The Friends & Farmers Board of Directors invites you to an important membership meeting:
September 18, 2019 from 6:00-7:30 PM
New Leaf Initiative
243 South Allen Street in downtown State College Suite #337
The purpose of this meeting is to discuss and vote on the dissolution of the Friends & Farmers Cooperative.
During the July 2, 2019 board meeting, the Board of Directors voted to approve the dissolution of the Friends & Farmers Cooperative. Per the bylaws, for dissolution to proceed, it must now go to the membership for a vote and be approved by a two-thirds vote of members participating in the vote which will take place at the September 18th membership meeting.
At the membership meeting, the Board will provide an update of the work we have done over the past six months and our reasoning behind this very difficult decision, so that members may cast an informed vote. After the Board update, there will be an open comment period for members to provide their thoughts and the vote will follow. In the event the member vote agrees with the Board vote to dissolve the Cooperative, certain steps shall follow. The Cooperative’s financial obligations will be fully satisfied, its assets liquidated, and any remaining member equity returned to members in accordance with the Cooperative’s bylaws.
In the event you are unable to attend the membership meeting but wish to participate in the board vote, please vote online at: https://tinyurl.com/y48xnn9m. Please note, this link will go live on September 18th at 6:00PM until September 25th at 7:00PM.
We hope to see you at the membership meeting.
The Friends & Farmers Cooperative Board of Directors
On July 2nd 2019, the board unanimously voted to approve dissolution proceedings. Please review the FAQ below to make an informed vote as a member of Friends and Farmers Cooperative. If you have any questions, please email email@example.com.
Q: What do the bylaws say about dissolution?
A: Article VI of the bylaws prescribes the methodology for and steps toward dissolution:
ARTICLE VI: Dissolution
6.1 Dissolution: The cooperative may be dissolved upon a decision of the Board and a two-thirds (⅔ vote) of the members who participate in the vote.
6.2 Asset Distribution: Upon dissolution of the Cooperative, its assets shall be distributed in the following manner and order:
- Paying or making provisions for payments of all liabilities and expenses of liquidation;
- Paying back membership fees to members which, if they cannot be paid in full, shall be paid in order of the membership date, from earliest to most recent; then
- Distributing any remaining assets to another cooperative or cooperative development organization as determined by the Board.
Q: What was the board’s work plan for 2019?
A: In November of 2018, the Board voted to pause business operations of the Online Market effective December 18th, 2018. The Board then went into “hiatus” to determine the future of Friends and Farmers Cooperative. In February of 2019, the Board conducted two focus groups which attracted 50 member-participants. In March of 2019, the Board released a membership survey which had 109 member-participants. The Board then explored several business options that members expressed interest in. The Board hosted a membership party at Rhoneymeade Arboretum and Sculpture Garden which had 25 member-participants in attendance. In July of 2019, the Board determined that no business options would be financially feasible due to financial constraints of member equity and lack of membership engagement.
Q: What do membership numbers currently look like? How have they increased throughout the years?
A: Currently, Friends and Farmers Cooperative has 530 members. The chart below shows membership growth through new members and total members.
Q: What does the Cooperative’s assets currently look like? How has that fluctuate throughout the years?
A: The Cooperative currently has $47,691 in assets. The chart below shows assets throughout the years.
Q: The local food movement is so strong. Why has the Cooperative had trouble maintaining its momentum in the last two years?
A: Increased competition (new grocery stores, upgrades to Giant and Weis, meal delivery kits, grocery delivery services, farm to table restaurants, etc) along with the inability to find a pricing model of the Online Market (OLM) compromised the Cooperative’s ability to sell a sufficient volume of food at the OLM for a profit has decreased the success of Friends and Farmers Cooperative. This combination has decreased the Cooperative’s ability to attract new members.
Q: What was the Cooperative’s net operating income over the years?
