Summer has arrived here in Pittsburgh, bringing with it the humidity we all love and appreciate. This time of year usually marks a slightly slower time for the co-op in terms of weekly sales as our customers venture out to farmer’s markets and vacations. What is great about the summer is getting more locally grown fresh produce on our shelves.. We have been enjoying local strawberries and blueberries, and of course, there were the ramps in late Spring!

The past few months have been a whirlwind getting into the swing of things and learning new responsibilities as General Manager. I have been working with the board of directors and the management team to discuss our priorities for the upcoming year to determine what we want to accomplish as an organization. My biggest priority was finding a new Grocery Manager, and I am happy to report that I have successfully hired Ian Ryan into this role. Ian has been with the co-op for 17 years; in his most recent role as Grocery Department Coordinator, he worked hard to create the best mix of products we can offer to our members and customers. Ian has also worked in our Bulk Department and stock team during his tenure with the Co-op. It is exciting to begin working together to onboard him into his new position. Ian is very passionate about the role our co-op plays in our community and the products that we put on our shelves. Please congratulate him when you see him next!

Since our last issue, we have successfully completed a waste audit with the Pennsylvania Resources Council (PRC). We are looking for creative ways to reduce our waste so we can continue to increase our sustainability efforts throughout the store. This audit allowed us to determine the types and estimated quantities of recoverable materials that we have been discarding into the waste stream, assess our current waste habits, and provide baseline data for how much waste we create. This process included 2 two-day sessions where we collected all of our waste from different areas of the store and, with the aid of PRC, weighed and measured what we are composting, recycling, and sending to the landfill. We plan to use this information (and help from PRC) to determine opportunities for improving our waste management systems.

During the summer months we tend to start planning for the holiday season. It seems odd to be thinking of the holidays when it’s warm out and everyone is getting outside, but that is how retail works. Our buying team is busy looking to ensure we have everything our co-op shoppers will need for back-to-school lunches, fall weather recipes, and trick-or-treat goodies for the Halloween season. We are also be looking to get our hands on some turkeys for the Thanksgiving holiday, especially locally raised birds. There will be more information in our next issue on turkey pre-orders so be on the lookout for that!