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

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

Salem Depot Sunflower Garden

sunflowerOver the year’s we have attempted a small sunflower garden at the Salem Depot, and we’re hoping this year is the charm!

Julie already went out and filled the flower beds with fresh compost from Black Earth and took out two trash barrels full of water. Some seedlings had come back on their own, volunteers as my family likes to call them. Julie also transplanted and put in additional plants. 


We would love to get a couple of Salem Depot members to sponsor 2-foot sections. This can be a great opportunity for the young ones without home gardens to get the reward of big beautifulsunflowers they helped grow or anyone in the community who would like to water or get their hands a little dirty. All while beautifying the depot!

Interested participants would commit to bringing water to the depot each week during their scheduled pick up day as well as taking a few minutes to tend to any weeds that may have grown over the past week. Sections would be clearly marked with sponsor name stakes or can be anonymously or dedicated to a loved one. Julie is happy to take on weekend watering to ensure no wilting over the hot summer months. 

Please email Jennifer to express your interest. The sooner, the better, as these sunflowers will not thrive without dedicated watering.

Boost Your Life

It’s no secret the farm fresh foods and vegetables brought to you each week by Farm Direct Coop are a great way to boost the quality of your life. The organic and IPM fruits and vegetables sourced from 60+ local farms are guaranteed to be chock full of antioxidants, never preserved, and picked only at their peak. But did you know that the opportunity to volunteer is also a great way to boost your life? Continue reading