New MPPU Processing Equipment Soon To Go Into Service

NABC has just taken delivery of a brand new piece of equipment for the Mobile Poultry Processing Unit – a lung and organ vacuum!  Once assembled, it will be installed on the MPPU and the crew will be trained on use and cleaning. This handy tool helps to remove the unwanted organs and other material from poultry carcasses during processing.  The extra-wide nozzle will work for both chickens and turkeys.

It’s a bit of an investment, but Supervisor Miguel Martinez believes this new equipment can improve efficiency on the truck and reduce processing time.  He’ll give it a road test on our next processing service date.

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Upcoming NABC Workshops on Poultry & Produce

The next two NABC events are coming up very soon: the Prepping Your Produce For the Market tour on June 28th, and Hands-On Poultry Processing on July 12th.

Prepping Your Produce is a Skagit Valley-based tour where  post-harvest activity and logistics will be observed in action.  The three site, self-driven tour includes stops at the Puget Sound Food Hub warehouse, Ralph’s Greenhouse, and Skagit Flats Farm. See how the pros prep vegetables on-farm for wholesale customers, and learn tips for working smoothly with a distribution warehouse.

Hands On Poultry will be hosted at the Organic Farm School on Whidbey Island.  Students will learn about poultry processing technique from start to finish on board NABC’s Mobile Poultry Processing Unit, food safety strategies, and regulatory considerations for those intending to sell raw poultry.  Open to both commercial and non-commercial producers.

With just a few attendees spaces remaining in each event, register soon so you don’t miss out!

Hands On Processing Workshop

Wholesale Farm Success: Prepping Your Produce For the Market Tour

See the NABC Classes and Workshops page for our current schedule – classes are posted throughout the year.

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Ranching for Resilience—A Field Day for Producers and Consumers

Sandra Matheson, DVM and her 1-2 yr old cattle

Learn how a Holistic approach to livestock grazing and ranch management is healthier for the land and the climate, and better for producers and consumers, too.  For more information and registration, please see: http://pnchm.org/educational-opportunities/ranching-for-resilience-bellingham-field-day/ 

 

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Business and Production Classes for Island Farmers

Three of the region’s farm education organizations have formed a partnership to support beginning farmers and ranchers in San Juan and Island counties. The Northwest Agriculture Business Center, the Organic Farm School, and WSU-Extension will host classroom and practicum workshops throughout the next three years in such key farm business development topics as marketing, financial management, processing, and production.

The next class, “Hands-On Poultry Processing,” is scheduled for July 12th and will be hosted at OFS.  To learn more or register, please see please see this LINK to registration, or contact the NABC office at sera@agbizcenter.org or 360-336-3727.

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NABC Helps Launch Cascadia Cooperative Farms

NABC has been working with Cascadia Cooperative Farms (CCF) egg and pastured poultry cooperative in King and South Snohomish Counties to provide technical assistance, market development, and business planning services.

CCF brings together small local farms raising pastured poultry to feed our communities using ethical, humane, and ecologically responsible practices. CCF creates pathways for farmers to market their products and ensures the well-being of the farmer, community, land, and animals raised.

Their goal for their farmer members is to connect them to new markets, help them earn fair compensation for their products, and alleviate some of the burdensome tasks related to producing poultry products, thus freeing up valuable time that can then be spent strengthening farm operations and maintaining life balance.

The services that CCF provides include:

  • Aggregation of eggs and other poultry products
  • Egg washing using a commercial egg washer
  • Packaging and temperature-controlled product storage
  • Marketing and sales under the CCF brand
  • Product delivery
  • Customer invoicing and payment collection
  • Timely payment to members

To date in 2017, NABC has successfully worked with the CCF board and steering committee to create an operating financial model and budget based on projected sales through various outlets, including the Snoqualmie Valley Farmers Cooperative and the Puget Sound Food Hub, for 2017.

We have also provided market research, sales assistance, and grant research and writing assistance to this cooperative, as well as offering them technical support for their transition to becoming a 521 Agricultural Cooperative.

This summer CCF anticipates having eggs available in stores, restaurants, and CSA subscription services around the region. And don’t forget to ask for them by name at local stores.

While their website is under construction you can also find Cascadia Cooperative Farms on Facebook.

