Friday, March 12, 2010

Utah CoOp: Affordable Gourmet

Remember how I said I was going to join a co-op for pantry (and dairy) items? I found one online with a pretty vague website and decided to stop in since I was in the area after meeting Bri for a Korean lunch in town today. What a revelation.

Now I looked into two different co-ops. They both involve private citizens joining together to purchase food at whole sale prices and volunteer their time to get it organized and distributed. The first one, The Community Food Co-op Of Utah, works similar to an LDS cannery where you volunteer your time and can purchase the discounted food, which involves produce, staple items and meat. People can eat fresh, healthy food even if they don't have much money. You fill out an order form and later pick it up, it having been filled by volunteers.

Now I decided to check out t the second one, Utah CoOp. Whereas the other co-op proudly proclaims their food isn't damaged or donated, this one buys scratch and dent palates and receives donations from large businesses since it's nonprofit. Before going I thought it might be something for the needy, but it was for everyone. It was set up like a grocery store with a variety of shoppers, from little old ladies to trendy young people. The lady who organized it really had a vision to make quality, healthy food accessible to everyone. As for the prices, I paid $21 for this loot, which, with my cheapskate calculations (I always guess half the price of those items on The Price Is Right golf game, food must be expensive in Southern California), would have cost at least 3 times as much in a regular store. One of the boxes of whole wheat pasta had a couple small paint splatters and some of the cheeses expire in a week, but a dollar for feta, romano, goat cheese, pesto, hummus, a pint of organic heavy cream and more, I'll take it. And those salamis! I feel like a thief. So, if you don't mind trekking to a storage unit in West Valley City to save some serious money on good food, I hope you go, and take me with you. I need an excuse.

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