I have joined a food co-op. I stumbled on it quite by accident one day. There was a sign posted in a front yard a half block from my place: Kitsilano Organic Co-op it said. I noted the email address and sent a note to find out more. Here’s how it works, local chef and co-op coordinator Darren Clay, puts in an order with a whole sale buyer every two weeks. He sends a notice out on Thursday with a list of the produce he’s selected, like this:
Apples – pink lady
Oranges – tangelo
Bananas – the yellow ones
Broccolini – if you have never seen this stuff before, it’s a mini-version of broccoli. Good stuff.
Cauliflower – the white kind
Potato – Yukon Gold
If I’m in, I let him know. Then on Tuesday, he tells us when the bounty has arrived. At that point, I can barely contain my excitement. I grab my cloth bags and run the half block and up his steps to the porch. And that’s when the party begins. Or would begin if I wasn’t always the first to arrive and in such a hurry to leave with my treasure!
The produce is set out in boxes on the porch. There is a list of how many of each item we are to take. There’s always an extras box too. So we fill our bags, cross our names off the list and put our cheques in the mailbox.
I filled two bags to overflowing and paid $30 that first time. It ranges from $25 to $30 depending on the time of year, what the weather’s been like and if the produce is local or not. It’s mostly not right now. I was so impressed with the produce the first time, I wrote Darren and told him so.
He’d obviously checked out my blog, in particular the Stew post. He wrote back:
Funny enough I did my apprenticeship at the Waterfront under chef Nagato. I also worked with Zarko. Chef Nagato was the first one to introduce me to organic produce as he used to order trucks of it in the summer well before it hit the mainstream. I will always remember tasting my first heirloom tomato and thinking it was the first real tomato I had. It’s a small town but I like it that way.
Me too. Darren’s blog has more pictures than mine. Great pictures. Food pictures.
I love this porch party thing. Love that I get produce that I wouldn’t normally buy. Like parsnips. Don’t like them much. But when I got seven of them last order, I decided to make soup and wow was it good! Can’t wait for the next order.
Will try to hang around the porch longer next time to party with my fellow co-op members.