Today we learned that an employee tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). This employee has not been at work onsite for three weeks. They continue to be in isolation and all close contacts of the employee are currently in quarantine. While we are unable to share any specific information under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability (HIPAA) Act, transparency with our owners and community is one of our core tenets that differentiate us as a co-op.  Further, we feel that sharing this unfortunate news illustrates the severity of this pandemic and offers an opportunity to remind you how seriously we take your safety and that of our hardworking essential staff. We are following all recommended guidelines from city, county and state public health authorities, including the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). We have been in regular contact with the Nevada County Public Health Department, which has not recommended that BriarPatch employees or shoppers seek testing in response to this positive case. Additionally, because the staff person has been out of the workplace in isolation before becoming ill and well beyond the recommended two week time frame, no contact investigation is required. As a reminder, face coverings are required on BriarPatch property at all times. We also want to remind you of the other ways we can keep each other safe right now:
  • Wear a mask at all times in public.
  • Wear your mask across your nose, mouth and chin.
  • Keep 6 feet distance between yourself and others when in public.
  • Wash your hands well and often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Monitor yourself for symptoms. If you present symptoms or have concerns about being exposed, you should seek testing. The Nevada County Health and Human Services webpage is a good resource.
Curbside Pickup is available for those seeking the convenience and safety of ordering groceries online and delivered to their car in the BriarPatch parking lot. Curbside Pickup is available Monday through Friday from 8am to 7pm. We are committed to providing a safe, comfortable and welcoming place to work and shop for our employees, shoppers and owners. Thank you for your continued trust in us as we navigate these circumstances.   In Cooperation, Chris Maher General Manager


Statement from the BriarPatch Board of Directors

The BriarPatch Board of Directors stands in full support of the June 18 policy put in place by Co-op management that follows the Governor’s statewide mandate requiring face coverings at all times while in high risk situations. Our role as a board is to ensure that the Co-op’s operations are in alignment with our Ends Policies. We do this by empowering management to make operational decisions that keep the Co-op’s assets, shoppers and its community safe. The Board takes the shopper experience very seriously. On an annual basis, the General Manager must demonstrate to the Board that they have provided a safe environment to Co-op shoppers and employees. We feel that the Co-op’s June 18 policy is helping to provide a safer shopping experience and we have received an overwhelming amount of feedback via emails and phone calls to the Board and management and through social media to that end. We appreciate your support as we navigate the new landscape.


BriarPatch Co-op exists so that owners, customers, and other members of our community have:
  1. A successful and vibrant cooperatively-owned business that acts as a leader among local businesses and food co-ops nationally, and contributes to environmental stewardship through its business practices.
  2. Access to high quality, healthy products, especially local and organic food.
  3. A community center where people experience a sense of connectedness, ownership and fellowship.
  4. A stronger local food system.
  5. A major employer that provides a healthy, fair, and considerate workplace for employees.
  6. Access to education about food and consumer issues that encourages customers to make healthier food choices.


Guidance For The Use Of Face Coverings - California Department Of Public Health 


An Update From Our General Manager

Dear BriarPatch Owners and Shoppers,
In our efforts to keep our co-op as safe and welcoming as possible, as of Monday, June 1, At Risk Shopping Hours for seniors and those with compromised immune systems will be expanded an additional hour to 7am to 10am daily.

For the protection of our at risk community members, we will also be enacting the following additional measures at the Co-op as of June 1:
- We will now require all shoppers to wear masks or cloth face coverings during At Risk Shopping Hours. Masks will be provided at the front door for those who do not have them.
- Children under five years old are not required to wear masks.
- During all business hours, we continue to encourage all shoppers to wear masks or face coverings while shopping in the store. For those who do not have one, we will offer them at the front door.
- We request that shoppers keep interactions with staff and other shoppers to a minimum and maintain adequate social distancing.

Thank you for the continued care and concern that you have expressed for our employees and our owner-shoppers over the last few months. Maintaining a safe, welcoming shopping environment during this time has both stretched and galvanized our team and we appreciate the trust you have placed in us as we continue to adapt in the era of COVID-19. We do not take any decisions regarding changes to business operations related to the pandemic lightly and make them only after careful consideration to the welfare and best interests of the BriarPatch community. We will continue to stay tuned into the guidelines and recommendations by the CDC and other medical advisory agencies.