A: The Cooperative has operated at a loss since 2014, which means that the cost of goods sold and operating expenses are greater than sales. If you wish to see additional financial history, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Six years ago a small and passionate group of people came together to discuss the need for a Cooperative grocery store to serve State College and the surrounding communities. The passion stemmed from a desire to support our burgeoning local food economy and to create a business where members and the community could feel positive about their dollars going to support the local area and not line the pockets of large chain corporations. We proved to ourselves that this was something the local community wanted as we quickly added 250 members in a very short amount of time.
As we continued to add members and the Co-Op continued to grow, an idea to kick start our sales process and support local farmers through an Online Farmers Market started to take shape. With the help of a local food grant we launched the OLM 4 years ago, allowing our members and others to easily purchase fresh locally grown or produced food from the convenience of their home or office. Our local vendors found a new avenue to market their products and small subset of our members and local community found a new way to shop.
Continuing to grow our membership to the numbers needed to kick-off our brick and mortar location while running a fledgling business was an enormous undertaking. We’ve been successful on many of our endeavors while others have flagged as resources have been stretched thin. Through it all the one thing that has remained constant is the amazing people in this community that are passionate about local and sustainable food.
With the board at full capacity after a number of years operating at less than full strength, we have an opportunity to look at where the organization is and where we want to go. This coupled with a very rough growing season for our local vendors has led the board to the conclusion that it would be in the best interest of Friends & Farmers to suspend the Online Market and enter into a planning phase for the next 6 months.
During this planning phase we will empower board committees to evaluate the current state of Friends & Farmers and develop the best path forward for the Co-Op to fulfill its mission. We still believe strongly in F&F’s initial vision of a brick and mortar store and the viability of a convenient online shopping marketplace. In this time of strategy building we will need our members, vendors, and customers to help us steer the ship. A Co-Operative relies on its most valuable resource, its people, to be successful.
We thank our vendors, volunteers, customers, and past board members who started and kept the OLM alive for the past four years with tremendous amounts of effort, money, and time. We look forward to the opportunity to learn from our past and blaze a bright new path into the future for our community. A sailboat needs all of its crew to contribute in a myriad of ways for a successful journey. So it is for F&F at this time and we hope our “crew” is up to the task at hand so we may successfully navigate our way home.
What this all means is that December 18th will be our official last Online Market day and we will officially move into the planning phase hiatus at the beginning of January. We envision taking 6 months to finalize a strategy and put the pieces of the puzzle together so that we may be coming into our new form at the time that most of our local farms are hitting their season of abundance. We believe this to be an aggressive and ambitious timeline, but believe we are up to task to reach this target. The Board will continue to be in touch with you every step of the way so that members and the community are fully included in the possible actions of the future of the Online Market and the cooperative.
Once again thank you all for being part of the F&F family and we look forward to our journey at the beginning of 2019 with all of you!Read more
Meet Heidi Aspen Lauckhardt-Rhoades
Friends & Farmers Board Member
Three years ago I took an about face that changed the trajectory of life for me and my family. In June of 2015, my children and I (and cat at the time), boarded our new-to-us 2010 Subaru and turned the nose of our ship northbound, leaving my childhood home of Palm Beach County, Florida behind. Barbara Kingsolver, author of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, wrote about her similar experience leaving the Sunbelt for Virginia in a move destined to improve the quality of life for her family as well as lessen the burden of their carrying capacity on an overpopulated and fragile ecosystem; I couldn’t identify with those pages more.
Our life three years after arriving on a sticky and sun-drenched evening has manifested into the best period of my life. I believe that Central Pennsylvania is the Land of Opportunity for anyone that is passionate or even curious about the Terroir Revolution. It really CAN BE DONE here in our region. We are so fortunate to live in a place with plenty of elbow room and natural resources. This place, terroir, is a vortex for innovation; there is a lot of brainpower here and the collaborative spirit is anthropological; the barn raising spirit is pervasive in both Amish and English communities. People here want to help, want to come into alliance and get along and help each other out. I have never experienced such a kinder way of life. It is natural and easy to work together and build.
