Regional producers are independent farmers and food artisans who are members of the Cooperative and sell the food they create through the Cooperative. Our Table aggregates this product from all these producers and then sells them under the “Certified Local Food” brand in our on-farm grocery store, through our Local Food Box CSA subscription program, and to restaurants. Regional producers are thoroughly vetted by the Cooperative over a one-year “dating” period before they are eligible for membership in the Cooperative. During this time, we work to build a strong relationship with the producer to ensure that they are philosophically aligned with the Cooperative’s values. These values span a range of topics from product quality to the way a producer manages their land and livestock, and the way they treat their workers. The Certified Local Food brand is in essence a promise made by Our Table to the people eating our food. It is our commitment to:
Grow onsite on the Cooperative’s farm or source all produce and products from Oregon whenever possible (If it is impractical for Oregon to grow a particular crop, for example coffee or cacao, our intention is transparent and direct relationships with the source)
- Meet or exceed the national organic standards
- Build a thriving and fair local food economy
- Free of all chemical pesticides and herbicides
- Non GMO
- Raised and cared for ethically and humanely
We’ve all experienced the pain of trying to decipher modern food labels. They are usually a confusing jumble of cryptic “nutrition” facts, ingredient lists, and marketing copy. It’s often impossible to tell whether seemingly simple words like “natural” or “healthy” have any relationship to the stuff our grandparents would recognize as food. Modern food choices have become so complicated that a trip to the grocery store can be a stressful exercise when at the end of the day, most of us just want something that is tasty and honest. In stark contrast to this overly complex world, when you see our Certified Local Food seal, you can trust that the food meets our high standards of quality and ethics, leaving you free to focus on the pleasure of good taste and good company.
Our Table currently has twelve producer members. Once a producer is accepted for membership in the Cooperative, they become owners of Our Table by purchasing a membership share costing $1,500 which gives them the right to share in its governance and its profits. A while ago, these producers converged at our farm in Sherwood for a meeting. I sat at the table that day and looking around, realized that between them, these fine folks raise or produce everything I would need to eat and drink on any given day – from my morning coffee to family dinner. Grains, dairy, vegetables, fruit, meats, fish, coffee, nuts, kombucha, the list goes on and on. All of the highest quality and following impeccable practices. It was truly a revelation and I remember feeling supremely blessed. It is often easy to forget what a bountiful and diverse place we live in.
Personally, I look forward to a time when the vast majority of the products we carry at our on-farm grocery store come from within our Co-op family—either from our own farm or from one of these producer members. I look forward to the beautiful day when I can pick up anything in the store and know that I have shaken the hand that produced it. That is the promise of Our Table; a place that builds true interdependence between the people who produce and eat food in our community.