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Nov 6, 2006 04:40 AM

MSP Co-ops/Natural Foods

We're really lucky in Minneapolis-Saint Paul to have so many options for buying orgainic/locally grown/cooperatively sold food. My neighborhood co-op is near-and-dear, but I often feel like there is a mising component - usually the component I want for dinner that night. MSPers, does your co-op have some specialty that the rest of us might want to know about if we're in your neighborhood? Produce specialties? Herbs? Cheeses?

I'm particularly keen to know since the farmer's markets will be winding down before too long, and yearn for additions to my weekly list.

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  1. I live close by the Wedge and i think it is pretty complete - i always find what i need for that evening =) Not sure what i'd pin-point as a specialty - they definitely have a good selection of veggies & fruits (crazy large selection of dates!), nice fish and awesome sausages made of various meats(lamb, pork, etc), good cheeses & breads, etc.

    1. The Wedge is the hands-down the best co-op in town in terms of produce and meat selection. I always go nuts with produce and meat when I visit the Wedge. But parking is a pain, as is the neighborhood traffic, so I tend not to trek all the way across town.

      Mississippi Market at Dale & Selby has a ton of yuppie indulgences and expensive imported stuff. So does the Wedge, but it seems to jump out at me more when I'm at Miss. Mkt. (On my last visit, I spent over $100 on a single bag of groceries - mostly essential oils and cosmetics...)

      I love my local co-op, Seward, because they carry Rustica bread, joy of joys (not all the others have it). Alas, the produce at Seward is rather pedestrian - they almost never have esoteric stuff - but the quality is good. Their meat department is a bit basic, but the cheese selection is excellent - almost a rival to Surdyk's. Plus, Seward Co-op now offers prepared food from Dashen Ethiopian Restaurant - I haven't tried any yet, but I will, soon!


      1. Thanks for the tip on the Seward's cheese selection - it's on my circuit but I don't stop enough. I will now, though.

        While I'm thinking about specialties - or odd items - I'm wondering if any posters know of a co-op (in MSP) that sells sorrel. Not just the "few-leaves-in-a-plastic-box" sort, but the fists-full that some of my Russian or Baltic recipes call for.

        Sorry, Anne - the Wedge was no help here; they told me to use spinach. (Produce fellow told me sorrel was "icky.")

        Would love a point in the right direction.

        6 Replies
        1. re: cayjohan

          all of the co-ops in msp are served by the same distributors for produce, which must carry organic certification: albert's (whole foods, wal mart, primarily produce of californian & south american origin) and co-op partners (independant, partner of wedge co-op, does business with individual & local farms, has more heirloom & unusual stuff).
          therefore if you shop at many co-ops you will notice a lot of the same produce, with co-op partners supplying a lot of the local seasonal stuff. in addition, some co-ops supplement by doing business DIRECTLY with local farmers. you might have to wait a year or two for your efforts to pay off, but maybe if you made the aquaintance of your local co-op's produce buyer, you could get her/him to order the sorrel (bulk, by the pound) for you from a local grower, if sorrel IS locally grown-- & if it's not, the upside to grassroots supply/demand thru the co-ops is that the produce buyers can sometimes encourage local growers to try new crops-- your request for sorrel may open up a new, local source of sorrel in all of MSP's local co-ops :)

          1. re: cayjohan

            I'm far from an expert but isn't sorrel more of a spring herb?

            1. re: MSPD

              MSPD you captured my recollection exactly -- there were bunches of sorrel, at least at the Linden Hills and Mississippi Market co-ops, but it disappeared in the summer.

            2. re: cayjohan

              Cayjohn - next spring, try the organic farmers' market over by the Guthrie. I'll bet one of the growers there would know how to get ahold of lots of sorrel. It grows like a weed - I planted some, years ago, and can't seem to get rid of the stuff! (Alas, I can't eat it for medical reasons, and have been trying to remove it from my garden so it won't tempt me.)


              1. re: cayjohan

                I just have to jump in here. I love the Wedge and their produce
                department but there is one guy there named Mark who I bet was
                the one who called sorrel 'icky'. He is consistently crabby and
                childish in his opinions on produce there, and it amazes me that
                he works there. I recommend finding another worker for an opinion if you ever have an experience with someone there that
                is less than what you need.

                1. re: cayjohan

                  I am certain that Mississippi Market carried sorrel in the spring, but it was fairly expensive. If you want a whole lot of it I would definitely recommend growing your only needs partial sun.

                2. I agree with most of the recommendations in this thread. I'll throw out another option: although not a co-op, the produce folks at Midtown Global Market do a nice job and, on at least one occasion I know of, will order upon request.

                  Also, there's a stand at the Midtown Global Market (Jakeeno's I think?) who pulls his own mozzarella.