A Small Coop Market Helps Local Farmers
by Beth Fox

How will they make it? I wonder,
when the pandemic hits the tiny coop
on a back street, in small town New Hampshire.
The struggle is on to find products
fill shelves, provide
what discerning clients want.

I watch events unfold. Online,
the eye-catching checklists
become easier to use.
Texting to check for timing
and product, it is so easy
to pick up bagged groceries
with the slide of a card,
smile behind masks.
To keep everyone safe, there
are free handmade masks
for anyone who needs one.

Meal planning goes back to
the old-time way; I use
what’s in the cupboard.

Then the coop fosters
the pop-up farmer’s market,
enlisting a vacant parking lot
at their doors. Windy Saturdays
in March, hungry locals drive thru,
wait in line for orders pre-placed.

We get better at it,
pick out the boys’ fresh catch,
fish that couldn’t be any fresher,
crusty bread and fragrant pastries
winter stored root vegetables,
potatoes with a little dirt on them,
First greens from micro gardens,
soaps, herbs and spices
and yes, the hand sanitizer
that’s been impossible to find.
I use my own bags
take products from gloved
hands, numb with cold. With a nod,
I applaud their teamwork, ingenuity
take home the spirit of community,
their unspoken gift.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Here are Tracey and Erin at The Wolfeboro Natural Foods Store. An active Board behind the scenes provides energy and support. This little coop amazingly provides everything I need, and more.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Beth Fox has been published in Poet’s Touchstone, The Seacoast Anthology, Avocet, Prey Tell, and The 2010 Poets Guide to NH: More Places, More Poets. She was a finalist in the Center for the Arts annual poetry contest and Touchstone Member Contest. Beth contributed to an anthology for Seniors, Other Voices, Other Lives.  A retired teacher, she lives in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire.