Once upon a time, I lived in a groovy little neighborhood in Philadelphia called Mt. Airy. I had a sweet life where my kids walked to school and my office was 248 paces from home. I had my posse of local food suppliers for eggs, raw dairy, meat, cheeses, flowers, honey and beeswax candles. My co-op once sang happy birthday to me over the intercom. "Happy Birthday Member Two-Twenty-Fi-ive" It was a total foodie dream, all obtainable by short ride on my cargo bike. It was worthy of a Portlandia episode.
The decision to move back to NYC had many pros and cons, and I fully expected to meet a host of challenges along the way. But there was one difficulty I simply could not have anticipated: Food Shopping. After all, I love food shopping. I really and truly love it. I love food shopping even more than I love shoe shopping.
And I have a dirty little secret: I have been known to overpay for things that are beautiful, delicious, and/or smell really good.
So it came as a huge surprise that living in Brooklyn, the DIY/Foodie Mecca of the East, food shopping became the absolute bane of my very existence.
Don't get me wrong,I can procure anything that I need... the issue is: how to get there, (godforbid) park there, schlep it back from there, all while trying to find the time to visit a gazillion different shops and suck it up to pay through the nose after waiting in a long line. Fuggedaboudit.
The compromises were sneaking in from every angle. And by the time I caught myself buying pesticide-full, disgusting grapefruit "juice" and homogonized 1/2 and 1/2 FROM TARGET I knew I was in trouble.
Thank god for the Park Slope Food Co-op.
Everyone who is not a member makes fun of it. Even the members tell horror stories of the crowds, the un-bending rules, the work shifts, the lines...
But I have been a member of some food co-op or another since 1992. Starting with the Onion River Co-op in Burlington, VT, The Wedge and Linden Hills Co-ops in Minneapolis, and, of course, Weaver's Way in Philadelphia. And having owned two food businesses, Fiddlehead & Fennel and Alive Kitchen, I am no stranger to what goes on behind the scenes.
So when I found myself working my shift on a busy Thursday afternoon (members work 2.75 hours every 4 weeks)... I was really happy. And my fridge and cupboards are once again brimming with fresh, yummy, healthy food...
For readers who have been asking for more recipes, perhaps now you'll be in luck?
Right now, on this snowy, rainly, sleety day, I've got a pot of veggie stock simmering away, and thoughts of a Moroccan lentil soup (kinda spicy, with a tomato broth) may soon turn into a recipe.