I am currently working as the Market Manager for the Pine Grove Mills Farmers Market, the first of its kind in the area. Our market is comprised of mostly first time producers; individuals and families of various ages and stages in their lives are implementing their dreams for themselves; giving enterprise a go and boldly living in alignment with their values of environmental stewardship, animal welfare, self-reliance through cooperation, and serving as models for others.
My background is a patchwork of land management, community outreach, wellness, maritime, freelance and education. After an unforeseen layoff in November, 2017 I decided to dig deep and follow my desire towards agriculture, food production and sustainable economic development. With that intention set into motion, the momentum surge has been remarkable and my life’s degree of satisfaction is testimony to “following one’s bliss”.
As a Friends and Farmers Board member I plan to assist in the human relations aspect of our organization; introducing more of our community to Friends and Farmers through novel means; connecting our customers with our producers, connecting producers with other producers; connecting businesses with our organization and developing educational opportunities (incubation) for people interested in local [food] economy. A healthy community that is sustainable and attractive to growth is built upon relationships, trade and respect. With the far-reaching implications that food economies have on health, environment and wellness, one may well argue that building out long-term sustainable, and socially inclusive methods of production and distributions is a must for community development. I believe being a part of Friends and Farmers is a powerful advocacy tool that will help shape the well being of our region’s future and serve as an example for other national regions as well.
Chris Rand shares a tasty recipe for
Pickled Garlic Scapes
If you’re like me, you like garlic, a lot, and use a lot of it. It’s never too much! Garlic scapes are an underappreciated late spring offering, gaining in popularity, and canning them keeps them around all year, if you’ve got the discipline to pace yourself. We don’t, they are just too good. You can only get them at this time of year for just a few weeks. Good luck!
Pickled Garlic Scapes
Adapted from recipe posted by Yellow Birch Hobby Farm
Recipe type: Canning
Prep time: 40 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
Total time: 1 hour
Serves: about 12 pints
Recipe can be scaled up or down
5 lbs garlic scapes
Several heads of garlic (1-2 cloves per pint jar)
2 T dried dill (1/2 t per pint, or 1 sprig fresh dill per pint)
3 teaspoons crushed red pepper (1/4 tsp per pint)
10 cups apple cider vinegar (can use white vinegar)
10 cups water
1 cup canning salt
Wash your scapes and then cut off the flower stalk at the top- just behind where the white meets the green (to get max yield I use tops and bottoms, discard bulb in middle, use just top halves if you wish)
You can cut them into pieces or just curl them into clean, prepared jars. Pack them in there, being sure to leave 1 inch headspace.
To each pint jar, add: 1-2 cloves garlic, ½ teaspoon dried dill (or 1 sprig fresh dill), and ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper.
On the stovetop, heat water, vinegar, and canning salt to the boiling point, then turn down to a simmer. Carefully ladle the brine into your jars, leaving 1 inch headspace. Secure lids and bands. Process 10 minutes in a boiling water canner.
Allow to sit for 3-4 weeks before eating.
Makes 12 pints, using approx. 5 lbs garlic scapes.
Embellishments: mustard seed, dill heads, cardamom seed/pods (not ground), peppercorns, etc.
Cocoa Coffee Rye Bread
This weeks recipes were developed by Friends & Farmers Board Member
Makes two 2 pound loaves
3 cups of warm coffee, purchased on the Online Market
1 tsp sugar
1 ½ Tbsp yeast
1 ½ Tbsp salt
2 cups of whole rye flour, purchased on the Online Market
5 cups of all purpose flour
¼ cup of cocoa powder
Brew coffee and allow to cool slightly. Once it is cooled to warm temperature (versus boiling hot), mix in the yeast. Place the rest of the ingredients into a large bowl, then mix in coffee yeast mixture. Knead together the dough; it should not be too sticky. Cover and allow to rise in a warm area for about 2 hours.
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Form your dough into desired shape, place flour or cornmeal onto baking sheet and place dough onto the pans. Allow the loaves to sit for about 40 minutes.
