The snow has melted, the snow has melted! Spring must be right around the corner. At least that’s our mindset here at your community owned co-op! Spring is such a great time in our area!
We’ve got our seed rack out, carrying local seeds from Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah, Iowa. The rack is filled with the best sellers from our region so you’ll see some familiar and no-so familiar varieties. Stay tuned because soon we’ll have in local seedlings from Tree of Life Gardens in Cuba City, WI. All seedlings will be certified organic which means no GMO’s!
Throughout the long winter, we’ve been fortunate enough to have carried local carrots until just last week. What a milestone! Tree of Life has done the most magnificent job providing local bulk and bagged carrots to us here. A big thanks to Tree of Life and Small Family Farm for their dedication to our community and our store! Way to go!
One thing that keeps us, and our local farmers on our toes are conferences during the winter months. Last week, I was able to attend the largest organic farming conference in the U.S. with our Grocery Lead, David Kolck and one of our foundation farmers, Carrie Post from Honey Hill Organic Farm. We all jumped in Carrie’s van and headed to the MOSES (Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service) Conference in La Crosse, WI for two days of learning and networking. We attended workshops on everything from fermentation to new rules pertaining to the organic standards. We ran into countless familiar faces and were also fortunate to meet new farmers that are interested in selling their organic goodies to us here in Dubuque. We were noticed frequently by folks, curious to know what is going on in Dubuque for good food. We proudly told them of our co-op, our community, and of course our mission. Below is a photo of Carrie thanking C.E.O. George Siemon of Organic Valley and David speaking with Patrick from the Organic Consumer Association. We had a great time!
Now let’s talk store shelves…We still have some pretty excellent citrus coming in from California. Mandarins are EVERYWHERE! We also have some tasty tangerines! You might run into a seed or two, but every bite is worth it! There are numerous varieties still available here, so come on in and check them out. Now is an excellent time to make orange marmalade for when you’re craving that citrus in the middle of summer when citrus prices soar! Or how about sliced kumquats to give that salad of yours a kick?
We’re excited to see berries on the shelves! Whether you’re looking for strawberries, blackberries, raspberries or blueberries—we’ve got you covered. We’ll likely begin to see the prices decrease soon. Most berries are coming in from Mexico but we’re seeing some varieties transition back to the U.S. which is a good sign!
Interestingly enough, fruit and vegetable production is moving out of the desert regions and back into the valleys of California. With that, we’ll be seeing a shortage of grapes. As of right now, I’m only able to find red grapes with small seeds in them. Surprisingly, the seeds are mellow in taste and not bitter in the least, so you can crunch right through them with no trouble at all. According to industry specialists, we likely won’t see organic grape supplies until April/May.
Before we know it, we’ll be in the depths of summer with so many local, organic produce items to choose from! Here’s to a smooth start to spring for our farmers—Cheers!