Growing Local Roots

My First Co-op Experience

By Bridget Kennedy

 

Before we stepped foot into the People's Food Co-op, I had a preconceived notion of what it would look like. I pictured a barn, and inside the barn rows and rows of produce, noting else just produce. I pictured men and women in their early 20’s, flannel shirts, glasses, beanies, “hippies” if you will. "We don’t take credit, only cash," they would say.  I pictured a big open grassy field right next to it with grazing horses and cattle, muddy. Those notions were all kicked to the curb when GPS told us to head downtown.

 

Downtown? I thought…

this won't be anything like I

was expecting.

 

We arrive at a building on Harris

Street, new looking. We walk

in, me with my video camera,

relived at the fact that I would

not be getting my new shoes dirty

with mud. A grocery store? A

grocery store was not what I was

expecting at all, but it was welcomed.

 

 I am from Ann Arbor and I’m also a HUGE health nut and work out fanatic. I miss my Whole Foods, Plum Markets, Trader Joe's and did I mention Whole Foods was just 10 minutes from my house. Walking into this co-op, I was like a little girl on Christmas morning. I died and went to heaven. I had to control myself when it came to shopping because I could have easily spent over $200. It was just like a store I would have shopped at in Ann Arbor, just hidden on Harrison Street on the outskirts of Kalamazoo.

 

 There produce section was AMAZING! Ask any of my friends, I am a blender queen. I will take any fruit or vegetable, put in a blender with some protein powder, and it will taste so good you won’t even know that it more than likely has at least spinach or kale and fish oil in it! I instantly thought of so many shake ideas! All of the produce was calling my name. They had samples of pears that were some of the best I ever tasted.

 

 My two favorite things about the Co-op were the bulk foods section and the bins of peanut butter! I’m a huge fan of bulk. Raw nuts in bulk are my favorite (especially almonds) because nuts make the best snack. They are high in protein and fiber, and pair them with an apple and you have the perfect on the go snack. I also like to make my own trail mix from bulk items. Nuts, different seeds, dried fruits and new items you may have never heard of (I LOVE to try new things, especially when it comes to food), so their bulk section really got me excited. I ended up buying an item they had on sample that day in the bulk section. They were called Vanilla Almond Honey Chunks. They were squares made of different seeds, nuts and berries... SO GOOD! They ran me $7.99 per pound but are the perfect snack for class, small yet filling with a serving size of two chunks for 140 calories (less cals than a medium apple and 4 ounces of almonds).

 

 The peanut butter station as I’m calling it was my second favorite. I don’t eat peanut butter just because it’s a fat first before a protein and is high in sugar, BUT I do eat almond butter. I usually buy it at Whole Foods for $7.99 a jar. The Co-op had almond butter in a big tub and you can scoop as much or as little as you want for the same price at $7.99 a pound. The almond butter at the co-op also didn’t look like it separated as much as my jar at home does. I would rather support the local almond butter especially if they’re going to run me the same price.

 

 Since our little field trip to the Co-op,

I’ve been back. I couldn’t resist.

 I even brought my roommate.

They have all of the foods and items

I buy both local and non-local that I

can’t find at Meijer or Harding's. It’s

nice to have a good, local health food

store so close by, and when I’m shopping

there it reminds me of being home.

Vanilla Almond Honey Chunks!!

(I bought the lighter ones)

Peanut butter in the white tubs