Thank you for your support.
Stay well.
In cooperation,
Chris Maher
General Manager
4/4/2020 An Update from Our General Manager
Dear Owners and Shoppers,
Another week in our new landscape has passed, and I continue to be inspired by all the positivity and adaptability shown by customers and staff alike.
While our response to the CoVid outbreak has taken up much of our time and energy, we continue to seek ways in which it offers opportunities to continue making progress toward the Co-op’s mission and Ends policies. I want to share a couple successes of which we are proud: We’ve begun a back-of-the-house single use glove recycling program through Terracycle. We recognize that the increased use of plastics during this time period has, at least temporarily, changed the way we are thinking about sustainability, but we are committed to reducing waste when we can.
This week we also donated 300 pounds of chicken to Hospitality House and provided a burrito lunch to the busy staff at Sierra Care Physicians, neighbors to our admin offices, who have been working tirelessly to care for ill members of our community. You can read about it on our website.
We continue to follow the World Health Organization and Center for Disease Control for our primary information on how best to respond to CoVid. As you likely know, the CDC shifted their position on the general use of masks late this week and is now recommending that anyone venturing in public wear at least a cloth covering over their nose and mouth. They have specific instructions at their website on how to do so properly so as to reduce the risk of exposure. We have been working with several mask manufacturers and local people to procure masks to offer to our staff at no charge. We hope to have an inventory of masks available this week.
Please understand that we are not requiring that staff wear masks and that some people have underlying health conditions which make it dangerous for them to do so.
We have taken additional steps to create a safe, comfortable and positive environment for our shoppers and employees. Some additional measures put in place:
o We've added plexiglass shields to the registers for added protection of cashiers and shoppers.
o Our bulk department looks very different now and will undergo a more complete transformation over the next few months. Our top selling bulk herbs are now available in one-pound bags and many items are prebagged.
o We have put out additional, brightly colored floor vinyls down to indicate social distancing protocols and will be getting more soon.
o On Monday, we will start our curbside pickup! There will be limited pick-up slots available, and for the time being, we are limiting this service to seniors and the immunocompromised. Stay tuned for an email in your inbox (you can subscribe to our enewsletter on our website) when we roll it out.
Some important additional information:
o We are now seeing the supply chain begin to normalize. While there are still some out of stocks in our daily deliveries, they are becoming less frequent. To that end, we ask that shoppers buy enough groceries for a week at a time and be thoughtful of their neighbors when purchasing multiple quantities of highly desired items.
o The Deli is now closing at 8pm. I encourage you to enjoy selections from our grab & go and “heat and eat” entrees, sides and salads or a burrito and burger for a quick meal. Check out our menus online and then call ahead to place an order for grill, smoothie or breakfast items: 272-5333 x4. Look for even more changes coming soon.
o Since we’re now limiting the number of shoppers inside the store to 50 at a time, please allow yourself extra time during busier times of the day, like lunch and “rush hour”, when you may have to stand in line for a few extra minutes.
o Inspect produce with your eyes, not your hands. Have a question? Our knowledgeable produce staff is here to help.
o We are all craving a little interaction with our neighbors right now, and the Co-op is our usual go-to place to do that. But please reserve socializing to Zoomtinis and Zoom-Quizzo Night. A quick hello or air guitar riff and back to shopping is the safest practice right now.
o And if you are at all feeling unwell, please stay home and ask a friend or neighbor to do your shopping for you.
We continue to take your comments and feedback to heart. I believe that we respond more strongly thanks to critical thinking and focusing on the ultimate goals of serving our community while keeping our employees as safe as possible.
Stay well.
In cooperation,
Chris Maher
General Manager
An Update from Our General Manager Dear BriarPatch Owners and Shoppers,
We continue to take steps to create a safe environment for our shoppers and employees.  This week we put the following additional measures into action:
o   Limited the number of shoppers inside the store to 50. Lines outside are intermittent – usually during high traffic times such as lunch. Wait times are usually five minutes or less – sometimes as little as one minute!
o   Product limits on certain items of which we receive limited stock in our wellness and meat departments
