supplements (we’re up to over 200 items). Previously, we have sometimes been able to include produce items, but now we will consistently be able to offer a variety, changing them seasonally.

As we knew we would be entering into a construction project this year, we decided to switch up our Member Appreciation Days into smaller, more manageable chunks by holding short (3 day) 10% off sales in select areas of the store. The last weekend in February, we had one of these short sales on 93 of our bulk seeds and spices back in the spice corner of the Wellness Department.

Food System Development

Using micro loans from the Co-op, two of our local farms—Midori and Dharma—were able to add new greenhouses this winter, and we are super excited to see and sell the results of these investments. An in-depth story and photos are planned for the summer issue of the Commons.

In March, we brought in three new local items and four new regional items. We did not have any new local or regional vendors.

We are updating our “Local Farmer & Producer” brochure to highlight our 2017 vendors.

Building Internal Capacity

This month we hired a new manager, Jacob Genaw, the first for our growing meat and seafood department. Jacob was hired by the Co-op last year as a meat and seafood preparer. Prior to that, he worked at Key City Fish, where he learnt a lot about seafood and seafood providers. Jacob also has supervisory experience as both store and shift manager with other area businesses. We are very fortunate to have someone with Jacob’s experience and dedication to the Food Co-op joining our management team, and we look forward to using his expertise as we plan and prepare for the up-coming expansion of our meat/seafood department.

Sustainability

The Food Coop and The Port Townsend Marine Science Center are partnering on a series of workshops in May, focused on building knowledge about the sources of toxic chemicals in the home, how such chemicals are regulated, and how these toxics get into the Puget Sound, plus how to avoid exposure in your home. Attendees will create their own toxic-free personal care products and cleaning agents.

In late March, we installed a “make-up air” unit in our kitchen, which replaces any air pulled out of the kitchen through our stove hoods with fresh heated or cooled air. We had to strengthen the roof to take the weight of the new unit.

Education, Outreach, and Advocacy

The Food Co-op was a proud sponsor of the recent series, Menu for the Future, a Northwest Earth Institute (NWEI) discussion course. You could buy or borrow a copy of the workbook from us, and several Co-op members were excited to participate in this recently refreshed course on how to grow the local food economy. Over the last century, the way we grow, harvest, transport, and consume food has changed significantly, and it’s easy to overlook the impact this has on our environment. Together, participants considered food choices that are good both for them and our environment. We are also exploring the possibility of sponsoring a Jefferson County version of the NWEI’s “Drawdown EcoChallenge.” You can learn more at www.EcoChallenge.org.

Additional outreach in April will focus on sponsoring Earth Day related events, such as the annual beach clean-up, the kitchen tour, and fundraising for the cost of locally-grown meat for the PT school lunch program. We’ll give new attention to some of our current programs like Jar Savers (a way for shoppers to reuse clean jars instead of taking a new plastic container), Beans 4 Bags, and Bike Benefits (encouraging more bicycling in our community).

General Manager’s Blog – March 2018

April 3rd, 2018 by Andrea Stafford

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 publish 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.

March 2018 GM Report

Market of Choice

Staff have been hard at work thinking about how we will get our work done during the coming

construction. There are three main issues at the heart of this process: 1) How we will receive, stock, and store goods as they come into the store; 2) How we will mitigate the effect all this work will have on the parking lot; and 3) how we will communicate all of this information to staff and shoppers in a timely fashion. We’ve put together several teams to develop plans that we can put in effect as needed. While everyone knows having a plan is critical, we’re also preparing our team to be flexible and adapt as those plans inevitably change.

We will soon be changing credit card processors. One of the advantages of the new processor is that we will be able to take chip cards, AmEx, Apple Pay, and potentially, the upcoming e-WIC cards (possibly in 2019) at the register.

In the meantime, we’ve had several great demos, such as the Citrus Fest, sponsored by Organically Grown Company. Brendon O’Shea (once our Local Cultivator) was in the store for four hours sampling out all the great citrus available in winter and early spring. And in an ongoing effort to mitigate the loss of the MADay this year (due to expansion), we held a special 3-day, 10% off bulk confectionary sale prior to Valentine’s day.

Food System Development

During the last month, we gained seven new local items and 21 new regional items. We now have individually wrapped gluten-free cookies from Better Living Thru Coffee and a new vendor from Bellingham, Sea Witch Botanicals—our first order included incense and lip balms in tins.

