This Week’s Bounty: Rhubarb, Ground Beef, and get to know your farmers

rhubarb

This week I had the pleasure of meeting with many families in the Boston area to give two talks on Family, Food and Farms.  I cannot fully articulate how inspiring this work is and how much we have to shift so families can source healthy and trustworthy food.  I was especially struck by the terrible confusion about all the messages and labels on foods, and how many of you expressed real anger at how much we have been lied to over the years. I am realizing that it has created paralysis in our communities, and kept the status quo industrial food system as our default.

I would encourage any of you to please reach out and ask your questions, and we will do all we can to answer them clearly, honestly and with complete transparency.  We are families and small farmers, and like all good farmers we tell it like it is.

So what I kept repeating at these two meetings was – there are no short-cuts.  The work for you is to get to know these farmers. Decide whether you can trust them, or if their methods and ethics are up to your standards and values, then if they are – encourage them with your consistent support – and spread the word too!

Here at Farmers To You we are working tirelessly to create a regional food source that is completely transparent, all the information is here so you can make informed decisions about the food you feed to yourselves and your families.  And if you need more information please ask us!  That is what community and partnership is all about.

With Gratitude and Love,

Greg and the whole team from Farmers To You


Featured Items

Ground Beef is 10% off this week- stock up for grilling! And don’t forget Hamburger Buns or Gluten Free English Muffins, Tomatoes to slice and Salad Mix to round it all out.


Fresh from our Farmers and Producers

Rhubarb from Dog River Farm – perfect for a Strawberry Rhubarb Pie and this will be the last week for fiddleheadsreally this time!

David and Michelle at Valicenti Organico have some wonderful pasta this week. Try pairing any of these with some braised fiddleheads to add that amazing flavor of spring.

RAVIOLI

  • Moroccan Braised Carrot & Chick Pea – Carrot Dough, dairy free blend of caramelized carrots, onions, tomato & chick peas, covered in homemade veg stock and slow braised. Hints of cumin, coriander, fennel seed and herbs.
  • Traditional Spinach – Blonde Dough, sautéed onions, garlic spinach mixed with ricotta & Grana Padano cheese

PASTA

GLUTEN FREE


Keepsake Apples
from Champlain Orchards are fresh out of storage – sweet, crispy and juicy! One of our favorites.

Oyster and Shiitake Mushrooms from Mushroom King are back!

Fresh caught Blue Fish, Scallops, Flounder and White Fish from Red’s Best. Blue Fish on the grill is a sure sign that summer in close at hand.

Don’t forget to check out our Weekly Shares. These are pre-picked orders suited to different dietary preferences; Omnivore, Paleo, Vegetarian and Dairy Free, each accompanied with meal ideas.

forgetmenots

Posted in Farmer, Food & Community, Food & Family, Partnership, Weekly Update | Leave a comment

Weekly Share menu ideas

Weekly Share Menu Ideas:

Looking for dinner ideas? Check out the ideas below. You can either order one of the weekly shares, or mix and match by ordering the ingredients individually.

Vegetarian Share:

  • Stir Fry with Bok Choy, Tempeh, Oyster Mushrooms and Basil
  • Roasted Gold Potatoes with Melted Cheddar and sauteed Braising Greens
  • King of the Early Bean Soup with Roasted Peppers, and Topped with Cheddar Cheese

Omnivore Share:

  • Beef Burgers, with Cheddar and Salad Mix on a Red Hen Bun with Oven Fries
  • Miso Soup with Bok Choy, Oyster Mushrooms and Basil
  • Quiche with Cheddar, Peppers and Spinach

Dairy Free Share:

  • Beef Burgers with Tomato Slices, Salad Mix on a Red Hen Bun and Oven Fries
  • Miso Soup with Bok Choy, Oyster Mushrooms and Basil
  • King of the Early Bean Soup with Roasted Peppers and Braising Greens

Paleo Share:

  • Beef Burgers with Tomato and a Spinach Salad
  • Roasted Turkey Thigh with Sauteed Rutabaga and Steamed Bok Choy
  • Quiche with Roasted Peppers and Braising Mix

 

Posted in Food & Community, Food & Family, Nutrition, Recipes, Tips from the Kitchen, Weekly Update | Leave a comment

Weekly Share Archive 5-13-2016

Our weekly shares from May 13, 2016 are below – Omnivore, Vegetarian, Paleo and Dairy Free. Visit our shopping page to order any of the ingredients you see below.

