__MAIN_TEXT__

Page 1

Co operator THE

Volume 28 : Issue 5 • September & October

-

FREE!

Pittsburgh Growers Co-op helps urban farmers THRIVE Page 4

Strengthening the future of sustainable agriculture in PA Page 6

Becoming a Preservationist Page 8


GM REPORT By Justin Pizzella, General Manager

Board of Directors Eddy Jones, President Dirk Kalp, Vice President Amit Shah, Treasurer Andrew Ritchie, Secretary Patrick McHale William Warnock Brynn Yochim The board meets the third Monday of each month.

Management Team

General Manager: Justin Pizzella Human Resources: Jen Girty Finance: Shawn McCullough Marketing & Member Services: Kate Safin IT: Erin Myers Grocery: Maura Holliday Café: Amber Pertz Front End: eric cressley Produce: Evan Diamond

The Co-operator

Editor: Kate Safin Copy Editor: Mike Eaton Contributors: Erica Peiffer Design: Molly Palmer Masood Printer: Banksville Express Printed with vegetable-based inks on recycled paper. The Co-operator is a bi-monthly publication of East End Food Co-op. Copies are available in the lobby of the store and online at www.eastendfood.coop.

Interested in Advertising?

Please contact: editor@eastendfood.coop or call 412.242.3598 ext. 142. Opinions expressed are the writers’ own and do not necessarily reflect Co-op policy. The East End Food Co-op does not endorse the views or products of the advertisers in this newsletter.

Autumn is my favorite time of year. The harvest from local farms is coming in, and our store is full of such great color. It is also a reminder of our commitment to local – not just to the products we source and sell, but also to keeping as much of the expenditures of the business as local as possible. We define local items as anything that meets our product guidelines and is grown or produced within 250 miles of the Co-op. We also include any Pennsylvania– produced items in the definition, too. It is by a certain necessity that this defined region is so large. Pennsylvania’s agriculture production varies due to the geography of the state and is historically diversified and done on a subsistence basis. Today, most Southwestern Pennsylvania farms are small and diversified. Since 2011, the Co-op’s percentage of local products sold has grown from about 12% (on $7.5 million in sales) to approximately 28% (on $11.5 million in sales). This growth is attributable to several variables. First and foremost, it is a true commitment to local. We focus on sourcing local items as much as possible within our product guidelines, prioritizing local vendors and ensuring they are paid fairly. We are willing to try new products even before they have gained traction in the marketplace. Next, we have made changes to our internal systems. One of the most significant changes was the introduction of our local grower program several years ago in our Produce Department. This program starts in the winter, when we meet with our existing farm partners and prospective new ones to talk about what worked in the past season, what we expect to buy in the upcoming season, and ideally find potential sources for “wish list” items (products that we do not source locally now but would like to). As we have become more deliberate in our planning and sourcing of local products, the potential suppliers of these products has also grown. It is encouraging to see many new producers on our shelves. And these producers are not just distributing locally; many are gaining national distribution! 2 - The Co-operator


Our focus on local is not just in the sourcing of products. We use local vendors for our other needs whenever possible. In the last year, over 70% of the total expenses of the Co-op stayed local. That is over $8 million and includes all the products we source, our direct wages, many of our benefits,

our direct facility costs, plus the myriad of vendors we rely on to run our store properly. In the coming year, we are focusing on increasing the percentage of local sales. Even with our seasonal constraints, our target is to get to 35% of our total sales from local goods by this time next year!

BOARD REPORT The Co-op’s Board of Directors seated five new members in February. We have been working hard over the past few months to acclimate to our roles and carry out our governance responsibilities which include oversight of the general manager, financial oversight of the Co-op, engagement with members, board perpetuation and elections, and creating a long-term vision for the Co-op.

election each year, with each seat serving a three-year term. One of the benefits of membership is the opportunity to participate in the democratic process and vote in the board elections. Membership entitles you to one vote per membership. We strongly encourage members to cast their vote.

Several board members participated in the member drive in July. The opportunity to talk with scores of shoppers was energizing. Staff worked hard to organize the member drive, which resulted in 83 new members joining the Co-op between July 15-23.

There are several additional work streams underway that the board is actively involved in. These include oversight of our annual audit, discussing ways to measure and communicate how we achieve our Ends, and planning and preparing for the publication of an annual report.

