Eugene showing Doug Randolph, new manager of the MOON Co-op, spring mix in a hoophouse
On Thursday we had a visit from Doug Randolph the manager of the MOON Co-op which is set to open in early April. The MOON Co-op will be offering as much locally sourced food as it can find so Doug is visiting the farms from which they will be buying which is a great thing. He is both verifying his sources and developing a relationship with us farmers so that all parties have the best experience possible.
We have been patiently waiting for this co-op to open for at least 10 years, maybe 11. Long ago there was an OEFFA chapter called the Miami Whitewater chapter and that became the Miami Oxford Organic Network or MOON. in the beginning we were a group of OEFFA members, mainly farmers who got together once a month and shared food and talked about issues pertaining to Organic food and farming. It was a pretty loose group that over time became more coalesced and changed direction from a group that had monthly potluck dinner meetings with no real direction but the connection of Organic/sustainable food and farming to a group with a new direction-creating a cooperatively owned natural food store (this is quite different from a privately owned health food store though they may look very similar) that will provide the Oxford, OH area with an alternative to the other grocery stores around. Gone were the monthly dinners for us Boulder Beltians as the change in direction meant a big change in the potluck dinners-they were phased out quickly. But now on the horizon was a potentially fantastic market for us. So when Harv Roehling asked us if we wanted to buy a share of the co-op we got out our checkbook, cut a check and bought a share. Than we waited and waited some more. For the entire story (and more) go to the MOON Website
So now we have to adjust our planting plans a bit. We were well aware that the co-op would open sometime this coming spring for sometime but had no real idea how much food they would need. It turns out they will likely need a lot. But they will not need a lot of everything we grow. They will need a lot of say, 15 things we grow (we generally grow 60 different crops). Looks like they want spring mix and garlic so far and I am sure they will come up with other needs. We seem to be enjoying success with the Farm Share Initiative as well this year. So far we are way ahead of where we were last year at this time with our membership. We have 8 paid members and many more interested in joining. This time last year we had 1 paid member and not a great deal of interest until March. I hope we are sold out by March this year.
What this means for us, being a small farm run by 2 people, is we have pretty finite resources-we can only grow so much and between the FSI and the Co-op we just might sell everything and that means we have a 3rd market that we may have a hard time filling-the farmers market. So we either have to make the hard decision to cut back on the farmers market in the future (probably not this year, though) or go the expansion route and figure how to grow and harvest more.