You can also download a PDF version of the Producer Procedures here.
- Only members of the cooperative may buy or sell through our cooperative marketplace. Only residents of the state of Massachusetts are eligible for membership.
- Acting as the agent of producer members, Massachusetts Local Food posts on the internet, provides a printed list, and publicizes the products its producer members have for sale within its marketplace of members. We receive orders, provide a way for products to be delivered between members of the cooperative, collect payment for the customers and forward the payments to the producers. The cooperative may advance payment to the producers if working capital is available for this purpose. For some of our producer members, we are agents that facilitate farm gate sales of their products. For other producer members, we facilitate off-farm sales or sales of processed products.
- Acting as the agent for customer members, we provide them a catalog of available local food products that includes information about how and where the product was grown or processed. We receive their orders and notify the appropriate producers, arrange for the food to be delivered, receive and process their payments. For both producer and customer members, we provide a basic screening of products and producers based on our published parameters, and education and training regarding the use and the advantages of local foods and the core values of the cooperative.
- The essential business of the cooperative is to provide a marketplace where willing Massachusetts buyers and sellers who are members of the cooperative can meet. At no time does the cooperative ever have title to any of the products. We have no inventory. The products that go through our distribution system are owned either by the producer, or by the customer who purchases “title” to the product from the producer. All complaints should first be brought to the attention of the producer, unless it is a situation where the cooperative itself is at fault (such as broken eggs due to poor packing or products delivered incorrectly). If a successful resolution cannot be found by the affected producer and the customer members, the cooperative’s arbitration procedures can be invoked.
- All producer members are responsible for reading and complying with the operating procedures of the cooperative. Producer members are welcome to make suggestions to make these procedures more efficient and understandable.
- The most efficient way for us to communicate is by the internet. When you join the cooperative, you will be assigned a user name and password so you can access the members’ only pages of our web sites. You will also be assigned a member number. All members will need to keep track of their member number. Internet users will need to keep track of their user name and password.
- From time to time we will have events to highlight the great tastes of Massachusetts grown and processed foods. Producer’s participation is not mandatory, but it will be to your advantage to participate. This will give you a chance to meet your potential customers and showcase your foods and products.
- The cooperative will advance payment to the Producers for their products at the time they are delivered on delivery day, unless there are missing item tickets or an unresolved discrepancy in the amount you should be paid, as long as the cooperative does not have sufficient working capital to advance payment, then payment to producers will be made on receipt of payment from the customer members. Producers who ship their products or whose products are brought to delivery day by route drivers, will be paid by mail, unless other arrangements are made… Producers will only be paid for products ordered by customers. Massachusetts Local Food reserves the right to refuse to accept delivery for products that are not what customers ordered, or which are spoiled or contaminated or otherwise not acceptable. Massachusetts Local Food does not maintain any inventory of goods to be sold.
- Any customer complaints or requests for refunds or return of merchandise will be referred directly to the responsible producer. Each producer will provide us a written statement of the policies for returns. This policy must be listed on the producer’s information pages at the co-op’s website. In the event of a dispute between customer and a producer, the matter shall be referred to an arbitration committee. One member shall be appointed by the customer, one by the producer, and one by Massachusetts Local Food. In the event the dispute is between the producer or the customer and Massachusetts Local Food, a similar procedure shall be used. The producer or customer will appoint a member, the Cooperative will appoint a member, and the two chosen arbitrators will then together choose a third person.
- These procedures are established to benefit the common good of the cooperative’s members. The more members we have, the more critical it is that we achieve near 100% compliance with these procedures. At present and for the foreseeable future the cooperative administration and management personnel are all volunteers. By following these procedures, we minimize the demands on any individual volunteers’ time. This is necessary for the long-term sustainability of this business enterprise.
- To log onto our system go to:
www.massfoodcoop.org/shop. You should BOOKMARK this address so you can easily find it when you need it. Sign in with your USER NAME and PASSWORD. If you don’t have that info handy, send an email to email@example.com And ask for your info again.