Many members, old or new, may not know there is an election process that takes place every year. Three seats are up for

We look forward to keeping in touch and communicating about our progress in the months ahead.

Staff Celebrations

Stay Connected

Congratulations to the following staff members, who were elected by their peers as Employees of the Month.

Subscribe to our e-news and stay up-to-date on all the Co-op news and specials taking place in between the publication of our bi-monthly newsletter.

JULY

You can subscribe by clicking the link on the homepage of our website or by emailing a request to join to editor@eastendfood.coop.

Jared Evanoski (Café) & Abby Watt (Café)

AUGUST

Washington TheHaron Co-operator -3

(Grocery)

Show how much you “LIKE” us and follow EEFC online!


Pittsburgh Growers Co-op initiative helps urban farmers

Thrive by Nicolette Spudic, Pittsburgh Food Policy Council The Pittsburgh Food Policy Council (PFPC) and its Urban Agriculture Working Group (UAWG) teamed up with Grow Pittsburgh to create the Pittsburgh Growers Cooperative (PGC). Their pilot season launched this summer with be.wild.er Farm, Hazelwood Farms, Shiloh Farm (Grow Pittsburgh) and Rescue Street Farms. The Pittsburgh Growers Cooperative provides resources needed by Pittsburgh urban farmers—including sales, distribution, and marketing services—so farmers can focus on meeting the quantity, consistency, and quality standards that purchasers require. Due to their lack of space or limited resources, a significant problem urban growers face is the inability to produce the volume of crops necessary to provide their customers with product consistently. Urban farmers have more opportunities to thrive by pulling resources and working together in a cooperative model to meet the needs of the market. The PGC steering committee formed in fall 2015 and received support from New Sun Rising and Idea Foundry to explore how to make the growers Co-op a reality. After the successful completion of the 2017 pilot season, more growers will join the Cooperative including Black Urban Gardeners and Farmers Co-op (BUGS).

Steering committee member and PFPC Urban Agriculture Working Group Coordinator Karlin Lamberto sees the PGC providing tools critical to the success of farming businesses. “It’s exciting to see young farmers rethinking the rules around what it means to be farmers and engaging in broad collaboration to create a system that works for smaller—scale urban growers,” she says. About the Pittsburgh Food Policy Council and the Urban Agriculture Working Group The Pittsburgh Food Policy Council began in 2009 as a way to coordinate stakeholders and assist them in their efforts to catalyze change in the Pittsburgh regional food system. They work to build a food system that benefits the Pittsburgh economy and environment in ways that are just, equitable, and sustainable. In 2016, the Urban Agriculture Working Group (UAWG) identified four quarterly meeting topics for 2017: soil contamination and remediation, land tenure, compost, and economic opportunities for urban agriculture practitioners. They hold community meetings to discuss these issues and provide support to Council members and the gardening and farming community as a whole. To further support these priorities, the UAWG has participated in Pittsburgh Land Bank Policies & Procedures development, the proposed Urban 4 - The Co-operator


Ag Act of 2016 (for inclusion in the 2018 Farm Bill), and the PA Department of Environmental Protection Environmental Justice listening tour in Pittsburgh. Get involved! PFPC and the UAWG invite all those interested in becoming a part of the urban agriculture conversation to join the Working Group Listserv or attend our next meeting on September 12th from 9 am -11 am at the Energy Innovation Center (1435 Bedford Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15219). The UAWG also holds quarterly community meetings throughout Pittsburgh. The next community meeting will focus on composting and is scheduled for September 13th from 6 pm - 8 pm at the Kingsley Association (6435 Frankstown Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15206). Interested in becoming a supporting member of the PFPC? Visit www.PittsburghFoodPolicyCouncil.org for more information. To learn more about the PGC, visit: sites.google.com/ growpittsburgh.org/pgh-growers-coop/ Nicolette Spudic is the program assistant at the Pittsburgh Food Policy Council, where she provides administrative support to PFPC staff. She also owns Pick Your Poison Consulting, a company focused on providing brand development and start-up services to food-based businesses throughout the country. The Co-operator - 5


