Saturday, September 7, 2013

East Wind Nut Butters implements Fishbowl Inventory Control

East Wind Nut Butters has been looking for a comprehensive inventory control and management software for several years. This year we purchased Fishbowl Inventory, and have been implementing it over the past several months. We had previously been using a number of Excel spreadsheets, which were effective, but cumbersome. With the new software we can integrate many facets of running our business into one program. This will increase our efficiency and accuracy.

Fishbowl-aptly named for the user's ability to view data from a variety of angles to see the full picture of the inventory-links together the segments of East Wind Nut Butters in a loop like fashion. The production team enters the manufacturing information as we schedule shifts and produce nut butters, which updates our finished goods inventory count and reduces our raw material count. The purchasing department uses the program to check inventory levels of raw materials and place orders to our vendors. The sales department enters our customers' sales orders, which are then available to the shipping department for packing. Once packed, finished goods are removed from inventory. The shipping department also receives shipments of raw materials, at which point they are added into inventory. Fishbowl also integrates with QuickBooks, our existing accounting software. Data is exported to QuickBooks, where final purchase orders and invoices are generated and where our accounting department has access to the full range of financial reports that QuickBooks offers.

A key feature of Fishbowl is bar code tracking. Fishbowl allows us to track all our raw materials and finished goods with use of bar code stickers and hand-held bar code scanners. The scanners are easy to use, and allow inventory to be tracked in real time. This is very convenient for answering questions about what is available in inventory. The use of bar codes also makes our process for tracking product that has been sold much more efficient. If we are notified that there is a quality concern with a raw material we purchased, we can quickly and efficiently determine if it was used to manufacture any nut butter, dispose of inventory on hand, and immediately contact any customers who received affected nut butter.

We are working hard to utilize and maximize the capabilities of this new system. It will never replace human experience and judgement, but we believe it will help us provide more efficient service to our customers. To learn more about Fishbowl, visit or their wiki page here.

East Wind Nut Butters at the Expo East

East Wind Nut Butters will be hosting a booth at this year's Expo East show in Baltimore, MD, September 26-28! Our booth # is 360. If you plan to attend, we would love to meet you.  Please stop by our booth to learn more about East Wind and sample our nut butters.

Click here to visit our profile and add us to your Expo Plan.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Tahini Week

East Wind as a community is part of a larger group of communities called the FEC (Federation of Egalitarian Communities). Member communities agree to abide by certain principles. The FEC as an organization works to promote the communities movement through its web site, newsletter, lectures and presentations, and other means. One commonality that is very powerful is the idea of equal for all. All things produced by a community are equally shared amongst its members. We hope our way of life sets an example of equality and unity for the world.

All the communities of the FEC have some type of business or businesses to help them support their community. Members work in the business, are co-owners, and have decision making power through a democratic process. East Wind produces nut butters from almonds, sesames, cashews, and peanuts. Twin Oaks, another FEC member, produces delicious soy based products such as tofu and tempeh. Learn more about their products at Members of FEC communities have the option to work at other FEC communities through a labor exchange program, which is a wonderful opportunity to meet people and learn about other communities put the principles of the FEC in practice.

Here at East Wind Nut Butters we do what is called a “Tahini Week” two or three times a year. In one weeks time we mill several months supply of tahini. We do this because our roasters are not designed to handle these tiny seeds, so we purchase them toasted. We make the tahini as soon as the seeds are delivered, to ensure freshness from roasted sesame to butter. In April we completed a tahini week, and it was a great experience. The week can be a very grueling endeavor for our farm. In the past, this week has required us to forego many of our other activities to ensure the tahini is created quickly. This time, we decided to invite some members from Twins Oaks community to help us with this project. Twins Oaks answered our call for help by sending us an amazing group.

This group made a great impression on us. They were fun to work with, worked very hard, and were dependable. A lot of work got done, and managers from the two communities shared notes on how to improve our business practices. We also had a lot of fun. We played, laughed, and cried together. New friendships were created, old ones strengthened. The experience reminded us all that our family extends beyond our individual communities. The FEC is a growing loving entity. Big ups to Twin Oaks, and we cannot wait till we do it again.

Mushroom from Twin Oaks, in front of the 'Nut House.'

Tim and Mushroom help Mac with tahini shift

Twin Oakers enjoy a break after a day making tahini!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

FDA Inspection

East Wind Nut Butters recently received a satisfactory report from the Food and Drug Administration, the result of a November 2012 on-site inspection of our facility in Missouri. The report states that our facility meets and exceeds federal standards. The FDA has the enormous task of keeping America’s food supply safe and routinely visits food processing plants to conduct unannounced inspections. These inspections include reviewing the accuracy of sanitation and production logs and taking random swab samples that the FDA sends to a laboratory for testing. One hundred swabs samples were taken from our production facility and sent out to the lab. All samples came back free of contaminants and our records and logs also received a clean bill of health.

East Wind Nut Butters has standard operating procedures in place to ensure that the delicious nut butter we make is also safe to eat. We, at East Wind Community not only make the nut butter, but we enjoy it, cook with it and feed it to our families. (See our recipe link on this website!) Its safety is paramount on a personal level and for the future of our business. 

Beginning January 2013, the FDA will require biennial registration of domestic and foreign food facilities that manufacture, process, pack, or hold food for human or animal consumption in the United States. This additional registration will assist the FDA to regulate and enforce standards on the food industry.

East Wind Nut Butters sincerely thanks the FDA inspectors and workers for their diligence!

East Wind Nut Butters was not a part of the recent peanut products recall. Our buyers work hard to build relationships with growers and shippers who are also diligent. Once the nuts are delivered to East Wind, they are stored in a dedicated, secured refrigerated warehouse and are soon milled into nut butter and jarred and packaged on the same day. Random samples are taken and tested by an outside lab to ensure the safety and quality of our products.