Before placing the bread into the oven, place slashes into the loaves to allow the heat to escape. Fill a pan with a cup or two of water and place it into the oven. Bake the loaves for approximately 30 minutes.
Thank you Deb and Stan Latta for your dedication to volunteering for Friends & Farmers!
I sat down with Deb at The Meetinghouse to learn more about her role with the OLM
How did you get involved with Friends & Farmers?
Deb: I was with the State College School District and the CDT ran an article about F & F back when it was first starting and I had no idea we could order online so I pulled up the website that was listed in the article so I began ordering with my husband. I said to him when we retire I think I would like to volunteer for this organization. I love the products, I love the farming community and helping out and I’m a people person. So I decided it would be a nice fit for when we retire.
I started first and kept ordering and later on they needed drivers so Stan joined and we’ve been doing it every Tuesday since.
Why do you love F & F products?
Deb: For me this is what I love the most. I love that I can sit down at my computer and I can look at a lot of different farms and products. I don’t have to drive to Bellefonte for my soap or to Pleasant Gap for my pasta but even sitting in my p.j’s I’m able to put together a really nice order and not have to go to the grocery store. So I like the convenience, a one-stop shop is what I really like.
What are some of your favorite products?
Deb: Belle Naturals! I love the soap, I think I have bought every single bar that she makes. They’re just absolutely wonderful especially in this winter weather.
I love Clover Creek Cheeses they really came in handy over the Holiday season my company really raved about them.
I really like the micro-greens because that’s not something I can find in any kind of a store. We have a couple different suppliers for micro-greens and they’re just wonderful added to salads.
It depends on the season and if I’m doing a lot of entertaining. I’ll buy some things from Tait Farm like their mustards or their jams.
I like all of The Pipers Peck salsas except the ones that are really super hot!
I’ll buy a lot of greens, carrots, and radishes that kind of thing. I love Jade Family Farm because not only do I know the family so I feel this kinship but they are truly one of the suppliers that are totally organic by definition absolutely organic. I love their products and I can really tell the difference when I get their products verses something I’d buy at the grocery store.
Friends and Farmers has then opened the door for me to go to Farmers markets. I go to the Boalsburg Market and the Indoor Market during winter and that is really new for me. So now I’m going every week. It has really opened my eyes to this entire world I never knew existed.
Before I was just going to the grocery store and I couldn’t figure out why I was throwing away so much. The lettuce never lasted, I tried different types of lettuce and my radishes were always getting yucky. I eat a lot of salads. Friends & Farmers produce is so different it’s so fresh and it’s not any more expensive. That was the big fallacy for me the big “ah-ha” when I see what I’m getting and the amount I’m getting verses what I used to buy. I can have this organic lettuce in my fridge for three weeks! You have to treat it kindly but it will last.
Another favorite is Fasta Pasta. My favorite is the Smoked Mozzarella Ravioli. It is the best and you can’t get it anywhere else. I love that it comes frozen and I will tell you Stan and I usually eat the whole pack!
Tell me more about Stan’s role with Friends & Farmers.
Stan has really embraced volunteering much more than I thought. He looks forward to getting all the deliveries and since he knows the State College area so well he divides up all the deliveries that we have. Say there are two drivers he’ll be the one that says, “Okay these seven go here and these six go with this person.” So he enjoys that and then he competes with himself to see how fast he can do all the deliveries. He does them very nicely and he really likes the challenge. He has met so many people that order every week and some people that he has known! They’ll say, “Stan I didn’t know you were delivering with Friends & Farmers.” So he’s reconnected! I think he enjoys making people feel good. “Here’s your delivery, is there anything else I can do?” He likes going over and beyond. He’ll drop it off and if he doesn’t see a cooler he always calls the person and makes sure that everything is taken care of so when he gets home he can feel really good that he has done a good job. He really enjoys from start to finish the whole process.
