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The Oklahoma Food Cooperative and Community Gardens

  • Subject: [cg] The Oklahoma Food Cooperative and Community Gardens
  • From: JSBMH2@aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 8 Mar 2004 20:39:54 EST

By way of keeping you posted, and because we are about to become producers in this Co-op, I pass along Roberts letters.
I'm running a bit behind this month.  Below are my random notes and musings for
March.  rmw


Is it already March?  It must be, the news just announced a tornado watch,
first of the year.  My fruit trees (peach, apricot, apple, plum) are on the
edge of bursting into full glorious bloom, Iâm holding my breath on the
weather.  We had GREAT fruit last year, fruit from our yard nearly every day
from May through August.  But as warm as the winter has been, it seems to me
the trees are a bit ahead of schedule, so I am hoping there isnât one last hard
frost waiting for us out there (but I am not making any bets, obviously, I am a
fourth generation Okie).  Iâve been planting asparagus and peas, and thanking
God for the rain.

Anyway, we have a great order ahead of us this month.  We have five new

Cole Farms, Fred and Edie Cole of Perkins, Oklahoma, are offering beef, sold by
the 1/10th animal, which is about 40 pounds frozen meat in your freezer, May
delivery.  His beef is always on pasture, and receives no grain. It has been
several years since he has used any herbicides or pesticides on his pastures. 
His beef is Black Angus.

Lee Morrisonâs Prima Cafà of Oklahoma City is also new this month.  He is
offering coffee, and all of his coffees offered through our cooperative are
Fair Trade Certified and Certified Organic. Fair Trade Certified means that the
products are bought directly from farmers or small cooperatives in coffee
growing countries, and a price calculated to provide the farmer a fair return
on his work is paid for the coffee.  All of his coffees are custom roasted at
his Oklahoma City location, thus even though the coffee obviously was not grown
in Oklahoma, he added value to it as a processor and thus it is eligible for
sale through our cooperative.

Springhill Farms, Seth Callen of Roosevelt, Oklahoma, is offering stone ground
certified organic Oklahoma  whole wheat flour and cornmeal, also some great
spice mixtures (creole seasoning), a jambalaya mix, and red and green salsas. 
Next month they plan to offer 3 different varieties of home baked bread.  They
have a licensed commercial kitchen on their farm in Kiowa County.

Stone Bluff Beef, Bill and Wendy Rucker, from Haskell which is up by Tulsa, are
offering their family farmâs beef in packages and by the quarter and half
beef.  All of their cattle were born and raised on their farm.  Their cattle
are Limousine, Hereford, and Angus crossbreed calves, and receive corn and
grain besides grass.

Jerald Ashby and his Worm Solutions of Yukon is offering our customers (and
producers) who are growing food this year the ultimate natural fertilizer: worm
castings and worm teas.  He also has worm farms so you can raise your own. 

This month there are NO changes in the ordering system (yeah!!!!).  Our online
ordering system worked fine last month, we also of course take orders by email,
postal mail, and telephone.  Each month our cooperative administration gets
more efficient, mostly thanks to the incredible work being done by Emma
McCauley of Red Earth Design, who is our lead software designer, and Sandra
Storey, who is our Chief Information Officer, and believe me, both these folks
are working hard. We are in much better administrative shape now than we were
even two months ago, and as we complete projects we add new ones to make our
systems even better and more effective.

We are certainly going to need all the efficiency we can get.  Last month we
grossed $8,000, with cooperative costs of about 4.8%, which is not bad for
folks just making things up as we go along.  The number of products offered
through the cooperative increased by about 30% this month.  And our increase in
sales and number of orders, month to month, November 2003 through February 2004
averages 30%/month.  If that rate of increase continues, we will gross nearly
$500,000 in sales in the year 2004, and in December 2004 alone we will do
$100,000 in business. Well, it is probably not likely that that rate of
increase will continue, but if you had asked me in November 2003 if we would be
doing $8,000/month by February 2004, I would have said, âThat is a bit

We can use all the good ideas and suggestions we can get.  Feedback is
CRITICAL!  If something doesnât work good for you, TELL US ABOUT IT.  That is
how we get better.  We appreciate everybodyâs patience, especially with all the
changes as we have evolved our systems to order and deliver food, and we hope
to continue to get better.

Tell a friend!  This month you can order copies of our basic brochure, which is
a no charge item, to be delivered with your monthly groceries.

Note that this is the Easter order, as the Delivery Day for April will be after
Easter.  The alternative was to put the Delivery Day during Holy Week, and
since we are using borrowed space in a church, that just wouldnât work, plus
some of us key administrative personnel are a bit busy right at Easter.

We have some interesting events coming up.  Oklahoma Food from our cooperative
is being used for an art show opening in downtown OKC in March, and I am
cooking Oklahoma Food for a group of migrant farm workers coming through town
on two buses.  A chef from Iowa who is writing a book on Slow Food in
the âheartland of Americaâ will be in town that day â heâs coming to visit us â
and will be on hand at that event to see how things work.  If you are
interested in helping with that event, it will be at Epiphany Church on Monday,
March 8th, at 6 PM.  Weâll start cooking about 2 PM, helpers needed for that
and to serve and clean up afterwards. Call me at 405-613-4688 for directions or
other details.  An observer from the Arkansas Farm Community Alliance was
present at our February delivery day, theyâre looking to open a cooperative
like ours early this spring.  Two guys are coming from Nebraska for the March
delivery day, to observe and discuss how what we are doing could be implemented
there. So curioser and curioser cried Alice.

Letâs all follow the advice this month of my grandmother, Opal Marie Newsome
Cassidy, born in 1904 on a farm outside of Davidson: âYâall get the right eats,
you hear?â  Keep on bon apetiting, folks, and we will keep on helping you find
the best foods this state can offer, direct from the farmers and processors who
produce them.

Peace and joy and abundance to everybody!

Robert Waldrop, Oklahoma Food Cooperative


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