o   We are sanitizing register belts and pin pads between each transaction
o   We are now asking shoppers to bag their own groceries in the interest of maintaining adequate proximity from the cashier and to avoid the additional handling of your groceries. Cashiers are still more than happy to assist those with limited mobility
o   We have taped “x”s on the floor in the store and on the patio to indicate six foot intervals and added separation lines for where to stand at the register, meat and fish counter and the deli.
o   We will be eliminating our bulk herb jars and bulk “scoop” bins by Monday, March 30 and stocking only in the “gravity” bins with the pull handles to avoid potential contact with the product. We’ll offer some of our more popular bulk items prepackaged for shoppers.
o   We hope to have curbside pickup available sometime next week. We are also working hard to have our burritos and sandwiches available for delivery soon. Please stay tuned.
Additionally, this week, the Co-op donated 2,501 pounds of fresh produce to Interfaith Food Ministry, in partnership with our friends at Earl’s Organic Produce. Look for more weekly spotlights honoring those heroes in our community working on the front lines of COVID-19 pandemic here.
We deeply appreciate all of the trust, support and cooperation we have received from you, our shoppers and owners. Your confidence in us lifts our spirits, and gives us strength to help you through this challenging time. Our solidarity as a community shines brightly now, and we are grateful for this connection – from a safe six feet away, of course! 3/25/2020
We're working hard to keep the store safe and clean. The response has been overwhelmingly positive and people are happy we are limiting the number of shoppers in the store to 50 at one time. Things we are doing:
  • We are sanitizing all carts and baskets before and after each individual use.
  • Lines outside are intermittent – usually during high traffic times such as lunch.
  • Wait times are usually five minutes or less – sometimes as little as one minute!
  • Tape on the floor in the store and on the patio indicates six foot separation – lines for where to stand at register, meat and fish counter and deli.
  • We have two hand washing stations located in the front of the store. Sanitizing wipes are also available.
  • Each register has its own dedicated sanitizing spray and cashiers regularly spray belts, wipe down phones, etc.
  Thank you for your cooperation. We appreciate all the kindness, patience and love you have shown us during this challenging time!
3/25/2020 Did you know you can order from the BriarPatch deli while you stand outside in line? If we can, we'll come out and take your order OR call 530-272-5333 – option 4 ! Check out our full deli menu here! 3/25/2020 BriarPatch and Earl's donate 2,501 pounds of fresh produce to Interfaith Food Ministry  3/24/2020 As per county guidelines, we are now limiting the number of shoppers in the store to 50 at one time. We have also clearly marked the floor with tape to help shoppers maintain safe six feet distance while in checkout lines. Thank you for your cooperation! ❤️🥦🥕           3/21/2020 An Update (and Thank You) from Our General Manager
Dear BriarPatch Owners,
Thank you for your continued support and appreciation of your co-op during this difficult time. We are continuing to work daily to adjust to operating our store during a pandemic. I am extremely proud of our hard working staff and how they have stepped up to serve our community in our time of need
Effective immediately, we have instituted “hero pay” of $1 per hour for hourly staff and $2 for front end staff to recognize the important role they've played during these difficult times.
Clearly, we are all facing a new reality at least for the near term. We are working hard to be of service to our community while balancing the health and well being of our staff. The rapid expansion of the virus is making it difficult to do so. We want to be a source for nourishment, support, calm and inspiration in the face of uncertainty and we hope that is what you are experiencing when you come to BriarPatch.
If you have been in the store this week, you have certainly noticed the challenges we are facing in keeping the shelves stocked. We are working closely with all of our partners along the supply chain and are confident that there is sufficient level of product available to meet the needs of consumers over the next few months. It is the distribution system that is not prepared for the extreme demand that stores are experiencing at the moment. Please make sure to buy only what you need to get by. This will ensure that there is enough for everyone, which is the heart of cooperation. We've also designated Senior Shopping Hours between 7-9am daily. We ask that you allow our older and immunocompromised community members the time and space they need to do their shopping as safely as possible.  We have made a number of operational changes in the last few weeks. Additionally I want to share some more changes we are implementing immediately: 

