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Board of Directors Report: A Look at the Produce Department with an Eye on the Ends PDF Print E-mail

By John Hatton
September 2016

When we Board of Directors’ members write monthly articles for Food For Thought, we try to keep them oriented towards the Co-op’s Ends Policies, rather than strictly “operational” stuff. The Ends Policies are what the Board has defined as the Co-op’s goals; we work on these Ends Policies regularly, trying to keep them current with what you, the member-owners of the Co-op, want from our organization. Below are the current Ends Policies for the Brattleboro Food Co-op.

The Ends Policies
The BFC exists to meet its shareholders collective needs for:

  1. Reasonably priced food and products with an emphasis on healthy, locally grown, organic, and fairly traded goods
  2. A welcoming community marketplace
  3. A workplace community where cooperative values are modeled
  4. A regenerative business that has a net positive environmental impact
  5. A sustainable local economy
  6. Relevant information about food and related products, the environment, and the Cooperative Values and Principles
  7. Reasonable access to participation in the cooperative

Because it's the time of year for local produce, I decided to focus on our amazing Produce Department. Where do the Co-op’s Ends Policies meet the Produce Department?

Produce Department Reset

I’m sure that you’ve noticed the reset that our Produce Department has undergone in the last four to six weeks. Produce Manager John Truncale (aka JT) worked closely with consultants from the National Cooperative Grocers* (NCG), to redesign the department so it’s more interesting and exciting and very accessible to us, the customers!

As we walk into the  Produce Department, the refrigerated case to our immediate right is currently emphasizing seasonal fruit – organic grapes, cherries, berries, other yummy summer fruits and delicious fresh juices. At other times, this case might be overflowing with greens, or cranberries and Thanksgiving items. In the corner, another refrigerated case has a blend
of organically, locally, and conventionally grown items with organic onions and potatoes next to that (this is all in accord with Ends Policy #1: “…an emphasis on healthy, locally grown, organic…”). The rest of the department looks new and different too. There is an even greater local produce presence.

JT is planning on more prepacks of cut fruits and vegetables that are conveniently ready for our use and require little or no further prep such as fajita packs or stew veggies.

Sampling abounds in the  Produce Department; you’ll see cut fruit and veggie samples out for your tasting pleasure. And, if you ever want to try something, just ask a produce worker.
There is always someone on duty and they are happy to accommodate your request (Ends Policy #2: “A welcoming community marketplace”).

During this local productive growing season, JT is working closely with many local farms. Deep Meadows Farm, High Meadows Farm, Old Athens Farm, Picadilly Farm, and Harlow Farm are just a few. From these farms, the Co-op receives an amazing and appetizing array of summer produce including red, green, purple and lacinato kale (who knew there were so many varieties of kale?), totsui (sautéing greens), celery, red and green leaf lettuce,  sweet onions, tomatoes, bunch carrots, winter squashes, cilantro, mesclun, spinach, arugula, beets, parsley, broccoli, and red and gold raspberries.

Over the next few months, JT will be featuring over 70 varieties of Scott Farm’s heirloom apples, along with local and organic winter squashes, red Bartlett pears, orange and red peppers, and more broccoli!

Don’t you love this time of year in Vermont?

Like the other BFC department managers, JT regularly compares his pricing with other local stores to ensure the items in our produce department are priced competitively. He also works with the local farmers to make sure he is in keeping with their retail market prices (farmstands and farmer markets). These practices support the local farmers and local economy along with our own Co-op (Ends Policies #1 and #5).

So, there we are! Looking at our Produce Department through the lens of the Ends Policies, we’re in alignment!

Good work, John Truncale, for helping us have a wonderful Produce Department, and for continuing to strive for more!

BFC Board Meeting will be on Monday, September 12th at 5:15pm in the BFC Conference Room.

The Board of Directors will be tabling on Saturday, September 17th from 2-4 – Join them in the store for conversation.

SAVE THE DATE! The annual meeting brunch will be held at Scott Farm on Sunday, November 13th!