- CORE VALUES: The core values of Massachusetts Local food are social justice, environmental sustainability and economic viability. Each of these values is necessary for the proper operation of this cooperative business.
Producer-rights in the co-op are based on your ownership of a membership share. You cannot sell your membership share to someone else. You can sell it back to the co-op if you want to leave, but you can’t sell it to a third party.
You can sell your business, but because you can’t sell our membership share, you can’t sell you producer-rights in Massachusetts Local Food to a third party. The new owner of your business can join the co-op, apply to become a new producer, and go through the orientation and approval process and then – and only then – can they sell through the co-op. They will conduct their co-op business at the new producer page that will be activated when they are approved by the board. They can have the same products that you did, but they have to re-enter them so that they have new product codes. In the meantime, if you notify us that you have sold your business to someone else as of a certain date, on that date we will un-list your producer page and products from our website. The new producer cannot continue to operate your existing web page and products while they go through the approval process.
PRODUCTS THAT MAY BE SOLD THROUGH THE COOPERATIVE
- Producers may only sell Massachusetts grown or made products they themselves have grown or processed. Nobody can buy wholesale from someone else and then retail through our service, unless they are buying ingredients for processed foods. If ingredients are bought, value must be added to the product by the producer, simply repackaging the ingredients is not adding value. For example, you can sell tomatoes that you grow, but not tomatoes that you buy from somebody else to sell. You can, however, buy tomatoes from someone and make salsa and sell that through our cooperative. You can’t buy an animal from someone else, and then have it butchered and sold through the co-op as though it was your own product. You can buy flour or cornmeal and make bread or tortillas to sell, but you can’t buy bread from someone else and sell it through the cooperative.
- No GMO foods or products may be sold through the cooperative. No meat, poultry or egg products from Confined Animal Feeding Operations may be sold through the cooperative, nor may they be used as ingredients in processed foods. Animals may not be treated with bovine growth hormone nor may routine antibiotics be used in feeds. Our assumption is that supermarket meats originate in CAFOs so meat, poultry, or egg products used as ingredients in processed or prepared foods should be bought directly from Massachusetts farmers or Massachusetts aggregators. They do not have to be bought from cooperative members, although some members may find this as an added benefit of your product.
- Meats to be sold through the cooperative and delivered via our transportation system must be processed in a USDA or state licensed and inspected plant. Each package must have either the USDA or state inspection stamp. Meats processed by custom butchers, whose packages are stamped, “Not for sale”, may not be delivered by the cooperative. Any meat packages brought to delivery day stamped “not for sale” will be returned to the producer.
- Standards for processed or prepared foods
- Processed and prepared foods that are offered for sale shall be submitted with a complete list of ingredients. Ingredients that originate in Massachusetts shall be noted. The producer should estimate the Massachusetts content of the product. The list of ingredients must be included in the product description displayed at the co-op’s website.
- Producers shall not include CAFO meats, poultry, or eggs or derivatives from them as ingredients in their processed products.
- Genetically modified animals, plants, seeds, grains, or fruits shall not be used as ingredients.
- Customer members of Massachusetts Local Food are interested in local foods produced with sustainable practices that show good stewardship of the environment. Consequently, they have a preference for organically or naturally produced foods that originate in Massachusetts and will be much more likely to buy these foods, which they regard as superior to the foods offered by supermarkets.
- All products from new producer members must be reviewed by the Compliance and Standards Committee to ensure that they are eligible for sale through the cooperative. To review your product(s), this information is required:
- A statement regarding the geographic location in Massachusetts of the origin of your products and that you are the grower or producer. In the statement, the producer must give the exact location(s) where the crop(s) was or were grown, animals were raised, or processed product was prepared.
- A statement regarding your production practices, which explains whether you use herbicides, pesticides, or chemical fertilizers in producing the product. No animal products or byproducts may be used in animal feeds of meats sold through the cooperative. If your product is certified organic, include a copy of the organic certification.
- For processed products, a list of ingredients, note any of Massachusetts origin and estimate the Massachusetts content of the product, and a statement regarding the processing practices. Also include the location of the kitchen or processing facility for each product. A current copy of the license for that kitchen must be on file with the cooperative.
- The information regarding new products from new producers must be sent by email to KelleyOConnor@gmail.com. If you do not have email, they should be mailed to the committee at Massachusetts Local Food, PO Box 693, Sterling, MA 01564
- Once the product is approved, follow the procedure described below to actually list your product in our database for access by our members. Getting the product approved, and then having it appear in our database of currently available products are two different steps. The co-op does not automatically enter products in our database. That work is done by the producers.
- After a producer and his or her initial product list have been approved, the producer may add new products in subsequent months without having them approved in advance by the Standards Committee. However, the Standards Committee periodically reviews all products and may at any time question a producer about their compliance with our Standards. Products that do not meet our standards may be removed from the public price lists of the co-op by the Standard’s Committee.
- To protect the integrity of our marketing system, the cooperative reserves the right to verify the production claims and geographic production location of everything sold through our marketplace.
- Each producer has a page (or pages) in the on-line Customer Handbook and information on our website and in the cooperative’s price and product lists for their product(s). Each producer also has a page to introduce themselves and tell the story of their farming operations and its products.. In the “product types” field of the producer information set-up page, list the products you sell. Producers may not use ALL CAPS, bold, italics, or programming techniques that cause the words to jump back and forth or blink. This particular field appears on the pages where all the producer’s names are listed, with links to the various producers’ products. If all producers use such “decorations” in that field, then the page becomes almost unreadable.
- Producers set their own prices, and receive the full retail price they set for their products, less the cooperatives shipping and handling fee for producers (presently set at 5%). The charges the cooperative makes for its services are always under review in consideration of our expenses. The cooperative is not in a position to lose money on its operations, so the financial structure of the cooperative may be changed from time to time.
- We have a monthly order/delivery cycle.
- You may book orders in advance through our service. For example, meat producers may take orders for meat in advance of the actual dates the animals will be delivered, to allow appropriate time for processing of the meat or poultry. Vegetable producers can book sales for the following season from customers interested in larger amounts of produce, for example, people who do home canning may be interested in buying vegetables by the bushel, and this can be arranged in advance. However, there must be a product code for delivery of items purchased in advance so that our system prints the appropriate delivery label. If no additional money is to be collected for an item ordered in one month and delivered in another print, create a product for “Delivery of (whatever the product is)”, and give it a price of 0.00 (if you type that into the price field our system will accept it). The producer is responsible for emailing any customers who have products for delivery that month, and telling them to enter the product code for delivery for their product. The producer must notify the co-op at the end of the customer order period of any customers who did not order that month or who did not enter the appropriate delivery code, who have products for delivery that month that were paid in a previous month. The co-op will add the appropriate product codes to those invoices.
- Producer members must comply with any relevant health codes or agricultural laws regarding direct sales of farm and food products to the public. A copy of any licenses or certificates required for your business must be on file with the cooperative.
- Producers of taxable items are responsible for their own tax handling.
- Food producers must complete the food producer application at the website. Non-food producers must complete the non-food producer application. If a producer wishes to sell both food and non-food items, her or she must complete both applications. If an existing food producer wants to add non-food items, he or she must complete the non-food application and be approved by the standards committee. If an existing non-food producer wants to add food items, he or she must complete the food application and be approved by the standards committee.
STANDARDS FOR SALE OF NONFOOD ITEMS
- Producers may sell only nonfood products that they have made within the state of Massachusetts.
- Producers cannot purchase finished products (wholesale or retail) and sell those products through our service.
- A producer may purchase a variety of raw materials and components, however significant value must be added. Repackaging purchased materials and components does not constitute adding value.
- Producers are encouraged to avoid animal products from Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO’s) whenever possible and to include in the description of an item whether it is CAFO-free.
- Nonfood items that can be sold through the co-op include useful and aesthetic items for the home, garden, or business, such as clothing, health and body care items, written materials, scented products, decorations, pet products, art, jewelry, photography, music and media. Business or personal services may not be offered through the co-op except for classes/seminars.
- We encourage nonfood producers to use materials originating in Massachusetts wherever possible.
- For nonfood items weighing more than 25 pounds, or that are larger than 1 cubic yard, the producer must arrange delivery with buyer, and the product description must include the method of delivery.
- Producers are responsible for their own packaging. Any fragile items sold must be packaged in a manner that protects the item. All nonfood items must be packaged so that they do not damage, scent, or affect other products, and are protected from damage, including but not limited to moisture. The Co-op may reject any improperly packaged items at check-in. The limit of the liability of the Co-op for items damaged during delivery is $100.
- Producers may not sell items that are illegal or that advocate illegal activity, nor may they mention illegal or advocate illegal activity in their listings.
- Nonfood producers must guarantee the quality and workmanship of their products for a period of 30 days.
- All work must adhere to content that can be viewed and is acceptable for all age levels.
- All applicable copyrights remain with producer. Since the Co-op never holds title to any product sold through our system, Massachusetts Local Food is not responsible for any copyright infringement issues with concern to your work.
All materials used in the production and finish of your work that could cause an allergic reaction or other harm must be disclosed.
Here are some examples:
- All metals used in jewelry design.
- All solder types used in stained glass.
- Any potentially harmful chemical used in the processing of your work that has the potential to leave a residual effect behind.
- All botanicals and fragrances used in products.
- Anything that is washable should come delivered with washing instructions.
- For any item that is stuffed, disclose material used.
- Recycled items incorporated in designs must be disclosed.
- Specify the appropriate age range for children’s items.
Please adhere to the following:
- Nonfood producers warrant that their products meet all legal and regulatory standards. All bath, body and health products must adhere to FDA standards. Products must adhere to the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act.
- Classes must be facilitated and organized by the Co-op producer but may involve presentations by others selected by the producer. Classes must be taught in the state of Massachusetts. The class syllabus must be described in listing. Any supplies that the student needs to purchase must be clearly written in listing. Time and dates must be listed. The class listing should mention any age-appropriate conditions. The co-op is not responsible for missed or canceled classes. If class is canceled all fees must be returned to buyer.
- This standards list may be revised at any time and notice will be emailed to producers.
- A producer is required to keep contact information updated. This includes, telephone number, email address and physical address.
- All co-op products are subject to regular review by the Standards Committee, and the Standards Committee may remove a product from the co-op’s public listing if it does not comply with these standards. Decisions of the Standards Committee may be appealed via the Co-op’s arbitration system.
- Massachusetts Local Food’s general producer procedures also apply to nonfood producers.
- Submitting an application to be a nonfood producer indicates acceptance of the Co-op’s Terms of Service.
- Authorized co-op producers who are presently selling nonfood items do not have to go through the application process again, but their products must comply immediately with these standards.
- Any proposed wildcrafted items must be approved on a case by case basis by the standards committee.
PROCEDURE FOR LISTING YOUR PRODUCTS ON OUR PRICE/PRODUCT LIST
- To offer your product for sale through the cooperative, you need to tell the customer everything he or she needs to know in order to make an informed decision about your product. When you enter products on-line, you will be prompted for the relevant information.
- Name of the product.
- Basic description of the product. If the approximate size, weight or contents are not clear from the name of the product, list those details here. If it is a processed item, include a list of the ingredients and estimate the Massachusetts content of the ingredients.
- Category or subcategory that it should be listed under. If we do not have an existing category and/or subcategory, please give us some guidance on how the product would be categorized.
- If it is a package of several items, the approximate (or exact, whichever the case may be) number of items in the package should be listed.
- The price, the pricing unit (e.g. whatever comes after the “per” in $ per ____), and the ordering unit (when the customer orders, they will order number of ______). Also, we need to know if the item has a random weight – the customer will not know the price until you provide a weight for it after the item is ordered.