Crop Calendars for 2018 have been finalized and sent out to our local farmers. These calendars organize who is our primary and secondary grower for all the local fruits and veggies. These calendars are the result of many meetings between our produce team and our local growers. The calendars tell us what crops to expect when and from whom, and help farmers plan their season.

In early February, we attended (and cohosted) a restaurateur/farmer meet up organized by the Jefferson County Local Food System Council. About 65 people attended this event designed to enable local restaurants and farmers to meet and discuss the whys and wherefores of using local food in their restaurants, as well as identifying first steps towards increasing farm-direct food use in Jefferson and neighboring county restaurants. There is a distinct possibility that the Co-op will be sharing versions of our crop calendars with the local restaurants to assist in their own ordering plans.

Land Works Collaborative met in December to review plans for 2018. The group will continue to have WSU as its fiscal sponsor and will meet quarterly for partner updates and to hear from potential clients. The Jefferson County Farmers Market has decided not to be a part of Land Works this year due to a lack staff time and a lack of interest from any Famers Market board member.

Building Internal Capacity

This winter we have had seven staff and two board members attend the “lean thinking” trainings held in PT and Chimacum. We are truly excited to have more staff attend these trainings, as they come back ready to help their teams find new, efficient, and effective ways to get our work done. We are also looking for different ways for these staff members to share not just their new knowledge but also the Lean-inspired projects they took on. Stay tuned!

In 2017, the Co-op board, interested member-owners, staff, and I spent a good portion of the year reviewing our existing strategic plan, measuring it against our progress over the past five years and evaluating its efficacy for the next five to seven—or even ten—years. With draft in hand, the board and the Co-op management team met in February to review our new plan, testing it against our assumptions and our reality. The three-hour meeting was filled with great conversation, great food, great work, and great results—not to mention fun!

Sustainability

The Co-op’s “green team,” SURF, conducted another audit of our dumpsters (trash) in early February. While we are still compiling and analyzing the data, anecdotal evidence (i.e., my

observations) indicates that our staff does a great job of recycling whatever can be recycled, and I am super impressed. Still, a big problem for us is what we call “contaminated paper.” These used, dirty, and/or wet paper products cannot be recycled, but they could be composted in a commercial composter, if one were available in our region. We are still pursuing this possibility with the county, but we’ve had no traction so far. If you think recycling and composting are important, you can write the county to ask them to get a commercial composter.

On Tuesday, February 20, the “grab & go” case was running a few degrees too warm. Staff noticed quickly, double checked temps, and pulled product so that there was no product loss. Adjustments were made so that the case could be reloaded the following morning. Turns out, the combination of low temperatures and low Freon due to a small leak resulted in the case not getting enough cooling. Repairs were soon made.

Education, Outreach, and Advocacy

The Product Research Committee completed their annual update to The Acceptable and Unacceptable Food Ingredients List (TAUFIL). The updated list will be available in the store and posted on our website.

New this month is the “Cooking with the Coop” club at the middle school. Sponsored by the Co-op, six local chefs are volunteering to plan and run a weekly after-school cooking program for the students at Blue Heron. We’re excited to help Stacey Larsen, Director of Food Service for the PT School District, make this dream a reality, and we’re excited to help kids learn to cook. This will be a pilot program added to the existing after-school arts and tutoring schedule. The Co-op will be covering the cost of the food and any related expenses, such as advertising and marketing.

We have also kicked off our own 2018 cooking classes (for all ages), featuring Sidonie Wilson, local chef and food arts teacher. The first class, learning to cook gluten free, was sold out with 15 attendees. In fact, we now think 15 is too many students and so will be setting the limit at 12 in future.

February GM Report

March 1st, 2018 by Andrea Stafford

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 publish 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.

February 2018 GM Report

Market of Choice

Store Expansion—While plenty of planning work is taking place, we still don’t have a firm date for breaking ground to begin construction of our new back rooms. In the meantime, we have alerted our local vendors that we probably won’t be able to have an indoor vendor alcove during construction. Vendors will still be able to sign up to use space at our north door during that time. As part of our interior remodel, the vendor alcove will be relocated but it will remain close to the bean jars (per vendors’ request). We are still unsure what date we can expect that part of the project to be finalized.

In January, we offered several special sales: 10% off our own supplement line for three days, 10% off Mountain Spirit “Kick Ass” tincture one week, and 10% off bulk beans and grains for three days.  Sales of our supplement line were up over 70% compared to the previous weekend.

