Meet New Supplier: Smoky Bend Farm

fogSmoky Bend Farm in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia is a small family run farm, nestled in a gooseneck of Sleepy Creek. Our namesake comes from the wispy fog that regularly rises from the creek water. Farmers Jared and Rich have a passion for delicious, local food that is sustainably produced. This isn’t your standard grocery store fare!IMG_1769

mulch layerAt Smoky Bend, we have implemented a variety of techniques that allow us to grow produce while reducing the impact on the environment. In our fields, we minimize tillage whenever possible and cover exposed soil to prevent erosion. We build soil fertility through cultivation of the appropriate cover crops. Insect pests are managed using floating row covers as a physical barrier as well as labor intense hand picking. By growing disease resistant crop varieties that are adapted to our climate, we eliminate the need for synthetic chemicals to control pests or disease.

pig2Our heritage hog crosses have been carefully selected so they can fully utilize our pasture/woodland areas to forage for nuts, seeds, berries, roots and grasses through the year. Our animals are never confined inside and never see concrete. Because of our humane and environmentally sustainable growing methods, Smokey Bend pork is lean and flavorful.

IMG_1784As part of our conservation efforts, we’ve replaced three acres of overgrown scrubby woodland, filled with invasive plants, with native meadow plants. These meadow plants bloom all growing season supporting a variety of native pollinators, butterflies, and other wildlife. We’ve partnered with the West Virginia’s Natural Resource Conservation Service to permanently protect the wetlands located on our property and remove invasive species from our wild areas. Even our packaging is environmentally conscious, our delicious produce is packaged in compostable clamshells. We also have biodegradable carry out-bags if needed—no plastic packaging to feel guilty about!

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We believe producing delicious food and environmental conservation go hand-in-hand resulting in amazing produce and meat you can feel good feeding to your family.

Follow Smoky Bend Farm on Facebook 

Valley Co-op Closing for Summer Vacation

Posted on by Susan

Plan ahead to purchase your local foods for 4th of July! We will NOT be having an order cycle the weekend prior to the holiday.

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Little Antietam Goat Dairy’s Story

Posted on by Susan

FB_IMG_1526603588382We love making, eating, and selling artisan goat cheese. Located on a family farm in picturesque Franklin County Pennsylvania. We maintain a herd of seventy French Alpine Dairy Goats. The goats are fed select alfalfa, grass hay and grain ensuring a top quality milk with mild and delicious flavors.

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We produce fresh Chèvre, Farmhouse and Feta cheeses in the cheese plant that is on the farm. We only use fresh goat milk from our own herd. Try our cheese and let us know what you think!

IMG_3972Artisan. Farmstead. Local.

fb_icon_325x325Little Antietam Goat Dairy is located at: 6488 Hess-Benedict Rd.,
Waynesboro, PA. Learn more on their Facebook page

Contact: bryan_eby@yahoo.com

MAY DAY AT THE MARKET

Posted on by Susan
MayDay_2018Saturday, May 5, 9 am-12 pm
 FREE EVENT!

(Also see article: “Valley Co-op Celebrates May Day at the Market” in the Herald-Mail, May 2, 2018)

Celebrate Spring – farm-style! Bring the whole family to the Historic City Farmers’ Market on Saturday, May 5, 9 am-12 pm, to ring in spring.   

  • Farm animals petting zoo
  • Plant your own seeds
  • Talk to Local Farmers
  • Enjoy Live Music
  • Taste local food
  • Get creative with fun crafts, and
  • try a free yoga class (8:30-9 or 11:30-12).

Music provided by Don Oehser. Sponsored by the Valley Co-op of Washington County, MDand the City of Hagerstown.  

March Meetings

Marketing Meeting (all Welcome to Attend): 3/12, 6:00pm, prior to BOD meeting
Board of Directors & Open Member Meeting, 3/12 6:30 PM.

Meetings held at the Valley Co-op Market Space, City Market, Hagerstown, MD

Recycling and Minimizing Plastic Use at Good Gracious Gardens

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~Collect these containers for seedling reuse~

Once again, I’ll be offering vegetable and herb seedlings for sale through the Valley Co-op this spring.  And, once again, I’d like to re-use your yogurt cups and other plastic cups/containers for potting my seedlings!  Plastic in the environment is such a serious hazard to wildlife, and I’m more committed than ever to NOT using any new plastic in my business and, as much as possible, in my life.  So, please bring to the Co-op your empty (and rinsed out, please!) 6-oz yogurt cups, as well as other containers that are of similar size or larger — such as 6- to 16-oz drink cups, and plant pots that are at least as big as a yogurt cup.  (The small “6-pack” plant containers you buy at Lowe’s, for example, are a bit too small for me to use.  See photo for guidance.)  I urge you to minimize your own purchasing of plastic containers and packaging – but as long as we have some plastic in our lives, at least we can re-use, and then recycle, it!  Here’s some motivation:  https://vimeo.com/25563376 (a beautiful and heartbreaking short film) and https://thelastplasticstraw.org/ (just say NO to plastic straws!)  THANK YOU! – Mary

Deadline for BOD Applications is 1/14/18

Posted on by Susan

Applications are now being accepted for candidates for our Board of Directors. This election cycle we have two current BOD members ending their two-year terms. We have also received two resignations for BOD members who needed to fulfill family and work obligations. As per our By-Laws we are REQUIRED to fill a minimum of three seats this election cycle.  Our Board can have a maximum of 7 Directors.

