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First Wholeshare Pick-up Day!

Yesterday was the big day. Around 8:30 am a Black River Produce truck arrived at Laurelin Retreat and delivered fresh veggies and meat for distribution to the new Bethel Wholeshare group.

As the Wholeshare members stopped by to pick up their orders and chat, memories of the CSA (community supported agriculture) operation we ran in the mid-1990s returned. The feeling was familiar and welcome. Community can be fed and supported in many ways. Whether the fruits of your labors are directly from the land, whether they are service toward cohesion and sustainability, or whether they just prepare the container for new ideas to grow, we at Laurelin are proud to be a part in whatever way we can.

Wholeshare is a buying club that allows folks to order quality food in bulk, thereby saving money. We were thrilled at the response we got when we set up the Bethel Wholeshare group: dozens of locals signed up. We all ordered groceries from the Wholeshare website, then waited eagerly for the delivery day to arrive.

The nonperishable items arrived last week, and we divided them into boxes for each member. But we were waiting until the fresh produce and meat arrived for folks to come get their full orders. And there was a lot of meat: salmon, bacon, rabbit, chicken whole and in parts, and more.

As coordinators of the group, it is our job to divide up the “splits.” (Wholeshare allows multiple people to “split” a large quantity of something to get a better price.) There were 10 pounds of salmon that needed to be split into orders of 3 pounds, 3 pounds, and 4 pounds, for example. None of us were confident “eyeballing” how much a portion of a heap of meat weighed, and attempts to weigh the orders on a (clean, covered) bathroom scale were unsuccessful.

This is where one “familiar” aspect of the experience came in. During our CSA days we had the necessary tools of the trade, including a hanging produce scale. This scale got to experience glory again yesterday—once it had been retrieved from the shed and washed. Then we were able to weigh the meat with ease and confidence, and get it packaged and divided according to each order in time.

There are certainly still some kinks in the Wholeshare process to work out, but we are all excited to see what the next round brings!

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