Tuesday, April 15, 2008

First Local Produce Has Arrived!

Our first local organic produce items have arrived in small amounts:
Paradise Farm PA- tarragon
Elm Tree Farm PA- wild watercress
Chesapeake growers- green mustards, radishes, kale and spinach
All are limited quantities and only sporadically available.
We are hoping for some daylily shoots and nettles from Amy Hepworth and will keep you posted.
**Caution: Daylilies, especially the raw shoots, may cause digestive distress in some people. Eat only 5 or 6 shoots to gauge whether you are sensitive to them.
Use the shoots raw in salads, or sauté, steam, stir-fry, deep-fry, bake,
simmer in soups, or pickle.

Do you remember that the Park Slope Food Coop made the news when a member found a frog in her spinach? We all would like to think that that was a unique event but see this link.
—Allen Zimmerman

Monday, April 07, 2008

Help Fair Trade Banana Farmers Affected by Floods in Equador!

The following is a message from Jonathan Rosenthal,
Managing Director, Oké USA:
Dear banana eaters, sellers and concerned persons,
As many of you know, our organic Oké USA fair trade bananas come from El Guabo, a cooperative of 500 family farmers in coastal Ecuador. Since late January, the region has experienced devastating flooding. One co-op member's son was killed, roads and houses were damaged and several farmers have lost all of their plantings.
The Oké USA staff and I are asking you to join us in supporting the farmers of El Guabo by raising $20,000 to buy a Bobcat Excavator that the co-op will use to drain the flooded farms and do preventative maintenance to mitigate the impact of future floods.
All contributions are tax deductible, courtesy of Oké co-owner Red Tomato, a tax-exempt non-profit, and will go directly to fund the purchase of the Bobcat. The Bobcat fund has been seeded by another Oké co-owner, Equal Exchange. We are already more than 10% funded!
Finally, please remember that fair trade is a powerful part of sustainable development, the key to minimizing the impact of natural disasters.
Thank you for your concern, your contributions and your solidarity with the farmers of El Guabo.
-Click here for more info and to make a donation.-

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Produce Prices and Shortages

Sometimes produce items become scarce or even completely unavailable. In the last 2 weeks, I am seeing a 100% increase in the cost of organic broccoli and nearly 50% increases in the cost of organic kale and lacinato kale.
Chard and collard and lettuce prices are likely to climb. On any given day, any of these items may become temporarily unavailable. Random fluctuations of supply or price, even when they feel extreme, are entirely normal, but often unpredictable.
We all have to remember that we live in a part of the world where if we were to run out of broccoli for a day or 2, we would still have dozens of alternative green choices. While in other parts of the world people are dying for lack of bread in countries that have little previous experience with daily hunger.
I'm going to continue to scramble to get what we need but I am realistic that our part of the world is changing too and I fear that random commodity shortages may become a more common occurrence for us.

—Allen Zimmerman