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FDC Newsletter February 28, 2013
P.O. Box 1146
Marblehead, Mass. 01945
877-FDC-FARM
www.farmdirectcoop.org

newsletter@farmdirectcoop.org

2013 Coop Dates


Tuesday Shares: June 11 - October 22

Thursday Shares: June 13 - October 24

November Share: Two pickups on Tuesdays Only -  November 5 & November 19

Bulk Order: TBA - Either November 12 or 14

December  Share: TBA - Usually one pickup the first week in December.

 


Enrollment for 2013
Enrollment for the 2013 FDC season is in full swing. The deadline for returning members to re-enroll was February 15th. There seems to be a little confusion on this matter. If you were a member last year and missed that deadline, it's not too late to join and you don't have to go on the waitlist.

Before the deadline, returning members get first dibs on spots, so your spot was held for you. After February 15, we began the task of filling the roster from the waitlist. If we still have open spots after contacting the 200+ people on the list, we will open enrollment to the general public. Marblehead and Melrose are very likely to sell out, but we still have plenty of spaces in Salem. If you know of a good place to leave some brochures, please let us know and we will send you some.
 
Please keep in mind that just sending in the enrollment form does not hold your spot! We need both the enrollment form and membership fee to complete your registration. When both the form and check have been received, you will receive a confirmation of your order via email. Please open it and take a look to make sure your order is as you intended.

The Newsletter has a New Look!
We have spent the off season transitioning the newsletter to the new email format you see today.  The basic sections are all the same but now you should be able to see the content of the newsletter in your browser instead of having to click through to the website to open it. We hope you like the changes and enjoy the new look!  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our newsletter editor, Anita at newsletter@farmdirectcoop.org.

Is Aspartame in Milk coming soon to a store near you?
Aspartame is an artificial sweetener found in diet soda and other products and is also sold under the brand name Equal. The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), are asking the FDA to allow them to add aspartame and other artificial sweeteners to milk and dairy products without including it on the label. A recent Yale University study, has found that Aspartame changes the way sweeteners taste to our body and may in turn promote obesity. Currently the FDA is accepting public comments on this proposal, to find out more and to let the FDA know how you feel please visit http://tinyurl.com/ce4tarr.

Chard Seedlings from Riverland Farm.

FDC FRESH IDEAS


By Julie Pottier-Brown, Operations Manager

Thanks for the snow, for it means the ponds and rivers will fill upon melting in the spring. Thanks for the cold, for it means the pests will die off.  I am not the weather complaining kind of New Englander, and I see the winter differently than some.  The snow provides both insulation for hibernating plants and August water, for that I am happy to have real snowfall!

At this time of year, Tamara is very busy with hundreds of registrations. Steve is managing special programs such as studying the feasibility of accepting SNAP and looking into truck rentals.  I am securing space in each of our three locations and chatting with growers about crops, schedules and prices.

Speaking of prices; this January, the Board of Directors voted to raise the annual membership fee for participation in the Farm Direct Coop to $65. When I first joined the Coop in 1999 (then it was called the Marblehead Eco-Farm), the membership fee was $25. It was raised to $40 in 2000, then to $50 in 2008 where it remained for 5 years. The cost of insurance, labor and trucking (both rentals and gas) has all increased over these years.  We had to make a change to keep up with expenses.

We have always separated the costs of the membership fee and the prices of the produce, so that the share prices only increase when the prices of the produce we purchase increases. We have always tried our best to not raise both share costs and membership fees in a single calendar year. We have indeed held steady the cost of the small and large fruit and vegetable shares, as well as the bread, cheese and chef shares this year.

I asked a few of our primary growers to write a bit about what they are doing in the off-season. Here are a few responses:

From Rob and Meghan - Riverland Farm, Sunderland, MA:

"We are away right now enjoying a little vacation time. What are we doing this winter....We are just finishing up with the last of our crops in storage, seeds and supplies have been ordered. We'll be starting up the greenhouse next week. We have an equipment repair list that's longer than my arm, that we'll begin to attack when we get back. We just bought a greenhouse from a rundown nursery in eastern MA that we'll be dismantling and moving in a couple of weeks. We'll be renovating one of our barn spaces to add additional cooler space, especially necessary when we get into the fall and winter months. We'll be making a trip down to PA and NJ to pick up some farm equipment and go to a farm auction. We'll be doing a big marketing push to sell shares in March.Time to start thinking like we're not on vacation I guess :) ."

And from Rita and Brooke - Herb Farmacy, Salisbury, MA:

"Our winter months are busy - we are participating in 3 winter farmer markets (Newburyport, Exeter, NH and Rollingsford, NH) where we sell our herbal goodies (vinegars, salts, sugars, dried herb mixes, lotions, lip balms, etc.). In addition, we heat one greenhouse and grow micro-greens, lettuce mixes, cilantro, dill, pea tendrils, radishes and other cold weather, low sunlight crops, which we also sell at the markets. We have "finished" ordering our flower, herb and veggie seeds in January and have already started our seeding for the upcoming season - lemongrass, lavender, white sage, thyme, oregano, basil, parsley, chives are on today's list to seed ... so by the end of the day, we should have seeded around 4500 plants. This summer, we are planning to put up a greenhouse in our field - it will be unheated and used to grow in-ground winter greens. Since this type of growing is new to us, we have attended several NOFA sponsored workshops at Natick Community Farm and First Light Farm to help us learn more about everything from greenhouse structures to plant varieties.  And of course, the recent snow storms have us shoveling a lot of snow! And I forgot, we are also going to bee school."

Wow!

I didn't hear back from anyone else in time for this newsletter, but before we know it, it will be time for asparagus!

I hope to see you at the annual meeting in March - the BEST food at a pot luck ever!

Save the Date!


