2016 Annual Meeting & Potluck

The Annual Meeting, which is just a few short days away, is a great opportunity to catch up offseason, meet members from other locations, and share what is always a fantastic meal! Aside from fun and food, there will be a brief business meeting to cover finance and the voting in of our 2016 Board of Directors. You will also get a chance to meet our main growers, Rob and Meghan Lynch from Riverland Farm in Sunderland, MA.

Make sure you have RSVP’d by replying to the email you received.
Place: Moraine Farm, 701 Cabot Street, Beverly, MA
Date: Sunday, February 28th
Time: 4:30 – 6:30 pm ET

You are welcome to arrive late or leave early depending on your schedule and the attention span of the smaller members of your party. We would really appreciate your attendance during the business meeting portion of the evening.

What to bring depends on the first letter of your last name.
A – J Main Course, K – R Sides / Salads, S – Z Desserts.
*Please bring place settings for everyone in your party (napkin, plate, bowl, cup, and cutlery).

Schedule for the evening 4:30 – 4:45 – Arrivals, 4:45 – 5:45 – Dinner,
5:45 – 6:15 – Business Meeting, Rob Lynch Update +Voting, 6:15 – 6:30 – Dessert

The FDC Board of Directors and staff sincerely hope you can come enjoy a meal with us, and help out by being present to vote.

Turkeys, Turkeys, Turkeys!

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, we’re getting a lot of questions about sources for locally raised turkeys. Below is a list that can get you started and a few links to where you can find more meat sources should you hope to expand your search. It’s also important to note that several places have already passed the deadline to order a turkey this year. Where we were able to verify that a turkey was in fact not available, the place was removed from this years list. Continue reading

House Passes DARK Act (HR 1599) – What You Can Do

dark actAs members of the Farm Direct Coop, we’re all expressing our interest in consciously grown fruits and vegetables. No matter your particular reason – sustainability, desire to support local, reducing exposure to pesticides… one thing is clear, you care about the food you eat. Recently the US House of Representatives passed a bill that allows GMO (genetically modified organism) food companies not to identify their products as GMO’s. It also precludes states from creating GMO food labeling laws. Continue reading

Payments Due Soon, How Are We Doing, and the Top 3 FAQ’s

Payment Due Soon:

If you haven’t yet paid your final balance, it is due by August 1st .This means that unless you have a payment plan in place, you should be paying your balance to zero. If you are unsure of your balance, statements will be emailed before your next depot day. If you cannot make this payment in full, please reply to this email to set up a payment plan.

Please keep in mind that after August 1st, we ask that balances stay under $40. This allows members to make small purchases at the depots without having to write multiple small checks. Details about payment options can be found on our website under How The Coop Works. Continue reading

FDC Things You Should Know…..Please Read.

As the Regular Season Winds down here are 5 things you should know, a note from the finance desk, and 5 more things to know- please scroll down to read everything.

1) Last pick up days of regular season: October 22 and October 24 it will be dark by end of day bring your own light! The coordinators will start closing up around 6:30pm, but will be there until 7pm. If you cant make it by 6:30pm, you may be getting your share pre-bagged, or by car headlights.

2) November Share – 11/5 and 11/19 – Tuesdays Only Open to all members. Current Enrollment – 265.  Open Spots – 100 /125 (harvest dependent). Whats in it? – mostly veggies – sweet potatoes, potatoes, squash, kale, leeks, Brussels sprouts, and some fruit, cranberries, apples, pears. Cost : $75 for both pick ups. To add this share, email tamara@farmdirectcoop.org.

3) December Share Date TBA – (likely Thursday, December 5th) Open to all members. Current enrollment – 185. Open spots – 40 – 90 (very dependent on harvest – we will accept 40 more names, then create a wait-list for up to 90 more) Whats in it? all the shares we feature separately – including herbal sea salt, cheese, bread, fresh herbs, tons of veggies and apples. Cost: $80 for one pick up. To add this share email tamara@farmdirectcoop.org.

4) Community Aid More funds available now. If you need to apply for financial help for any reason, please contact Julie to guide you through the process. Email: Julie@farmdirectcoop.org

5) November Bulk Order Thursday November 14th only – Expected Hours – Mhd – 5:30-8, Salem -6-8, Melrose 6:30-8. This is a huge undertaking.  The hours depend on amount ordered, and driving conditions. What is it? Many members like to store foods for the winter, pre-bake and freeze pies or squash, sauce apples and cranberries, or just have a giant bag of carrots in the fridge.  We offer many items from apples to potatoes, jam to kale, celery root to turnip and hopefully sweet potato.  These are all sold in bulk order sizes (bushel box, 25 pounds, 10 pounds, a case, etc). Every one is welcome to participate. Cost is dependent on prices from growers. Please bring a check the day of pick up. The order form will be online by the end of the regular season (fingers crossed). Watch your email and newsletter at that time!