- EXAMPLE 1: You are selling a 5 pound bag of wheat for $10.00. The price is $10.00. The pricing unit is “5 pound bag” (because you are selling at $10.00 per 5 pound bag). The ordering unit is also “5 pound bag” because the customer orders by the number of 5 pound bags that they wish to buy. This item is not considered random weight because the bags always weigh the same and the customer knows the final price when it is ordered. Notice in this example that even though the flour ends up costing $2 per pound, you would not list as $2 per pound because you are only selling 5 pound bags that cost $10.
- EXAMPLE 2: You are selling a bag of ground beef. The bag weights range between .75 and 1.25 pounds and you sell the meat at $4 per pound. The price depends on the weight but you want the customer orders the number of bags, not the number of pounds because you do not package it in exactly 1 pound bags. In this case, your price would be $4, your pricing unit would be “pound”, and your ordering unit would be “bag”. This is a random weight product because the price cannot be pre-determined by the customer. It can only be determined after you (the producer) enter the weight.
- EXAMPLE 3: You are selling packages of chicken breasts, the package varies in weight from a little under 2 pounds to a little over 2 pounds. However, you always charge the same price per package ($6.00). In this case, price is $6.00, the pricing unit is “package”, and the ordering unit is package. This is not a random weight product because the customer knows the price in advance.
- EXAMPLE 4. You are selling tomatoes at $3.00 per pound. The customer can order by the pound. If the customer orders 3 pounds, you have decided that you will always provide a minimum of 3 pounds but will not charge for exact weight but instead charge for the weight ordered. So if the customer orders 3 pounds and you end up giving them 3.1 pounds, you still only charge $9.00. In this case, the price is $3.00. The pricing unit is “pound” and the ordering unit is “pound”. This is not a random weight product because the customer can determine what the price will be in advance. Modifying this example slightly, if you did decide that you want to charge for exact weight (e.g. charge $9.30 for the 3.1 pound bag) then all of the other information would be the same, but now this would be a random weight product because when the customer orders 3 pounds, he/she has no way of determining the final price which depends upon your weighing the item).
- If it is a random weight product (the price depends on the weight), we need to know the approximate range of weights. Example: roast, sold by a package of one roast, price is $4/lb, the roasts weigh between 2 and 4 pounds. If it is a variable weight product which is sold for a single standard price rather than a price based on a random weight, you should have listed the range of weights in the basic description so the customers know what they are getting. The customer needs this information to know how much to order.
- If the product is certified organic
- The storage of the producer (frozen, refrigerated, or non-refrigerated.
- In general, you should use descriptive terms (though not too long) for the ordering and pricing units. Some standard terms will be “pound”, “bag”, “package” but in many cases it will be worthwhile to be even more descriptive. For instance, if you are selling T-bone steaks 1 to a package at $8/pound, then instead of package you could put steak as the ordering unit. In this case the pricing unit would be pound. However, if the package had two steaks, you would either put “package” or “package of 2 steaks” as the ordering unit. Any product that the customer orders by the item can also get descriptive pricing and ordering units. For instance, if you are selling by the individual tomato, ear of corn, squash, jar or jelly, etc. then you could list “tomato”, “ear”, “squash”, or “jar” as the ordering unit. The pricing units could also be listed as “tomato”, “ear”, “squash” or “jar”, or you could just use the generic “each” in the pricing unit. It may be helpful when you choose these units to think of the way this information will appear on your product listing and on invoices. Your ordering unit will be displayed on your product/price list as follows “Order number of ___________s.” So if you choose “steak” as your pricing unit, your listing will say “Order number of steaks”. On the customer invoice, the ordering unit will show up under the quantity heading with the # ordered and the ordering unit (e.g., 1 steak, or 2 steaks). For pricing unit, the unit you choose will show up on the product list and on the invoice as price/pricing unit. So for the T-bone above this would be $8/pound because pound was the pricing unit.
