Let us help you enjoy this holiday a little bit more this year. Ditch the store. Grab a coffee or glass of wine and jump on that computer. We have so many items to make your holiday more easier. The only thing that we are not able to bring is the bird. Although, if you are having a small Thanksgiving, our 4 lb whole chickens can surely fill the spot.
Oh Thanksgiving. What a wonderful, tasty, and completely stressful holiday you are. I mean what other holiday can you enjoy a feast with your family and have a cute grandma flip you the bird (not a turkey) because she doesn’t like the way you’re driving in a crowded grocery parking lot? Fun times.
But this week, as I do every year this week, I want to focus the newsletter on the idea of community. And to seed this newsletter, I want to share with you a very concise email I received from one of our members this week, “I love Dion’s and Einstein Bagels, but am curious how both fit in with your organic food model?” And let me say that I feel so fortunate to have such a close connection to our members; I get to hear when folks are happy, sad, or just looking for clarification. I do not shield myself from this and I appreciate the feedback.
So let’s look at this email. To begin with, I do not think that we can even categorize our mission as an “Organic food model.” We provide our members with over 10,000 lbs of Organic produce a week, but we also offer a lot more than that. None of our meat is “Certified Organic” because honestly I feel that we found incredible ranchers who do a better job than just labeling it as Organic.
Our bakers are baking your goodies at 3 in the morning for you. No additives, preservatives, and the bread is still warm when they get to the warehouse for your delivery. But they are not Organic. Our dairy cows have no hormones, range on pasture, and enjoy the New Mexican sun like we all do. But they are not certified Organic.
What I am getting at folks is that I love the Organic label. So thrilled that we have an Organic label in our marketplace, but I feel that our mission and work has transcended Organics.
I do not say that in a pompous or arrogant way. What I mean is that through our dedication to this community and to the local food movement, I think we have outgrown the boundaries of a simple label. Think about this way, when you are lost in a horrific grocery store, the “Organic” label can be a beacon to guide you. But what is better than a label is when you are not lost in the food world because you have a guide. After 14 years of guiding and offering food choices for our members, we have built a foundation of trust. And trust is infinitely more valuable than any label can give you.
So that brings us to Now. And our now and future will be shaped by one idea, strategic partnerships. I laid out last week how I see the only way to compete with the Global Goliaths, is to be a Local David. We have to bring you the local voice of not only our farm, but of our community of producers. We all need to be heard and one farm/bakery/ranch floating in the seas by themselves is destined to get lost. A community of producers feeding a community of consumers is the only way we will not only survive in this marketplace, but thrive.
Back to Dion’s and Einstein’s. Dion’s is a locally owned company and probably one of the strongest food brands in the state. Einstein’s is locally owned franchises and bring us freshly baked bagels daily. I feel these are both amazing companies for us to partner. Look at this week for example; members bought 125 bottles of dressing and 340 bagels! Numbers do not lie and those tell me that our members are happy to see these two new additions. Oh, and each of those orders also had locally grown produce, meats, and/or breads in them. A true win-win for everyone I think.
So here is my challenge for you…if strategic partnerships will shape the way our model looks moving forward, do you have or know of a product/business that would be a great fit with our mission? We are always looking for fun and creative people to add to an already incredible team.
The last part of all this community-based business planning is in the ownership structure. I strongly feel that a business model that is devoted to the community should be owned by the community as well. I am not talking about a non-profit. I am talking about a for-profit and socially conscious business structure. One in which members of the community can be emotionally and financially empowered to see a local business prosper. I definitely will be An owner in this company, I just do not need to be The only owner.
Enjoy, Farmer Monte