I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this gathering of producers and members, but I knew there'd be free food, and I'm all about that. There were also free samples of ridiculously good-smelling soaps and bath salts and a tantalizing display of worm castings (I know my non-gardening friends are throwing up in their mouths). We gathered in a large all-purpose room at the Moore-Norman Technology Center (who knew?) and the producers lined the perimeter of their room with tasty goodies while the members sat family-style at round tables in the middle and got to know each other. As we walked the gauntlet around the room, we really had to eat fast to make room on our plates for the bounty of local food there was to enjoy--it ALL looked good.
A few of the products I've already tasted in my first order, but there will be MANY more things added to my cart after this adventure. Things like cinnamon creamed honey, garlic yogurt cheese, feta-stuffed lamb sausage, whole wheat chocolate chip blondie brownies (OUT OF THIS WORLD, people)...it was quite the feast.
The famed yogurt cheese from Wagon Creek Creamery, and now a staple in my kitchen.
During the meeting we voted on at-large members and briefly discussed financials, but what stuck with me was something from the opening speech given by the VP for Customers. She said that there have been 16 statewide coops started throughout the country based on the Oklahoma model, and that for a state that is normally not too high up on other national lists (e.g. education) that's something we can really be proud of. What the OK Coop has right is the distribution--it's entirely volunteer-run and volunteers can actually earn work credits that can be applied towards their order. It's a workable, sustainable system that continues to improve itself.
I left feeling very excited about the decision I'd made to join the coop and fired up to spread the word. If you live in Oklahoma, I encourage you to check out the Coop. If you don't, click over to LocalHarvest.org to find a local coop or CSA in your area.