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Twin Sisters Market Gearing Up For 2017 Mobile Farmers Market

Twin Sisters Market’s fresh, locally-grown produce is now available on Saturdays at Nugent’s Corner (where Highway 9 and Mt Baker Highway 542 meet) from 9 am to 3 pm and at the North Fork Library (7506 Kendall Rd, Maple Falls) from 10 am to 2 pm. Both sites are located adjacent to the Mount Baker Highway in East Whatcom County.  Participating farms include Braided River Farm, Coyote Bank Farm, Grateful Bounty Farm, Resilient Seeds Farm, Slanted Sun Farm, Small Acres Farm, and two new farms yet-to-be named.

“Twin Sisters Market is pleased to be entering its third year of providing fresh healthy vegetables and fruit to our Foothills community,” states Board President Chris Elder.  “We had a nearly 100% increase in sales our second year and we are looking forward to a great season.  We will continue to receive SNAP payments and will have our Fresh Bucks program that allows for a doubling of SNAP dollars. We are pursuing approval to receive Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) vouchers this year but the outcome is not yet clear at this time.”

Twin Sisters Market operates the only multi-farmer managed collaborative farmers market in Whatcom County. “By taking turns having farmers staff the market we are able to keep prices lower than a traditional Farmers Market, support increased access to fresh food for the rural communities located in the USDA-identified ‘food desert’ of East Whatcom County, and support near-retail returns for participating farms. We are all young farmers who enjoy working the land, growing fresh produce, and supporting our local community. Your support and participation in our market provides an opportunity and support for this next generation of farmers,” states Elder.

NABC staff member Jeff Voltz serves on the Foothills Community Food Partnership, a community-based effort to improve healthful food access in the Foothills region of East Whatcom County. The Foothills region is listed as a low-income and low access (to food) on the USDA ERS Food Access Research Atlas. The Twin Sisters Market works collaboratively with the Foothills Community Food Partnership, providing fresh fruit and vegetable to residents of this region.

The market runs from the first Saturday in June (expect fresh greens, turnips, radishes and possibly some sweet strawberries) until the last Saturday in October.

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NABC Promotes New Bilingual Services In Effort To Reach Out To The Latino Community

In a new initiative to expand its services to the Latino Spanish-speaking population in northwestern Washington, NABC is taking steps to create a culturally and linguistically welcoming environment for Latino farmers and food businesses looking for support to start or expand and strengthen their businesses. At the center of this initiative is Alex Perez, an NABC Program Manager recently hired to help bridge the gap between NABC’s programs and the Latino community. Alex is uniquely positioned to understand the needs of Latino businesses. (You can find out more about Alex in last quarter’s newsletter here.)

In his efforts to reach out to the community, Alex is collaborating with local organizations and news platforms to create an integrated support system for Latino farmers to get the word out about how to access assistance. As part of this outreach, NABC is providing platforms for the Latino farming community to network, learn, and share ideas. In March, it hosted a Spanish-language and family-friendly event featuring presentations from several Latino-owned cooperative farms, as well as local nonprofits that offer bilingual assistance to entrepreneurs. By spreading awareness about available resources and their capacity to serve small-scale and Spanish-speaking farmers, NABC hopes to encourage more individuals to start their own farms and become strong members of the local food economy.

Also assisting the project is Tierney Henderson, an Americorps VISTA and recent graduate of UC Berkeley, where she studied in Environmental Economics and Policy. During her yearlong term at NABC, she is building capacity for the organization to work with beginning and disadvantaged farmers by conducting needs assessments and community outreach, while supporting the development of the new bilingual program. She is passionate about promoting transparency and justice along the chain of production, and motivated by a desire to strengthen support networks for small, sustainable producers to bolster a more diverse and resilient food system.

NABC welcomes Latino farmers who are looking for additional support with business planning, marketing/sales assistance, infrastructure development, access to capital, access to new markets, value-added product development. Alex is currently offering bilingual business consultations and NABC is working toward creating culturally and linguistically translated programs and workshops. To learn more about NABC’s work with the Latino community, contact Alex Perez at alex@agbizcenter.org or (360) 770-4072.

