Six Hidden Reasons To Join A Food Coop

By Susan McBrine

When considering joining a Food Cooperative (Coop), the obvious reasons come to mind: fresh, direct-from-the-farm produce that is bursting with the season’s goodness. But there are other “hidden” advantages to joining. The following are just a few reasons you may not have considered!

1. The Food Coop Workout
Anyone who has ever volunteered to work a Coop will tell you to show up with sleeves rolled and your good shoes at home. You will spend your time lifting, stretching, pulling, dragging and lugging crates, sacks, and boxes in all sorts of weather conditions. Erecting and collapsing those tents beats any 20-minute workout! You emerge, sore but victorious, knowing that you’ve “done your bit”.

2. Sharpening Your Math Skills
Quick! How many ounces in “two pounds, four ounces of carefully weighed heirloom tomatoes”? How many tomatoes make two pounds? How do I balance this scale? How many people are waiting behind me while I try to do the math? Continue reading

It’s Time for Callaloo!

It’s not just fun to say, Callaloo is a leafy green, mineral rich staple in the Carribean diet. While there are many variations from region to region, the ingredients always contain a big leafy green similar in appearance to Kale, onions, scallions, and coconut milk. The ‘name’ of the vegetable is sometimes itself referred to as Callaloo but can be amaranth or taro.Try this variation below for a delicious Jamaican style Callaloo. If you already used up the callaloo, you can substitute greens, like sweet potato or “Asian cooking greens”, in this recipe. Continue reading

Grilled Zucchini and Leeks with Walnuts

This leek-heavy recipe is straight from the Bon Appetit website. The perfectly paired portions, grilled enough to soften the veg without completely turning it all to mush, tastes to me exactly like late summer should. Topped off with walnuts it leans into September taking with it the last remains of summer squash. Take a dive into leeks as a prominent flavor and see what you’ve been missing.

1/3 cup walnuts (easily omitted for non-nut consumers)
1 garlic clove, grated
2 tbsps fresh lemon juice
5 tbsps olive oil, divided
2 large leeks, white and pale-green parts only, halved lengthwise with root still attached
2 zucchini, halved lengthwise
1/2 cup fresh parsley with tough stems removed
salt & pepper to taste
Heat grill to medium-high heat. Toast walnuts in a dry small skillet over medium heat, tossing until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Coarsely chop toasted walnut and toss with garlic, lemon juice, and 3 tbsp oil in a large bowl; season with salt and pepper.

Brush leeks and zucchini with remaining 2 tbsp oil; season with salt and pepper. Grill vegetables, turning frequently, until tender and charred in spots 5 – 8 minutes for leeks, 8 – 10 minutes for zucchini.

Transfer vegetables to a cutting board. Trim roots from leeks and cut zucchini into bite-size pieces. Add vegetables and parsley to bowl with walnuts and toss to combine. Season with more lemon juice, salt and pepper if desired. Enjoy immediately.

Eggplant Through the Ages

By Wendy King

If one thinks about purple berries, maybe blackberries or grapes spring to mind. But eggplant is also a card-carrying member of the fruit clan! The eggplant also claims lineage to the ominous-sounding nightshade family, along with the tomato, pepper, and potato, and provides a lot of nutritional value. Since this fruit frequently features in savory dishes from Parmesan to pizza, its true identity is often hidden. In addition to purple, the eggplant comes in shades of green and white, which coupled with its egg shape, sheds light on how it was named.

Documented as early as 300 BC, this funny-looking fruit was first cultivated in India and China and became a staple of diets and medicine, used to treat diabetes and asthma, according to the International Society for Horticultural Science. Eggplant then worked its way across continents to Persia, Greece, Rome, and Medieval Europe. In this last stop, eggplant was interestingly dubbed an aphrodisiac as well as the culprit causing melancholy and anger. These same Europeans also accepted this flexible fruit as a good addition to the evening meal, with the right seasoning added to supposedly ward off any bad effects. The eggplant even traveled to the Americas in the Age of Exploration and was documented in Brazil in the 17th century. Continue reading

Returns Guide – Version 1

FDC is a proponent and enabler of sustainable living. It’s the driving force behind everything we do from the way depots are setup to farms we work with and news we bring to you each week. It’s a vital part of our DNA, fully supporting our mission statement:

Farm Direct Co-op is a not-for-profit, community oriented, member based organization with the goal of supporting local growers and artisans, while providing the freshest local and organic food available.

As part of our commitment to sustainability we work with our farmers on returning items that can be recycled in some way directly by the farm. Not to say we’re an alternative to curbside recycling bins; however, there are some items that can be returned and reused which saves farmers valuable resources, lowers environmental impact, and sometimes save our members money as well.

To help our members understand what items can be returned and which ones must be returned, we’ve put together this handy guide. First the list, then the photos. This is version one. Please provide feedback, ask questions, and help us improve the guide in V2 with updates in the future.

Always return:
Ball or Glass Flower Jars provided for the Flower share. This falls into the “always” category as the flower share pricing is based on the farm getting these jars back.

Please donate/return:
Egg cartons provided by Grant Family Farm
Glass Honey Jars – all sizes
Quart pulp (green) berry boxes, in nearly any condition from medium stained to clean; when offered at the depot it’s often easiest to just take the produce and leave the box.
Clean, Unstained, Pint, and Half Pint pulp (green) berry boxes.
Elastics from produce (I find we move through them at depot level for various things)
Herb Farmacy Salt Jars
Standard paper and plastic bags
Tomato puree jars from Riverland or Atlas Farm

Please do not donate/return:
Dirty Pint or Half Pint pulp (green) berry boxes
Clam-shell plastic containers
Jam Jars
Odd sized plastic bags or produce bags
Maple syrup jugs
Pasta sauce jars from Valicenti
Maple sugar containers

The good news is, items unable to be returned to the depot like stained berry boxes or clam-shell plastic containers can be recycled at home or pulped into compost accordingly.

Herb Farmacy Salt

Honey Jars



Grant Family Farm Egg Carton

Berry Bins


Do Not Return Pasta Sauce Jars


Standard Plastic Bag


Standard Paper Bag