Here it is. Summer. Finally. The transition from complaining about the cold to complaining about the humidity is complete. But in all seriousness, summer in Wisconsin is a marvelous time. Our many glistening lakes start warming up, the once dull grey forests explode in vibrant green and the local produce that makes Wisconsin special emerges from the silty loam.
I’ve only been working at Outpost for about a year now (last summer was the first and last time I wrote a Graze introduction) and I’m not being hyperbolic when I say I’m fortunate to be a part of this co-op as an owner and as an employee. In just my first year I’ve been lucky enough to meet some of the generous farmers, vendors, employees and customers who make shopping at Outpost unlike any other grocery store in Milwaukee.
Take Scott Alsum, from Alsum Family Farms who, along with his family, will be up before the birds this summer picking sweet corn from the fields and then loading those heavy bags of bounty onto his truck to hand deliver them to each Outpost twice a week. You’re not going to find that sort of commitment to Wisconsin agriculture and “can-do” attitude from the Big Box stores (no matter what they might like you to believe).
Why just in this issue I had the honor to travel to Denmark, Wisconsin just south of Green Bay (Go Pack!), to meet Nancy Kellner and her farming family who have been raising grass-fed chickens, turkeys and ducks on their forty-acre farm for decades. These chickens aren’t the ones jammed into cages and plumped up with unpronounceable mystery chemicals—the Kellner’s hens roam free acting as the Kellner’s little lawnmowers eating grass pasture by pasture.
But along with our farmers and vendors it’s the employees and the customers that make this co-op what it is. I also do the social media for Outpost (check out our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages!) and I’m always amazed at how our employees are willing to help with a crazy Instagram picture idea or how our produce buyer, William Quinn (who’s been a part of Outpost since the beginning), puts up with my nagging questions of when the ramps are going to start showing up on store shelves (insider tip: sometime in May depending on the weather).
Or there’s the customers who enjoy shopping with us so much they don’t mind smiling for the camera as they’re perusing the aisles. But then I guess it’s hard not to smile when you’re a member of this 48(!) year old co-op. Here’s to many more and to a great summer, 2018.
In this issue:
HOMECOOK. A Bolivian native shares a taste of home
CO-OPS HELPING CO-OPS. The legacy of Howard Bowers
IN THE HEN HOUSE. Kellner Back Acre Garden’s poultry
and more ...