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A Busy Season For Puget Sound Food Hub

The Puget Sound Food Hub Cooperative has been very busy this last quarter gearing up for what we anticipate to be our biggest season yet in farmer sales.  It has been very helpful to have formed several committees, and we’ve spread the workload and become more focused, with the assistance of farmers’ participation on the Marketing, Membership, Operations and Finance Committees.  We’ve also hired some new staff in preparation for the busy season ahead, including a full-time Operations Manager, full-time Delivery Driver, full-time Sales & Marketing Coordinator and several part-time positions that we are in the process of filling.

On May 17th, the PSFHC hosted a farm tour of Growing Veterans, Ralph’s Greenhouse and Samish Bay Cheese, in addition to a Meet and Greet for a dozen or more of our farmer members at our Skagit Warehouse, for several reporters and chefs from the Seattle area.  Many of our farms, with the cold and wet winter/spring season are just now getting produce out of the fields and are excited to share it with this first marketing event of the season!  Additional events are scheduled this summer in conjunction with the Bellingham Community Co-op.  We have also been more active on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram sharing and promoting our farms and the supportive local wholesale customers purchasing from them – have a look and make sure to Like our page!

In addition to local farm products, the PSFHC is now offering sustainably caught fish, and we are in the process of adding some local artisan products. The Membership Committee continues to receive farmer-member applications and new farms and products are being added regularly.

Operations has been busy training staff, working on operational efficiency and now has three Hub-owned branded trucks that will be on the road this season delivering farmer’s products. We have also contracted with Viva Farms for additional delivery.  NABC has helped to facilitate produce deliveries from King and Snohomish farmers up to the Skagit warehouse. NABC’s support has meant these farmers can continue to sell through the Hub and, unlike last year, sell their products to Skagit, Whatcom and Island customers in addition to Seattle.

Also, a big thank you to the Whatcom Community Foundation Sustainable Whatcom Fund who awarded NABC a three year grant to support the Puget Sound Food Hub Cooperative’s sales and marketing efforts!

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Waterfowl Processing Available

Did you know NABC’s Mobile Poultry Processing Unit  processes waterfowl?  We can process anywhere from 70 to 150 ducks in a day.  We’re researching geese technique this week and preparing to train the crew.  Contact the NABC office for more information: 360-3336-3727 or sera@agbizcenter.org.

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El MPPU Empieza la Temporada 2017 en Startup, WA

La Unidad Procesadora Móvil de Aves de Corral o Pollos dala bienvenida a dos nuevos miembros deequipo para la temporada 2017. Jennifer y Miguel (#2!) se unirán a Cristina y Miguel (#1!) como laUni-dad está empezando la presente temporada.
Nuestro primer día completo de proceso fue un éxito y se llevó acabo enla granja de Sky Valley. Condu-cimos a Startup, WA temprano enlamañana y empezamos a procesar los primeros pollos a las nueve. Logramos procesar 183 pollos y logramos cortar cerca de110 pollos y empacarlos con dos personas nuevas. Los nuevos miembros fueron rápidos a ponerse al día e hicieron un gran trabajo.
Actualmente estamos buscando una cocina comunitaria para poder darles un poco más de entrena-miento a nuestros empleados nuevos. El entrenamiento consistirá en como cortar los pollos, como em-pacarlos, y así como preparar los químicos de limpieza y desinfectación.
La unidad puede viajar a dentro de los condados de Whatcom y King y dala bienvenida a las granjas queestán buscando el proceso de pollos, pavos, gallinas gastadas, y todos tipos de aves. Los interesados pueden contactar a Miguel Martinez al (360) 899-8265.

The MPPU Starts Upin Startup, WA for the 2017 Season

The Mobile Poultry Processing Unit (MPPU) welcomes two new crew members for the 2017 season. Jennifer and Miguel (No. 2!) will be joining Cristina and Miguel (No. 1!) as the processing unit takes off for the upcoming season.
The unit had a great first day processing broilers at Sky Valley Farm. After an early morning drive to Startup, WA, the crew settled into the unit and got started processing their first birds around 9am. We were able to process and package 183 chickens and cut close to 110 chickens. The new crew members were quick to get up to speed and did a great job.
We are currently looking to find a community kitchen to use for further employee training that will consist of practice cutting and packing the chickens, as well as information on food safety standards and preparing chemicals used for disinfection.
The unit, which can travel anywhere between Whatcom and King counties, welcomes farms looking for on-farm processing of broilers, turkeys, spent hens, and any other kind of poultry. Those interested can contact Miguel Martinez at (360) 899-8265.

 

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