Content by Toni Shiurba Published on August 13, 2017
Birds of a feather, flock together applies not only to chickens and wild birds, but also to the earthy folks you’ll find at the San Juan Island Food Co-op. We may be a little biased, but we think it’s one of the best natural food stores out there. The address is 775 Mullis Street but you will find it more easily with your nose. You see, it is smack dab next to the best bread, pizza, pies, and cookies bakery in town, Bakery San Juan.
Open Monday-Friday, 9am – 6pm and Sundays 10am – 5pm, blaze on in to see what’s cookin’. Well OK, the only stuff cooking is at the bakery, and you can stop there after you’re done shopping for dinner. And the Co-op carries breads from the bakery and six-packs of their famous cookies.
What Else Will You Find at the Co-op?
Got a hankerin’ for halibut? We’ve got an angle on that, too. Whole fresh salmon show up every year from local fishermen. They sell directly from their ice chests in the backs of their pickup trucks in late summer. In Fall and Winter, frozen filets of several species await your butter and garlic in the freezer aisle of the Co-op.
How about island grown, grass-fed beef or lamb? Not a problem. Add in locally grown lettuces and herbs with grated cheese and nuts for a delicious salad. Sounds like the fixins for a fine barbecue with friends.
Have a passion for pasta? Try a whole wheat or spinach variety topped with an organic sauce you concoct from fresh tomatoes, onions and basil purchased here. Don’t forget the Rumiano Parmesan cheese for the top. It is scrumptious!
They Make You Feel Like Part of the Family
There are real faces to get to know behind every product the Co-op sells. People who put their hearts and souls into growing and harvesting quality food. They are soil artists, plant crafters and animal caretakers. Each farmer takes pride in what they nurture, hovering like mother hens over their chicks.
From the beekeeper and cheese fromagier to the fruit grower and mushroom producer, their zeal is infectious. “Do what you love and love what you do” seems to be their motto.
A newsletter is generated online every week. You can see what new produce is available and sign up for larger quantities of in-season fruits and vegetables. Bulk orders of just about anything you can imagine take just pen and paper to submit. Pick up dates are usually within a few days. Ask for the forms and you’re ready to roll.
Wonder where to find a nettle pesto or rhubarb custard pie recipe? The newsletter compiles a mixture of member-tested dishes using an assortment of ingredients found at the Co-op.
In case you didn’t know, nettles are tasty tidbits of nature’s green garden. I’ve eaten my share in leaner times and their mild flavor surprised me. The trick of course is in the harvest. It’s best to use good gloves but I learned a bare hands technique for the odd occasion. Select nettles with enough spacing to hover over top with your hand and reach straight down a few inches to pinch off a top section. Try saying your meditation mantra while picking them. Calm minds, steady hands, you know.
Join in on the Fun
If you would like to join this group of food pioneers, just grab a form in the store to fill out all the pertinent information. Then, pony up $35 for the yearly membership fee per household, $50 for a business, $20 for a short summer season, and $10 for one month. This gets you a percentage off each time you visit!
Volunteers help keep the Co-op afloat. The days that orders arrive are especially busy. How’s your artistry in arranging vegetables? Or maybe you’re more geometrically oriented. Lend a hand stacking the shelves with bottles, cans and pre-packaged goods. When you are done, stand back and admire your healthy food masterpiece!
You’ll Find their Products on your Plate at Coho Restaurant
The co-op helps local businesses by supplying us with the best products! They also carry some of our items, such as our granola. That’s the beauty of a close community – everyone is working together to support each other. So head on over to the San Juan Co-op and enjoy the fruits of our soil…literally!