Our Weekly Share is a pre-picked order option. Whether you’re new to Farmers to You and would appreciate a suggested order, or it’s late on Sunday and you don’t quite have the creative spark, try our Weekly Share!

Each Share:

  • Contains a mix of seasonal items that correspond to a dietary theme
  • Includes some main ingredients to make a few delicious meals that serve approximately a family of four
  • Has a few simple meal suggestions that can be found in the full description of the Share

Also:

  • Don’t forget to add your staples to your shopping basket
  • While you can’t remove an item from a Share, you can add any additional items you please to your shopping basket and they will be combined when you complete your order
  • If your Share contains Variable Weight items (meat, some cheese and produce) the final price will differ slightly after we weigh your actual items

WS DF 5-13-16 WS Omni 5-13-16 WS Paleo 5-13-16 WS Veg 5-13-16

 

Posted in Food & Community, Tips from the Kitchen, Weekly Update | Leave a comment

Radical Transparency – One Year Later

From time to time, we have shared news and numbers with you to keep you abreast of our progress, and lately we have been considering a more radical level of transparency.

We are in the process of updating our website that you use each week, and considering what information to post there to give you the most accurate picture of our progress in building a healthy alternative food system.

Building and designing a new food system can be pretty daunting work sometimes, especially getting all the puzzle pieces to fit together. Mostly, though, building Farmers To You has been a joy, and completely inspiring for many of us. One of the most challenging and important aspects of this new food system is balancing all of the needs and interests of all of you – our partners.

We have partner families – you wonderful folks in the Boston area – who want the freshest and healthiest food from farmers and producers you know, delivered reliably and conveniently for a reasonable price.

We have partner farmers – who commit well in advance of us placing orders so that they can feed us throughout the seasons and year. The farmers and producers need fair and sustainable pricing so they can reinvest in their land, their fertility, and their people.

We have the staff and community here in Vermont — who make all the logistics and details work to connect us all together – our partner families with our partner farmers.

All of these community partners want livable wages, meaningful and inspiring work, as well as the proper tools and equipment to make their tasks possible.

Traditional food systems and economic systems are based on the old, individualistic theory that if everyone worries about themselves that it will all work out. Well, this has been a complete failure in our modern industrial food system. When certain parts of the system are economically dominant (Supermarkets and processors) the other parts of the system have little to no power. Food workers get paid terribly, families are divorced from a trusted, traceable source of food, land and farm animals are treated brutally in a system focused on low cost, and farmers are not paid sustainable prices for their products. In reality, low prices come at the expense of quality, humane treatment of workers and animals, and environmental stewardship.

At Farmers To You, we are attempting to set up measures of how we are doing for all partners. We are working constantly to make sure that all partners’ interests are being attended to. Farmers, Urban Families, Rural Families.

We are working on a report card – or dashboard – to helps us monitor our progress. Our goal will be to post this weekly on the web site for all of our partners to see.

We believe that if we are all accountable to each other, then this disruptive food model will thrive.

In the spirit of complete transparency, here are the latest numbers:

 

Farmers To You Dashboard: May 16, 2016
Weekly 5/18/15 5/16/16
Number of Active Orders – (recurring) 773 820
Family Order Suspension 123 180
Orders Shipped 650 640
New Active Family Partners 10 11
Average Order Size $63.67 $67.90
Number of Items Offered 228 258
Number of Partner Farmers 68 68
% of items shipped that were ordered 99.46% 100%
Year ro Year Retention of Partner Families 68% 68%
Monthly January – April Year To Date 2016 2015 2016
Total Revenue $582,964 $678,689 How much food you bought
Total Cost of Products $395,569 $457,364 How much money went to your farmers
Net Gross Margin 32% 33%
Net Gross Profit $187,395 $221,324 How much went to FTY
——————————————————————————————–
Transport and Loading Exp $120,971 $110,806 FTY Costs
Admin / Marketing/ Utilities & Facilities $137,573 $169,173 FTY Costs
——————————————————————————————–
Operating Profit (Loss) ($71,149) ($58,655)
Debt Service & Depreciation $24,137 $28,923
========================================================
Net Profit (Loss) ($95,286) ($87,578)

So what do these numbers mean?

