Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Dill Pickle Food Co-op...Thinking About How We Shop

Recently, the Dill Pickle Food Coop opened within walking distance of our home. I have been eagerly awaiting the co-op coming to fruition for over a year, and shopped there twice in the first week!

photo Jason Guthartz

What is a food co-op? It's a member-owned non-profit grocery store, where many of the jobs are preformed by member volunteers. This one happens to also focus on shelving products and produce that are local, sustainable, organic or a combination of these. Simply awesome. The prices are still comparable to the big corporate stores since the new co-op doesn't have the same buying power yet, but the difference is that the money you spend at Dill Pickle all flows right back into the local the farms and local companies that grow, raise or produce the offerings, as well as to the local people and businesses contracted to do probable jobs such as bookkeeping, web design, or accounting. No big CEO is getting fat on the big profits here, and little to nothing is touched by China. The fact that produce is not coming from Chile or Argentina also means that the food is more fresh, better tasting and leaves a far smaller carbon footprint on our earth. Generally speaking, I like the fact that the people that run the store are my neighbors and peers. There's something to be said for the feeling of community that a co-op provides. A feeling that's sorely lacking in most of our daily lives and shopping experiences!

The Dill Pickle is a small storefront operation, but within this small space, not much seems to be missing from the shelves. They offer fresh organic produce, organic meats, eggs and dairy, brand name boxed goods like Annie's Cheddar Bunnies and EnviroKidz Cereals.
photo Jason Guthartz

Along the right aisle they have a large selection of loose leaf teas and coffees (heavenly!) that you can buy in bulk, as well as an unbelievable bulk section with rices, lentils, beans, spices and more. Solely because of this, I have made 2 risotto dishes in the past 2 weeks. I just can't walk past the bulk rice without craving some arborio!

If you live in the vicinity of Logan Square, please make a stop at Dill Pickle to pick up some groceries and check it out. Or better yet, become a member and support the local effort to "opt-out" of the mass-produced food chain. It's good for you, the local community, and the earth!