Food System Development

Local eggs and meat—Laura L., our produce manager, was invited to be panelist at the Whidbey Island Growers Association’s monthly meeting in early January. There were about 35 farmers in attendance, and Laura stressed to them that we need more local egg and meat sources, especially meat once we remodel. One avenue to distribute their products could be PT’s own Key City Distributors.

Eat Local First (ELF) is working to develop a robust campaign to promote locally produced goods. ELF will no longer be a Jefferson County Local Food System Council (JCLFSC) committee because it has enough partners now to continue on its own. JCLFSC held a farmer/chef expo that included a short presentation on ELF (what it is and what we hope to accomplish). In summary, farmers are excited to see this kind of support for their work and we are excited to see what this group can accomplish.

In the last month, we brought in four new local products and seven new regional items. We’re particularly excited about Nash’s new Camelina oil, cold-pressed in Sequim from seeds grown organically by Nash.  Camelina sativa is a short-season crop in the Brassica family, well suited to our temperate climate.  The oil is high in Omega-3s and Vitamin E, with a nutty flavor and aroma as well as a high smoke point, so it is suitable for cooking as well as for salad dressings.

Building Internal Capacity

This month we welcome Jacqueline Carpenter as our new Wellness Manager. Jacqui comes to the Co-op after a 20-year career with Town and Country Markets, where her experience included time as the Health and Beauty Manager. You may recognize Jacqui from our vendors’ alcove as she’s most recently been working on her own business “Live Light,” a candle and beeswax company.

And here’s some fun staff-related data from 2017:

  • We promoted nine internal candidates to new roles or positions and hired 20 new staff.
  • We increased the number of full time staff from 66 in December 2016 to 74 in December 2017.
  • This past summer we hit 99 employees in total.
  • Currently, we receive an average of 50 applications every month from people who want to work at the Co-op.

Sustainability

In 2017, National Cooperative Grocers and this co-op added nearly 2,000 acres of old growth Amazon rainforest to lands protected under the Co+op Forest program. In addition, we contributed 1,158 tree seedlings to Finca a la Media, a new community-led project that provides training on regenerative farming methods to area farmers to help improve their soils. Altogether, Co+op Forest is now home to an estimated 1.7 million trees, sequestering over 3,500 metric tons greenhouse gases to offset the gasses associated with our business travel and NCG office utilities. The Food Co-op alone contributed funds to offset a predicted 60 tons of CO2 emissions from propane use even though we emitted only 37 tons, due to improved efficiencies.

Education, Outreach, and Advocacy

In November 2017, we alerted members who had yet to cash in their 2016 member dividends that they had until the end of the year to use them or we would donate them, per our bylaws.  As a result, we donated $4,787.67 in unclaimed dividends to our Community Fund at the Twin Pines Foundation. Monies generated by that fund are periodically given back to the Food Co-op to donate to a local organization of our choice.

Our customers purchased 1056 5-lb. boxes of satsumas in December, and we donated $1 per box to the Northwest Watershed Institute, which supports the February Plant-a-thon.  The Plant-a-thon protects our watershed while raising funds for five local school programs: OPEPO (an alternative program within PT’s public schools), Jefferson Community School, OCEAN (K-12 alternative program in PT), PI (Chimacum’s alternative program), and Swan School.  For a $5 to $10 donation, a tree is planted in the name of someone special to you. PTHS Students for Sustainability work as student leaders for the tree planting, this year helping to direct 180 volunteers, who planted 4,300 native trees and shrubs along Tarboo Creek.

Food Access—The Food Co-op is partnering in a pilot program designed  to increase accessibility to fresh produce—the Fruit/Veggie Rx program.  Doctors at Jefferson Health Care (JHC) will issue prescriptions to qualifying patients for fresh fruit and veggies at the Jefferson County Farmers Markets (JCFM) in season and at the Co-op during the winter  months. The program is slated to begin this spring, so the Co-op will become the winter alternative in 2019. Redeemed vouchers will be paid for by Jefferson Health Care during the farmers market season, and we will pay for them during the winter.

The Product Research Committee has been reviewing boycotts and boycott policies from several other co-ops.  We are also contacting Olympia for more details about their boycotts and policies.

Update on red dot (possible GMO-containing) products: While we discontinued Snyder’s gluten-free pretzels several months ago, we’ve continued to look for a GF pretzel without questionable ingredients.  We recently found Quinn GF pretzels, which are non-GMO verified, so they’re now on our shelf.  As an added bonus, they taste even better than Snyder’s!

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