Strengthening sustainable agricult by Dan Dalton, Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture The Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) is one of the largest and most active sustainable agriculture organizations in the United States. PASA is a diverse network of growers, businesses and consumers that facilitates and enables viable farming systems through innovative farming-tofarmer exchange, farm based research, and farmer training and development. Through our SOIL Institute education programs, PASA seeks to promote profitable farms that produce healthy food for all people. Farmer-to-Farmer Exchange Throughout the year, PASA hosts events across the state with the support of our farming partners and expert collaborators. In the past year, we have offered 36 events with a total attendance of 748 people. These events offer the agricultural community an opportunity to gather experiential knowledge on a wide range of topics and interests and learn concrete skills to improve their farms and gardens in a meaningful way. Recent topics have ranged from “Grazing Management in a Changing Climate” to “Small-scale Biogas Systems for Farm and Homestead” to “High Tunnel Raspberry Production”. Farm-based Research PASA embraces an expansive concept of sustainable agriculture that focuses on measurable outcomes, rather than a prescriptive set of practices. Through our Farm-Based Research programs, we work with our farmer members to quantify meaningful sustainability indicators and establish benchmarks for the range of

typical and possible outcomes. At the same time, PASA uses this data to communicate the positive impacts our farmers have on their communities and environment to a broad audience of customers and stakeholders. Through this cycle of research, education, and outreach, our farmers will improve their operations while growing public support for a sustainable food system. Soil Health Benchmark Study Soil health is the foundation of the farm ecosystem, but farmers need a clear understanding of the status of their soil resources to improve for the future. PASA began conducting research focusing on organic vegetable farms because they represent a significant segment of PASA’s farmer membership. Data from the 12 participating farms provide a snapshot of what is possible for soil health on diversified organic vegetable farms in Pennsylvania. We found that, on average, those PASA farmers: • Grew soil organic matter levels 2.3 times higher than expected for their soil type. • Maintained living vegetative cover on the their fields an average of 225 days. A conventional corn/soybean rotation in Pennsylvania provides only 156 days of cover. • Showed average scores of 70, an “excellent” rating in the Cornell Comprehensive Assessment, which combines 12 different metrics into a 0-100 scale. Pastured Livestock Productivity Pastured livestock can offer many benefits 6 - The Co-operator


the future of ture in PENNSYLVANIA for the environment, animal health, and family farms, but critics often argue that this style of animal husbandry is too inefficient. PASA board member Brooks Miller of North Mountain Pastures sought to find out. He tabulated numbers on meat yield, feed purchases, and grazing plans to calculate the meat output on his farm, totaling over 400 pounds per acre. Based on these initial findings, PASA identified a population of farms to share records on meat production to analyze and potentially identify ideas for improving efficiencies and to assess the potential to expand pastured livestock farms as a bigger piece of our food system. Drilling down into the data, we see huge opportunities for improving resource efficiency. For instance, looking at the feed conversion of pastured pigs, we see a range from 5.2 to 13.5 pounds of feed per pound of meat. Future workshops and field days building on this project will use this data to drive conversations among farmers about best management practices and goals to improve land and feed efficiency. Farmer Training and Cultivation Cultivating the next generation of farmers is crucial to advancing sustainable agriculture. With the increasing cost of land, equipment, and other capital, it is essential that new farmers be trained sufficiently to improve their odds of success. To these ends, PASA has taken on two farmer training programs—the Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship (DGA) and the Diversified Vegetable Apprenticeship (DVA). The Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship is a program brought to Pennsylvania by PASA from Wisconsin. It is a federally The Co-operator - 7

registered, formalized apprenticeship for those pursuing a career as a grazing dairy manager. The program lasts two years and is composed of on-the-job, as well as outside training and support, all while earning a progressive wage. Successful apprentices complete DGA with the skills necessary to start their own operation or to manage an operation for one of our many aging farmers. The Diversified Vegetable Apprenticeship is currently in development by PASA staff with the goal of being piloted in 2018. Like the Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship, the DVA will be a registered, formalized apprenticeship that gives participants the opportunity to “earn as you learn” the skills necessary to be a successful diversified vegetable farmer. The program will last 18 months and, like the DGA, will offer on-the-job training, outside training, a progressive wage, and third—party support to both host farms and to apprentices. PASA is constantly striving to make connections between our areas of work. The results of our farm-based research provide the framework for upcomings events, while the needs of current and developing farmers help to drive our research and training programs. With this approach, we seek to strengthen the future of sustainable agriculture in Pennsylvania. Dan joined PASA in October 2016 as the Three Rivers Sustainability Hub Manager. He is responsible for educational programming, member outreach, and research coordination in Western Pennsylvania.


