This order is our eighth year birthday. I dredged up some spreadsheets and it looks to me like we are approaching $4 million in total sales over that 8 years. . . $3,796,154 to be exact, so depending how this month and December finish out, we will likely cross the four million dollar sales threshold in January 2012.
What a lot of good-tasting and nutritious food and quality non-food items that dollar figure represents. BUT. . . more interesting than these figures from our past is what's happening RIGHT NOW.
Over the years I have received a lot of emails from people
elsewhere who envy the local food selection we have available here in Oklahoma
through the Oklahoma Food Cooperative. Some businesses may brag about
having products from a half dozen local producers. This month, you can
order from 98 different Oklahoma producers, and pick and choose among
4,789 products! That kind of access doesn't exist in very many areas of
this country, so let's take advantage of what we've got, and -- as I've often said over the years -- follow the Oklavore principle and "eat what is available!
Speaking of gifts. . . which I wasn't. . . but I will segue that way anyway. . . This month the coop has a new product -- a gift
membership -- that delivers an attractive certificate to you on delivery
day stamped with a unique number that the recipient of your gift enters
when he or she inputs their info on the coop's membership form and
voila, they are members!
Since most of us will be dong a lot of shopping this holiday season, don't forget the little detail that you can shop for holiday gifts from the comfort and convenience of your own home, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Food makes a great gift. As do our body care products and other non-food items.
Regarding the Feastin' Foods of November. . . I just scrolled through the produce list and was really impressed at the amount of produce that has been listed since the day the order opened. If you typically only shop the coop on the first day of the order, you are missing out on good deals. Many times our vegetable (and egg) producers add a considerable amount of inventory as the order progress and the get a better handle on what they will have available for delivery day.
The fall produce looks glorious. First on the list is GREENS. Greens are a luxury food and are also affordable. Buy a LOT more than you are going to eat and freeze them in meal size portions for eating later. These crisp fall days are excellent for long slow cooking of big pots of food, so cook all your greens at once and freeze for eating later. Cooked greens are great in the freezer, just don't you forget to label and date them so you know what they are. I always think I will remember but then I don't and so I have learned the hard way to label and date. That way if you defrost something that you think is frozen apple slices, in anticipation of apple pie, and you get something else, you aren't disappointed.
I have written a lot about greens over the past eight years of the coop. One cup cooked greens typically contains: 20
calories, 1.2 g protein, 4.4 g carbohydrates, 3.5 g dietary fiber, 93%
water, plus Vitamins A and C, folate, potassium, and calcium. "All this -- and TASTE TOO!" Anyway, here's something I wrote in November 2007-- "The feastin season is upon us." You really should try the Cream of Greens soup on that page, it is one of the best recipes I've ever posted. Even people who hate greens like this soup when made with Coop ingredients. BUT, don't freeze greens with cream sauces, freeze the plain cooked greens, THEN add cream sauces when you thaw them for eating later. Cream and cheese and eggs are GREAT with greens. If Wagon Creek has some cream left, by all means substitute that for some of the milk.
Unfortunately the links in that post to "What to do with 20 pounds of ground beef" and the similar one for ground pork are no longer active but the recipe ideas are listed in my post, so that gives you some ideas. As to what to do with 20 pounds of ground beef, that is.
The turkeys are going pretty fast, but as of this writing there remain a few. Greenwood is a new producer and they do on farm processing, so you have to pick up those turkeys directly from them in the parking lot of the operations center. If you've already opened a basket for another pickup site, and want to get one of their turkeys, don't forget to change your pickup site to OKC Central. You do that by opening your shopping cart, and you will see the place for your pickup site on the left side of the page.
There are lots of eggs right now, more than 100 dozen available. As I noted last week, and as one of the producers wrote in their producer notes Tuesday, it's easy to freeze eggs, and you can even dehydrate them yourself. Later this winter, when egg production falls off, you'll wish you had some frozen dozens of eggs stashed in your freezer, so order now and freeze for eating later.
Of course, our meat producers continue to be strong suppliers of the local market. Our local meats offer a great return for the money -- not only do they taste great, buying local meats from our producers' free ranging flocks and herds provides direct support for animal husbandry methods and practices that heal the earth and do not destroy the biosphere. Every dollar spent for supermarket meats is a dollar invested in the environmental ruin of this region. So let's spend our money wisely and buy local meats from free ranging flocks and herds.
I almost forgot -- we have a plethora of pumpkins available this month at great prices. Actually, we have a plethora of plethoras of pumpkins available. So you can make your pumpkin pies this year directly from a pumpkin. Here's all the info you need from the site that taught me -- Pick Your Own!
We have lots of roots this month -- besides turnips, the sweet potatoes are here! And the radishes. Now's the time to stock up on both these excellent storage crops for winter. Sweet potatoes and turnips offer great nutrition and even better taste. Throw them in with a roast to slow cook on one of the upcoming cool days. For a change of pace with your radishes, slice them thinly, fry them, scramble some eggs with them. Voila, very tasty breakfast AND added vegetable nutrition in a meal that is usually light on veggies.
Don't forget to buy some soap. You can never really have too much artisanal soaps made by Oklahoma producers. All of our body care products make great gifts (and this is the HOLIDAY season, hint hint).
As does our many jams and jellies and if you think your life might get a bit busy this holiday season, don't forget a few prepared meals for the freezer.
Do you have flour for the rolls, breads, cakes, and pie crusts? Corn meal for the stuffing and breading? Onions and mushrooms and green beans for the traditional green bean casserole?
So it goes down at your corner Oklahoma Food Cooperative. This is the beginning of our "feastin' season". In the Northern Hemisphere, it is the time when the harvest has been gathered. In days of yore, our celebrations originated in the deep gratitude for the fact that there was a harvest, and the community would have food to eat during the looming winter. In the modern era, many of us have lost that intimate connection with our food, but here in the Coop, we have been working for eight years to resurrect and restore our intimate connections with the food. It has been a long trip, sometimes change, always fruitful and full of great tasting food adventures. We remain a ways from Europe in terms of developing our own unique regional tastes, but we are certainly on our way to that day right here in Oklahoma.
When we started the Oklahoma Food Cooperative, we said. . . "local food is the next big thing." And as it turns out, that came true. As a result, we are surrounded by a "faux locavorism" that uses glib words and fancy signs and artfully designed stores to substitute for reality. We certainly do not have the panache of some of the stores of the area, but we have the food that they don't. So come on down the cyberstreet to your Oklahoma Food Cooperative and let's start the feastin' of the season!
"This just in". . . the inbox carries news that up to 3/4 of the honey sold in major stores can no longer be considered honey due to the extreme processing it experiences. http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2011/11/tests-show-most-store-honey-isnt-honey/
If you are not a member, you can sign up at http://www.oklahomafood.coop/okfoodservice.php .