To qualify, candidates must:

  • be a Co-op member in good standing (membership is current and no debts owed).
  • complete the candidate application by the 1/14 deadline.
    be approved and presented for election to membership by the existing Board of Directors.
  • commit time to provide leadership to the Co-op. (in general, 1-2 meetings/month)
  • Interested members are encouraged to attend the next BOD Meeting to learn more about the Co-op business and operations on December 18th at 6PM. For immediate questions, please direct them to Storemanager@valleycoop.org

Without leadership we will not have a Co-operative. Please consider giving your time and talents.

Applications are available to members only via our weekly member email or by contacting our store manager at storemanager@valleycoop.org

RESOLUTIONS YOU CAN KEEP WITH VALLEY CO-OP:

Posted on by Susan
  • Eating healthier (& better for the planet):Animals raised humanely By purchasing meats and produce through the Co-op you have the benefit of knowing your producer, their practices, and subsequently have better knowledge about the food you eat. Co-op producers are not large commercial animal or agricultural operations. It is raised within our region and not transported over extensive miles. The food your receive is fresher and healthier with less risks of exposure to pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics or hormones.
  • Keeping your dollars local: The money you spend at Valley Co-op builds a stronger local economy. Your business not only keeps the Co-op functioning, but provides income for local employees and supports the Historic City Market. We used local contractors when needed for services like electrical or refrigeration repair, and of course, purchases of locally sourced products support independent businesses.
  • Supporting your local farmer: Its hard work to be a small business owner\farmer. Their success & livelihood cannot be achieved without your purchases and support. With each purchase you put money directly into the hands of the farmer, not a big corporation’s. In Maryland, if every household purchased just $12 worth of farm products for eight weeks, over $200 million would be put back into the pockets of our local farmers.(Source: www.buylocalchallenge.com)

City Market is Growing! Vendor list as of November 2017

Posted on by Susan

Below is the current list of vendors at the Hagerstown City Market as of November 11th.  Four more vendors are anticipated to join in the next few weeks.  Visit these and Valley Co-op at the Market on Saturdays! Open 5.am. to noon.

  1. Fran Clingan- Snookies Cookies
  2. Sharon & Duane Eby- Country View Products
  3. Sommer Gilliam- Kreeative Kreations
  4. Etta Lewis- Etta’s Crafts and Stuff
  5. Charles and Donna Litton- Litton’s Produce (SEASONAL 10/28)
  6. Reggie and Elsie Martin- Stop, Buy N’ See
  7. Naomi Martin- Violets & More
  8. Jeff and Debi Serig- Jeff & Debi’s Grill
  9. Jean Volcy- Mama Jean’s
  10. John Young- M&J Candies
  11. Tammy Crosten- Jewelry Box Designs
  12. Tina Robertson- Scentsy
  13. Snix Snax Shax- Leigh Ann Hixon
  14. Payne Monroe- Payneless Desserts
  15. Delores Strawser- I Bake It, You Take It Bakery
  16. Gwen Ford- Soaps and Stuff
  17. Vivienne Smith- Rooster Moon Coffeehouse
  18. Crystal DeShong- Crystals Exotic Candles

Vendor descriptions are provided on The Hagerstown City Market Website.

To learn more about being a vendor, visit www.hagerstownmd.org/162/Historic-City-Farmers-Market

Welcome supplier: South Mountain Creamery

Posted on by Susan

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Starting October 14, 2017 Valley Co-op will be offering dairy products from South Mountain Creamery, which is located in Middletown, Md.

Co-op members will be able to order milk, half and half, yogurt and butter. Milk will be offered in quarts and half-gallon quantities, both in glass bottles.  Bottles have at $2 deposit, which is refunded upon return.

From the South Mountain Creamery website:

“Our cows spend their days on pasture. Fresh air, sunlight, and endless grass is provided for them. They also come and go as they please from their freestall barn, where they can get comfortable out of the weather. In addition to grazing, we feed them a nutritious mix of the crops we grow ourselves. Our dairy and beef herd are born and raised on the farm. Our laying chickens are cage-free and certified humanely raised.

We take pride in being good stewards of the land. All of our land is under agricultural preservation. We use cover crops to protect from erosion, use non-GMO seeds with proper crop rotation. We have a close relationship with our customers, and understand your food concerns. We consider these concerns with everything we do and with the standards and expectations that we set with our farmer partners. We are here to provide you the best, most nutritious local food, that you will feel good about eating.

Our dairy products are made right on the farm, from start to finish. Our cows are milked 50 yards away from our production plant. Within 12 hours, the milk is bottled or made in to yogurt, cream, butter, sour cream, or ice cream. “

Read more about South Mountain Creamery farm practices, their history and dairy business on their website: southmountaincreamery.com/.  They also have a Facebook page and Instagram account.

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