November 2022 Newsletter

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The Mushroom Messenger

KCG Monthly Newsletter: November 2022

Bringing you monthly news of the Kennett Community Grocer, a growing Food Co-op committed to local food, community, and culture.

Hello to our Member-Owners and Friends!
We need everyone’s help to get us to 300 Member-Owners by the end of December. Thank you for your support to date and please continue to talk to friends and neighbors. At least 100 people who are not yet Member-Owners open our emails on a regular basis. Let’s understand why they have not yet joined us.

We are currently 273 Member-Owners strong. If you are a Member-Owner, help us reach out to some of those 100 email-openers to convert 30 more folks into joiners!! If you are reading this but have not yet joined, send us your questions and/or hesitations. What can we do better? Please email any ideas for Member recruitment to [email protected].

Join us for our Happy Hour/Annual Meeting gathering on November 3 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Galer Estate Winery in Kennett Square. We hope you have sent your RSVP for this event. We will have wine, food, and time to enjoy our KCG community and share ideas about the Co-op with one another. You will also have the opportunity to hear a brief presentation on what we have done in 2022 to grow our membership and where we are going in 2023.

Market Study is on the way. A big step in plans for where we are going is the Market Study we will be doing later this month. On November 18, Debbie Suassuna, a Consultant from G2GResearch will be in Kennett Square, meeting with our Board and conducting the research to analyze sales potential for the store at specific locations. G2Gresearch Group is a well-respected consulting firm in the Co-op world, providing advice on store development optimizing sales potential. Working with us, Debbie will use grocery shoppers' choices in the area, our population demographics, factors such as parking, traffic patterns and store visibility in selected locations to deliver a report on the sales potential at each location.  We will be making this study public to our Member-Owners once completed, and we hope this will encourage more people to join as we get closer to the pre-opening phase of our development.

Come to the Galer Estate on November 3 to hear more about all of this!

We are happy to announce that we will keep the KCG Co-op box sales going through the winter months. As the produce options decrease, we will decrease the size of the box to a half bushel. This box will still be jammed packed with carrots, spinach, broccoli, lettuce and all the things that Flying Plow grows through the winter in their high tunnels. Keep reading to learn more about this! For your $35 investment each month, we will be adding between 3 and 4 other products from local vendors. These products will include a variety of things such as hand-made soaps, candies, honey, canned vegetables from local farms and more. We will advertise what we are including every month. For the November 19th pick up, you will get a half-bushel box of produce, a jar of Zaatar spices from Mediterranean Delicacy, a bar of hand-made soap from LogHouse Aromatics, and a beautiful artist-created greeting card from Give A Fig designs. (Please note the early date for box pick-up in November.)

The value of the box is over $50, but you will get all this for $35. Profits from sales of the Co-op boxes are divided between the KCG General Fund and the LIVE BETTER program,
a health literacy initiative of  the KCG/Kennett Library/Chester County Hospital partnership. For every box that is sold, we are returning your dollars to the community. In October, your donations purchased the Kennett Library Hope Kits for breast cancer patients.

In November, the Co-op box proceeds will support a LIVE BETTER program on living healthily with diabetes. The program will be November 14 from 3-5 p.m.  in the Kennett Library. The Kennett Library Newsletter will have a more detailed description of the program.

Please continue to buy and participate in giving back to this Kennett community collaboration!!


Anne Vial

On a crisp October day, what could be better than a trip to the farm? Really nothing, especially when that farm is Flying Plow Farm in Rising Sun, Maryland, source of the fine produce in the beautiful Co-op Boxes we’ve been enjoying all summer. (And note the wonderful news above that this bounty will continue through the winter!)



We were curious to find out how the growing season is stretched into the coldest months. Tom Paduano, co-owner with his wife, Sarah Rider, gave us the grand tour. Many of the vegetables associated with colder months, such as carrots, turnips, parsnips, can stay in the ground into December. Tom notes that they actually sweeten as the weather cools and the starch turns to sugar. Storage facilities are used for vegetables once harvested. Sweet potatoes, for example, are kept in “warm storage” (about 50℉). Carrots, onions and eggs go into cold storage, and the freezer holds summer’s tomatoes and peppers, frozen whole for cooking throughout the winter.

Warm storage

Cold storage

Field-to-Co-op-box packing area

But storage is only part of the story—growing continues through the winter in “high tunnels,” hoop and plastic structures that protect plants from the weather. Some of the tunnels are permanent. Here are two, the first with the last of summer’s cherry tomatoes and the second recently seeded with turnips:


Planting in tunnels is done in succession to keep the produce coming. Soil in the tunnels is not tilled; weeds are kept down with plastic and the heat generated from compost. When the roof plastic in the permanent tunnels needs to be replaced every 6 years or so, the soil is left open for a season to let rainwater wash away the buildup of salts from both well water irrigation and fertilizer.
Not all growing tunnels on the farm are permanent. We watched Flying Plow’s longtime hands constructing 300-foot “caterpillar tunnels” in the fields where salad greens, spinach, radishes, etc. are grown in the colder months.


The tunnels are effective using only the sun as a heat source unless there is a prolonged freeze or too many days in succession without sun. Sometimes row covers are needed to protect the plants, and certain varieties do better than others. Head lettuce is much more vulnerable to freezing than leaf lettuce, for example. It became clear that a certain amount of babysitting is required to keep the produce viable!
Walking through some of the 14 acres of growing fields (40+ more acres are used as pasture), the dedication and determination of those who choose to farm comes through. Tom is both passionate about what he grows—pulling samples for us of broccoli, broccolini, escarole, and an intriguing and tasty bok choy relative called yukina savoy—and matter of fact about the ups and downs. It isn’t an easy life, and the vagaries of markets and weather are only part of it. How fortunate we are to have found Coop partner farmers who think it’s all worth it!




11/3, 6-8 p.m.
KCG Community Happy Hour at Galer Estate
Connect with Kennett Community Grocer and the greater Brandywine Valley food community at this Member-Owner happy hour. This event is open to the public. Join us at Galer Estate and Winery (700 Folly Hill Rd, Kennett Square, PA 19348) in the heart of Chester County. We'll celebrate the arrival of autumn with light fare, award-winning wines, and all the latest updates on KCG's efforts to bring a community-owned grocery store to Kennett Square. This will be our annual meeting, per our bylaws.


11/14, 3-5 p.m. - Live Better: Eat Better Event at Kennett Library
KCG, Kennett Library, and Chester County Hospital have joined forces to offer free events to promote healthier living. This collaborative health awareness initiative is called Live Better. Join us at the Kennett Library (216 State St, Kennett Square, PA 19348) for information and resources about how to manage diabetes with medicine and nutrition.

11/14, 7-8 p.m. - Public Board Meeting
We meet as a Board on the second Monday evening of the month by Zoom at 7 p.m., every month except July and December.  These meetings are open to the general public, and we welcome you to attend our meetings and find out what we are doing to move the co-op forward. Here is the Zoom link to join: Passcode: KCG.


11/19, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. - KCG Co-op Box Pickup
Stop by Kennett Friends Meeting (125 W Sickle St, Kennett Square, PA 19348) to pick up your KCG Co-op Box or just to say hi!

11/22, 7-8 p.m. - Communications Committee Meeting on Zoom
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