Thursday, February 26, 2015

Eating Locally: Discovering our Co-op

Back in California, eating local, organic and humanely raised food was relatively simple. Sure it took more than a simple trip to the supermarket, but there were so many options for CSAs, a wealth of farmer's markets year-round, and even locally owned grocery stores that stocked great CA-grown products. We belonged to both a fruit/veggie CSA and a meat CSA, bought our eggs directly from a farmer at the farmer's market, and had access to an amazing number of resources for the kind of food we want to buy.

After moving to Colorado, I can see just how spoiled for options California is!

Here, the growing season is much shorter than I was used to (year round crops in CA, roughly May-Oct in CO). The farmer's markets ended before we even moved into our house, and they won't start up again until May. There are fewer CSA options, and most are only available during the summer. When I go to the grocery store, most of the fruit and vegetables are brought in from CA!

So imagine how happy I was when a neighborhood friend invited me to join her at a meet and greet for the High Plains Food Co-op. It is a network of local farmers (again, cue the shock as I realize "local" here includes Kansas and Nebraska, which are both closer to Denver than Los Angeles is to San Francisco) and the co-op facilitates sales directly to the consumer. Transparency is important, and all the farmers welcome visitors. All of the meat is humanely raised, and some farms are certified organic -- not all have gone through certification, but all follow organic principles. There are free range and pastured eggs for less than the cost of store-bought cage free eggs. There is even a farmer who sells heritage wheat flours! The vegetable selections are limited right now, and the fruit selections are only dried or jams, but I'm looking forward to seeing those offerings come spring.

Living Design Eating Locally Discovering Coop High Plains

For our first order, we got the following:

  • 1 dozen pastured eggs
  • 1 package of German bratwurst
  • cheddar sampler pack (3 varieties, about 1lb total)
  • lamb shanks
  • triticale flour
  • heritage turkey red flour
  • ground beef
  • chuck roast
  • whole roasting chicken
They even gave us an insulated tote to keep everything cold, which I will reuse for future orders. We haven't tried everything yet, but so far we are happy with this resource for good, humane, locally raised food.

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