Our Fantastic Crew

We've had members ask if we are here more than Wednesday and Thursday during pickups. It's hard not to laugh, knowing the amount of work involved in putting together this program to feed nearly 300 people every week, but we'll take it as a compliment that we make it look easy.

We try to give an overview of how it works when we start someone new or do a trial share, but there's a lot of info to take in all at once. We've certainly gotten better at this over the eight seasons we've been doing it, and our systems and routines are much more efficient, so that we need to apologize a lot less often, but of course there are still some aspects of our business that could use a bit of work.

One thing we do feel like we've gotten down to a fine-tuned instrument is our ordering, organizing and distribution. The ordering of most non-produce items takes place on Friday, while the produce gets ordered on Mondays once the farmers let us know what they have and we do the puzzle to determine who gets what.

Then the farmers harvest and pack it Monday and Tuesday and deliver it to us on Tuesday or Wednesday. Once the farmers arrive at Fair Shares, we have to unload, count or weigh, label, organize, pack, load and distribute it. Sometimes lots of farmers show up all at the same time. Everything that comes in might have a different amount or weight per share that needs to be figured out and divvied up appropriately for 14 pickup/delivery groups getting 8 different food lists over 2 days at 11 different sites. Add in the complexity of tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers etc. coming from 4 or 5 different farmers, and you may start to get an idea why we don't just show up when it's time to hand out the food!

Thank goodness we have the best staff and volunteers. Here are a few pics Lindy Sullivan, Colleen Lischwe, Arianna Aerie and her mom Jan Aerie weighing, bagging, counting and schlepping all the produce that arrives on Tuesday. We are so grateful for their excellent work ethic and commitment to getting this food to you. We're here doing our part so we can let the farmers farm!

Everyone is working at a different station to get all the food organized for tomorrow.

 

Arianna weighs and bags tomatoes.

 

Colleen writes the lists on the chalkboards.

 

Jan counts out the apples so we can determine the number per share. (Then we need to count them all out for each of the shares who are getting the apples).

 

Lindy weighs out the Portuguese kale into pounds.

Once distribution of the food is done on Wednesday and Thursday, Friday is spent doing cleanup and inventory, then the ordering starts over. This doesn't even include all the awesome member volunteers at UCity and Kirkwood, for whom we are fovever indebted. Nor does it include the uber-glamorous the behind the scenes work of finances, member correspondence and social media, but you know, we can't reveal all our sexy secrets.

Tip: Clean Greens

The greens we get (particularly some of the winter spinach) can be pretty dirty. Sometimes they're pristinely clean, but still, we suggest you always wash your food! Give it an initial rinse and then remove the stems and soak the leaves in plenty of clean water. I use my salad spinner, placing the leaves in the...Read more

Testimonials

We are very happy to have our products included in shares through Fair Shares.  The folks at Fair Shares have set-up a great distribution schedule that works with smaller scale local farmers taking into account weekly and seasonal limitations in harvesting. The staff at Fair Shares are easy to work with, being both friendly and professional.  They have been very straightforward about their needs and those that the share members represent. We look forward to growing with Fair Shares!

Bobbi Sandwisch, Live Springs Farm, Carrollton, IL 100% Grassfed Beef, Pasture-Raised Pork, Chicken, and Eggs