Becoming a

Preservationist By Trevett Hooper

As interest in local produce has increased over the years, so has people’s interest in preserving foods. It’s a natural step for anyone who values the connection to local foods in the summer to want to extend that connection to the winter when local options are limited. Talk to anyone who preserves food, and they’ll likely tell you that food preservation is easy. And it is! But someone new to food preservation may find something mysterious about putting food into jars and crocks. Add in concerns about food safety (which are often unwarranted) and the budding food preservationist can easily become discouraged. In hopes of inspiring those on the cusp of food preservation to take their first steps, I asked three experienced food preservationists from Pittsburgh to offer some simple, encouraging advice for the beginner and added a piece of advice of my own. Consider Freezing Susanna Meyer, field manager at Rivendale Farms and author of Saving the Seasons: How to Can, Freeze or Dry Almost Anything, recommends beginning with your freezer. “Most people I talk to are really worried about food safety, so I suggest freezing to start out,” she says. While freezing may not conjure up the same quaint images of colorful jars of pickles

and jams in your grandparents’ pantry, it’s a very easy method of preservation with a very low barrier of entry. Most of us have a freezer in our homes and experience freezing stuff. If you are capable of freezing leftover soup, there is no reason why you can’t freeze homemade stewed tomatoes or apple butter. Fermentation without complication Fermentation is another method of preservation with a relatively low barrier to entry, as it doesn’t really require any specific equipment other than a vegetable, salt, and a container. Fermentation is made possible by the actions of beneficial bacterial. Which convert natural sugars in foods, allowing them to resist spoilage at cool temperatures. Unlike popping something in the freezer, the process of salting and weighing down vegetables is one many folks are unfamiliar with, and may require some learning about. For those new to fermentation, Justin Lubeki of Ferment Pittsburgh cautions; “A lot of online resources seem to be providing misleading information and strict rules.” He recommends keeping things simple and letting intuition and personal preference be your guide. In terms of food safety, don’t worry too much about “incubating a nightmare.” (continues on page 11) 8 - The Co-operator


Freezer Tomatoes

Easy Quick-Pickled Beets

Pectin—FREE Strawberry Jam

HOMEMADE SAUERKRAUT


Ingredients

• 1 pound beets, 2 1/2 inch diameter • 1 small white onion, slivered • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar • 1 teaspoon salt • 1/4 cup sugar • 1/2 cup water • 2 1-quart canning jars with lids • 1 teaspoon each whole cloves, whole allspice, a couple of bay leaves, optional

Preparation 1. Scrub the beets and place in a large pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Boil the beets until they are tender when pierced with a paring knife,

Ingredients

about 25 minutes. 2. Drain, and run cold water over each beet, slipping the skins off and paring off the tops and root tips. Let the beets stand until cool enough to slice. Thinly slice beets, then pack into the two 1-quart canning jars, alternating with sliced onions. 3. In a 1-quart nonreactive pot, combine the vinegar, salt, sugar and water. Add optional spices, if desired. Bring to a boil over high heat, then pour the liquid over the beets in the jars. Screw the lids on the jars tightly, then refrigerate for 4-7 days before serving.

Ingredients

top of the jar. Note:

Ingredients

• 1 Medium Head of Cabbage • 1-3 Tbsp. sea salt

Do not use copper,

INSTRUCTIONS

fermenting cabbage.

1. Chop or shred clean

grade plastic are best.

cabbage. Sprinkle with salt. 2. Knead the cabbage with clean hands, or pound with a potato masher for about 10 minutes to create liquid from the cabbage’s natural juices. 3. Stuff the cabbage into a quart jar or crock, pressing the cabbage underneath the liquid. If necessary, add a bit

iron, or galvanized metal containers for A crock, glass or food4. Cover the jar with a tight lid, cheesecloth, or coffee filter secured with a rubber band. 5. Culture at room temperature (6070°F is preferred) for at least 2 weeks. If using a tight lid, open to release excess pressure daily. 6. Once the sauerkraut

of water to completely

is finished, seal with a

cover cabbage. Leave

tight lid and move to

a few inches at the

cold storage.

• Fresh tomatoes • Freezer-safe bags or containers

Preparation To ensure tomatoes freeze as quickly and evenly as possible, put tomatoes in a single layer on a baking tray and place them in the freezer for a few hours to freeze through, then transfer them into freezer-safe bags.