Deb’s Tips for Keeping Lettuce fresh in your refrigerator: I keep it in the exact bag I buy it in and keep it open and I wash and tear as I use it and it stays really well. I also don’t put it in the bottom of my refrigerator I put it in the middle of the crispers. If it gets too cold it doesn’t keep well.
Honestly, I should call this the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink quiche-guide. Because of the options on the online market, I’ve made several quiches each a unique combination.
I look at building my quiche in three segments: 1) The crust, 2) the vegetables, cheese and meats and 3) the eggs. and I never have an exact recipe and I’m not a professional cook—just an armature who loves the ease of throwing leftovers into a pan with eggs and making a gourmet meal. The following are not exact recipes, but hopefully will give you some inspiration to create your own masterpiece!
Option #1: Low carb or just not a fan? Go crust-less! Who says you need a crust for a good quiche?
Option #2: Personally, I think the crust is the best part! Your second option is a classic all-butter crust. The recipe I use is one I’ve been using since college that was passed on to me from my roommate, who shared an equal passion of pastry crusts (and carbs, in general).
1-1/4 cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
½ cup of chilled butter, cut into 1-tablespoon cubes
3 tablespoons of ice water (or 3 tablespoons of chilled vodka)
Add flour, salt and chilled butter into a food processor and pulse until a meal forms. Gradually add ice water, a teaspoon at a time until it becomes moist and clumpier. Gather dough and roll into a ball. Chill up to overnight for use.
Option #3: Potatoes! First, grease your pie tin so you can easily remove your quiche after baking. Next, thinly slice the potatoes and lay them across the bottom and up the side to form a “crust.” Make one layer, two layers, or three! You are the chef.
Option #4: Mashed potatoes! Oh my, this has to be my favorite option. Recently, my roommate made a plethora of potatoes (thanks, 5lb option on the Online Market!). I used leftovers as a crust by mixing in one egg and approximately ½ cup of panko breadcrumbs until it created a dough-like consistency. Using my hands, I formed the crust in the pie pan.
Vegetables and other delicious additives
Here is where it can really get crazy! Because I hate food waste, my quiches usually end up being the last of the vegetables from the week that are just on their way out… but with the online market, you can come up with a ton of delicious combinations. Here are a few of my favorites.
—Emily’s Greens Pie: Sautee your greens down until they are a little wilted and layer them into the pie pan or crust. Don’t layer them to tightly because you’ll want to make sure that the eggs can still properly soak through. Add something salty (cheese, bacon, sausage…) and Voila! The perfect late summer quiche when you are sick and tired of eating salads.
—Sausage, bacon, beef, lamb, salmon… there is so many options on the online market! Cook your meat thoroughly and layer it into the pie pan or crust. Add any other veggies or cheese, as desired.
—I find that you can’t go wrong by copying “The Waffle Shop” omelets. My boyfriend and I treat ourselves some mornings to a visit to the West College Waffle Shop and always seem to order our two favorite omelets: The Greek (spinach, feta and tomatoes) and the Eastern (no, not the Western, folks—bacon instead of ham!). Recreate your favorite omelet in pie format and you cannot go wrong.
Plain and simple — the better quality the egg, the better quality of quiche. That is why the only option for your eggs is to purchase them from the Online Market.
Options #1: The light and fluffy classic— mix ½ dozen to 1 dozen of eggs (depending on pan size) with milk, salt and pepper. The milk will give it a fluffy texture.
Option #2: Creamy and delicious—mix some soft cheese (think goat cheese or sheep cheese) in with the eggs to make it extra creamy.
Option #3: Herb-city— Add all sorts of herbs to taste. My favorite combination is thyme, sage, pepper and garlic.
Option #4: Pesto!— Add a spoonful of pesto to the eggs (to taste) and mix it thoroughly. Your quiche may look green and something from out of a sci-fi movie, but it will taste out of this world.
Once you have your ingredients prepped and ready for the bake, layer your veggies, cooked meats, cheese, etc. in your pie crust to get an even distribution and pour the egg mixture over the top. bon appetit!