Wednesday, November 7, 2012

I Like the Co-op

Photo courtesy of Sno-Isle Natural Food Co-op
I have spent some time at the Sno-Isle Natural Food Co-op this week, an outing I always enjoy. I like the co-op.

When our family plunged into gluten-free eating twelve years ago, I discovered the co-op. A funky store with wooden bins for bulk items and foods I didn't recognize, it was quite an adventure to shop there. I could buy small quantities of alternative grains, spices, and other baking goods and I experimented with the gluten-free, dairy-free products I found on the shelves. That was before gluten-free was in vogue, but the co-op was always way ahead of traditional supermarkets in providing foods that met my family's needs. I like the co-op.

Over the years the flavor of the store has changed. Fire damage brought an end to the wooden bins, the store upgraded its computer system, the feeling in the store became more urban. Most of the produce is local. The deli foods are fresh and delicious. And if you can't find what you need, they'll order it for you. I like the co-op.

Yesterday I picked up a recipe for Quinoa and Vegetable Stuffed Zucchini. I went right home and prepared it for dinner, and it was a big hit! Oh, yes, I like the co-op.

The co-op is more than a health food store. It serves the community through providing fresh, wholesome, local (when possible) foods. It is owned and operated by members. It is a resource for community education promoting healthy lifestyle. I like the co-op.

To tell the truth, I am not a member of the Sno-Isle Co-op. I am a life member of the Skagit Valley Food Co-op in Mount Vernon, but Sno-Isle honors my membership. I shop at the one closest to my other errands and get the same good service and great selection at either one. I like the co-op.

Actually, there are over 150 food co-ops nationwide (16 just in Washington State) and 1.3 million co-op members. But you don't need to be a member to shop at a food co-op. You just need to want to purchase good, healthy food that supports local farmers and encourages healthy eating. I like the co-op.

Do you want to know more? Here is a great video called, What's to Love About Food Co-ops? If you live anywhere near a food co-op, why don't you check it out? I believe you will come away saying, "I like the co-op."

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