Monday, June 16, 2008

Spinach and Strawberry Salad Time

Hi Neighbours,

Okay, We're organized. We've got a clear plan. We're ready to go again.

Have you had your first taste of local strawberries yet? I bought some
in Michigan that were big and beautiful and bland. Yuck. I'm looking
forward to some tasty local ones.

What percent of diet do you want to be local food? I'm aiming for 50%
this year. Now with this buying club it suddenly seems doable where
before it felt overwhelming. When I was pregnant with Ezra I don't
think even 10% of our grocery money was going to local food. So 50%
feels very exciting. Who says you need to give up salads in Winter?
Not I. I'm just advocating that we replace all the imported tomatoes
with local tomatoes. I'd also like to see more people dabbling in the
art of preserving food. It isn't all scary popping jars of hot liquid
: ) So that's why I'm organizing this Bailey's Local Buying Club. It
will help me get more local food onto my table and I hope it does the
same for you. I lie in bed smiling at the thought of all of our money
going to local farmers instead of Loblaws. I'm also having fun
getting to know the farmers. I'm hoping that some of them will join us
for a picnic in the Fall.

Here are the details of how this local buying club will be working.
Note that there is no need to buy bulk with most items and there is no
user fee. If you know of others in the neighbourhood that may be
interested in Bailey's Local Buying Club now that the bulk emphasis is
removed, please forward this email to them.

Mission of Bailey's Local Buying Club

To make it easier for families in KW to buy, preserve and eat food
from local farmers.
To nurture interest in our local food culture.
To support local farmers and encourage them to grow more people food.

Food Source

All food will be from within 100 miles of my house. I'm committed to
buying from the smaller farmers, mills, bakers, processors, canneries,
etc… The food ingredients may not be 100% local (for example bread may
be made locally but not from all-local ingredients – yet!) but it will
be as local as I can find.

Why a Buying Club?

Each family needs to find a local food-buying system that works for
them. For some grocery stores work best. For some the farmers market
works well, others love CSAs, others prefer to pick up from the
farm-gate. This Buying Club is one more option. The Buying Club is
handy for some because members can pick and choose what they want each
week. Bailey's Buying Club offers more than produce and offers food
year round – even in the deep and dark of Winter.

Bailey's Buying Club is not a store. We do not offer 24/7 convenience.
It DOES require thinking ahead to order what your household will eat
that week (or month). Each item is not available each week so some
items may be available only every couple months (flour, for example).
This means you may want to put flour in a large ice cream bucket or in
bags in the freezer so that you have enough until it is offered again.
We also don't claim to be as efficient as Zehrs. We are better
organized now but it will take more than a few minutes to pick up your
food so plan to not rush it, if you can. You can also take turns doing
pick-up with a fellow member. Because Bailey's is not a store, we have
lower over-head costs and can keep our mark-up lower. We are committed
to paying farmers a fair price for their goods so the food will rarely
be a "bargain" but it will be "reasonable" when you consider all the
labour and energy that went into producing it.

The perks of Bailey's Buying Club are that you'll find solidarity with
other folks in the neighbourhood who want to eat more locally.
Pick-up day can be way more fun than a grocery store trip. Kids play
in the backyard, neighbours run into each other and cookies draw
people in. The weekly emails from me, Nina, sometimes offer a few
practical tips about how to use what is in season and how to preserve
it. Buying your food through Bailey's also means that much more of
your food dollars are going to local farmers than if you shopped at a
grocery store. Your produce is also fresher than from a grocery store
since it was picked the morning or, sometimes, day before you pick it
up at my house.

Annual Schedule

Bailey's Local Buying Club will offer fresh produce and other foods
from May-Oct with weekly pick-ups. Bailey's will offer root vegetables
and other foods monthly from November-April.

Food Offered

Bailey's offers a variety of organic, conventional and no-spray foods:

Fresh Produce – includes hard-to-find no-spray strawberries and
raspberries, no-spray sweet corn, Fall salad greens, greenhouse
tomatoes in early Spring, melons…

Winter vegetables – includes cabbage, potatoes (no-spray), sweet
potatoes, onions, turnip, celeriac, parsnip, carrot and salad mix from

Grains – organic flours and grains from Oak Manor near Tavistock

Southern ON fruits – sweet cherries, sour cherries, peaches,
blueberries, and apricots

Dried beans – from near St. Mary's (includes soup mixes)

Peanuts and Peanut Butter – from near Simcoe

Pasture-raised chicken – from the Gingerich family near Newton
(available frozen), no hormones, antibiotics, or GMO in the feed.

Eggs – from near Mount Forest (birds not in cages and fed high-quality
grain so that their egg yolks are dark orange). I'm still looking for
a source of eggs from pasture-raised hens.

Beef – from near Ayr. Farmer Jeff Stager rarely uses antibiotics (for
example in the past six months he's given two steers antibiotics), no
hormones, no steroids, no animal byproducts in the feed. Mostly

Preserves – pear sauce, pear juice, applesauce, salsa, and more.

Baked goods – from a local baker in West Montrose. Pies, tarts, bread, cookies.

Cheese – from Oak Manor in New Hamburg. Goat and sheep cheese coming too.

Other: Honey and Maple Syrup, Nuts (hopefully!), popcorn, canola oil, pasta

Pick Up Location

My house down the long lane at 72A William St. West. Please walk or
bike if you can.

Pick Up Times:

Starting July 9 the pick-up day will be Wednesday afternoon 3:30-6PM.
I will send out the order form on Friday and it will be due by Monday
at 9PM.

The Fine Print

If we do not receive enough orders one week to pay the expenses of
running the buying club that week, we will postpone the trip until the
next week.
Some weeks I will not offer local food because I'm on vacation or due
to family illness. I will try to let you know ahead of time when a
week is approaching that there will not be a pick-up day.
I do not have a refrigerated truck. I haul produce, eggs, and cheese
in an air-conditioned vehicle and coolers. Frozen meat is packed into
coolers and transferred to a freezer at my house. I am not a
warehouse and cannot store food here. We will be getting a fridge and
freezer for eggs and frozen meat to keep them cold on pick-up day but
they will not be on the rest of the week.
We are figuring this out as we go. This is a new system for connecting
urban consumers with food from local farms. We ask for your
understanding and good humour as we figure this out.
Local food is dependent on local weather, local insects and local
sweat. If farmers have difficulty finding enough pickers or a drought
wipes out half of their yields or insects infest the sweet corn you
were counting on – this means something you order may not be available
when you come to pick it up.

I'll send an order form out later today.

The farmers and Bailey's Local Foods thank you for buying local food,

Nina Bailey-Dick and Wendell Bailey

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