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Local produce options discussed

Eric Stoddard talks about the Ticonderoga Natural Foods Cooperative during a meeting at TiNY Wellness Center April 21.

Eric Stoddard talks about the Ticonderoga Natural Foods Cooperative during a meeting at TiNY Wellness Center April 21. Photo by Keith Lobdell.

— Members of the Ticonderoga Natural Foods Co-op talked about options to bring a marketplace for fresh, local produce to town.

During its April 21 meeting at TiNY Wellness Center, members talked about progress being made on a potential food cooperative that could be created as early as next year along with partnering with Juniper Hills Farms, Wadhams, to receive produce this summer.

Also on hand was Taylor Ward of the Adirondack Meat Company to talk about the possibility of adding a produce component to their operations.

“Our focus right now is on local and fresh and we are working to open a retail store in a new location and add fresh produce and fish to our product line,” Ward said. “We are basically looking at starting a farmer’s market and getting local farmers to produce for that.”

Ward said the goals of her family’s company mirrored those of the Co-op.

“This may be a chance where we can work together for a common goal,” she said. “We want to make money for the town and keep it here locally instead of having people drive 40 to 50 miles for products that we can have a supply here.”

Eric Stoddard of the Co-op steering committee said the organization was currently working on finding volunteers and new members ($25 individual share, $250 for a fully vested membership) to train before taking their message out to local groups and organizations.

“We want to get everyone trained so we can start doing public outreach in June,” Stoddard said. “We are shooting for 300 fully vested members by the fall, and our goal would be to then have 300 more members before we open the doors.”

Stoddard said that there were no plans on opening a cooperative market this year.

“If we do really well this summer and get a lot of people to join, then the sooner the better,” he said. “Right now, it would still most likely open next year.”

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