USE Use frozen tomatoes in any recipe that cooks fresh tomatoes like sauces, soups, chili, and stews. Note: the skins from frozen tomatoes will slip off very easily when thawed.

• 2 lbs Strawberries • ½ lb Brown Sugar • 1 ½ Lemon

Preparation

1. Wash, drain and hull strawberries. Cut them into small pieces. 2. Place a saucer in your fridge. 3. Place strawberries in a large pot over medium heat. Stir vigorously for 5 minutes until they become mushy. 4. Add sugar and lemon juice. Cook until the jam has thickened (3035 minutes), stirring regularly (don’t leave the pot unattended). 5. Take the saucer out of the fridge. Spoon some jam onto it. Let it cool down then make

a line through the jam using your finger. If the jam fills the space (the drawn line) then you need to cook it longer. If it doesn’t, you are ready to fill your jars. 6. Pour or spoon jam into sterilized jars leaving about 1/2 inch free space from the top. Seal with lids and turn upside down. 7. After 30 minutes, turn the jars back and check the lids to see if they are properly sealed. If you tap/push down the lid, it shouldn’t pop up and down. If it does, it is not air-tight. If this happens to you, simply put the jars in your fridge and eat the jam within a week. The rest of the jars will last several weeks.


(continued from page 8) According to Justin, fermentation is, “almost always one of the surest bets in safe preservation.” Learn from a friend Virginia Phillips, President of Slow Food Pittsburgh, suggests that the aspiring preservationist do projects with someone with experience, or attend a class or workshop. “It’s one thing to follow a recipe from a book,” she says, “but the actual doing is a little like getting a feel for pie crust or bread.” Virginia says it shouldn’t be hard to convince an experienced preservationist to let you tag along.

experienced preservationist and you may find yourself asking: “Is that all there is to it?” Find Your Bible(s) Though I’m quite an experienced food preservationist myself, I still find it indispensable to have sound information on the basics at my fingertips, especially since many of the preserves I make, I make only once a year. Saving the Seasons by Mary Clemens Meyer and Susanna Meyer offers a fantastic overview of canning, freezing and drying. Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz gives a thorough and concise overview of the fundamentals of fermentation, along with clear, easy-to-follow recipes. Though I’ve never used it myself, a lot of people swear by the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving for canning.

“Sociability makes the time fly, and you both end up with lots of jars,” she says. Canning, for instance, takes a lot of work, and the more hands, the better.

Whatever “bibles” you choose to work with should include clear and easy-to-understand information about basic technique. Be wary of anything that seems too difficult or fancy if you’re just starting out. As Justin says, “there’s no reason to over-complicate it.”

Learning from a friend can also rapidly demystify things. Techniques that require paragraphs to explain in writing can take just a few moments to demonstrate in person. Do a preservation project with an

For more information about preservation, including workshops, classes, and meet-ups, visit: www.fermentpittsburgh.com & www.slowfoodpgh.com

PITTSBURGH urban farm tour Saturday, September 30th from 1 - 6 PM

Tickets & info: pasafarming.org/eventS Presented by East End Food Co-op. & Pittsburgh FOod Policy COUnCil. PROCEEDS BENEFIT PASA.

The Co-operator - 11


THE

MEET Owner By Erica Peiffer, Member Services Coordinator Where do you live and how often do you visit our store? I live in Murrysville, and I come to the Co-op once a week. What motivated you to start shopping at the Co-op? My chiropractor talked about the Co-op all the time, so I stopped in one day and liked what I found. The prices on the bulk items were so affordable. What are some of your favorite things to get from the Co-op? I get all my spices here, from the bulk section, because they are cheaper that way and I only need to buy the amount that I need. They are really good spices too! If you could change one thing about the Co-op, what would it be? Closer to home! What’s different about the Co-op compared to other grocery stores? The people, the atmosphere – it’s a smaller store, and yet there is more variety of products that I can’t find elsewhere. How would you describe your lifestyle and how does the Co-op fit in? I spend a lot of time teaching dance. I try to live a healthy and well-rounded lifestyle. The food choices here really help me to do that. I also like to support local places, and local people, and the Coop carries a lot of local products, so they are easy to find here.

