My First Week with My Co-Op
Last week I decided to join a local co-op! After my first visit I left the co-op without my usual grocery store earth guilt since they gave us our food in reusable crates instead of the typical plastic bags where your sacker will place two items in one bag thus you end up with 100 bags for a $30 purchase. I had the pleasure of sitting with the owner of the co-op and it was so exciting to become reconnected with my food from this lovely business.
What I learned:
1. My share of produce was 90% local organic vegetables. The other 10 % came from national sources in order to provide variety, especially for those of us who couldn't live without our fresh, ripe tomatoes. Her feeling was she would rather provide fresh organic tomatoes then for her customers to be relegated to the conventional, lifeless tomatoes that are offered at the mega mart.
2. She had relationships with over 50 local vendors that sold items such as grains, salsas, yogurt, meats, butters, soaps, oils, coffee, These vendors were able to use her store to bring the consumer their local wares.
3. My favorite was the meat selection. All of the meat was from two local ranchers. My co-op was able to tell me where my meat came from, when it was slaughtered, and even the diet of the animal that I was purchasing. Good lord I could barely remember what I ate last week and here is a business that can tell me what exactly the pig that was now entering my body was having. And I have to say after having my first meals with my local meats the flavor was far superior to what I have gotten at my mega marts. A little meat went a long way on my dinner table. Which means I am sticking to my personal goal of 4 oz a meat per a meal.
4. Also my new co-op was focused on producing as little waste as possible. So they reuse items as much as possible. You can even bring back your egg cartoons to be reused. If you bring back your glass jars your given a $1 credit.
5. The most valuable lesson came with tropical storm Beta. The storm wasn't a quite a hurricane but bought with it a lot of rain. Areas around town flooded. The news advised for everyone to stay off the roads. My co-op sent an email that the farmers weren't able to deliver the produce because of the weather. They live in the same environment that I do. They face the same weather that I do. We are neighbors, we are connected, we are a community supporting each other.