Locally raised food delivered to your door step? An opportunity to bring communities together? Meaningful work to stretch my brain? Sign me up!
For many years I sought out meaningful winter work to balance with my seasonal farm schedule. As I began to push the growing season further on each end of the calendar, it became increasingly difficult to find a job that satisfied my desire to be farming as much as possible. Last winter, pretty much my dream job became a reality. I started to work part-time for the Crown of Maine Organic Cooperative, primarily organizing their buying clubs — groups of individuals who get together to place orders for Maine grown organic food, delivered to your doorstep. Now, like it or not, I’ve been roped in for a second season.
I suspect there are few organizations that I admire, and then find working for them only strengthens my admiration. Knowing some of the ins and outs of the Crown O’ Maine Organic Cooperative (COMOC) makes me respect the work and community of the business all the more. In a nutshell, COMOC was founded on the principles of wanting to bring together the products from Maine farmers in the northern reaches of the state, and market them where the heart of the population is, in quantities that made sense to everyone – both farmer, supplier, and purchaser. As the local food movement has grown, and with it the very real understanding of why eating locally raised food is important, the value of the COMOC service is even greater. The fine folks at COMOC make it easy to eat Maine grown and produced food year round. Additionally, all of the products are either Certified Organic, or very consciously selected from producers with ethical production practices.
If you are a restaurant, food store, or group of families in Maine (or parts of New Hampshire and Massachusetts)… anyone, really, for a reasonable minimum order requirement, you can call or email in an order for goods that will be delivered to you the following week. Each week a newly groomed availability list is emailed out (sign up for your list here), letting you know what your options are. There are lots of bulk items, like potatoes, carrots, oats, and flours, as well as some beautiful speciality goods, like jams, cheese, and sausage that can be purchased in smaller amounts. You place your order, and within a few days, the COMOC trucks hit the back roads and highways to gather goods from the farms and producers. Within a week, those same products are collated and delivered to you. It is a system that simply makes sense.
I think about my farmers’ market and CSA customers, and while I know they are stretching to find winter farmers’ markets and stocking their pantries with my winter CSA goods, what about the other staples in the kitchen? Oats, dry beans, meats.. even tofu?! How fun would it be to get together with a group of friends and neighbors and put together a joint order of food? And think about the additional fun of divvying up the goods and maybe having a pot-luck after? It’s community building, healthy eating, supporting Maine’s economy. Would you like to be part of a buying club? I can direct you toward one in your region of Maine, or help you start your own. And, check out Crown O’ Maine’s website for a summary of that the business is all about, in their own words: Crown of Maine Organic Cooperative