The Fruits of CO-OPeration


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For members of the Doylestown Food Co-Op, March 22nd was a special day. That was the day of their Grand Opening, the culmination of many years hard work and planning. Their first Grand Opening had been delayed by power outages caused by the February 6th ice storm, making it that much more special.

“So many people put so much effort into our re-scheduled Grand Opening,” says the co-op’s Vice President and Product Manager, Neal Carson. “I’m sure there was some trepidation, but we were confident in our preparation. The outcome exceeded all of our expectations. It was a record-breaking day of sales for us, and 10 new members joined the co-op.”

The co-op’s roots trace back to September 2009 when residents first opened a food club to provide access to locally-raised and -produced goods. It was such a popular idea that a few short months later they started planning a bricks and mortar location. Though it was not until spring of 2013 that they had enough vested membership to make the move into their current home on 29 West State Street.

“The amount of member volunteer hours that went into starting our store is incalculable,” Neal says. “When we took occupancy in September 2013, the real work began, including the design of the store, literally hundreds of hours of demo and construction, the equipment research/purchase/installation, the product planning and establishment of accounts and delivery schedules, the staff interviews and hiring, and the procurement and setup of our POS system. I guess you could say it was hard, but I think I could speak for everyone when I say that the reward for all who contributed was well worth it.”

With over 430 members, the co-op is off to a great start. Members and non members alike can choose from an array of delicious, local purveyors: Dale’s Raw Bars, Eat This, Giggling Goat, Applegate, Castle Valley, Seven Stars, Fanciful Fox, Solebury Orchards, and, of course, Blue Moon Acres. Members enjoy daily discounts and specials, quarterly member appreciation shopping discounts, and great deals on goods and services at over 40 local shops and restaurants.

“Events like our recent Local Live concert and our August Farm-to-Table Dinner bring people together to celebrate our shared values,” Neal says. “Educational events, such as our Farm Fresh Film Series at the County Theater and our Food For Thought Book Club at the Doylestown Bookshop, help to involve and educate our greater community. We feel that we are all working together to begin a store that will influence and affect our Doylestown and Bucks County area in positive ways for many years to come.”

The Co-Op is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 to 7, Saturday 10 to 6, and Sunday 11 to 5.

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By | April 25th, 2014|News|0 Comments

A Salad by Any Other Name…

Why is a salad called a salad? These are the questions we (ok, I) ask ourselves as we chomp into the first bites of locally-grown lettuces this season… 

“Salad” comes from “sal”, ie, salt. In ancient times (and modern, as well), salt was an ingredient in the salad dressing. As they say, clothes make the man, so it goes for salad.

From An A-Z of Food and Drink by John Ayto:

Etymologically, the key ingredient of salad, and the reason for its getting its name, is the dressing. The Romans were enthusiastic eaters of salads, many of their differing hardly at all from present-day ones–a simple selection of raw vegetables…–and they always used a dressing of some sort: oil, vinegar, and often brine. And hence the name salad, which comes from Vulgar Latin Herba salata, literally ‘salted herb’.

So our ancient ancestors enjoyed salad much the same way we do today (less the brine). And then somewhere, in the turn of the century, things went horribly awry…

From Perfection Salad: Women and Cooking at the Turn of the Century by Laura Shapiro:

Salad greens, which did have to be served raw and crisp, demanded more complicated measures. The object of scientific salad making was to subdue the raw greens until they bore as little resemblance as possible to their natural state. If a plain green salad was called for, the experts tried to avoid simply letting a disorganized pile of leaves drop messily onto the plate…This arduous approach to salad making became an identifying feature of cooking-school cookery and the signature of a refined household…American salads traditionally had been a matter of fresh greens, chicken, or lobster, but during the decades at the turn of the century, when urban and suburban middle class was beginning to define itself, salads proliferated magnificently in number and variety until they incorporated nearly every kind of food except bread and pastry…Salads that were nothing but a heap of raw ingredients in dissaray plainly lacked cultivation, and the cooking experts developed a number of ingenious ways to wrap them up…The tidiest and most thorough way to package a salad was to mold in in gelatin.

Gelatin salads have not, thankfully, been in vogue for some years, though I did see a recipe for one on Pinterest last week. Most home cooks and restaurant chefs prefer a simple dressing to salad, some combination of oils, acids (vinegars), and other flavors (mustard, herbs, etc). The salad greens we grow here at the farm have enough inherent flavor to be eaten un-dressed… but would it still be considered a salad, then?

A very Blue Moon salad, topped with Edible Flowers (lightly dressed)

A very Blue Moon salad, topped with Edible Flowers (lightly dressed)

By | April 18th, 2014|News|0 Comments

I’m Not a Sprout, I’m a Microgreen!

imagesQuestion:
Sprouts and Microgreens are:
a.) Basically the same thing
b.) Sort of the same thing
c.) Two totally different things
d.) The preferred diet of the Asiatic Water Buffalo

  Answer:
c.) Two totally different things

Congratulations if you got it right! Sprouts and microgreens, while often referred to as one and the same, are in fact quite different.

1025_sprouts-e1351189908730Sprouts, when you get right down to it, are just germinated seeds. Harvested before their secondary leaves emerge, they are generally smaller than microgreens. And where microgreens are grown in soil, sprouts are grown in water. After a thorough rinsing, seeds are soaked anywhere from 20 minutes to 12 hours, depending on the type. The seeds are then placed in ‘spouting vessels’ and left at room temperature, where they grow quickly, even without sunlight. To prevent bacterial build-up, the sprouts are rinsed two to four times a day. After three to five days, they are ready for consumption. Alfalfa, amaranth, barley, broccoli, lentils, mung beans, pea shoots, radish, sunflower, and clover are some common examples of sprouts.

 

Untitled-32Microgreens, on the other hand, are tiny plants. Grown in soil or peat moss, they’re harvested after 1 to 3 weeks. The edible portion includes leaves and stems in the cotyledon growth stage (the stage when the first two to four leaves appear). Microgreens tend to have much stronger, more developed flavors, and are generally more nutrient-rich, thanks to being grown in soil. Arugula, tatsoi, kale, beets, radishes, cilantro, basil, parsley, and celery are some examples of microgreens. A recent 2014 USDA study concluded that microgreens contain considerably higher levels of vitamins and carotenoids—about five times greater—than their mature counterparts.
So now you know!

By | April 11th, 2014|News|0 Comments

Living Local: Buying Local, and Knowing from Whom You Buy

living local

 

Wondering how you can support your local community? Try committing to buying local, and buying from people you know.

Lisa White, President of the Doylestown Food Co-op, really encourages people to buy local, as much as possible, as a way to ensure the continued vitality of your community. “I love where I live and I would love to be able to help assure that I, and future generations, have everything we need to live comfortably right here in our own area…. and to know that it is the tastiest, healthiest, and best it can be. To live local, you need to commit to buying local for everything that you possibly can!!”

Jamie Hollander, owner of Jamie Hollander Gourmet

Jamie Hollander, owner of Jamie Hollander Gourmet

Another element of buying local is getting to know the people behind that business. This is, after all, one of the biggest benefits of being locally-produced goods: the producers are your neighbors.

Ashley Lyons Putman, Sales Manager here at Blue Moon Acres, believes that a large part of living local is connect with small business owners in your local community. She recommends seeking out the mom and pop shops and patronizing those stores. These are the businesses we want to stay a while. And that’s not the only benefit- “You get quality, too. Someone that is really sticking their neck out for you and providing you with a quality product- staking their life on it.”

By | April 4th, 2014|News|0 Comments

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