Seems that this week last year our order suspensions were lower – so we actually sent more food to you in 2015 that we did this year.

Our average order size has risen a few dollars from last year. If each family bought just $10 more per week – we would reach profitability and sustainability by September 2016.

The number of items has been on the rise lately. More selection, less reason to go to the supermarket! Instead support your partner farmers AND get food you can trust.  This also shows the skills of our partner farmers – in their ability to produce more variety.

Our gross margin is a function of the prices we pay to farmers and the prices families pay. We have brought this number up a bit by creating sustainable, predictable volume for our partner farmers. This helps reduce their costs – which we can both pass on to you, as well as help Farmers To You reach sustainability.  Your farmers still receive nearly $0.60 of every dollar you spend – compared to $0.17 at the supermarket.

Order fulfillment. We continue to ship well over 95% of what you order – the crew is fantastic and take their roles very seriously. The predictability and consistency of ordering meeting the farmers’ production makes this number so high.

Retention rate measure the number of families who stay as partners for over a year – typical CSAs have rates from 50 – 80%. Ours stays right around 70%, which, for our model is considered very very good. This is a profound point of pride, as it shows that Farmers To You delivers value and quality for families.  Thank you for making us part of your family!

Our monthly numbers are a financial measure of the health of the community partnership, its sustainability, and its viability. we are still not sustainable, but we are close.

The primary reason is that that partnership has not grown robustly enough in the past year. 

We request your help:

Partner families can help by increasing average order size, helping to open new sites – our Andover Site is our newest, and spreading the word through this year’s Growing Season Promotion, which we will continue for a few more weeks.

We have come too far to stop now, but sometimes the last little bit can be the toughest.  If every one of you brought a friend or neighbor into the partnership – we all would benefit and could continue making this a permanent reality for our farmers, our families, and our dedicated staff here in Vermont and Boston.

Thank you, thank you, thank you – this is a creation through collaboration – and we can all be very proud of our accomplishments to date. Each week we are feeding about 650 families from 68 farms within 150 miles – all year long. Five years ago I was told this was not possible… and we have clearly proven that it is not only possible, but nearly a certainty.  Knowing who feed you and your family is now the only way to have trust in the food you eat.  Together we are building a community of families, farmers, and dedicated individuals who have made that a possibility – one farmer at time, one family at a time.

Thank you for your partnership!

fty.greg_email_signature

on behalf of our entire crew here in Vermont, our partner farmers, and our amazing volunteer site hosts in Boston.

Posted in Food & Community, Food & Family, Partnership, Weekly Update | 6 Comments

This Week’s Bounty: Salad greens, cucumbers, and last chance for fiddleheads

banner.cheddar.tomato.panini

Featured Items

Some of our personal favorite salad fixins are 10% off this week:

Jazz up a leafy green salad of Salad Mix, Mesclun and Red and Green Leaf Lettuce with Pickled Beets, hard boiled Eggs, and Sunflower Seeds, or add Dried Cranberries, Blue Cheese and Toasted Walnuts

Fresh from our Farmers and Producers

Fiddleheads – we will have one more week of this spring specialty, until the ferns unfurl completely! Wild harvested by Dog River Farm, enjoy them sauteed in butter, or try pickling them- a favorite preparation among Farmers to You staff.

Pete’s Greens Mesclun is back!

Jericho Settlers Farm has an exciting mix of produce:

  • Zucchini – tender, young, sweet and juicy. Perfect for the grill, a stir fry or try peeling it in long strips and using as you would noodles
  • Cucumbers! – super crunchy, seedless with tender skin
  • Salad Mix – a blend of four varieties of super crisp and sweet red and green lettuce.
  • Basil Bunches – the classic sweet Genovese variety perfect for a Tomato, Queso and Basil salad, or chopped and sprinkled on top of a Pizza!

Tilldale Farm brings a round of fresh Beef Steaks, Stew Meat, Liver, Short Ribs, Kebabs, and Soup Bones. We doubled up our order because we know you will want to fire up the grill in this beautiful weather!

Don’t forget to check out our Weekly Shares. These are pre-picked orders suited to different dietary preferences; Omnivore, Paleo, Vegetarian and Dairy Free, each accompanied with meal ideas.

Posted in Weekly Update | Leave a comment