- If the product is one that is being sold in advance but will not actually be delivered until a future order cycle, let us know the date that it will be delivered. This must be the date of an existing co-op delivery. If you are not sure about the future delivery date, please contact us to discuss this. If this is an item where you will be setting up more than one payment, you will need to contact us to discuss this. Also, contact us if the item will be delivered directly to the customer by you and not through the co-op so that we can help you work out the details of listing the item. Contact us at KelleyOConnor@gmail.com.
- The sales description of the product, and the production practices and location for the product.
- Producers are responsible for entering this information for their products. The cooperative will do this if the producer does not have internet access, but we reserve the right to levy a charge for this service.
- When this information is entered into our database, the product is assigned a unique ID number. Please keep track of the product ID numbers for your products. Any time you need to change that product, you need the specific product ID number for that product. If you are able to use the internet, you can access any of your listed or unlisted products from the price lists at www.MassLocalFood.org. If you are logging in to our system and updating/adding new products yourself, you will be able to see product numbers for products that were on older price lists.
- If you are no longer selling a product, please do not delete it from the database. instead, simply mark the product so it will not be displayed.
- If you want to change an item from having a standard price to being a random weight item, create a new product for the random weight version of the product. If you want to change an item from being a random weight to being a standard weight/price, create a new product and select “do not display” for the original product. This is very important. If you change a standard weight item to a random weight, it will make that change on every invoice in the database history.
- Our system has an inventory feature. If you will only have 10 units for sale, you can set the inventory control at 10. once 10 items have been sold, no more orders will be taken for that product. if a customer changes their mind, and deletes their order for that product, the system will reset to allow the unsold product to be sold.
THE MONTHLY WORK OF THE COOPERATIVE
- Delivery Day is always the first friday of the month. Any exceptions to this will be published in advance to the co-op’s membership.
- The order window always opens on the ????? at 8 AM, and closes on ????? at Midnight.
- You can view the on-going progress of your orders by logging into the cooperative’s membership site site (www.masslocalfood.org\members) but customers may change their orders (add or delete items, change quantities, etc.) until the close of the order desk. Do not consider your orders as “final” until you receive an email, fax, or phone call from us that the orders are final. If you print your orders early, you may lose business. (This has already happened to some producers, so don’t leave money on the table and disappoint your potential customers by jumping the gun on printing your orders.) At the close of order week , the cooperative will notify you that your orders are ready for downloading or printing. Generally this is early the next morning.
- When you check your orders at the close of a monthly’s order week, there will be links for your orders sorted by PRODUCT, CUSTOMER, and by STORAGE/CUSTOMER. You will only see your orders.
- If customers have ordered products from you that have random weights necessary for determining product prices, you will see that information on your invoice. When you have that customer’s information, enter it in the appropriate box and press the UPDATE button next to that entry. You can update either at the PRODUCT sort page or the CUSTOMER sort page. Both pages update the master database. This information is due no later than 12 NOON on the MONDAY before Delivery Day.
- If you run out of inventory on a particular product, notify the customer immediately (email if they have it is fine) so that the customer can choose a substitution from another producer if you don’t have a substitute to suggest. If customers have ordered products that are out of stock, there are several ways to handle the situation. (A) “first come, first serve”, in which case, look at the SORT BY PRODUCT list because the orders are listed there in the order in which we received them. (B) You could contact the customer and offer a substitution, the customer contact info will be on your list of orders. If you have a limited quantity of an item, use the INVENTORY feature to limit sales to your actual inventory.
- If your customer accepts a substitution, send an email to KelleyOConnor@gmail.com with the details of the substitution. We need to know the customer’s name, the product originally ordered (its product ID number), and the product you are substituting (its product ID number). Please state that the customer has accepted the substitution.
