I had the opportunity to visit my very favorite food shopping spot – the Berkshire Coop Market. It is in Great Barrington Massachusettsand if you haven’t been to either Great Barrington or the Coop, I recommend planning a visit on your next trip in New England. I have to drive 150 miles to go shopping there, but I make the trek from time to time, under the guise of ‘visiting friends’, but there is always a trip to the Coop as a priority.
When I used to live up there in the 1980s and we were the experiential ‘green’ community, I not only became a member of this burgeoning food coop, I ended up as president of the Board of Directors for a year or so. I was young, energetic, enthusiastic and still unmarred by realities that can make a person cynical about such things.
Back then, the Coop was in the basement of an old granary. It was cold, damp and full of love (and spiders). We dreamed of a store where we could have a cafe and freshly baked products and room for lots of locally grown produce. I helped build up the membership significantly back then, but I moved away and left the dreaming to those left behind. I visited of course, but essentially lost track for quite a number of years.
When I walked into the new store – above ground – in a huge facility that used to be my gym, I got emotional to the concern and dismay of the new people who ran this beautiful store. I have been reconnecting with many of my old cohorts from those days in the past couple of years and I am wickedly jealous of the ones that get to shop there more regularly.
After my last trip, this past weekend, I started to ponder where and how I do forage for food on a regular basis. The truth is, I have so many more options for finding organic, locally produced, healthier food and products than I had back in those glorified early green days. Part of what drove us back then was the inability to find these things in our local grocery stores. Nowadays, nearly all standard grocery chains are carrying at least some organic foods, ‘green’ cleaning products, natural/healthier packaged foods, and more and more are turning to their local farmers during the various harvest seasons.
Pamela Paul with CNN Health did a nice story about ‘America’s Healthiest Grocery Stores’ that is worth reading (the article that got me thinking about this post!). Of course Whole Foodstops the list, but there are some surprises in store (pun intended).
eat. blog. be merry!