25%

OFF one item

Amiee V. Member Since 2012

GET OUT AND VOTE FOR THE Board of directors When? September 1st through 9 PM EDT Sunday, October 8th How? Online at voting.eastendfood.coop or in the store at Customer Service For more info visit: www.eastendfood.coop/board-of-directors

5820 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh M, W, F–Sat 10–6; Tue, Thu 10–8 412-421-2160 tenthousandvillages.com/pittsburgh

with this coupon

Use this logo for reductions only, do not print magenta. Offer valid at participating stores 10/31/2017. Not print valid with other Magentauntil indicates clear area, nothing should in offers or discounts, purchasethis ofarea. gift cards, Oriental rugs, Traveler’s Finds Do not reduce more than 20%. Color, PMS 1805 or consumables. One coupon per store per customer.

1002850

12- The Co-operator


SEPTEMBER Register Round Up PASA works to improve the environmental soundness, social responsibility, and economic viability of food and farming systems in Pennsylvania and beyond. PASA’s work benefits new and experienced farmers, food businesses, and community members across Pennsylvania. Register Round Up funds will support PASA’s education and outreach efforts including their Strategic Outreach for Innovation and Leadership (SOIL) and advocacy for reforms to the Farm Bill, updates to the Food Safety Modernization Act, mandatory GMO labeling, and a moratorium on natural gas fracking until farms and the environment are protected.

www.pasafarming.org

OCTOBER Register Round Up Let’s Move Pittsburgh, a collaborative program of Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, provides Southwestern Pennsylvania’s children and their caregivers with the knowledge, tools and support needed to make nutritious food choices and lead active lifestyles. Let’s Move Pittsburgh is a program that helps kids practice healthy lifestyles. Register Round Up funds will be used to make school environments healthier for kids through projects like school gardens, cooking clubs, playground makeovers and more. Let’s Move Pittsburgh serves Allegheny County with concentrated efforts in Pittsburgh. Their “5-2-1-0” initiative targets Homewood, Hazelwood, East End and McKees Rocks.

letsmovepittsburgh.org

If you’d like to support these organizations and their missions, be sure to tell your Co-op cashier to round up your total to the nearest dollar. Want to give more? Just let your cashier know. The Co-operator - 13


A tour of

California’s farm belt by Evan Diamond, East End Food Co-op Four Seasons Produce is a leader in both conventional and organic produce distribution. For the last 17 years, their vice president of business development, Wendell Hahn, has brought groups of 10 to 15 people to California’s Central Valley region as an opportunity for their customers to see and talk to growers. I was honored to represent the East End Food Co-op this year on a five-day tour that spanned 200 miles and covered 10 farms and facilities from Bakersfield to Monterey, plus a quick stop at King’s Canyon and Pebble Beach. California supplies almost half of our nation’s produce, and I spent a lot of time on the tour observing the differences between organic versus conventional farming. I heard everything from, “doesn’t all organic food have to be flown in from Chile” to “only conventional farming can feed the world.” Working at the East End Food Co-op, I focus on local and organically-grown produce.

It’s easy to forget these values aren’t upheld by a majority of Americans. I am used to working directly with our farmers, many of whom manage a few diverse acres of farmland. One day in California, as I stood among thousands of acres of grapes at the Dulcich family “small operation” farm, I knew my understanding of industrial agriculture was about to be turned on its head. At Lakeside Organics, a one thousand acre operation in the Salinas Valley, we stood in front of a field of organic spinach and heard from their pest manager about his program of reintroducing gallons of ladybugs into their fields and companion planting crops with alyssum to attract beneficial native flies. Lakeside Organics was visibly restoring the land. Family Tree Farm, on the other hand, extolled the virtues of conventional farming. They even teach a three-day course that, among other things, preaches this ideology. Family Tree owns and leases property in several states around the country and more recently has taken up land acquisition in Mexico and Peru for blueberry production. While they run their tens of thousands of mainly conventional fruit orchards, they believe strongly that running a tractor once a season to spraykill weeds is far superior to the organic methodology of running tractors every other week with weeding attachments. I contemplated the tradeoffs between burning diesel and spraying herbicides. Huge entities farm much of California’s produce using conventional techniques. Large organic farms approach production 14 - The Co-operator