- Please be prompt in completing these invoices, especially if you have an out of stock situation. If you do not have the product, other producers may have it available. Customers expect to be notified if you are out of a product or can’t deliver it, and you will preserve your customer relationship with them if you are prompt in telling them that you are out of an item so that they can order a substitute from either you or somebody else. Some customers are ordering most of their family’s food from the cooperative, and if an item is not delivered, and they are not able to order a substitute, then that creates a problem for them. Don’t alienate customers by waiting until the last minute to discover that you are out of a product.
- Each time you add info for a random weight item, you must press update, so you do them one at a time.
- Once you have entered any weights for random weight items, and marked any items out of stock, and updated each item (you can only update one item at a time), review the overall invoice. All your changes should be saved and all item prices should now be correct. If all the information is there, you should have a total dollar amount at the bottom of your invoice that reflects the amount that you will receive from the Co-op for this order, less the co-op’s 5% commission. If this total (or any of the individual prices of items) is incorrect, please contact us right way at KelleyOConnor@gmail.com. In the subject line of your e-mail, put “Invoice Error” and your producer name. This needs to be resolved prior to delivery day because prices listed on this invoice also feed into the individual customer invoices. Therefore, if the prices we have for your products are wrong, we will not collect the correct amount from customers. Our ability to pay you the right amount is dependent upon our ability to collect the right amounts from the customer members.
- While the order is open, you can lower prices on products, but you cannot raise prices. You can also add new products during the order period.
- If you make a change to any product, it will not appear in the public list until the co-op refreshes the product list. Email KelleyOConnor@gmail.com to have this done promptly.
- After the 12 Noon deadline on the MONDAY before delivery day, you will not be able to enter your own random weight information. To enter such info after this deadline, contact the Producer Assistance Technician at KelleyOConnor@gmail.com. There will be a per item charge for each random weight item entered by the technician.
- All questions about customer orders should go directly to the customer. Customer contact information is on your order page that is sorted by CUSTOMER.
- CHECK YOUR EMAIL several times during Order and Delivery weeks, in case there are any Delivery Day issues that need to be addressed.
HOW TO PREPARE YOUR PRODUCT FOR DELIVERY THROUGH MASSACHUSETTS LOCAL FOOD
- Each order has a customer delivery code that tells us the information we need to know to get the products the customers ordered delivered to them. This code must be on each product or bag of products to be delivered to a customer, as explained in more detail in the rest of this section. The three parts of the member delivery code are:
- Pickup site/delivery route code.
- Customer member number, these are assigned as the members join the cooperative
The steps to preparing your product for delivery are: Package individual orders, label the product(s) properly.
Orders are delivered packaged for individual customers. Do not deliver 50 pounds of bulk lettuce and expect us to divide it up between your customers for you.
The order should be packaged securely. Products are transported from your location to the operations center, where they are handled, sorted, and transported again to customers or other regional sorting hubs. The packaging of your product must be able to protect your product during transportation, sorting, and delivery. As many as 8 people may handle your product before it reaches the final customer.
- If a customer has ordered several products from you, you can put all of those products in one bag, box, or container, or you can deliver them as separate items.
- Each bag, box, container, or other product for a customer member must be labeled with the first and last name of the member receiving the product and their customer delivery code, the name of the producer, what the product is, and the storage (e.g. refrigerated, frozen, produce, eggs, non-refrigerated. You can use your own label or you can write this information on a box or container (but not on a plastic bag), or you can use the label documents we provide you at the membership page of our website. If you are making your own labels, all of the information on our labels must be on your label.
- If you are sending products as separately packed items, use the individual product label provided in your member area. If you are sending all of the customer’s products in one container, use the “one label per customer” label set.
- If you are sending a member’s products in several containers with more than one product for that member inside, attach each of the relevant individual product labels to the outside of that box.
- Customer labels should not be on the outside of any box or container that contains orders for more than one customer. Those containers, bags, or boxes should be labeled with your producer name and the regional sorting hub or hubs with customer products inside.
- You can put another label on your product, such as weight and price labels for frozen meats, your own unique producer label or tag, etc.
