2019 Farm Tour Recap

Another successful farm tour is in the books! With 30 farms this year, visitors could see how bigger farms work, like Herb Pharm, Fry Family Farm, and Rogue Creamery, while also experiencing the joys of smaller farms, such as Turning Point Farm, Fox Run Farm, and Daily Blessing Farm.

Visitors of all ages enjoying Goodwin Creek Gardens
Visitors of all ages enjoying Goodwin Creek Gardens

Every farm did a wonderful job hosting farm activities. It’s no surprise that attendees were drawn out to farms for the activities alone, like carriage rides, hay rides, photo booths, animal petting areas, prizes for children, live music, tastings and goods for sale. Some visitors made it a point to purchase goods from the farm at each stop they made - the lavender cookies and popsicles at Goodwin Creek Gardens were definitely a hit.

Vinfarm cheese, wine and more
Vinfarm cheese and wine

We know this is a great event for the Rogue Valley community because there was an uptick in attendance from last year’s Farm Tour - about 1,500 folks made it out to local farms this year. That’s a great affirmation that Rogue Valley residents and visitors appreciate our strong local food system, and that they enjoy the opportunity to connect with our farmers. (A lot of feedback asked for longer hours or an additional day to tour farms in the future.)

Horse-drawn carriage rides were one of many activities for visitors
Horse-drawn carriage rides were one of many activities for visitors

For 2020, here are some possible changes:

  • A wrap-up party after the event! It was fun swapping stories after the tour about each farm, so it would be great to have everyone come together for a Farm Tour party with music and food at the end of the day. 
    Leading a tour of a local farm
  • More and earlier bus and carpool options - though we got a lot of feedback asking for ways to reduce the carbon footprint of attending multiple farms, the tour buses sponsored by Rogue Retreat and Set-Free Ministries did not fill up. We will focus on filling buses with environmentally-conscious folks next year.
    Pollination in action
  • The more volunteers, the easier it is on farms. We will be looking for more folks to help next year! 
  • Make the Farm Tour a little longer - Farms are spread out, so it's hard to get to more than three. Extending hours would allow attendees time to visit another farm, or just enjoy a nice moment.
    U-Pick Lavender
  • We will schedule the 2020 Farm Tour to avoid double-booking with the Jackson County Fair free day and the Oregon Country Fair.
  • We will add a spot to the maps so you know where you can grab food.
    Farm-raised kiddos helping on the tour

 

 

More Co-op News

Fall Staff Picks

Thanks to alpine trails and shaded valley creeks, outdoor recreation is year-round in the Rogue Valley. But fall usually makes for more frisky feet, so we asked Co-op employees for their favorite fall activities and recommendations for what they grab before they head out. 

 

Applegate products joining Co-op Basics

Just in time for the school year, Applegate products are being added to the Co-op Basics program! The Co-op carries a variety of Applegate products, like sliced deli meat, cheeses, bacon, and sausages. Now as part of the Co-op Basics program, you’ll be saving up to $2 on Applegate products across the store, every day. 

Applegate sandiwhc

Top 15 Things to Do in Ashland (When It's Smoky)

Ashland is a paradise for the outdoors - but sometimes Mother Nature has different plans for us.

When smoke from wildfires becomes an issue, there are still plenty of great activities to enjoy around our wonderful town. Check out this list for some inspiration!

AFC Celebrates 20 Years with Magnolia Farms

This year, the Ashland Food Co-op proudly celebrates their 20 year partnership with Magnolia Farms. Their pasture raised, no antibiotics, no hormones lamb is a staple in the Co-op Meat Department. Magnolia Farms is graciously donating the lamb for our August First Friday in celebration of our long standing partnership.

Compostable Bags

The Co-op has been asked if compostable plastic bags are a viable alternative to the standard plastic bags offered in the produce and meat departments. 

For several reasons, compostable bags are not in line with the Co-op’s goals and standards. 

Not compostable at home

Sustainability Update: Energy efficiency and zero waste

Energy Efficiency
We are happy to announce that we are a member of the Energy Trust of Oregon’s Strategic Energy Management program. This is a free program available to customers of Avista and Pacific Power, which offers awesome incentives including a paid internship!

Meet the 2019 Board of Directors

Congratulations to Annie Hoy, Melina Barker, Lisa Beam, and Steve Bowman for their election to the Board of Directors! We were delighted to have such a strong slate of candidates to fill our four vacancies. You can read more about each new director here.

How to stay sustainable with paper products

Have you thought about how sustainable your paper home products are? While the use of single-use plastics has (rightfully) been criticized, some products are made to be single-use - like toilet paper, paper towels, and napkins. With these products, it’s best to examine sustainability by looking at what goes into their production.

Board elections are open!

We are grateful for the engaged community that supports the Ashland Food Co-op. We're a grocery store owned by you (with a few thousand of your friends). But your ownership isn't just coupons and discount; you help shape the future of the Co-op through the election of the Board of Directors.

This year, seven candidates are nominated for four board positions: two will serve a three-year term; one will serve a two-year term; and one will serve a one-year term. Additionally, the current board has proposed three by-law changes for approval.

Farm Tour on the Shelves

The Farm Tour shines a spotlight on Southern Oregon - it represents the full range of products grown in the Rogue Valley. The Farm Tour isn't until July 14, but here's a list of tour activities for participating farms that are also on the shelves at the Ashland Food Co-op. Get an early taste of quality local goods!

Planning for Summer... and Smoke

By Emile Amarotico, General Manager

If we are lucky, we’ll only have another seven week smoke intrusion this summer. If we are not, we could be the next Paradise. In less than 13 hours, last November’s Camp Fire wiped out nearly 19,000 structures and more than 80 lives. With community help, we were able to raise over $14,000 to support Chico Natural Foods Co-op’s efforts to feed some of the nearly 20,000 displaced Paradise residents.

The Co-op's "Secret Garden"

Did you know the Co-op employees have a small garden on our campus? Planning and management falls on our fantastic Co-op volunteer: Henry Herting.

Below, Henry shares some background on the garden, what it’s used for, and some additional tales from over the years.


Originally, the need for a kitchen garden arose from having a kitchen classroom in which culinary classes were being held. Visiting chefs have always been invited to use the garden for any ingredients they may have forgotten or items they could use as garnish for their dishes.

 

Tips for a Sustainable Kitchen

By Mahlea Rasmussen, Education Coordinator

Outside of work I spend a lot of time in the kitchen. I find it a soothing space to create nourishing meals and lasting memories. I find it essential to be as eco-friendly as possible and a few changes can transform your kitchen into a sustainable center of your home.