in the same way as conventional operations, just with different inputs at higher frequency rates. I can start to appreciate why some Americans aren’t clear about the value of organic produce, given the issues with production at this scale. What all the farmers shared, whether their approach was conventional or organic, is their care and passion for their operations and what they grow. Cut-to-cool times (the amount of time between harvest and refrigeration) are taken very seriously, as is minimizing how many hands touch the produce before it gets to the consumer. Dole’s celery operation, for instance, is completely packaged in cases in their fields. Two people touch the celery and it is guaranteed in a cooler within four hours. These folks believe in their products and the reality is that we haven’t figured out a scalable alternative to growing produce in this particular semi-arid part of the country. Despite some of the hesitation I heard on my tour of California, the reality is there is growing interest in organics by the American consumer, and they demand a wide selection of fruits and vegetables all year long. If 52 million organic strawberry plants per year in one small section of Driscoll’s organic strawberry fields can’t come close to keeping up with demand, there’s a larger issue at play. We can either dramatically alter our food culture or look to entrepreneurial farmers to figure out ways of meeting our demands. As some of these thoughts begin to clarify, I realize I’m standing in a 20,000 squarefoot cooler at 11 am. It’s 34 degrees, and I’m surrounded by 6 million pounds of processed vegetables, mostly cut spinach and spring mix, watching a robot arm pack 180 boxes of salad per minute. What is even crazier is that 85% of what I’m seeing in this warehouse will be on a truck headed out of California by 2 am. So, while I know it won’t be long until I buy another one— pound box of Olivia’s Organic spring mix, boy am I excited to buy my next head of local, organically grown lettuce that only traveled an hour from a small-operation farm outside of Pittsburgh to my co-op. The Co-operator - 15


7516 Meade Street Pittsburgh, PA 15208 Phone: 412.242.3598 www.eastendfood.coop

Event Calendar

September & October

Pittsburgh Urban Farm Tour

Saturday, September 30th, 1 PM – 6 PM East End Food Co-op (EEFC) and the Pittsburgh Food Policy Council (PFPC) $10 bike/$25 car This self-guided tour provides a unique opportunity to connect with food, farmers, and the promise that sustainable agriculture holds for the future. Proceeds benefit PASA in their mission to support farms across our region while shining the spotlight on exemplary urban agriculture developments across the City. Tickets available at: www.pasafarming.org/events

Co-op Orientation

Sunday, October 8, 1 PM – 2 PM Erica Peiffer, Member Services POWER/EEFC Conference Room FREE – Please RSVP Orientations ensure our members feel completely comfortable using our store and participating in our Co-op. They provide an opportunity to ask questions, meet other members and staff, review member benefits, and learn more about the cooperative business model. Curious about membership? Non-members welcome! RSVP by calling 412-242-3598 or email epeiffer@eastendfood.coop.

Proactive Health & Wellness

Wednesday, October 4, 7-8 PM Dr. Dan Turo, Turo Family Chiropractic EEFC Café Seating Area FREE – Please RSVP

10%* off wellness AND body care The first Wednesday of every month

In this free Wellness Wednesday lecture, Dr. Dan Turo will share proactive health strategies including stretching, nutrition, and whole body care that will help you maintain your overall wellbeing and avoid preventable health challenges. Handouts and self-assessment health surveys will be provided throughout presentation.

WELLNESS Wednesday

Medical Marijuana in PA

*No additional discounts or sales may be stacked with this offer

Sunday, October 15th, 1PM – 2:30 PM Dr. Leigh Winston, Rotivo Healthcare POWER/EEFC Conference Room FREE – Please RSVP The Pennsylvania Department of Health is in the process of implementing the state’s Medical Marijuana Program, which will provide access to medical marijuana for patients with a serious medical condition by the end of the year. In this talk, Dr. Leigh Winston will discuss the basics of marijuana as a legitimate medicine, including general uses and benefits, delivery methods, and potential side effects and drug interactions. She’ll also cover the specifics of PA law, such as who will be legally eligible, how to get certified for use, and which forms of marijuana will be made available.

RSVP Online at eastendfoodcoop.eventbrite.com. Dates subject to change.

Senior Discount Days

(5% courtesy discount for 62+) Every Tuesday & Thursday

quarterly discount

Members, be sure to use your 10% quarterly discount by Sept. 30th!

Profile for The East End Food Co-op

September & October 2017 Edition of The Co-operator  

September & October 2017 Edition of The Co-operator  

Advertisement