· We are happy to continue bagging your groceries in our brown paper bags. If you would like to bring in your own reusable bags, we ask that you bag your own groceries. If you are unable to do so, we will still be happy to assist you.

· We will continue to accept cash but encourage you to either buy a Co-op gift card, which you can refill, or use a credit card for your purchases. The more we can limit contact with each other, the better!
· Look for changes in our bulk department as we reduce the use of “scoop” bins in favor of the gravity fill bins.

· Based on our supply, we may implement quantity restrictions on certain high-volume items.

· We are working to implement limited online ordering with curbside pickup. Please stay tuned as we develop this.

· We are also no longer accepting returns on product purchased on or after Friday March 13th.

It is critical that we remain calm and cooperative. Your co-op Board of Directors and staff are here to support you. Each of us is ready to bring forth the highest good possible. I am sure that we will come out of this challenge better than we went into it. Please reach out with your concerns and your ideas. We are truly stronger together.

In cooperation,
Chris Maher
General Manager

3/20/2020 Resources from 211 Connecting Point  We care about you!
Co-op Principle #7: Concern for Community
As we navigate these challenging times, practicing one of our cooperative values, Cooperative Principle Seven, "P7", Concern for Community, can make everyday life a little easier. Paying it forward with kindness and respect can go a long way in someone’s day. ❤️🥕
Think of others. Be considerate of your neighbors and shop for only what you need. We’re all in this together. 🌎
Smile. Take a deep breath. Find something beautiful in nature around you to marvel at. 🌲
Take care of yourself. Get plenty of rest. Eat a healthy diet. Exercise. Tell jokes. Laugh. Love. Find joy in simple things. 😹 Practice social distancing. Try to stay six feet away from those who aren't your immediate family and staff while shopping. 🧍           🧍
Practice good hygiene. Wash your hands. Avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth while in public. 🧼
Stay home. If you are sick with respiratory symptoms like fever and cough. If you are 65 years of age, have a compromised immune system or serious underlying medical condition. Ask a friend or loved one do your shopping for you. 🛒 Only touch product you plan on buying. Keep others as safe as possible when you shop. 🛍️
Greetings. You can still say “hello!” while social distancing. Smile and wave. Play your best air guitar bridge at them! 🎸
3/17/20 Dining room is currently closed.  3/17/20 Please practice "social distancing" while shopping.  3/17/20 Early Bird Hours Early Bird Hours
Over 65? We have designated 7 to 9am Early Bird Hours for our Senior Shoppers. Of course, if someone else can do your shopping for you, that is even better! For those who want to avoid the crowds, we suggest shopping during the Night Owl hours 8 to 10pm
          Are you a BriarPatch Owner? Text PATCHOWNERINFO to 31996 to sign up to receive important  Co-op text alerts and information. A Message about COVID-19 from Our General Manager Dear BriarPatch Owners and Shoppers, At BriarPatch your safety and well-being is our top priority. You have come to us in recent days to stock your pantry, replenish cleaning supplies and prepare alongside others in the community. As a grocery store, our co-op is in the unique position of offering essential services while also doing all we can to minimize risk to our employees, owners and shoppers. Each time you shop at the Co-op, you place your trust in our standards at every level. As a community-owned business, we have a heightened commitment to ensure that our co-op is ready to meet your needs during this challenging time. We want to share the things we are doing to best serve you, care for our staff and provide support to our community. What We’re Doing: · Our Co-op prides itself on its cleanliness and food safety standards. Following guidance from the CDC and other agencies, we have implemented even more rigorous cleaning practices throughout our store. We continue our rigorous cleaning and disinfecting at high touch areas such as powering-washing carts, registers, credit card keypads, bulk bins, our kitchen, prep and break rooms, café, Community Room and patio. · BriarPatch has a generous paid time off policy and has asked any staff exhibiting symptoms of respiratory illness or fever to stay home and notify their physician. We will work with employees on a case-by-case basis to ensure that they have the support they need. · With the increased demand nationwide for sanitizers and sanitized wipes, we have been having difficulty obtaining them for our store. We are working hard to source these necessities from a wide variety of suppliers. · We are working closely with our suppliers to ensure we have the products that you need. We are paying particular attention to supporting our local producers and keeping our local products available. · We are reinforcing proper handwashing techniques with all employees through multiple channels - reminding them verbally and through additional signage. · In our Deli, our food safety standards remain at a high level. All team members have completed food safety training and wear gloves and hats while serving shoppers. We have suspended our hot bar and salad bar until March 31. We will increase grab & go items, including limited hot entrees (menu TBD) from behind the counter and all bakery items will be individually wrapped. · We have suspended free fruit for kids, removed all testers from our health & beauty department, stopped accepting personal cups at our coffee bar and discontinued paper comment cards in favor of online feedback. · We are cancelling, postponing or moving events to online channels to minimize risk. ·We anticipate that guidance from governmental agencies will change rapidly over the coming days and weeks. We will continue to closely monitor the situation and adjust our operations to prioritize the health and safety of you and our employees. We will keep you apprised of updates through email, text, social media and our website. We believe that acting with an abundance of caution is in alignment with our values to prioritize the best interest of our owners, shoppers and employees whom we love and serve. We are following the developments closely and as we receive new information from public health officials and organizations, we will adjust quickly in order to protect our community. Our thoughts are with everyone around the world who has been impacted by COVID-19. We urge our owners and shoppers to learn more about protecting themselves at the California Department of Public Health and CDC website. We appreciate your kindness and cooperation as we work together to keep our community safe. In cooperation, Chris Maher General Manager