- If you are sending your product in plastic grocery bags, make the label a tag and tie it to the plastic bag, or print the label on label stock and stick it to the bag. Staples don’t work well with plastic bags and paper labels, so we require a tag. Do not write information on a plastic grocery bag and expect us to be able to decipher it. Marker inks do not adhere well to plastic grocery bags, and we have had a problem with smudged and missing info that was rubbed off in transit.
- Make sure the ink you print your labels with is WATERPROOF. If you don’t use waterproof ink, if the label gets wet, we may not be able to deliver the product to your customer.
- If you have some products which are frozen or refrigerated, and some products for a customer that are dry goods or otherwise non-refrigerated, they should be delivered in separate containers, and frozen and refrigerated items should arrive in ice chests. Frozen items must be hard frozen, and refrigerated items must be cold to the touch.
DELIVERY DAY PROCEDURES
- Delivery Day is always the first Friday of the month.
- The producers are responsible for getting their properly prepared, packaged, and labeled products to the Westminster sorting location between 2:00 and 3:00 on Delivery Day.
There are three ways of delivering products to us:
- You can deliver your product yourself to the Delivery Day Sorting Site Academy Hill in Westminster, MA.
- Producers outside of the area may be able to have their products picked up. Contact us for the current status of our pickup and delivery network. At this time we don’t have any delivery routes, but we will make every effort to set them up if there is enough demand. Producers are responsible for getting their items to the route driver. Producers should help driver load their products. Producers are responsible for helping the driver carrying their products with the in-bound transportation costs.
- If for any reason as you package your orders you find you are unable to make delivery to the Westminster sorting location, please contact us immediately by telephone at ????. E.g., in the event of a truck breakdown or family emergency that would prevent you from make it to delivery day.
- When your products arrive at Delivery Day, a volunteer checks them in to make sure everything is there that is supposed to be there.
- If an item that a customer has ordered is missing, we create a Missing Item Ticket. You will be charged $1 for each missing item ticket, plus the co-op will still charge you the amount of commission the co-op would have received on the missing items. You will not be able to get your check on delivery day. It will be mailed to you within 2 days of Delivery Day.
- It is acceptable for producers to make alternative delivery arrangements for products ordered through the co-op. Such items will not be counted as missing items as long as the following conditions are all met: (a) You must contact the customer about the alternative delivery arrangements AND the customer must agree to the alternative delivery arrangements, (b) You must provide an 8-1/2 x 11 inch sheet of paper, with the delivery label for the item to be delivered under the alternative arrangements, and a note stating “The customer has consented to an alternative delivery method.” Please do not ask co-op site or route managers to undertake alternative delivery arrangements unless you are willing to compensate them at the standard co-op rates of $7/hour plus the standards IRS rate for mileage.
- Please do not use the cooperative’s delivery system for delivery of non-co-op items. You can meet people in the parking lot, but do not hand something to a volunteer and say “Give this to so and so at the South Bronx pickup site”.
- Producers must pre-sort their products.
- The sort order is specified in the STORAGE/CUSTOMER sort of the labels and producer invoices. Within each storage category (dry/non refrigerated, refrigerated, frozen, and eggs), each order is number 1, 2, 3, etc. We will check your product in at delivery day IN THAT ORDER. The first item out of your bag, box, or tote should be #1, the second #2, etc.
- We will not check in producer orders that are not in this order. You can re-arrange your products in the parking area of the Operations Center and bring them in for check-in.
Alternative Delivery Procedure
We will accept alternative delivery arrangements, but to do this you must (a) contact the customer and get the customer’s consent to alternative delivery arrangements, and (b) give us a sheet of paper, properly labeled for a product delivery, that can be sent out with the order.
- At present, the co-op has three categories of products — Certified Organic, Certified Natural, and Not Certified Organic/Natural.
CONTACTING THE COOPERATIVE
- The cooperative has a series of email addresses. Information or questions should be directed to the appropriate email address. The emails go to different members of the cooperative administrative team. For the cooperative to operate efficiently, it is important for you to send your email to the correct email address.