Local Food Quotes: Jan. 2014

Woody Tasch“We as a society and as an economy need to start optimizing for a large number of small things, not just relying on a small number of large things.”

Woody Tasch, founder of the Slow Money Alliance,
a new nonprofit that is raising money to support local food ventures.

Why NFC is Moving to an “€œEvery Other Week”€ Schedule

The Nebraska Food Coop is growing, plain and simple. That’s great news! And that means more opportunities for both customers and producers.

Most shoppers prefer to purchase food more frequently than just monthly. As the local food movement grows, conscientious shoppers prefer more options on a more frequent basis. With NFC’s commitment to an “every other week”€ cycle, more consistent buying habits will follow.

Just think! You now only have to remember that every Sunday is an order day…by 6 pm, of course!

Running a four-week cycle, NFC found that an increasing number of orders often maxed out the delivery truck’s capacity, which caused additional juggling of product in and out of the truck.

By going to an “every other week”€ cycle, the delivery driver doesn’t have to go through needless and time-consuming gyrations to get all of the products to fit and properly sorted into the appropriate pick-up site containers. So logistically, it makes better sense to open up a second cycle in a given month so that products can be properly sorted and stored until the driver reaches the appropriate pick-up/delivery site.

Once we move into the vegetable season, it gets even more complicated. Perishables typically don’t keep so well for a month at a time, especially those delicious cucumbers!

chicken
Think about it…..

Likewise, laying hens don’t have on and off switches. And customers typically don’t like eggs that have a pick date older than two or three weeks.

So by increasing the frequency of deliveries, you are reaping the benefits of fresher produce, eggs, and fewer number of lost products!

Shopping NFC every other week also reduces stress. How so, you may wonder? To determine all of your shopping needs a full month ahead can be stressful. You never know when you need to plan that special meal to impress someone, and you might not have a whole month to plan ahead. By opening up the cycle to every other week, one only has to plan for two weeks instead of four weeks at a time.

More and more of our vegetable producers are not raising produce as a hobby… it is their livelihood. Timely harvesting – for the freshest possible fruits and vegetables -€“ requires frequent cycles. Unlike the grocery store where produce is maintained via ethylene inhibitors for months, NFC farmers know that you want your tomatoes, cantaloupes, zucchini, etc, as fresh from the ground as possible.

Mixed Veggies
Fresh from the farm

Many NFC vegetable producers have invested in greenhouses and hothouses to extend their growing season and meet the increasing demand. This means that NFC producers may have local produce available before area farmers markets ramp up in May. What a boon for NFC customers!

NFC has been blessed with our current delivery driver, Kevin. As tight as the job market is these days, how can NFC ask our driver to commit to driving only one week out of a month? NFC needs to maintain enough job stability so that the products you ordered are assured of being properly delivered in a timely fashion on a consistent basis.

As NFC grows through increased volume for both the coop and our family of producers, we will eventually be able to offer discounts for certain products. But until then, we continue to expand our market of producers in order to meet the new demand for emerging farm-to-customer activities. Two new initiatives that are taking shape are the farm-to-chef and the farm-to-schools opportunities. More information will be forthcoming soon about these programs as they are just getting off the ground.

Look forward to more news about our growing cooperative that you helped us grow with every single local product that you ordered. So thank you, for your continued support of the Nebraska Food Cooperative.

NEW! Announcing a Two-Week Cycle for 2014!

NFC is starting the new year in DOUBLE time…that is, delivery days now occur every other week.

Jan/Feb Cycle
January and February 2014 Cycle

Doubling the delivery opportunities will help not only the producers get more product to you more often, but come summer and fall, vegetable producers will get it to you fresher!

Some delivery sites will sometimes choose alternate schedules, so be sure to verify with your site coordinator that your delivery site is open for both monthly cycles.

If your particular site decides to take a cycle off, don’t worry.  You can still order, but you will need to select another delivery site for that cycle.

Just refer to the Select Locations to find an alternate delivery site. Likewise, any producer may opt to only provide products one cycle per month so be sure to check product offerings during both cycles in a given month.

Note: BELV1 will only be open for pick-ups on January 23, February 20, March 20, April 3, and April 17 for the first quarter of 2014.

Delivering NFC Products

Customer service.  That’s the name of the game.

Kevin
Kevin, NFC’s driver

And Kevin, NFC’s truck driver, is definitely steeped in providing superior customer service.

NFC Producer Route
NFC Producer Route: Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday

Kevin dedicates four and a half very full days to picking up products from producers in 16 towns, sorting each item into its respective delivery site bin, and delivering products to each of the 23 customer sites in 11 cities and towns across eastern Nebraska for each cycle.

 

 

NFC Delivery Route
NFC Delivery Route: Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday

NFC knows that without the dedication and attention to detail that Kevin provides many products would be incorrectly sorted.  But, Kevin is keen on getting it right the first time.

So when you see Kevin on his very long route, give him a friendly nod of appreciation.

How Much is Too Much for Eggs?

So how do you decide if you are paying too much for eggs? Let’s first take a quick look at the differences between conventional and farm-raised eggs.

Then, once you read the linked true-to-farm reprint So You Want to be a Chicken Farmer? about raising chickens and its follow-on comments, you’ll completely understand about the heartbreaks, sacrifices, and hard work that goes into providing healthy, nutritious, farm-raised eggs.

I’m sure you have heard that conventional hens are raised in enormous confinement houses in tiny battery cages with only about a half square foot of space each and are fed genetically modified grain that contains antibiotics.

There is little-to-no human contact and the lifespan of these hens are just about one year before their egg-laying productivity peak is reached.

Eggs
Fresh from the nest

Conversely, hens raised on a family farm have a much more humane and much longer life. Most, if not all, of the NFC chicken farms operate on a free-ranging or pasture-raised basis.

Farmers get to know their chickens and happy layers produce eggs for up to ten years. Being fed grain that is GMO-free, antibiotic-free, and organic is the standard fare that most chickens enjoy.

Pasture-raised eggs have 50% more folic acid, 70% more B12, higher levels of Omega-3 and Vitamin E. The result? Healthy, nutritious eggs with orange yolks that are more firm with an amazing rich flavor from very happy hens.