Have you ever been disappointed by the selection of organic products at your local grocery store? Many mainstream stores only carry a few brands, a small selection and most of the time out of date items. We cannot fault them too much (besides the fact that they tend to hind the organic items from their shoppers), they are not in the organic/local business. This is where cooperative (Coop) grocery stores come in.
Tim and I have been shopping at Valley Natural Foods in Burnsville for a while now, but just recently became members. We also will shop at Just Food, in Northfield. You don’t have be a member to shop at a Coop, but there are a lot of perks of becoming one. At Valley, we can choose once a month if we want a 5% discount on our purchases, we receive special member only coupons (about $75/year) and invites to member only events. The best part is that Coops are member owned , if the store makes a profit, we may receive a dividend check at the end of the year.
You may be thinking, but Coops are so expensive. This is what I thought too. But, I have found that this is not true. You know all their produce is extremely fresh, this translates in less spoilage loss. Their extensive bulk section allows you to buy only what you need (only need 3 tbs walnuts, then just buy 3 tbs). I have also found that their produce prices are not that much more, plus with the member discount, I am spending about the same as conventional foods. I can walk out of there with $40 worth of groceries and that will feed my family for a week.
Another great thing about Coops is the variety. At mainstream grocery stores, I would only find maybe one choice of Organic Valley Cheese or three varieties of Stonyfield yogurt. At the Coop I can find about 5 or 6 kinds of Organic Valley Cheeses, OV cottage cheese, OV sour cream and more. Also, they have about 20 flavors of Stonyfield yogurt and your choice of low, no, or full fat and small or large containers.
The best part of Coops is the staff. They are very knowledgeable about their products. They know the farmers, they know when the items were shipped in and they can help you find the freshest produce.
Residents of Minnesota are lucky to have so many Coops available to us. Visit The Mix website to learn where you nearest Coop is located.
Before you give up on organic foods because you cannot find the freshness or variety you want, visit a Coop. You will be amazed!
PS We were not contacted by any coop to do this post. In fact, they have no idea I did it. I just LOVE our Coops.