Annual Business Meeting and Pot Luck
Sunday, March 24th, 2013
4 - 6:30pm
Saint John the Baptist Catholic Church

This is typically the BEST potluck you will be a part of as our members are incredible cooks!  As always, I love to challenge everyone to use some local ingredient in their dish; frozen berries, stored onions or squash, jam or maple syrup from their share. We are required by our bylaws to have 12.5% of the membership in attendance to vote in a new Board of Directors. With a membership of 770, this means 96 memberships are needed to vote. If you come as a two adult family, you will still count as one member (unless you pay two membership fees). Kids are welcome and I look forward to seeing you there!

Photo courtesy of dusky @ FreeDigitalPhotos.net
 

FDC Is Looking For New Staff!



Tuesday Salem Depot Coordinator

Mira has decided to operate the Salem depot on Thursdays only this year.  Therefore, we are in need of a new Salem Depot Coordinator for Tuesdays. We are looking for someone who has been a member for several seasons and has volunteered enough to know a bit about running the depot. This person should also have a deep commitment to the FDC and its mission.  We are looking for a strong individual (able to lift 75 pounds), who is organized and computer literate.  For a complete job description, please contact Julie at julie@farmdirectcoop.org.

Thursday Salem Eastern Route Driver

Dan has decided to put more focus into his furniture restoration business.  He will still help us repair our tents and structures, but not drive for us, so we are also looking for a new Eastern Route Driver leaving from Salem.  The Eastern Route Driver picks up produce from farms close to our area such as Amesbury, Salisbury, Peabody, Concord, etc.  The right candidate has a good sense of direction, a clean driving record, is strong (able to lift 75 pounds), punctual, and computer literate. If you want to be involved, have the time to work for one day a week, contact Julie for a complete job description at julie@farmdirectcoop.org.


Auxiliary Coordinators

Multiple Auxiliary Coordinators are needed to assist Depot Coordinators and direct new members. Open hours only, no set up or breakdown required. Experienced members only. Positions available for Tuesdays and Thursdays at all depot locations for the first two weeks of the season. $12/hr. Please contact Julie for a complete job description at julie@farmdirectcoop.org.

We always prefer to hire from within our membership. We find that you are the folks that have a vested interest in making this a well-run organization.

Photo courtesy of mrpuen @ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Host A Honeybee Hive In Your Own Backyard!

Ever wondered what it's like to keep bees but don’t have the expertise, equipment or time? Host a honeybee hive for us instead. Hive hosting is easy and FREE!!!  You'll even get a jar or two of local, raw honey right from your own backyard.  Simply provide a bee safe location, free of pesticides, and we provide the bees and everything that they need to thrive.  Honey from these hives is raw and free of beekeeper applied additives, just as nature intended.  Hosting a hive is a great way to help increase the honeybee population in your local area.  By hosting a hive, you can do your part to help save the bees one colony at a time. Find out more at http://www.beverlybees.com/host-a-honey-bee-hive/ or by contacting Anita at beverlybees@gmail.com.

Longing for Coop Season?


If you are feeling anything like me, you are longing for spring color to brighten up the dull of winter and counting the days until you can get fresh produce from the coop.  While you are dreaming of flowers and yummy spinach greens, here are a few thing to keep you occupied and ready for opening day.

 

Off Season To Do List

  • Wash reusable grocery bags
  • Send in membership form & check
  • Eat the rest of your bulk order
  • Attend the annual meeting & potluck
  • Write a piece for the newsletter
  • Plan to volunteer for the coop
  • Distribute FDC brochures
  • Take a cooking class to learn how to make the best of your coop goodies

Energy Bars


Recipe adapted from HobbyFarms.com

Ingredients:

  • 11⁄2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3⁄4 cup flaxseed meal
  • 3⁄4 cup oat bran
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1⁄2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1⁄2 tsp. allspice
  • 1 1⁄2 cups carrots, shredded
  • 1 1⁄2 cups apples, peeled, cored and shredded
  • 1 cup almonds or pistachios, chopped, or 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • 2 T. crystallized ginger, finely chopped
  • 3 egg whites, slightly beaten
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 1⁄4 cup molasses or honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

 
Instructions:

  1. Add all the dry ingredients into a bowl and stir.
  2. Add shredded apples and carrots. Stir in the chopped nuts and ginger, mix well.
  3. Using a new bowl, mix together egg whites, applesauce, molasses and vanilla.
  4. Stir into flour mixture, until moist.
  5. Grease two 8-inch by 8-inch square baking pans. Divide batter evenly between the pans.
  6. Bake at 350-degrees for 25 minutes.
  7. Cool on wire racks before cutting into squares.
  8. Makes 32 2-inch squares. Bars freeze well.

Name That Vegetable


Fiddlehead Ferns.
Photo by New Brunswick Tourism.

Fiddlehead Ferns grow in the spring in wild, wet areas of New England and the Northeast. Also known as Ostrich Ferns, fiddleheads are available for only about 3 weeks in May. Unless you know exactly what to look for, it is not recommended to pick them yourself.  The reason is simply that some species of inedible ferns look very similar to fiddleheads.

Similar in taste to Asparagus, fiddleheads can be pickled or frozen, but eating them fresh and as soon as possible after picking is best. Typically they are steamed, until tender crisp, or boiled then eaten hot, with butter and lemon or hollandaise sauce.  They can also be chilled and eaten in salads.

Before cooking fiddleheads, remove the yellow brown skin, by rubbing it with your fingers. Rinse fiddleheads well in a bath of cold water, until the water runs clear and they are free of particles.  Alternately, after removing the skin, you can boil the sprouts twice with a change of water between boilings.

For more information, please visit http://veganyumyum.com/2007/05/fiddlehead-ferns/.

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