Notes from the Finance Desk (Hi from Tamara):

*Billing and Statements: Sincere thanks to all who have kept up with billing and made their payments on time. At this time, every member’s account balance (with the exception of those who are payment plans) should be under $40. Unfortunately, there are about 200 accounts with balances over the threshold. Final balances were due August 1st, or stated another way, two months ago. If your account is past due, you have been assessed a $20 late fee for each payment you missed.
You can pay with a check, bank transfer or credit card. For details on payment methods and policies, please visit the payment page on the website: http://www.farmdirectcoop.org/how-the-coop-works/making-payments. If your account is in arrears, please pay as soon as possible. Managing late payments takes away valuable time that could be much better spent on other coop business.
Statements are sent before each main payment (June 15th and August 1st) and again near the end of the regular season. If you have made your two main payments and paid for larger bulk purchases upon pickup, the only thing left on the bill at the end will be the bits and bobs (pints of raspberries, loaves of bread, boxes of shallots, etc). We do not send statements for every purchase. For full details on our payment options and schedule, please see the Making Payments tab on the website:
*We are no longer accepting cash payments at the depots. Following is a brief explanation. If you have further questions or comments, you can email tamara@farmdirectcoop.org
1) Technically, we are not supposed to be accepting cash at the depot. we are on public property and don’t have a license to sell anything, so when someone hands in $5 for a box of eggs they just picked up, it smells very much like a sale. it’s unlikely we would get ‘caught,’ but still, we are not supposed to be doing it.
2) If members pay for everything they buy on the spot, it vastly (VASTLY!) increases the number of payments that need to be processed. We are running this whole show with a very small staff, and only one administrator, so again, we are trying to streamline processes.
3) It holds coordinators up at the depot because they have to take the time to write a receipt and place the cash in a labeled envelope. We already feel the the coordinators have a lot to manage with specialty shares, managing the flow of produce under several tents, addressing member questions, extras for sale, etc. We are trying to make it simpler and allow them to focus on the people and the food.
4) Melrose has to mail cash to Marblehead, or write a personal check on the members’ behalf and mail that. Neither is a great option.
okay only 5 more things to know…

6) Eggs Another exciting development is finding another egg supplier. Steve (the western route driver) has been working with Charles Dance from Open Meadow Farm.  We expect to receive 100 dozen eggs per month for the rest of 2013. This still falls well short of our demand for eggs.  We are discussing the possibility of increasing their flock size in 2014, which would allow for a larger and more regular supply of eggs.

For those of you looking for a provider of local meats, Open Meadow Farm also offers pastured pork, beef, and chicken.  They run a meat buyers club that can be delivered to your home monthly (there is a monthly minimum).  Orders can also be picked up at their stand at the Marblehead Farmers Market.

More information is available on their website: http://www.openmeadowfarm.com.  Open Meadow Farm’s blog offers more info about their animals http://openmeadowfarm.blogspot.com.

7) Organic Cotton FDC Tee Shirts & Hoodies A few of you have asked if you can buy one of the black tee shirts you’ve seen the depot coordinators wearing. Yes, you can.  Here is a link to the online order form: http://blog.farmdirectcoop.org/?p=2154

8) Marblehead Thursday Members if you haven’t met her yet, please introduce yourself to depot coordinator Sarah Fox. Sarah has been running the Tuesday pick up all year, and came on board at the end of last year. She has experience, and has been getting to know the Thursday members. If you need a delivery, or missed your share you may email her here: sarah.marblehead@farmdirectcoop.org

9) Signing out for Extras When you buy extras (i.e. pints of berries, loaves of bread), please make sure you write your name legibly on the Extras Sheet. Intuitive? yes. Frequently not executed? Also yes.

10) Soulstice CSA When the FDC ends, many folks still wish to receive local organic CSA shares.  Soulstice CSA provides a boxed share filled with a combination of local roots veggies, greenhouse greens and East Coast USA only produce like strawberries and zucchini from Florida and sweet potatoes from South Carolina.  The season  runs from January to May.  Pick ups available in Swampscott and Melrose. This CSA is a separate entity from the FDC, though it is managed by Tamara and Julie.  For more information, share sizes (three sizes available) and cost visit: http://www.soulsticecsa.com/index.html

If you made it this far, through the entire email, I want to thank you very much. An informed FDC member has a better overall experience .

Julie Pottier-Brown

Operations Manager