Thursday, January 23, 2014

Food Sources

I'm trying something new!  I joined a buying club that my friend Jennifer kept telling me about.  I finally got in gear and signed up.  Before I get to what the buying club is all about, let's talk about my other food source experiments.

The Regular Stores

For many years, I shopped at the regular grocery stores (Rainbow, Cub, Target, Lund's) but never loved the experience or the selection.  On occasion, I have shopped at Whole Foods but I don't love it.  For one, it's expensive (Whole Paycheck!) and I used to work there and always felt disappointed they don't offer many local options.

Grocery Delivery

After having kids, I tried grocery delivery.  I loved (LOVED!) the convenience.  But, the quality was hit or miss and some things were crazy expensive.  I haven't ordered from grocery delivery in over a year.  But, if you hate dragging your kid(s) to the store in the winter, order your groceries online and thank me later. 

Community Supported Agriculture 
(check out Adventures with a Crop Share for my CSA recipes)

We bought a crop share for four years.  The first year was through a small farm.  We loved it but we also had issues with smashed/sub-prime produce.   We then switched to a larger farm (farther away, unfortunately) and it was fantastic.  We had plenty of fresh, delicious produce delivered weekly.  Getting through our "veggie box" each week was challenging but fun, too.

Then, our kids started to really influence our meals and would whine we made things such as carrot top soup or anything with a pile of wilted greens involved.  I mean, come on kids!  The husband and I were trying our best to eat it all up with little help from the kids.  So, we switched to an every other week delivery plan for the next season.  It was a little easier but I decided I needed a break from the challenge of a veggie box.  We dropped the CSA in favor of the co-op.

The Co-op

I kept meaning to check out the co-ops around town but never really took it seriously.  Finally, one day I got myself to our closest co-op (Seward Co-Op) and holy cow was it amazing!  Small, fresh, local, delicious!  I could even get produce from our favorite CSA farm.  It wasn't all good, though, because it's hard for me to shop at the co-op on a small budget.  I know it can be done, but it's hard!

The Buying Club

I heard about a local buying club through my friend Jennifer and finally got around to getting the details.  We liked what we saw and joined last week!  What is a buying club, you ask?  When a group of people pool together to order, they can get produce (and other products) at wholesale prices through a distributor.  The club I joined is the South Minneapolis Natural Food Buying Club.  Not only can we order organic produce, we can also order from Frontier (wholesale prices) and Azure Standard.

Today, I picked up my first order and am super excited!  There were a few things that I would have loved to get but because other people weren't ordering them, they weren't an option.  That's the one downside of the buying club - what is ordered is based on club demand and not just individual demand.  I think I can work with that.  I'll still shop at the co-op and Target (the prices on their staples are hard to beat!).

Where do you get your food?  Please share - I'd love to hear!


  1. Primarily I shop at Lunds and some at Target. We tried a CSA the summer Edith was born and it was a total fail. Last year we tried to get to some farmers markets and this year we are looking forward to having a garden again. There is a new co-op going in on Lyndale in Richfield that I'd like to check out too.

  2. Summer - I'm curious why the CSA was a fail. Do tell!